Step 1: Research Question
Knowing what your topic is, and your specific question related to that topic impacts the entire research process - everything from what resources you need to how you write your paper. So, how do you get started?
1. Make sure you understand your assignment: Your assignment will have guidance such as:
- The scope of your research question: how narrow or broad should your answer be?
- The objective of your research question: are you asked to compare and contrast? Critique? Evaluate?
- The elements of style and format: Does your instructor have a preferred citation style? How long should the paper be? How should it be formatted?
2. Brainstorm key ideas/topics you want to explore: before getting too far into searching for resources, brainstorm themes, ideas, or questions you want to explore.
Key things to know
Video: Understanding Assignment Guidelines
Video: Research Question and Keywords
- If you’re having trouble narrowing in on a specific enough question, try moving onto Step 2 and, once you understand the topic a bit more, revisit Step 1.
- Don't feel pressured to stick with the first idea you start researching. Often, your research idea changes over time as you learn more about your topic.