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HLS 410 - Introduction to Homeland Security (UNH Manchester): Activity (Professor Schilling)

Learning Outcomes

1. Students will learn to ask questions about a topic to identify subdivisions of that topic.

2. Students will learn to seek background information on a topic to identify subdivisions of that topic.

3. Students will learn how to formulate a research question from a narrowed topic.

Instructions - Part 1

Imagine you want to do research about the Boston Marathon Bombing (or your own topic). Begin by answering the following questions.

  1. What dates do you want to consider? Only 2013? Do you want to investigate a range of dates? Do you want to look at later dates?
  2. Who do you want to consider?
  3. Do you want to consider interactions between groups?
  4. How would you define the event or topic?
  5. How long is your paper supposed to be?
  6. What kinds of sources are you required to use? (e.g. primary, or secondary, scholarly, government information?) Is there any type of source you may not use?

Instructions: Part 2

Encyclopedias give information or topics. They divide the large subject into smaller subtopics to explain relevant ideas associated with the big topic. When looking for ideas about how to outline or map a topic, it's often useful to go to an encyclopedia article and see how the article is subdivided.

  1. What subtopics are covered in the article?
  2. Use a general encyclopedia to look up your topic.
  3. Examine the article about your topic.
  4. List the heading and subheadings in the article.
  5. Identify subheadings that are of interest to you.
  6. Check the end of the article for any citations to other books, articles and the like about your area of interest.
  7. Ask yourself questions about what might be missing or incomplete.
  8. Are there other aspects of your topic that don't seem to be covered in the encyclopedia article?
  9. Are there links between items on the outline that warrant further investigation?
  10. Look for the same information in a subject specific encyclopedia.


Instructions Part 3

  1. After thinking about and deciding what you are interested in learning, try putting together a research question.
  2. Select two topics or subtopics and write a possible research question that links the two ideas. For example, you might take the headings "Boston marathon bombing" and "radical" to pose a research question.
  3. Example:"How did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev become a self radicalized terrorist?".
  4. Write two possible research questions concerning your topic.

Instructions Part 4

1. List the keywords you used in your research question.

2. Using your keywords, look for books and periodicals related to your topic.

UNH Library Search Box

The UNH Library Search Box provides simple, one-stop searching for:

  • Books and e-books
  • Articles in newspapers, journals, and magazines
  • Video and audio


Burkhardt, Joanna M. “Teaching Information Literacy Reframed 50 Framework-Based Excersises for Creation Information Learners.”   Teaching Information Literacy Reframed 50 Framework-Based Excersises for Creation Information Learners, Neal-Schuman, 2016, pp. 40–42.