Skip to main content
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

How to Research: Form a Research Question

Just getting started on a research paper or project? Don't know where to start? This is the guide for you!

Form a Research Question

Once you have narrowed your topic, it can be useful to write out your topic as a question.

Each time you find a new source of information, ask yourself: "Does this help me answer my question?" 

Write A Research Statement or Thesis Statement

What is the main point you want to make about your topic, in one or two sentences?

For the topic of marketing to children, start by phrasing your topic as a research question:

How and why do fast food restaurants market their food to children?

Your research question might then lead to a thesis statement (or research statement) such as:

It is unethical for fast food restaurants to use incentives such as toys and persuasive cartoon characters to encourage children to eat unhealthy food.

Your research question or thesis statement will help you decide on a direction for your research. 

As you progress through the process of finding information, you may find your question or thesis statement needs to be revised to accommodate new information or a different angle on your topic.

Evaluating a "Working Thesis"

Three questions to ask about your thesis statement:

  1. "Does the thesis define a specific topic?
  2. Does the thesis make a strong point about the topic?
  3. Does the thesis provide a blueprint for the paper's development?"

From Hult, C. A. (2003). The new century handbook. Toronto,ON: Longman. p. 50.