Developing Research Questions

Steps for Developing Your Research Questions

  1. Brainstorm. What have you been reading and studying? What prompted you to begin your degree program? List any topics that might interest you.
  2. Meet with your Research Advisor to discuss topics on your list that you think you might want to study.
  3. Once you have come up with a broad area, write down lots of questions about your topic.
  4. Conduct a literature search to see what has already been done to answer your top few questions.
  5. Think about controversies or inconsistencies in what you are reading.
  6. You may find it helpful to write a paragraph or a page raising a question or describing an issue you have identified and trying to propose an answer: this is a first step to generating a hypothesis.
  7. As you start generating possible hypotheses, think about what further data or analysis might help to answer your question. Your Research Advisor can help you determine what kinds of hypotheses are most appropriate for your field.