INFOhio Central
Information, Media and Technological Literacy, Communication, Arts and Communication, Writing, Writing for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
Material Type:
Lesson, Module
High School
9, 10, 11, 12
  • Information Literacy
  • Inquiry
  • Inquiry Skills
  • Research
  • Research Questions
  • Research Skills
  • Research Topics
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML, Video

    Apply Strategies to Develop Research Questions and Topics

    Apply Strategies to Develop Research Questions and Topics


    In this lesson students will apply strategies to develop research topics and questions. 


    When you read an article, you can develop questions for further research using three levels of questions:

    • Questions developed directly from the text
    • Questions implied in the text
    • Questions that take your research deeper

    Use Templates to Develop Research Topics and Questions

    Teacher Tip

    When you introduce the Question Generator Form Word Document or interactive PDF, encourage your students to share the questions they developed based on an image in your class online discussion.


    After completing the preliminary reading and selecting a topic, you are ready to develop questions to guide your research. Select from the graphic organizers located in the Attached Resources section below to help you develop questions to guide your research. 

     formRead the description for each graphic organizer in the table below. Then, select a graphic organizer from the Attached Resources section to help you develop questions to guide your research. 

    Question Generator FormQuestion Pick n MixNarrowing a Topic
    Questions starting with who, what, where, when, and why are fairly easy to develop. Use the Question Generator Form to dig deeper into your topic by developing questions beginning with how and which.Use the Question Pick n Mix Google Doc to help you develop easy and more complex questions to guide your research. Verbs such as might, should, and would create deeper thinking questions. Questions beginning with how and why ask for analysis and opinion. If your topic is too broad, finding and interpreting information will be difficult. Use the Narrowing a Topic Google Doc to help you narrow your topic and develop questions to guide your research. 

    Use a Rubric to Evaluate Your Research Questions

    Developing good research questions takes time, but it does pay off. Developing good research questions can help provide a clear focus for your research. 

    formEvaluate your research questions with the Research Question Rubric attached below. Revise your questions as needed. 

    Use INFOhio's ISearch to Explore a Research Topic

    Teacher Tip

    See Colette Cassinelli's workshop presentation and document, "Revamping the Research Process Using Google Apps" to learn how to incorporate Google tools into the student research process. 

    Search many INFOhio digital resources and your school library catalog (if applicable) from a single search box. Place holds, view your library account, and save lists of print and digital resources for future use.

    INFOhio's ISearch is an advanced library catalog and digital resource discovery search. ISearch includes features for students who need multiple resources for research projects. Use filters to narrow results by date, Lexile reading level, subject, source type/format, and more.

    interactive iconUse the following steps to conduct an exploratory search for information using INFOhio's ISearch. Once you have located an article or Research Starter, read more about your topic. Determine if you would like to continue with this topic, or select another topic.

    Step 1: Begin with INFOhio's ISearch 

    Step 2: Type your topic in the search box. Search engines and databases work best with just a few keywords.

    Enter your keywords

    Step 3: Click the Encyclopedias tab in ISearch to see if there is a Research Starter for your topic. The Research Starter provides an overview of the topic along with key vocabulary and terminology. 

    Encyclopedia Tab in INFOhio's ISearch

    Step 4: Explore the Basic Sources tab and select an article to read more about your topic.

    Basic Sources tab in INFOhio's ISearch


    Test Your Knowledge

    Teacher Tip

    Assess your students' research skills using the Developing Research Topics and Questions quiz. Copy and paste quiz questions from the Google Doc to a Google Form or your choice of assessment platform. An answer key is available. 

    Find additional assessment questions in TRAILS Archive - Tool for Real-time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills located in INFOhio's Open Space. 

    formUse the Developing Research Topics and Questions quiz to assess your research skills. The answer key is available to educators in the Instructor Notes.