The information you're searching for is wholly dependent on your information need. Your information need is the basis for formulating your search querry. The examples in this guide are based on the following information need:
It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with your topic for a number of reasons:
In doing so, you investigate what you already know about the topic and what you still want to find out. How exactly your topic is defined, and you start to feel familiar with the terminology that is commonly used within this topic (you will need this to determine your search terms).
There are various ways to familiarise yourself with a topic; approach experts, consult reference works, surf the Internet or do a broad search in a library catalogue and databases.
In the orientation phase, you can ask yourself the following questions:
A good problem statement answers questions relating to who, what, where, when and how.
With regard to the example above of the student’s need for information about social media use, you could ask:
Who? Which specific group of students are we looking at? Age, level of education, gender, etc.
What? Which social media are we concerned with? Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Are the effects the same for boys and girls?