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Spark 1 (Moyes)

Spark Seminar: Archaeology in Popular Culture

Concept Mapping Tool


  • Create your own Mind Map using a topic of your interest. 
  • Take a screen shot or print your final screen (print options found in your browser File menu).
  • I'll ask for a few volunteers to share some of what they came up with.

Developing a Research Question Takes Research

Be curious

The goal of most research papers in college is to seek a possible answer to a particular questions related to a topic. A research question, when not too broad or too narrow, guides the focus of your paper.

Brainstorm & do some pre-research

The research question isn't a question you make up at the top of your head. It's normal to start with a broad topic in mind. After doing some brainstorming about a topic, you will need to do some reading to find an angle to pursue, and, even then, your question may change as you find more information later.

Having trouble coming up with questions around your general topic? Get to know the history and the conversations taking place around your topic by exploring and reading sources that provide background information. See the Background Information tab this guide for recommended databases and resources.

Ask more questions

From your pre-research, think about questions you might be able to ask regarding the topic. Most scholarly research examines fairly narrow topics and looks at relationships between concepts. One way to limit the scope of your topic is to ask who, what, where, when, why, and how questions.

Be flexible

It's okay to continue to tweak your question; the end result should be that you have answered the question you've laid out in the introduction.

Mapping Your Research Question

Use this video to start thinking about topics of interest.  You will be occasionally asked to stop the video to conduct your brainstorming. (UCLA Libraries, 2:52)