What Is Your Information Need?

It is important to ask yourself some questions in the beginning:
  • Why is the information needed? For a research paper, for a short speech, for personal interest?
  • Who is the audience? A professor, your classmates, your great aunt?
  • What type of information will answer the question? Factual, analytical, objective, subjective, current, historical?
  • What type of information source? An encyclopedia? A book? A journal article?
  • How much information do you need? How long is your assignment? How far back do you need to research? Do you need current information only?
  • What do you know already?

Answering these questions will help you focus your research. If your need is for brief information, your search shouldn't take long. If you're writing a research paper, it is helpful to develop a plan.

Copyright 2010-2013 Old Dominion University -- Old Dominion University Libraries, updated September 2013