Finding your research topic and designing your research questions

First, ask yourself the following:

What am I interested in? (what have I done/read/watched/listened to recently?)
What issues do I care about? (what upsets/preoccupies/angers me and why?)
What do I want to know? (what real-world needs can I identify?)
(In big writing) What do I want to change?

BUT: you need to make sure your specific topic hasn’t been researched before – so read, read, read

And remember: if our knowledge of the world is one giant jigsaw puzzle, research will usually only contribute one piece.

Research questions should be: clear (easy to understand); focused (targeting specific things you want to know); complex (not yes/no or obvious answers); ethical (should you really be asking this?); feasible (can this actually be answered?); useful (do we need to know this?)

Hint: useful research often involves partnerships with frontline groups.

Think about: contexts, relationships, experiences, consequences, complexities, changes, contradictions. Free-associate before you narrow it down. Don’t make assumptions or just seek to prove what you think you already know (e.g. ‘why are methods lectures so boring?’)

Good starting words – how and why. Not-so-good starting words – who, when, where, what.

Ask yourself: SO WHAT? Actual research finding: people wear more layers of clothing when it’s cold. Actual research finding: employees hate meetings (so what?)

How do you develop good research questions? READING and PAYING ATTENTION.

Your research questions might change during your project, which is absolutely fine.