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Go Research! Tutorial: Developing a Research Question

URL: http://libguides.cmich.edu/goresearch

Concept Mapping

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Writing a Research Question or Problem Statement

A good research question is manageable in scope - not too broad, but not too narrow.  It is often helpful to start with a broad idea, then narrow your focus by brainstorming related ideas.  As you brainstorm your topic, you may find it useful to document your ideas using a concept map.  Be sure to expand your literature search to include any new concepts you may identify along the way.

Your research question should be clear, focused, and complex enough to allow for adequate research and analysis.  Most importantly, your research question should be interesting to you - you'll be spending a great deal of time with your topic so you should be eager to learn more about it!

A good research question or problem statement:

  • Comes from a broad subject area that interests you
  • Is narrow enough to allow you to become a "local expert"
  • Is related to ideas that other researchers are interested in
  • Has available information resources

Also remember - your research question or problem statement should:

  • Interest the reader
  • Describe exactly what you intend to show
  • Explain why your problem is worth addressing

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