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HNRS 1500: Introduction to Research: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

How Do I Create a Research Question?

Are you looking for answers? Your research becomes much easier when you know the question.

Start by writing out your topic as a question.You often have to write out your question many times from different perspectives before you can settle on what it is you want to research. Having trouble forming your topic into a question? Fill in the blanks of the following sentence to help you discover your question:

A) I am studying …____________________________________________

(B) in order to find out … _______________________________________

(C) in order to help my reader understand … ________________________

(D) Research Question: … ______________________________________

Adapted from Create Research Questions Worksheet PDF:

Cycles of Research Question Development

O'Leary, Z. (2004) The Essential Guide to Doing Research. London: Sage. Page 36.


(A) I am studying... (state what your broad topic is)
EXAMPLE: fracking

(B) in order to find out... (use standard journalistic questions: who, what, where, when, but focus on why and how)
EXAMPLE: what are the consequences of fracking

(C) in order to help my reader understand... (motivate your question, why does your reader need to know this)
EXAMPLE: how fracking impacts our environment

(D) Research Question: (use the ideas in A-C to form a research question)
EXAMPLE: Does fracking contaminate water resources?

Other Resources on Choosing a Research Question

You may want to consult these resources to learn more about how to choose your research question:

Additional Links