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U.S. History | Mr. Gappa: Asking Essential Questions

Essential Questions

Learning how to ask the right questions is at the heart of the research process. The information on this page might help you think about what questions you need to ask to find the information you need for your research.

Questions

 

 

An Essential Question is ... 

Open-ended

no simple or single right answer
addressed through reason rather than opinion/belief

Thought-provoking

unique, often counterintuitive or controversial
answers through problem solving (not found, but invented)
generate new questions

Universal

addresses fundamental issues
addresses interdisciplinary concepts, central to greater understanding

 

Developing an essential question....

 

Who?

 

Substitution

 

Who else…? Who might…?
NOT Who did…?

 

What?

 

Predict (hypothesis posed)

Modify/Magnify/Minimize

Eliminate/Reverse/Alternative

 

What if…? 
NOT What is…?

 

When?
Which?
Where?

 

Compare and Contrast

 

Which one…? 
Here or there?  
Now or later?

 

Why?

 

Cause and Effect

 

Why do things happen the way they do?

 

How?

 

Propose Solution

 

How would things be different if ... ?

 

Which?

 

Evidence-based Decision 

 

Which decision will have the most impact?

 

Should?

 

Moral/Ethical/Practical Reasoning

 

Making this change will impact society  in this way.

 

* Special thanks to Lora Cowell for permission to use these terrific graphics.