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Critical Race and Legal Theory

Drafting the Research Question

Select Research Questions

A research question is a precisely stated question that guides the review.

Steps to Developing a Research Question:

  • Choose an interesting general topic.

"Religious symbols/clothing and human rights"
"Somali pirates and international law"

  • Do some preliminary research.

What has been written on this area?
Are there any questions raised? 
Are there areas that are unexplored?

  • Consider your audience.

Who is the audience? 
Would this audience be interested in this question?

  • Start asking questions.

How and Why?
"How does the Charter protect the use of religious symbols?"
"Why has there been such difficulty prosecuting Somali pirates?"

  • Evaluate your question.

Is your question clear?
Is your question focused?
Is your research question complex enough?

  • Hypothesize.

Where do you think your research will take you?
What kind of argument are you hoping to make/support?
What if your research disputes your planned argument?

Adapted From "How to Write a Research Question?" by George Mason University