Inventing the Research Question

Formulating a research question provides you with an anchor to work from as a way to further develop your ideas around both subject and argument

Look at the different elements involved in your subject or issue. What are they? Are there at least two sides to this particular line of questioning?

When developing your research question you will be looking at a number of different question openings:

How does (the subject) effect/articulate/present/clarify/address/demonstrate the values/ethics/limits/consequesnces/tensions on _______________________ ?

How does (the topic) challenge previously conceived notions of understanding?

  • What are the potential implications of (the subject) on ____________________ ?
  • What historical forces helped shape (the subject) and at what point in time will it culminate in a crisis?

Why did (the topic) arise?
Why is (the topic) an issue or problem at all?
Why did (the topic) develop in the way that it did?

"Paying attention to the wording of your research question can sometimes help you avoid being too specific. Research questions beginning with 'How...' or 'Why...' [and sometimes 'What'] are usually broader and typically lead to more substantial research projects."

(qtd. from Skyline College Library)