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Great Issues I: Home

The Fat Research Question

You will develop your own Fat Research Question based off of this broad Essential Question: What impact does this event have on American society today?

Fat Research Questions:

  • answer an open-ended question which drives the research
  • have more than one answer
  • ask for ideas or opinions
  • get to the heart of a controversy
  • answers why, what if, suppose, imagine, how questions
  • requires deep and critical thinking
  • are researched and based on understanding
  • need to be justified and defended with evidence

The Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the answer to your Fat Research Question.  In one meaty sentence, it provides your main reasons as to why your thesis statement/claim or argument is credible.

It is the last sentence in your introduction paragraph.

You might find this link helpful: Thesis Builder

Source Requirements

You must do your outline, take your notes, and format your MLA bibliography in NoodleTools.  Make sure that you click on Advanced when you set up your project.

Your bibliography must contain at least eight (Militello) or ten (Shockley) credible and vetted sources.  Remember, personal interviews and/or emailing experts is encouraged. 

Alternatives to Google

Or explore these search engines with websites handpicked by librarians and teachers.

Characteristics of Fat Research Questions and Skinny Information-based Questions

Fat Question

Skinny Questions

Only One Fat Question

Lots of Skinny Questions



Creative - Bring out original ideas

Can be regurgitated from another source

Asks for an opinion


Has more than one answer

Can have one answer

Must be answered in at least a paragraph or an entire essay.

Can be answered in a word or a sentence

Must be analyzed           

Information questions

Must be defended, justified,  and judged


Must understand the pros and cons of a situation.


Starts with Why, How, Should, What If, Imagine, Suppose

Starts with What, Who, Where, When

Cannot be Googled



NoodleTools Outlining Tutorial

NoodleTools Notecards Tutorial

Note Card Notes

1. Always do your bibliography entry first.

2.  Link your notecard to your bibliography entry.

3.  Fill in the page number box.

4.  Make a unique title for the notecard.

5.  One idea/fact per notecard.

6.  Use the My Ideas Box.  Without your own ideas, your own thinking, or your own analysis your research turns into a report.  This project is about research, not reports.


SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Issues Researcher

Gale Opposing Viewpoints

Gale Global Issues in Context

Gale Student Resouce Center and EBSCO Search Techniques

  • Use the Advanced Search link so you can select which kinds or resources you need ie newspapers, magazines, primary sources, etc.
  • Use the date limiters to set parameters if currency is important to you.
  • Remember to sign into your EBSCO account so you can save your articles to your folder.



Gale Middle School Research In Context

EBSCO Explora

Research databases
Limit Your Results

Britannica Image Quest

Messing Library Catalog - The OPAC


Stay organized and on track with your research. Let NoodleTools do the grunt work while you spend your time researching.

Research Databases

Databases provide credible and vetted sources for all your academic research needs.