Focusing your Topic
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Who? What? When? Where? are factual questions that for the most part, are not debatable. Everyone generally agrees with the responses to these questions. Use these questions to gather information about your topic, then ask yourself a why? or how? question. Why? and How? questions are interesting and lead to discussions.
Evaluating a Question
Once you have written your initial question, ask yourself:
- Can the question be answered too easily?
- Questions that can be quickly looked up do not make good research questions
- Could anyone disagree with your research question?
- You want people to disagree with your answer as this leads to discussion
- Is there factual evidence to support your answer?
- Everyone has tastes and opinions, however in academic work you need evidence to support your point. If no evidence exists, consider shifting the focus of your point. Perhaps look at the opposite perspective.
- Are there too many sources that you couldn't look at most of them?
- This might be an indication that your questionis too broad. Consider looking at some of the sources for ways to refine and focus your question.
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