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High School Classes

This guide is designed to help build research skills for high school students

Where to start?

The best place to start is your assignment description. Read it thoroughly to understand the assignment. If you're unsure about certain aspects, ask your instructor for clarification.

The assignment may provide topics to choose from, or you may be able to choose your own topic.

Choose a topic you are interested in! This will make the research more interesting and rewarding. 

This short video clip is a great place to start if you're still working on creating a good research question.

Steely Library NKU. (2018, Jan. 4). Developing a research question [video]. YouTube. Used under CC-BY-NC 4.0 license.

What is my topic?

Before you start looking for articles or books, take time to define or analyze your topic.

Think about your topic critically and define the goals and objectives of your research. The obvious reason is that it's a required part of your course, but put that aside for a minute. Ask yourself: 

  • What has already been written on this topic? What do I already know about this topic?
  • Where is the research headed next?
  • Are there attitudes or beliefs that should be questioned or supported?
  • What do I hope to achieve?
  • What interests me?
  • Audience, objective – why are you writing this paper?
  • What lens or perspective might you take? E.g. sociological, economic, ecological, and many more
  • Who will we share our work with? Who is the audience?

A research project is not about regurgitating other people's ideas -- it's about creating your own ideas based on what you've read and thought about from a variety of sources.

Its about evaluating what you have found in your research and thinking critically about your topic, and adding your own voice to the conversation!

Brainstorming Directions for Research Questions

This video clip shows some great brainstorming if you have a question but want to develop it to be more specific, focused, or defined.

Rosevere, P. (2016, Apr. 21). Forming a research question extended essay [video]. YouTube.