Worksheet: Evaluate Your Own Research Question

Ask the following 8 questions to evaluate the quality of your research question and the ease with which you should be able to answer it:

  1. Does the question deal with a topic or issue that interests me enough to spark my own thoughts and opinions?
  2. Is the question easily and fully researchable?
  3. What type of information do I need to answer the research question? E.g., The research question, "What impact has deregulation had on commercial airline safety?," will obviously require certain types of information:
    • statistics on airline crashes before and after
    • statistics on other safety problems before and after
    • information about maintenance practices before and after
    • information about government safety requirements before and after
  4. Is the scope of this information reasonable (e.g., can I really research 30 online writing programs developed over a span of 10 years?)
  5. Given the type and scope of the information that I need, is my question too broad, too narrow, or okay?
  6. What sources will have the type of information that I need to answer the research question (journals, books, Internet resources, government documents, people)?
  7. Can I access these sources?
  8. Given my answers to the above questions, do I have a good quality research question that I actually will be able to answer by doing research?

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