As part of your research plan, you must first draft a research question for your research paper that will guide the rest of your writing. A research question, which is more specific and focused than a general topic, is the question that your research paper will be answering.
For example, if your general area of interest is social security, a possible research question might ask, “How can low-income families save more money if the United States had a reformed social security plan that includes personal retirement accounts?”
As you develop a research question, keep in mind that you will need to research sources to support your topic. Do not pick a one-sided question that will limit your research. Instead, develop a research question that lends itself to further exploration and debate—a question you genuinely want to know the answer to.
Try to pick a research question that is neither too broad (covering too much) or too narrow (covering too little). It should be broad enough to be discussed in a short research paper.
Part 1: Complete the Research Plan
|What is your general topic or area of interest? |The impact of media on youth violence. | | | | | | | |What is it about your general topic of interest that interests |I have three young daughters. Two are in elementary school. The thought | |you? |of the school violence that has happened in recent years scares me. | | | | |What questions do you have about the topic that you would like to|Has this kind of violence always happened or is it just because of media | |investigate? List them. |we hear more about it now? | | |Do the media share too much information that gives youth these crazy | | |ideas to carry out? | | |Is it too easy for youth to have access to the media stories? | |Would any of the questions you listed make a good subject for a |Yes, I would like to know if these acts of violence have always taken | |research paper? Pick or adapt one question and make it into a |place. I would like to find out if these acts are more common now or are | |research question. |the stories just known by more people because of mass media. | |Why do you think this research question will be appropriate for a|It is a relevant topic that interests me with plenty of information | |research paper? |available to research. | |How is your research question significant or relevant to a wider |I think that this topic would be significant and relevant to any parent | |community? |of young children. I would think that any parent would want to know how | | |or if the media impacts youth violence. | | | | | | | |What background information provides the preliminary grounds for |The December, 2012 Connecticut shootings and other school shootings in | |your research? |the past. | | | | | | | |What are some expert or authoritative sources of information on |Interviews. | |this research question? | | | | | |What type of materials will you need to review for your research |A time management plan, reliable internet searches, books, magazines, old| |paper? |news papers. | | | | | | | |What procedures will you follow to conduct your research? |Make a schedule and plan accordingly. Using checklists and giving myself | | |deadlines to accomplish tasks. Giving myself smaller assignments over a | | |period of time will help me avoid the anxiety of one large assignment. | | | | | | | |What difficulties do you anticipate in conducting your research? |Staying on task and organizing my information. | | | | | | |
Part 2: Summarize Your Research Plan
Write a 250- to 300-word paragraph that includes the following:
a. The topic you have chosen for your final project
b. What you hope to learn from your research
c. What aspect of your topic you plan to focus on in your research and writing
The topic that I have chosen for my final project is the impact of media on youth violence. I am interested to learn how the media impacts youth violence. I have three young daughters, two are in elementary school, and it worries me to think about the violence we see in society today. Whether the violence is taking place at a friend’s house or in school. What I want to learn from my research is whether or not the media is causing these acts of violence to happen more often. I often wonder if it just seems that way because we hear about youth violence so much more now because of mass media. All of the changes in media over the years have been so extreme. Instead of waiting to hear about a news story in the newspaper a couple days later, now a story can be shared instantly. The topic I plan to focus on in my research and writing is the media. The media has changed so much over the years and has such an impact on people. People can access news stories at the touch of a finger thanks to smart phones and tablets. Internet stories spread so fast and so many people have access to them. That is why I wonder if these youth violence acts have always taken place and were just less talked about, or if they are more common because of the attention the media bring to the people that act out the violent plans.