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Research Guide: 3. Research Question

Research method. Follow in order for assistance through the research process.

Form a Research Question

After you select your topic the next step is to develop a research question.  This is a question that you will answer through your research and in your project, presentation, or paper.  Go through the following steps to help formulate your research question:

  1. Write down what you know and what you do not know about the topic
  2. Write down the who (person), what (event), when (time), and where (place) in regards to the topic
  3. Format your question.  The question should be a probing question and start with what, how, does, are, is, etc.
  4. Avoid yes or no questions
  5. Your question should not leave open questions of who, what, when or where.

Below are examples of research questions.  Please look at them for reference when formulating your own question. 

Narrow Down Your Topic: Example #1

 

  Research Question: Are children who play video games more likely to be violent?

LMU. William H. Hannon Library. Los Angeles, CA. http://libguides.lmu.edu/ENGL110

Example Question #2


Research Question: How does divorce influence children's social development?

LMU. William H. Hannon Library. Los Angeles, CA. http://libguides.lmu.edu/ENGL110

Example Question #3

Research Question: What is the environmental impact of the disposal of plastic water bottles?

LMU. William H. Hannon Library. Los Angeles, CA. http://libguides.lmu.edu/ENGL110

Example Question #4


Research Question: How good of a predictor is standardized testing for college academic success?

 

LMU. William H. Hannon Library. Los Angeles, CA. http://libguides.lmu.edu/ENGL110

Example Question #5


Research Question: Does drinking alcohol in college impact a student's GPA?

 

LMU. William H. Hannon Library. Los Angeles, CA. http://libguides.lmu.edu/ENGL110

Example Question #6


Research Question: Do first-born children end up more financially successful?

 

LMU. William H. Hannon Library. Los Angeles, CA. http://libguides.lmu.edu/ENGL110

Forming a Research Question

 

 

LMU. William H. Hannon Library. Los Angeles, CA. http://libguides.lmu.edu/ENGL110

Tip!

Avoid your topic and research question being too narrow. 

Sometimes when you start working to narrow your topic down to be more specific your topic ends up too narrow.  The best way to determine whether your topic is too narrow (or too broad) is if you are getting too few (too many) results in your research.  In general you should be able to find sources easily on a topic that pertain to specific segments in your research question. 

If you have further questions or concerns refer to the "Too Narrow?" or "Too Broad?" pages, or ask your instructor or a librarian.