Q. How do I form a research question?

Also, how do I use the research question when writing my essay?


When starting a research essay, you will first need to choose a topic.  It usually works best to start with something broad so you can narrow it down as you find resources.  For help choosing a topic, see this ASK US Q & A.

Next, find some background information.  This will give you some general knowledge on the topic and help you find ways of narrowing your topic. 

Once you have chosen a manageable topic, you may form a research question.  This will help guide the rest of your research.

  • You may have more than one research question, and they may change as you collect your sources and learn more about your topic. 
  • Use the most important words from your research question as keywords. 

Your research question(s) will not appear in your essay, although it may help you write your thesis statement.

Here's an example of how you might use a research question:

  • Broad topic: Medical marijuana
  • Narrower topic: Medicinal benefits of marijuana
  • Research question: What are the medicinal benefits of marijuana?
  • Keywords:  Medical marijuana and benefits
  • Thesis statement: Marijuana has multiple benefits when used for medicinal purposes including pain relief, relief from nausea caused by chemotherapy, and relief from pressure caused by glaucoma.

If you need additional help forming a research question, please contact your Campus Library/ARC.


  • Last Updated Jan 30, 2018
  • Views 2011
  • Answered By Baker Librarians

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