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Library Resources for Writing Center Tutors: The Research Question

Drafting Your Research Question

Writing your research question is often one of the trickiest parts of writing a research paper, and it is normal to go through several versions of your question before landing on one that is just right.

Here are some tips:

  • Choose a topic you are genuinely interested in and curious about.
  • Focus on something specific about your topic.
  • Try out your research question with some initial research. Then refine or change your question as you learn more about your topic.
  • Consider multiple perspectives and other viewpoints to narrow or broaden your topic.

Is your research question:

  • Focused - Is your research question detailed, narrow, and specific?
    • Try narrowing your topic to a specific population, location, or time period
  • Feasible - Can your question be researched within the timeframe of the assignment and with the resources available to you?
    • Try looking at USU's resources to see what can be researched within your timeframe.
  • Complex - Does your question require analysis and synthesis? If the question can be answered with a yes or no, or possibly a number, then the question is not appropriately complex.
    • Create a question that leaves room for debate and deliberation

Research Question Examples

Unfocused Better
How can sexual health and LGBTQ+ services be improved? How can sexual health clinics in Utah develop their services and communications to be more LGBT-inclusive?

See How to Write a Research Question from George Mason University for more examples of effective research questions.


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