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Beginning the Quest

Beginning the Quest

A good honors project begins with compelling questions -- often referred to as questions of wonder.  To "compel" means to lead strongly or even force.  Compelling questions are questions that lead you to more questions and are so interesting you feel your brain trying to force you to find the answer.  They are the kinds of questions that keep you up at night.

Finding compelling questions can take a while -- you might even have to learn a little more about your topic before you can settle in on your guiding questions.

Start with recording what you know and what you still wonder about on a Know/Wonder Chart.  (You might have already done this as part of choosing your topic.  Add to that sheet now).

Code your questions:
  • Put a dot next to questions that can be answered by finding a fact in a book.  An example would be, "What do tigers eat?"
  • Put a dash next to questions that can be answered by reading a few paragraphs in a book, "What are some ways that tigers have been helped in recent years?"
  • Put a star next to questions that would probably take new research, several books, field work, or an expert to help answer, "What is the most effective way to help tigers?"
Generate a minimum of 4-6 starred questions.  If one is a dash question, that is O.K., too.