How do I develop a research question?
Last Updated: Jul 12, 2018     Views: 2


Developing a good research question will help lead you to a strong thesis and overall paper. Coming up with a research question can take some time as you want to make sure that you understand enough about the overall topic to develop the question. 

Your first step is to do some background research on your topic, start in reference sources then look to books and then finally articles. As you move through each source you will want to take notes and keep a list of possible subtopics/related topics. Once you have built a background knowledge it is time to develop some draft questions. A good tip is to stick to WHY or HOW questions because they tend to require more explanation.

Research questions should be put to the C.A.S.A test, see below

Compelling- is this question something you are interested in? Think about why you are compelled to write about this topic.The more interested in the topic you are, the better your paper will be. 

Answerable- Can you answer the question within the assignment's specifications? (Ex: will it only take 3 pages to answer the question when you have a 7 page assignment) And is there research to support your answer?

Specific- Is your question specific enough that you are not overwhelmed by the number of search results you are getting? (Ex: Why was the Civil War important? You could easily be overwhelmed with the number of books and articles written on this topic. If you are more specific, "How did medicine impact the Civil War"then you can narrow your search by searching for medicine AND Civil War. 

Arguable- Are there multiple possible answers to your question, could someone reasonably disagree with your argument? 

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