Writing@CSU Guide

Developing a Research Question

Midway through a semester is no time to discover that your research topic is too broad or too narrow, or that your available sources are too skimpy or too difficult to locate. A preliminary search of your broad category will provide an overview from which to begin narrowing your topic.

The process will help you identify aspects that trigger your curiosity, establish some boundaries with which to limit your inquiry and lead you to some manageable research questions. Before selecting a topic for your research project you'll want to consider its scope: you'll want to narrow it from a broad category to a specific inquiry with some well defined boundaries.

Once you've narrowed your research topic, you can begin shaping your question. Keep in mind that your question should be debatable and interesting.

If you begin with a broad, general interest in social problems in large cities, for instance, you might ask more specifically: "What happens to teenage runaways on the streets of Manhattan?"

Or, if you started with a general interest in contemporary architecture, a specific question might be: " Who in America today is good at designing sports arenas?"

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