Skip to main content

English 101: Food Theme: Creating a Research Question

Resources for Information Gathering

Use these Library Resources to find background information on your topic. This will help you create and refine your research question.

Focus your search even more by searching or browsing these food specific encyclopedias in Gale Virtual Reference Library


Books can be Your Best Friend in Information Gathering!

Key Reference Books can be found on the Key Reference Shelf in the Library.

These volumes provide subject overviews and opposing viewpoints on certain aspects of dozens of controversial issues. Great place to see what kinds of questions are being discussed about a topic and how those questions are being answered.

Also make sure to search the Library catalog for relevant print books and Ebook Central for electronic books.


These Websites are Also Good Information Gathering Resources.

Focusing Your Topic

The best way to Focus Your Topic is to ask questions about it. Consider the five W's when trying to figure out what you want to research:

Who? Limit your topic to a specific person or group.

What? Limit your topic to a particular aspect of the topic or discipline.

Where? Limit your topic to a particular place or region.

When? Limit your topic to a particular period of time.

Why? Ask why the topic is important.

Remember you can limit your topic in more than one way. For example limit it to a "who" and a "what" or a "when" and a "where".

Mix and match the five Ws until you've created a Good Research Question.

What Makes a Good Research Question?

What makes a good research question?

  • Narrow Focus
  • Answer is not obvious
  • You can actually research it (there is evidence out there for you to find)
  • Question is clear and has a single focus

Using Wikipedia for Academic Research

Wikipedia can also be a helpful tool for finding background information on your topic. The video below helps explain how to use it best.

GREAT TIP: Use these same techniques when looking at articles from Library Databases.

Frederick Community College prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of age, ancestry, citizenship status, color, creed, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, genetic information, marital status, mental or physical disability, national origin, race, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status in its activities, admissions, educational programs, and employment.