Forming Good Questions Why Ask Questions? One of the main points of an exploratory essay is to help you explore a topic. Asking questions makes you seriously consider your research The Research Question When you first begin exploring your topic, formulate a research question for the whole essay. Your research question should Encompass the theme of your whole paper Be what guides you in your research process Formulating the Research Question Your research question should be placed at the end of your intro, after you explain why you are interested in your topic. It should be somewhat broad—just the general question that you seek to answer with your paper, whether with this paper or a subsequent paper. Research Question Examples After learning a little bit about the recent nuclear accident in Japan I wondered, how safe are nuclear plants, and is there a way to make them safer? Since I plan on getting a degree in finance, I wanted to know what careers I can get with this degree and how much they pay. What Kind of Questions? Questions must be: Relevant & Significant Interesting & Specific Problematic Relevant & Significant Questions must be directly related to your research, and help you and your readers to the next point. This article about animals affected by the BP oil spill made me question the biology of those animals. This article about animals affected by the BP oil spill made me wonder: has the oil spill affected the health of humans, too? Interesting & Specific In order to keep your readers’ attention, you must ask interesting questions, questions that they’d want to know the answer to. Research questions also have to be questions that readers probably wouldn’t already know the answer to. Reading the article about child abuse made me wonder if abuse has any affect on people as adults. Reading the article about child abuse made me wonder if abuse has any affect on adults’ decision-making skills and processes. Problematic Your questions must seek to answer something important and problematic to society in some way. The author’s position made me wonder when video games first became popualar. The author’s position made me question why, if violent video games seem to increase violence in children, they are allowed to be sold to children. Questions: Logical Flow Now that you know what kind of questions you should be asking, be careful that your questions flow logically from one source and point to another. Your paper will be much easier to follow, and will keep readers more interested.