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bulletbluediamondanimated.gif (618 bytes)Once you have decided on your topic and developed your research questions, you need to look at your questions for keywords.  Then, from your keywords, create the sub-topics that you will use to help you select the important information from the data that you find in your research.

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Keywords help you to decide what is important and what is not when you are searching for the data you will need for your research.  They help you search through indexes, tables of contents, encyclopedias, pages of books and magazines, CD-ROMs, and the World Wide Web.  They also help you to decide what your sub-topics should be.

To choose keywords you need to check your brainstorming notes and your questions for the words or phrases that seem to be the key or important ideas.


Why did Roberta Bondar choose to become an astronaut?
How did Roberta Bondar get to go on a space shuttle mission?
What did Roberta Bondar learn through her experiments in space?

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Sub-topics help you to find and organize the information you will need to answer your research question.  They are important pieces of the larger topic.   You decide on the sub-topics by looking at your brainstorming notes, your questions and your keywords to see which ideas are the ones that will best help you to answer your research question or solve your information problem.


Topic: Roberta Bondar, the Astronaut

Research Question: What was the experience of being an astronaut like for Roberta Bondar?

Key Words and Phrases: Roberta Bondar, become an astronaut, space shuttle mission, learn, and experiments in space.

Sub-Topics: Becoming an Astronaut, Space Shuttle Mission, Experiments in Space, Learning from Space.

Sometimes a visual tool will help you to see your thinking and to determine your sub-topics more easily.  A decision chart and a sub-topic map can be helpful tools.