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Develop Research Questions

Describes the importance of creating questions to guide research, provides insight on how to develop these questions, and includes many examples.

Meet the Librarian

Kathleen Ennis's picture
Kathleen Ennis
L&LC #119 (East Campus)

Liaison Area: Arts, Humanities, & Communication

Research Help Desk hours:

Mondays 9am-12pm East

Tuesdays 9am -1pm West

Wednesdays 11am-12pm East

Thursdays 3pm-4:40pm East

Fridays 10am-3pm (9/13, 10/25, 11/1, 12/6)

The Research Mindset: Research as Inquiry

"Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field."      
 --ACRL, Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Research is all about exploration. Sometimes we are exploring ideas, sometimes we are exploring current issues, sometimes we are exploring the lives of people or the repercussions of events.  Asking questions is the key to this exploration.



We live in an information-rich society and enjoy technology that allows us to access this information quickly and efficiently. This widespread availability of information is a real boon when we are looking to answer quick questions such the starting time for a film, weather forecasts, or the lyrics to a favorite song. But, when we are conducting academic research, this availability of information can quickly lead to information overload.

Think of research questions as a grocery list designed to guide you through a huge “storehouse” of information.  This list will provide you a great place to get started with your research, and allow you to efficiently locate and retrieve the most relevant knowledge possible to support your thesis. A list of questions can help prevent you from getting off track as you sift through large quantities of information, and even help keep you organized as you begin writing. Your list of questions may change and/or expand as your research progresses.