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FSEM 115: Active Forgetting (Kaplan)

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Your Research Question

What is a research question?

A research question is the question around which you center your research.
It should be:
  • clear: it provides enough specifics without needing additional explanation.
  • focused: it is narrow enough that it can be answered thoroughly in the space allowed.
  • complex: it is not answerable with a simple “yes” or “no,” but rather requires synthesis and analysis of ideas and sources.
  • arguable: its potential answers are open to debate rather than accepted facts.
Steps to developing a research question:
  1. Make sure you are clear on the parameters of your paper. How long is your paper? How much time do you have to devote to your project? What types of sources will you be using? What type of evidence will you need to provide?
  2. Choose a topic you are truly curious about exploring in depth.
  3. Do some preliminary research on your topic. What has already been done? What are scholars in your area discussing? 
  4. Ask open-ended questions about your general topic using "how" and "why" statements. 
  5. Evaluate your question. Is it clear?  Is it focused? Will it require research and analysis in order to answer?
  6. Begin your research. What sources will you consult? What keywords will contribute to an effective search strategy?
  7. Refine your question as you continue your research.

Making Appointments

Did you know you can reserve time with one of our research and instruction librarians so they can assist you with your project?

Go to the Research Appointments page to select a date and time for your individualized session.

Research Contact

Jennifer Nace's picture
Jennifer Nace