Skip to Main Content

ENGL 1007: First-Year Composition - Professor Hollcraft

This is a class guide for ENGL 1007. Instructor: Hollcraft

Question Formulation Technique Activity

As you cumulate questions regarding your topic for the Research and Writing as Inquiry assignment, consider some of the research skills you have developed in ENGL 1006 to help you find resources:

Topic to keyword:

Let's take your Priority Question and turn it into keywords.

We can do this by identifying the most important words in your Priority Question.

Example Priority Question:
What kinds of health risks do college students face with fast food?
1. college students
2. health risks
3. fast food
Please go to the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus website, here.
Conduct a search for each keyword in the Thesaurus Search.
Review the associated keywords (synonyms) in the thesaurus and select the most relevant associated keyword.


Scope, in regards to your research process, creates guidelines that helps establish:
  • A direction for your research process.
  • A purpose of what you hope to explore while researching for sources.
  • An understanding of what kind of audience would be interested in the information you are seeking.
  • An understanding of how to expand or refine your keywords to accommodate for possible challenges with your research.

Acknowledging the scope of your topic can circumvent research-related frustrations and save you time when you are struck your research process.

Scope: Direction

Reflect on the questions you've brainstormed in the Question Formulation Technique to find avenues of inquiry that will lead to a direction of your research process.

Scope: Purpose
Now, let's focus on your purpose for researching the Priority Question you selected.
By indicating your purpose, you develop a refined sense of direction in your research process.
Your purpose for researching the topic you selected should have some intrinsic value to you; something interesting to you and not because it was mandatory to select 'something.'
 Example Purpose Statement:
I picked my topic because I believe college students, like myself, are continually at risk of unhealthy eating.
Scope: Population
Now that you have indicated your direction and purpose, let's establish the population impacted by your topic.
Whether directly or indirectly affected, your topic impacts various populations.
By indicating which populations are affected by your topic, you develop connections between your topic and the body of research.
Take a moment and reflect on the population your topic impacts. Ask yourself:
  • Is there a specific demographic that may be affected by your topic? 
  • Is there a broader group of people affected by your topic?
  • Also, consider the demographics (or particular groups) uniquely affected as well. 
You may need to do some background information on your topic to figure out the subject.
Click here to access Wikipedia to help gather background information on your subject.
Review the example subject statements below.
Example Population Statements:
I believe my topic on health risks and fast food impacts college students. A specific demographic of college students affected are freshmen.

Expand or Refine Keywords

You've established your direction, purpose, and possible audiences affected by your topic.
The last element of this section involves developing your sense of expanding or narrowing the scope of a keyword.
Expanding Keywords
Expanding the scope of a keyword means to broaden your definition to a phrase that is more vast. 
In other words, you are 'zooming out' to a larger, more encompassing term for your keyword.
            Example of expanding the scope of a keyword: 
Fast food to Convenience food
Tip: Expand keywords when you are receiving few search results.
Refining Keywords
Refining the scope of a keyword means to narrow your definition to a phrase that is more precise. 
In other words, you are 'zooming in' to a narrower, more focused term for your keyword.
            Example of refining the scope of a keyword: 
Fast food to McDonald's
Tip: Refine keywords when you are receiving too many search results.

Session 1 Itinerary

  • Revisit Class Page
  • Review Artifact
  • QFT Activity
  • Discussion 
  • Next steps

Need Help?