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 3: Generate Potential Research Questions

Megan's Potential Questions

What is diabetes?

What is the research community doing to prevent or cure diabetes?

Why do African-Americans have a higher risk for diabetes?

Why is diabetes becoming more common in other countries around the world?

When are people most at risk for diabetes?

Where is diabetes most common in the world?

Who is most at risk for developing diabetes?

How can Americans avoid it?

How is diabetes treated and prevented?

How much does diabetes cost Americans each year?

Could Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange have a greater chance of getting diabetes?

Would it be better to find a cure for diabetes or a vaccine?

Should the U.S. invest a lot of money in diabetes research? How much?

Should finding a cure for diabetes be America's number one health priority?

Should people with a history of Type 2 diabetes in their families be required to be tested for it regularly?

After thinking about her readers and about the possible roles she might adopt, Megan decided to adopt the role of a reporter. It most closely fit her purposes—to help her readers understand the causes and symptoms of and treatments for diabetes. Her next step in generating a research question was to start drafting possible research questions. She used the words what, why, when, where, who, and how as starting points for her questions. She also used the words would, should, or could.

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