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Writing Research Questions


Writing Research Questions #!


When doing research, it is very important to write very clear research questions.   Here we will step through the process of writing and selecting questions for your project.


What is your research topic?   _____________________________________


Which civilization or civilizations will you cover?  _______________________


Basic short-answer questions:  Who, what, when, and where questions can typically be answered with short answers and are usually not considered research questions.  They are very important to our research, but more for background information for our larger questions.   For example: 


Who invented the Moog Synthesizer? 

What is the Moog Synthesizer? 

When was it developed? 

Where was it developed?

Who uses the Moog Synthesizer?

When is it used?


Activity:  For your chosen research topic, write two of each of these types of questions.


Who questions:



What questions:



When questions:




Where questions:




Research questions deal with big ideas, changes over time, different points of view, ethical issues, etc.  They typically deal with how and why, and combinations of these.  For example:

o   Why was the Moog Synthesizer such a huge success from the very beginning?

o   Why did some musicians refuse to accept this technology?

o   How is it important today?

o   How has synthetic music changed since the first Moog was developed?

o   How did the Moog impact the music industry today?


Some what and where questions deal with big ideas; for example:

o   From where did Moog get his ideas for the development of the synthesizer?

o   What were the major objections voiced about the synthesizer after it was released?


For your chosen topic, write three of each of these types of questions:


Why questions:





How questions:




 Formulating the Research Question:

Read through each question, and sort them by by like topics.  You should have 3-4 clusters of questions.  From the questions in each cluster, combining them into one big picture, open-ended research question; one from each cluster.  From these 3-4 questions (from the 3-4 clusters of questions) select one to serve as your research question. 

From the questions you wrote, select ____ as your research questions. 

The following is an example of the process: