Part 1—ASK a Geographic Question

Step 1 –
Narrow the Focus of Your Geographic Investigation

Once your instructor has provided an overarching topic for research projects, you will design an investigation that fits under this large umbrella topic. For example, if the overarching topic is "The Effects of Urban Sprawl," you may choose to study urban heat islands. If you are limited to your campus and the nearby surroundings, you may decide to determine how land cover affects surface temperature on your campus.

These procedures will walk you through the steps for completing this sample investigation. The specifics of your own investigation should vary depending on your investigation question and methods. When you conduct your own investigation, use these steps as a guide and adjust the procedures accordingly.

Step 2 –
Formulate a Geographic Question

Define your investigation by stating a specific question.

In the sample investigation, studying the effects of urban surfaces on local climates, a specific question could be, "How does surface air temperature vary with type of land cover?"

Don't worry if you find that you need to come back to this step and refine your question after you've begun collecting data. Research is an iterative process in which information learned in a later step often changes something from an earlier step.

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