EMPOWER - Choosing Your Topic: Page 7 of 13

Direction for Research

girl writing However, you’re still not really done defining your topic. Before you begin research, you should formulate a research question.
Many students struggle with this, because they don't understand the difference between a research question, topic, and a thesis statement.

A research question seeks an answer. It directs your research, because you'll spend your time working with sources that will help you answer the question(s) you've posed that will direct your thesis statement.

A topic is the main concept behind the research question and thesis statement.

A thesis statement is the answer to the question your paper explores. (More about thesis statements in a few more pages.)

A good research question...
Can be studied in depth in the space required in the paper (or the length limitations of an oral presentation).
Demands research and analysis of the topic
Provides reasonable hope that enough information is available to answer the question