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CW102: College Writing & Research

Developing a Research Question

What is a Research Question?

What is a research question?

A research question is an essential tool to help guide your research paper, project, or thesis. It poses a specific question that you are seeking to answer in your paper. Research questions can be broad or narrow, and can change throughout the research process.

A good research question should be:

  • Focused on a single issue
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly in your paper
  • Feasible to answer within the length of your paper
  • Researchable using the resources available to you
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or to society at large

The length of your paper and the research you're able to locate will help to shape your research question. A longer paper, like a thesis or dissertation, may require multiple research questions.

The answer to your research question develops into your thesis statement.

Background Information

Benefits of Background Information

  • Words or phrases that are specific to your topic
  • Major ideas related to your topic
  • Additional readings on your topic
  • Information thats answers basic information on your topic (the who, the what, the where, the when) People places, time periods that are relevant to your topic)