Skip to main content

Another Way to Create Research Questions

Research Questions #2

Forming Meaningful Research Questions


  1. You have chosen a research topic in Ancient History.  Record it here:


__________________________                                                           __________________________

Topic                                                                                                                     Civilization


2. Getting to know your topic:  Brainstorm what you know about the following in relation to your topic.  Look in a few books for ideas. 



Places important to my topic


Things or artifacts important to my topic


People important to my topic


Events important to my topic

















The above terms will help you when you search for information in an index or through a web browser.




3. Writing research questions:  It is very important to use one or several well-written questions to guide your research.  These should be open-ended essential questions or big idea questions: 


how?                   why?


Questions starting with who, what, when, and where are important to support answers to your essential questions, but they are not research questions by themselves.


Here are some ways that good research questions might begin:

·         How did people [do something]... ?

·         Why did [something] happen... and what impact did it have…?

  • Why did [someone] build [something]…?
  • How did [something] …?
  • How were [something] and [something] similar and how did they differ…?


If you use ‘who’ or ‘what’ questions, you must combine them with other thinking skills:


  • Who was more influential in [something] and why…?

·         What is the relationship between [something and something]...?

·         What points of view were held by [someone] regarding [something]…?

Now, write your own research questions.  Write several, combining why and how with who, what, when, where.  As you write them, you will see many different ways to approach your topic.  Restate them until you have something that is challenging and can be accomplished in the time given and with the resources available to you.


Write a How question:





Write a Why question: