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.

AMST-223 The Prison and the Public Humanities (Camp)

Fall 2021

Refining your research question

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!