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Resources and Sustainability Research Paper: How to Ask an Interesting Question

This guide was created with the intention of pointing you toward steps and resources for developing an effective research paper about the science, economics, history, ethics, sociology, politics, and future trends within resources and sustainability.

How to Use This Page

Use Library Resources and Websites to get more background information, building the context you have for these resources and their surrounding issues in order to help you form better search terms for when you start conducting research. This is not a comprehensive list of resources; there are many more books, films, and websites you could use. Don’t forget that we have several film databases with full documentaries and short clips—you’re not limited to dense reading!

Examples from Students are examples of good research questions from undergraduates at other colleges that might inspire you. Good research questions cannot be answered with a few facts, like a book report or an article review. Sometimes you won't have a good question until you've read a lot about a topic. Research is also often not linear. Your question might change. 

Here are two ways you can approach this paper:

1) Use the Specific Resources section to pick a resource (like coal, oil, natural gas, aluminum, water, lithium, paper, uranium) to investigate and build a question based on what you learn. For example, How does the use of natural gas impact our community?

2) Use the Specific Issues section to start with a problem or issue you’re interested in and work backward from it. For example, when does air pollution become a problem and how can it be reversed?

Library Resources

Specific Resources

Specific Issues