Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
COVID-19 Library Dashboard
Get the latest information on the status of library services and space.
 Ask a Question

Writing 10 (Silbaugh): Research Question Scope

Reading & Composition

Topic Selection

Research Interests

Click on the link below to open our Google spreadsheet with your research areas.

WRI 10 Research Areas

Who, What, Where, When

When you have a topic in mind for your research, try applying some of the the 5Ws to create one or more research questions -- especially who, what, where and when.

Sample topic: social networking sites

  • Who is involved?
    • parents, college students, children of immigrants, over-achievers, U.S. adults, baby boomers, Europeans ...
  • What is the topic or topics?
    • social media, privacy, friendship, health, disinformation, voting, ...
  • Where did this happen?  Where is this happening?
    • country, community, homes, jails, California, Asia, college campuses, online ...
  • When did this happen?
    • X century, post 9/11, 1920s, specific day, last 10 years

You may find that you use Why or How to start many of your research question ideas.

Do these research questions address who, what, where and when?  If not, how would you revise it?

  1. How do social media sites like Facebook impact teenagers' friendships with each other?
  2. How did social media impact the outcomes of the Arab Spring Uprising?
  3. How has Facebook been targeted by Russia to spread disinformation to U.S. adults?
  4. Why have social media companies in the United States addressed users' privacy concerns more slowly than social media companies in Europe?