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Developing a Research Question

so you have to write a research paper for some of you this might mean going to Google typing in your general topic and using information from the first two or three results that you find for others this might mean trying to find out everything you possibly can about your topic unfortunately neither of these approaches is likely to get great results to be done right research needs to be guided by a focus research question without a good research question you will probably end up with a paper that never really comes together because you didn’t have a clear direction but what exactly is a research question at the most basic the research question is just a question related to your topic that needs to be answered the whole purpose of your research will be to provide an answer to the question you’re probably thinking that this doesn’t sound too difficult if a research question is just a question about your topic it should be easy to come up with one right well not exactly for many students developing a research question is actually one of the hardest parts of the whole research process in some cases a student might not know enough about their topic to even understand the kinds of questions that are possible to ask even if the student has some knowledge about the topic they may still not have a good idea of the whole scope of the topic or recent developments related to that topic for this reason it’s usually a good idea to try to do some background research before you try to settle on a specific question this doesn’t have to be extensive or time consuming for many of you simply looking at a Wikipedia article or a few recent news articles related to your topic will be enough to give you some ideas for directions that you want to explore once you have a bit of background information you’ll be better able to focus your topic into a good research question but what makes a question a good research question there are several things that you need to keep in mind first a research question should not be too narrow or too broad if you could answer your question with a few facts you’re not researching you’re just searching on the other hand if you would need to write an entire book to appropriately answer your question and it’s probably not a good question for you either at least at this level your question also needs to be specific questions such as is television a bad influence is very vague which television programs are you talking about what audience are you talking about what exactly do you mean by bad making your question a bit more precise will give you more direction for your research research questions would also have some significance it should be something that interests you because you will be spending some time with a topic but it should also be something that other people might find important as well this doesn’t mean that you can’t research topics like popular culture or sports or social media it just means that you need to frame your research in such a way as to make sure the topic is relevant to more than just you while you want your topic to be significant you also want to be careful not to ask the types of questions that can’t really be answered questions such as why must people suffer or what happens after we die or certainly significant to many people but very difficult to answer keep in mind that research papers are not intended to be philosophical treatises so as you can see asking any old question related to your topic won’t work fortunately many poor research questions can be transformed into good research questions with only a few tweaks for example the question of why must people suffer could be transformed into a more focused question such as how have major 20th century Christian theologians explaining the purpose of human suffering finally you might also want to make your research question a little bit unique or creative some topics have already been researched over and over and over and you might want to avoid those topics if you can if you do have a common topic it’s often a good idea to try to find a slightly different angle something that allows you to add your own twist after all research should not be about asking questions that have already been answered many times before created using powtoon

Developing a Research Question

so you have to write a research paper for some of you this might mean going to Google typing in your general topic and using information from the first two or three results that you find for others this might mean trying to find out everything you possibly can about your topic unfortunately neither of these approaches is likely to get great results to be done right research needs to be guided by a focus research question without a good research question you will probably end up with a paper that never really comes together because you didn’t have a clear direction but what exactly is a research question at the most basic the research question is just a question related to your topic that needs to be answered the whole purpose of your research will be to provide an answer to the question you’re probably thinking that this doesn’t sound too difficult if a research question is just a question about your topic it should be easy to come up with one right well not exactly for many students developing a research question is actually one of the hardest parts of the whole research process in some cases a student might not know enough about their topic to even understand the kinds of questions that are possible to ask even if the student has some knowledge about the topic they may still not have a good idea of the whole scope of the topic or recent developments related to that topic for this reason it’s usually a good idea to try to do some background research before you try to settle on a specific question this doesn’t have to be extensive or time consuming for many of you simply looking at a Wikipedia article or a few recent news articles related to your topic will be enough to give you some ideas for directions that you want to explore once you have a bit of background information you’ll be better able to focus your topic into a good research question but what makes a question a good research question there are several things that you need to keep in mind first a research question should not be too narrow or too broad if you could answer your question with a few facts you’re not researching you’re just searching on the other hand if you would need to write an entire book to appropriately answer your question and it’s probably not a good question for you either at least at this level your question also needs to be specific questions such as is television a bad influence is very vague which television programs are you talking about what audience are you talking about what exactly do you mean by bad making your question a bit more precise will give you more direction for your research research questions would also have some significance it should be something that interests you because you will be spending some time with a topic but it should also be something that other people might find important as well this doesn’t mean that you can’t research topics like popular culture or sports or social media it just means that you need to frame your research in such a way as to make sure the topic is relevant to more than just you while you want your topic to be significant you also want to be careful not to ask the types of questions that can’t really be answered questions such as why must people suffer or what happens after we die or certainly significant to many people but very difficult to answer keep in mind that research papers are not intended to be philosophical treatises so as you can see asking any old question related to your topic won’t work fortunately many poor research questions can be transformed into good research questions with only a few tweaks for example the question of why must people suffer could be transformed into a more focused question such as how have major 20th century Christian theologians explaining the purpose of human suffering finally you might also want to make your research question a little bit unique or creative some topics have already been researched over and over and over and you might want to avoid those topics if you can if you do have a common topic it’s often a good idea to try to find a slightly different angle something that allows you to add your own twist after all research should not be about asking questions that have already been answered many times before created using powtoon

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