Refining your research question from a very broad topic to narrower one can be a challenging process, and sometimes difficult and frustrating.
However, it is a critical process, because a refined research question allows you to explore a narrower topic in much greater depth.
There are several ways to refine a research question:
- Read some information in a reference source or even on Wikipedia to get a sense of the scope of the topic and start identifying areas that you might want to focus on
- Think about readings and class discussions. Do any of these spark a curiosity to explore?
- Then read more contextual information from scholars who have analyzed and interpreted your topic or topic areas. This further can help narrow the scope
- Collect names, dates, places, and events that you can later use as keywords and search terms in your research
- Talk to your group members, Professor Camp, or a research librarian. Sometimes just talking through possibilities leads to very fruitful results
Refining a research question is an ongoing process, which takes time, but you will get to where you want to be!