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FYW1050 Introduction to College Writing (McDonough) Fall 2018

What is a Research Question?

A research question is a statement that defines what is to be studied. It is the core of the research project, study, or literature review. Your research question focuses the study, determines the methodology, and guides all stages of inquiry, analysis, and reporting.

Example:

Have social media sites led to an increase in bullying among young adults? 

Your Research Question Should...

  • Be narrow (not too broad based) 
  • Identify the problem you're writing about
  • Establish significance 
  • Provide background information to help readers understand and evaluate the problem
  • Lead directly into your hypotheses or thesis

Developing a Research Question (Indiana University)

Thinking of Your Research Question in Terms of Keywords

Pull out the most important aspects of your research question 

  • Who
  • What
  • Where

Use different keywords / synonyms / alternate terms

Brainstorm a list or create a word web

Use a thesaurus to help you think of alternate words

Example:

Have social media sites led to an increase in bullying among young adults? 

  • Social Media
  • Bullying
  • Young Adults

Social Media: social network, social platform

Bullying: tormenting, hectoring, harassing

Young Adults: adolescent, juvenile, teenager, emerging adult