Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Conducting Research for a Paper

Components of a Good Research Question

To guide you in your efforts in conducting academic research, it is important to develop a focused research question.

A focused research question should be:

  • clear: it provides enough specifics that an audience can easily understand its purpose without needing additional explanation.
  • focused: it is narrow enough that it can be answered thoroughly within the limitations stipulated in the assignment (e.g., number of pages).
  • concise: it is expressed in the fewest possible words.
  • complex: it is not answerable with a simple "yes" or "no," but requires an analysis and synthesis of ideas and sources.
  • arguable: its potential answers are open to debate rather than accepted facts.

Research Tip: A research question should reflect the need to include multiple information sources as you report on the results of your academic research.

Application Exercise: Incorporating what you learned from writing an introduction to your topic and the elements of a strong research question, construct a research question for your topic. Retain a copy of the completed exercise for yourself and download a second copy to D2L by [date].

NEED HELP?

Developing a Research Question

Laurier Library. (2017 December 20). How to develop a good research question [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oJNO6PYZe4

Need Help? Ask a Librarian

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
.