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Writing Projects » Stages of Writing » Getting Started » Reporters' Questions

Reporters are often taught to ask five questions about the subject they are writing on: Who? What? Where? When? and Why? Answering these questions can also help you gather ideas for your writing project. Use the boxes below, and when you are finished, click the button at the bottom.

Who? Write down who is involved in and affected by the topic you are writing about:

What? What are the details of your topic? What other things might your topic affect or involve?

Where? Where does the topic take place? How does the location affect the topic?

When? When does the topic take place, or when did it? How does the time it happens or happen affect the topic? Does the topic involve changes that take place over time?

Why? Why does this topic exist, or happen? Why is it important? What are some of the causes and effects (why things happen) within the topic?


Everyone has a different way of gathering ideas. If you didn't find defining your audience helpful, or if you feel you still have work to do before writing a first draft, follow one of the links below to another pre-writing activity:

Freewriting | Categories and Clusters | Pre-draft Outlines
Find the Key Words | Listing | Define Your Audience


If you feel you have generated enough ideas and are ready to begin drafting, we have some tips for writing the first draft and a place to write it.


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