Developing a Research Question

Essentially, a research paper is an argument supported by evidence. As you begin your research, you want to think of a broad question that will encourage you to think deeply about your topic.

  1. Use the Blooms Taxonomy to help you create a broad question. Depending on your specific assignment, focus on the key words, actions, and questions stems from Analysis (green), Synthesis (purple), and Evaluation (blue) to create your broad research question.
  2. Begin your research using short reference articles from encyclopedias and databases to learn background information.
  3. As you continue researching, narrow your broad question into a more refined question by fine-tuning your question with one (or more) of the following question stems: Who? To What Extent? When? Where?
  4. Make sure you can find reliable sources to support your research. Use the databases and scholarly websites. If you can not find these sources, you will need to rewrite/rephrase your question. Remember, completed essays should show evidence of: critical thinking, evidence gathering, and synthesis of ideas from a variety of sources

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The example below illustrates how to narrow your topic from a broad question into a strong research question. If you need help or have a question, please see Ms. Glassman or Ms. Lively in the library.

Narrowing Your Research Topic