Developing Research Questions: Your Scope & Feasibility
An important aspect of determining your research question is scope. What is feasible for you to answer within your time, your access, your economic, and other constraints? Have you chosen a question that acknowledges those limitations.
- Many of us start with a very broad question in mind. Try these steps to narrow:
- State your research interest
- Think of a narrower scope
- Brainstorm questions
- Pick the question you are most interested in
- Rephrase the question to be narrower in scope
- Repeat as needed
Keywords and related terms will emerge from your topic of research. Creating a map of your keywords and/or related terms will help you. Keywords will help you:
Keywords and related terms for Paris: lifestyle, esthetics, shopping, transformations, boulevards, illuminated sites, cultural center, capital of modernity, city of light, la ville lumière, festive season, Impressionism, Age of Enlightenment, café culture, fashion, art gastronomy, and intellectual and artistic life.
It is helpful knowing the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT. These operators help you find information in the university's search platforms and databases.
The graphic shows how the operators AND, OR and NOT work in your search:
dog AND puppy = will retrieve titles that contain both terms in your search.
dog OR puppy = will retrieve titles that contain both or either terms in your search.
dog NOT puppy = will retrieve titles that only contain the term "dog." This search will exclude titles that contain the term "puppy."
Tip: Not ot all search engines use Boolean logic. For example, you do not need to use these operators in Google Scholar or when your are doing a search in Google.