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Graduate Student Research Guide

Appropriate for all SNHU graduate students or individuals conducting research for graduate or scholarly papers with Shapiro Library resources.

What is a Research Question?


A research question is the question that is answered by your research. So when you are developing one, you want to ask yourself: What do you want to know about a topic? When doing research, you want to address your topic as a question for which there are no immediate answers. For example:

Topic - video games and violence

Research Question - Does playing violent video games lead to juvenile violence?

Developing a Research Question


What do you want to know about a topic? When doing research, you want to address your topic as a question for which there are no immediate answers. For example:

If your topic is texting and driving, your research question might be: Does texting while driving cause car accidents?

Try these steps to formulate a research question:

  1. Start with your topic. For example, texting and driving.
  2. Focus your topic. For example, ask yourself who, what, when, where, and why about your topic?
  3. Formulate a question to ask about your topic. For example, how many car accidents are caused by drivers who are texting?
  4. Narrow your question further if possible. For example, how many car accidents are caused in the US per year by drivers who are texting?