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Writing 10 (Ayik): Developing Successful Research Questions

College Reading & Composition

What Makes a Good Research Topic Handout

Part of being a researcher is identifying a research question.  One of your goals will be to articulate a research question that is an appropriate scope (not too broad or narrow), is arguable (not a yes / no question), and that has social significance (stands up under the who cares question). 

The following handout includes research questions for discussion.

Keys for Writers - Additional Resource

Keys for Writers (Raimes and Miller-Cochran) include useful information to consider as you form an arguable claim (thesis).  Avoid the following since they are not debatable. 

  • "a neutral statement, which gives no hint of the writer's position"
  • "an announcement of the paper's broad subject"
  • "a fact, which is not arguable"
  • "a truism (statement that is obviously true)"
  • "a personal or religious conviction that cannot be logically debated"
  • "an opinion based only on your feelings"
  • "a sweeping generalization" (Section 4C, pg. 52)

The book also provides examples and key points (pg. 53) for a good working thesis.


Topic Selection (NCSU Libraries)