Contents

Introduction

Definition

Developing a Question

Step 1. Consider Your Readers

Step 2. Select a Role

Step 3. Generate Questions

Step 4. Select a Question

Step 5. Refine by Narrowing

Step 6. Refine by Searching

 

How to Develop a Research Question : A Research Guide by Mike Palmquist

Step 1: Consider Your Readers

Megan's Brainstorming

Why will my readers care about this issue?

My readers will care about this issue because many people know someone who has diabetes, and most people have at least heard of the disease. It's a leading cause of heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness.

What will my readers want or need to know about this issue?

I think a lot of my readers will be interested to know that they can do a lot to prevent themselves from getting Type 2 diabetes. Also, there is a difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Most diabetics are Type 2 diabetics, which means that they can often control their diabetes with diet and exercise, whereas Type 1 diabetes is very different. I think that they would like to know the symptoms of diabetes, the ways to control it, why some diabetics take shots, and whether there is a cure in sight. What effects does the disease have on the economy? Why are so many people getting the disease now?

What do my readers already know about this issue?

Most people know somebody with diabetes. They know it has something to do with shots and insulin, and they think diabetics can't eat sugar.

What do I want my readers to learn about the issue?

I want my readers to know there is a difference between the two types of diabetes, and the symptoms, treatment, and complications of the disease. I'd also like them to know why the disease is becoming an epidemic in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.

If I am trying to persuade them of something, how easily will they be persuaded?

I think that if I can write my paper so that they understand they have some control over whether they will end up with Type 2 diabetes, they would be somewhat easily persuaded to take care of themselves. If Iím trying to have them donate money or time to the diabetes association, I have to make sure they understand why itís such a scary disease and how close researchers are to a cure.

What will my readers use my writing for?

I think most of my readers will use this paper as a source of information.

Megan used brainstorming to began to consider what her readers wanted or needed to know about diabetes. She asked herself a series of questions and recorded her responses.

Try brainstorming a response to the following questions, as the example on the right shows. While freewriting your answers to the following questions, keep the needs and interests of your readers in mind:

  • Why will my readers care about this issue?
  • What will my readers want or need to know about this issue?
  • What do my readers already know about this issue?
  • What do I want my readers to learn about the issue?
  • If I am trying to persuade my readers of something, how easily will they be persuaded?
  • What will my readers use my writing for?

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