You are going to explore and investigate one of our global climate zones. You may choose one of the following climatic zones:
- Arid/ Desert
Formulating a Research Question
Save yourself search time by broadening or narrowing your searches
Researching can be a lot of fun. A good solid start makes all the differences between a grueling process and exciting interesting searches.
The most important way to make your research fun is to choose the right topic. Choose something you’ll find interesting, something you’ll enjoy.
If a topic makes you want to find out more about it, your research will take on a life of its own, and take you on a ride full of exciting discoveries.
If you’re told to write a paper on biology, choose something that’s fun searching, you might want to look at.
Marine mammals, but no that’s too large a topic, you’ll get so much material it will be really hard to work with so let’s narrow it down.
How about polar bears? Well polar bears still can be a pretty big topic, how about,
The effect on global warming on the life of polar bears. This is a good topic, you’ll get lots of material but not so much you’ll be frustrated.
Choose a Question that is Neither Too Broad or Too Narrow
For example, if you choose juvenile delinquency (a topic that can be researched), you might ask the following questions:
- What is the 1994 rate of juvenile delinquency in the U.S.?
- What can we do to reduce juvenile delinquency in the U.S.?
- Does education play a role in reducing juvenile delinquents' return to crime?
Once you complete your list, review your questions in order to choose a usable one that is neither too broad nor too narrow. In this case, the best research question is "c." Question "a" is too narrow, since it can be answered with a simple statistic. Question "b" is too broad; it implies that the researcher will cover many tactics for reducing juvenile delinquency that could be used throughout the country. Question "c," on the other hand, is focused enough to research in some depth.
Ask the following 8 questions to evaluate the quality of your research question and the ease with which you should be able to answer it:
- Does the question deal with a topic or issue that interests me enough to spark thoughts and increased learning?
- Is the question easily and fully researchable?
- What type of information do I need to answer the research question? e.g., The research question, "What impact have 9/11 regulations had on commercial airline safety?," will obviously require certain types of information:
- statistics on airline crashes before and after
- statistics on other safety problems before and after
- information about security practices before and after
- information about government safety requirements before and after
- Is the scope of this information reasonable e.g. Is there too much or enough information?
- Given the type and scope of the information that I need, is my question too broad, too narrow, or okay?
- What sources will have the type of information that I need to answer the research question (journals, books, Internet resources, government documents, people)?
- Can I access these sources?
- Given my answers to the above questions, do I have a good quality research question that I actually will be able to answer by doing research?
Find out what makes a good research question here.
1. Use keyword searches
2. Use boolean operators in databases, as needed. (And, Or, Not)