Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Human Development and Family Sciences: Developing a Research Question and Search Strategy

Research in family studies


Watch these videos to help you think like a researcher. Learn how to

  • Develop strong research questions
  • Identify keywords related to your topic
  • Adapt your search to narrow down your results
  • Adapt your search to broaden your results

Thinking Like a Researcher

In this video, learn how to think like a researcher and formulate strong research questions.


Key Points:

  • Researchers ask questions and seek out evidence, identify previous experiences or relevant information to get context, look at all sides of an argument, and distinguish between opinion and fact.
  • To think like a researcher you need to develop a strong research question, find reliable evidence and let that evidence guide you, consider your audience and context to determine the scope of your research, and be open to revising your original question.
  • Strong research questions are open-ended, have a larger social significance, aim for neutrality, are answerable with reliable evidence, and have an appropriate scope.

Additional Tip:

  • Consider who, what, when, where, why when developing your research question to ensure that it is not too broad.

Adapting your Search Strategy

From your research question, you can develop a search strategy that maps out potential search terms to use in information resources. 

Key points:

  • Identify keywords, the most important words in your topic
  • Create a list of similar words (synonyms), including words or terms that are more specific
  • You may need to search for broader terms for a narrow local topic