Answered By: Research Librarian
Last Updated: Aug 24, 2018     Views: 20

Strategies for Generating a Research Question

Create a Concept Map 

A concept map consists of aspects and angles of your topic and helps you organize your research. Think about what questions you have or that currently exist about your topic. For example, when researching the local food culture, you could ask:

  • Why are people vegetarians in the United States?
  • What specific food items are vegetarians more or less likely to buy?
  • When did vegetarianism become popular in the United States? 
  • Where is there large populations of vegetarian people in the United States? 
  • Who else is affected in communities with large vegetarian populations? 

Thinking about the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where, and why – can help you brainstorm different ways to narrow your question. These questions are important because they cannot have a simple "yes" or "no" answer. Notice if you use general words in a brainstorm and try to make your words more specific. For example, if you think about "when," are you brainstorming about the past, the present, or the future?

The video below by Appalachian State University shows shows how to create and use a concept map to develop your research.