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Define What You Know

Defining what you already know makes it easier to decide what you need.

Before you get started, it is wise to think about what you already know about your topic (you may be surprised!) and what you would like to learn. It is helpful to build your background knowledge by reading a few general overviews, like from an encyclopedia or a quick Internet search.

Your teacher may have already given you a list of things you should find out about your topic.

  • If so, use the list to show what you know on each of these and what you would like to know about them.
  • If not, write down what you already know and brainstorm aspects you think you should include about your topic. (You don't have to include all of them in your project, and you most likely will discover others as you begin your research. That's ok.)

Activities:

Read chapter 4 of Know What to Ask: Forming Great Research Questions

Use this KWL chart to make your list.

Next => Now that you have have defined what you know about your topic, it is time to define your questions.