It's also useful to think about the other questions I might have to address to help me answer the main question. Here are some examples. Notice that I probably came across some of this information while doing my preliminary research. These questions can also help me create a rough outline.
My job is now to find answers to these questions, all of which might require me to do a variety of different searches using different tools. These questions may also help inform my primary research. Maybe I can interview or survey Spanish-speaking parents.
It's very common to select a topic or formulate a question that starts out too broadly. When the scope of your topic is too big, it's hard to dig through the huge volume of information available to find something relevant. It's also hard to write a paper with any depth.
Most scholarly research examines fairly narrow topics and looks at relationships between concepts. For example, education is a pretty broad topic, but looking at the impact of parental involvement in children's education might be a more manageable topic.
One strategy you can use to help you narrow a topic is to ask some W/H questions of your broad topic and combine a few concepts together. Let's use parental involvement as an example:
By combining a few concepts, I now have a more narrow research question.
Example: How does language affect parental involvement in children's education?
In my preliminary research, I discovered that that parental involvement is important for student achievement. I also discovered, that in addition to other related factors, there is a relationship between language use and parental involvement in schools. It's only by doing this preliminary research that I can consider taking a position. In my paper, I might try to argue that since parental involvement has a positive correlation with student success, schools should [???] to help increase Spanish-speaking parent involvement in children's education.
Scholarly journal article title: School Readiness of Children of Immigrants: Does Parental Involvement Play a Role? (2008)
Does your current question reflect relationships between concepts? Look at your question in the spreadsheet. You don't need every concept filled out, and you can have more than one in each category, but it can be helpful to bring some of these concepts into view.