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Research Help Guide: Developing a Research Question

Developing a Research Question (Video)

From Kentucky State University (Closed Captioned)

Getting Research Help

Chat with a Librarian

Book an Appointment

Get lengthier and more specialized research help with our book an appointment service.

Research Skills Tutorial 

Online tutorial on the research process, including how to start your research and how to search and find sources. 

Research and Citation Guides

In-depth guides on research terms and techniques and citation styles. 

Attend a Workshop

Workshops are scheduled throughout the term.

Visit our Research Help Desk

Visit the Research Help Desk on the main floor of the Library for help.

Quick Summary: Your Research Question


1. Examine your course outline and your course readings for a topic

2. Frame your topic as a problem - your research will address this problem

3. This is not your final thesis – you can revise your argument as you research


How to Create a Research Question

At this early stage, you want to develop a question or problem to guide your research, reading and, writing.

It is unnecessary to generate a definitive thesis statement or argument at this point, as your ideas will evolve.!!


Finding Interesting Ideas

  • Review course readings and classroom or tutorial discussions.

  • Skim your notes from course readings and lectures for issues, topics or approaches

  • Examine your course syllabus for course goals and context that may provide some ideas


Driving Questions

  • Develop some driving questions (or problems) to guide your research.

  • Begin by considering course themes or issues relevant to your assignment.

  • Examine these and then pay attention to questions that come to mind.


Example of a Research Question:

In using the topics of poverty and childhood obesity, here are a few driving questions to consider:

  • Are city-run programs successful at reducing the risk of childhood obesity?

  • What is being done at the federal, provincial or city level to reduce childhood obesity?

  • Why is poverty and childhood obesity linked