Developing a Research Question
- Step 1: Conduct background research on a general topic of interest
- Step 2: Look for aspects and details to further define your research topic’s parameters
- Step 3: Create an outline for what you want to learn about your topic
- Step 4: Generate keywords to use within your search strategies
It helps to think like a journalist to seek to answer the who, what, when, where, and why of your research question. By selecting your research topic, you've identified your what. Below are some tips to help you more clearly define your research question:
- Who - Is there a person, group, culture, or demographic that would help you narrow your research?
- Person, culture, species, demographic, etc.
- When - Is there a time period that you plan to focus your research?
- All time, a specific time period, or comparing two time periods, etc.
- Where - Is location or geographic important to your research topic?
- country, state, geographic region, etc.
- Why - What event or aspect are you focusing your research?
- events, impact, feelings, relationships, etc.