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Geography: Starting Points

Starting points for research in Geography

Forming Your Research Question

Think about your topic and what question you want your research to answer. 
Your research question:

  • Identifies the primary construct you want to research;
  • Conveys significance of the research (the 'So What' factor);
  • Has the ability to surprise you as you research;
  • Encourages a complex answer (not a simple 'yes' or 'no').

You will naturally refine your question and topic as you research. Be flexible! :-)
Adapted from the Queensland University of Technology AIRS; Based on Foss & Waters, 2016.

Research Design

Always have a plan to guide your research. SMART goals are one method of planning your research. Consider your research question, and ask yourself if it is:

  • Specific: is your research question clear and specific enough to guide your search?
  • Measurable: consider the measures you will use to answer your question.
  • Attainable: is the answer to your research question attainable given the scope of your project?
  • Relevant: is there generalizability or broader significance to your research?
  • Time-bound: set clear time goals to ensure your research can be completed in a timely manner.

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Philip White
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