STEP 1: Write down your broad topic idea.

STEP 2: Try some preliminary searches on your topic. Search the web, databases, maybe even Amazon for recently published books on your topic.

STEP 3: What are some issues or trends regarding your topic that you notice in your searches?

Concept 1: __________________________________________________________

Concept 2: __________________________________________________________

Concept 3: __________________________________________________________

Some research question starters that may be helpful to you:


  • What causes _______________________________ ?
  • What are the effects of _______________________________ ?


  • Why should we adopt ______________ as a solution to _______________ ?
  • What is the best solution to __________________ ?


  • What should be done about ______________________________ ?
  • How can we find common ground about _________________________ ?
Questions by Discipline
Humanities Interpretive questions about literature, music, and the arts How are women portrayed in Shakespeare? How has rap music had an influence on social protest movements?
Social Sciences Questions about factors that affect human behavior, including “how” and “why” questions How is targeted advertising negatively affecting social media users? How do socioeconomic factors affect obesity rates?
Sciences “How” and “why” questions about the natural world, including both the environment and living beings What are the preventable causes of climate change? What are the effects of competitive sports on teenage girls?