By the end of this module, you should be able to:
The first step to any research project is to choose a topic. Often you can choose your own topic, however, at times you may be called up to write on a specific topic or to choose from a listing.
Reference tools such as specialized encyclopedias are good starting points to find background information on your topic. Here are some online reference tools that will help you familiarize yourself with your topic.
A research question indicates the direction of your research. It is an open-ended query, not a final claim or conclusion about an idea. The research question guide all subsequent stages of inquiry, analysis, and reporting.
A well-developed research question will lead to an arguable thesis.
Steps to develop a research question:
1. Choose a general topic or primary text that you are interested in (your professor might submit you some topics).
2. Do some preliminary search to gather background information and familiarize yourself with the topic.
3. Start asking you questions like: who? when? why? how? etc.
4. Brainstorm ideas using different methods, such as concept mapping.
5. Make sure that your question is:
Concept mapping allows you to visually depict a system of relationships by creating a map in which nodes represent ideas or facts, and lines or connectors between nodes represent relationships (for example, cause-and-effect relationships, category and subcategory relationships, and so on). (Definition from University of Waterloo)
See the video on the left to learn more about how to create a concept map.
✓ Good research question:
How can the regular practice of a sport improve our mental health?
X Not so good of a research question:
What are the effects of doing sports on our health?
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