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Research and Writing in Mathematics and History

Step 2: Question Your Problem

Brainstorm for topics by using one of these strategies.

  • Free write: write without stopping for a set, short time. Opens up mind to new possibilities; generates a variety of ideas
  • Make a list of possible topics. Generates ideas quickly; more organized and linear than free write
  • Talk to peers about your ideas. Explore ideas deeper; get immediate feedback


As you go, ask yourself:

  • What am I interested in, personally?
  • What information from the course has been most engaging?
  • What do I already know about this subject?


Use the guiding principles in the 5-minute video where to make your Lines of Inquiry:

→ Multidimensional and complex

→ Narrow in focus

→ Specific in language

Then, use your questions and their potential as additional words and phrases when you search.