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Research Tips and Tools: Forming a research question

Use this guide to help you get started on your research

Turning a topic into a question

Forming a research question

Now that you have had a chance to explore your topic and get background information, it is time to start your research, right?  Well, not quite.  Often, before  you get started, it is a good idea to form a research question before you start searching for articles or books on your topic.  By forming a research question, your research will be more focused, will have more depth, and will have room to grow and change.

When you are turning your topic into a question, there are several things to consider.  Taking these things into consideration will help you focus your research. 

  • Example: Topic = Education for people with dyslexia
  • Consider = Time, place, population, and/or point of view

  • Time:  Is education for people with dyslexia better now than it was 25 years ago?  What current trends are there in dyslexia education?
  • Place:  What are the differences in education for dyslexia in the United States and China?  Do private schools offer better education for dyslexic students?
  • Population:  How is treatment for childhood dyslexia different than in adults?  
  • Viewpoint: What social problems do individuals with dyslexia face? 

Think of your research question as a steering wheel, but don't worry if you have to take a detour!  Remember, research is not a straight line.

Want to know more about developing a research topic?  Scroll down and watch the video!

Video: Developing a topic

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