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THR 2520 Theatre History I (Sills) Fall 2023

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.

Your research question should...

  • Be focused 
  • Identify the problem you're writing about
  • Establish significance 

Once you have a basic understanding of your topic and the issues surrounding it, narrow your research question by asking the following questions:

WHO? - Are you interested in a specific group of people? Can you narrow your focus to a group or demographic, such as age, gender, ethnicity, location, or socioeconomic status?
WHAT? - What are current issues around this topic? Is there anything in the news about it?
WHEN? - Is your topic current or historical? Did it happen during a specific time period? Are there any important events surrounding your topic? 
WHERE? - Can your topic focus on a specific location? Where, geographically, might this topic be significant?
WHY? - Why is this topic important? Why should others be interested?

Remember: It's okay for your research question to change over time as you find more information about your topic, or take out ideas that don't work.

Example: How do age, social position, and race impact the relationship between Othello and Desdemona? 

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