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Choosing a Topic Module: Research Problem to Research Question

11. Moving from a Topic to a Research Question

A research question is a simple and effective way of communicating your research problem. Framing the research problem in the form of a question also encourages the researcher to continue exploring instead of rushing to a conclusion. 

For example:

Topic: Campus sexual assault

Research Problem: Lack of bystander intervention

Research Question: How does bystander intervention training effect rates of campus sexual assault?

You will likely need to ask yourself sub-questions in order to answer your main question. See the example above; how do we know the prevalence of, or lack of, bystander intervention? What forms of bystander training are there? How do campuses track sexual assault? Concept mapping can be useful here as well, to keep track of the different areas your sub-questions lead to. 

It's ok if you do not have a question in mind yet--defining a research question actually requires a lot of research. But let's address what to avoid when creating research questions, so you can start off in the right direction.

12. Weak Research Questions: Three Types to Avoid

These criteria are based on William Badke's work, Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through The Information Fog (2014) 

13. Note: Refining a Research Question

14. Checking In

Refer to the terms you used to search in ProQuest Central. Can you quantify each term, or do you have any terms that need to be broken down into more concrete concepts? How did quantifying your concepts change how you think about your research topic?