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Already have your research question?
When doing research for courses at Brown, you might be asked to "choose a topic" for an assignment. While being so open-ended can be freeing for some, it can be anxiety provoking for others. When you are starting on a new project ask yourself: What is a topic I care about?
We can take your curiosity and translate it into a research question.
Research questions in different fields, like physics, sociology, or theater, might seem like they are radically different from one another, but they share some basic elements.
Research questions are:
"Scaled" or "scoped" to be answerable within your time frame
Framed in a context, discipline, and/or rationale
Topic: I'm interested in learning more about industrial pollution because I'm concerned about pollution and climate change.
Research Question: What are the concentrations of heavy metals in the drinking water in riverways surrounding recently closed coal-fired power plants in New England?
Topic: I'm interested in queer history in the Middle East.
Research Question: What is the history of sexual reassignment in Morocco during the French Mandate?
Topic: I'm interested in censorship and democracy, especially examples of censorship in pop culture.
Research Question: What were the music censorship policies in Franco's Spain, and how did the transition to democracy affect the policies and practices of censorship?
Find a news article you read recently that left you excited to learn more. The subject doesn’t matter; it could be about athletics, the outdoors, gaming, government, cooking, robotics, music, you name it — as long as it's something that piqued your interest!
Pick a research field that you are interested in. Browse Brown Academic Departments if you need ideas.
Write three research questions that someone in that field might ask about this topic.
What more do you need to know?
Practice developing and scoping research questions with one of the following activities:
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