What is a research question?
A research question is useful for guiding the rest of your research process, but it can change as you learn more about your topic. Start with a question you are curious about or a topic that your professor assigns to you. Take time to read background information and think about what really interests you about that issue. Ask the following questions to help articulate your research question:
Now that you have thought about these questions, you should try to write out your research question and include as many of these details as possible.
Here is a helpful table for refining your topic:
|Starting Point||Questions to Ask||Interests||Sources to Use|
|Narrower topic||Who? Can you identify a person or group of people that are involved in your research topic?||Background and reference sources (newspaper articles, encyclopedia, online media)|
|Even narrower topic||What? What is the key idea of your topic? What are the sub-topics?||Scholarly journal articles, scholarly books and eBooks|
|Narrow and specific topic||When? Is time an important factor in your topic?||Scholarly journal articles, scholarly books, newspaper articles, theses and dissertations|
|Even more narrow and specific topic||
Where? Is geography important to your research topic? Do I need to focus on a specific city, state, province or can I think broadly about the location (region, continent, country)?
|Scholarly journal articles, conference papers, scholarly books, book reviews, newspaper articles, encyclopedia entries|
Learn more about formulating research questions at the link below: