collage of ports

This site will be taken down June 30, 2018.

The Penn Online Research Tutorial (PORT) site was built with old software that is neither sustainable nor secure.
The pages have not been maintained, but they can be consulted for historical reference on the Internet Archive.
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Asking a Question
You should formulate your topic as a question before you get very far into your research.
  • Because a research paper that doesn't answer a question is little more than a summary
  • Because questions help to narrow the focus of your project and your research
  • Because research papers begin with a thesis that is addressed with evidence presented in the paper. If your research begins with a question that is answered by analyzing evidence, then the presentation will flow from the research itself
Advanced strategies
Organize your questions -
Organize your paper -
Once you have chosen a topic that is neither too narrow nor too broad, bombard your topic with questions. It is often useful to organize your questions into categories:
Categories for the topic "Censorship on the Internet"
...and questions
  Identify its parts and wholes:
How is censorship of the Internet associated with recent social trends?
  Trace its history and changes:
How is censoring of the Internet similar to the earlier censorship of books?
  Identify its categories and characeristics:
What types of information are of most concern to proponents of Internet censorship? Why?
  Determine its value:
What are the implications of thorough Internet censorship?
In The Craft of Research, (Booth, Wayne, Colomb, Gregory and Joseph Williams. University of Chicago Press, 1995, p.39-41) the authors suggest a process for turning a topic into a question. It is described on the right.