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FYW 100 - Introduction to Academic Writing / Johnson, Bruce


Developing a Research Question

What is a research question?

A research question is a clear, focused, concise, complex and arguable question around which you center your research.

A research question:

  • Asks a question
  • Is "researchable"- information is available that will help provide an answer
  • Is clear, straightforward & comprehensible
  • Identifies an important confusion or ambiguity in a problem
  • Points to an incompleteness or inaccuracy in an accepted explanation
  • Highlights some sort of inconsistency in an accepted position or view
  • Has a narrow focus area- not too broad of a topic
  • Is controversial- tension and uncertainty about the answer
  • Calls assumptions into question
  • Answer is not immediately obvious
  • Could be more than one answer or solution
  • Realigns accepted notions - forces different view of issue