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Geology: Starting Points

Research Guide for Students & Researchers in the Geological Sciences!

Find Background Information

Here are a few general resources to consult when learning more about your topic.

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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