Formulating the Research Question1 Introduction

You should also share your dissertation research question idea with your dissertation chair or dissertation consultant. Sharing the dissertation research question with others will help you refine it-- others will give you their perspective on the clarity and significance of your dissertation research question. After taking these steps, you should have a version of a dissertation research question you feel comfortable with. The next step will be to refine your dissertation research question so that is clear and strong enough to base an entire dissertation study on.

Start doing bibliographical research and drafting of thesis research question

Create a list of research questions or statements, or require the students to create their own, and use the to record the search strategies that they use for research their topic. By encouraging the students to identify the key concepts of their research question and generate keywords, the students will learn how to use the iterative search strategy used in modern online resources like library databases.


Think of the research question or thesis statement as a compass.

2) Do you have the appropriate skill set and knowledge to address the dissertation research question?

Drafting is one of the last stages in the process of writing a research paper. No drafting should take place without a research question or thesis statement; otherwise, the student will find himself writing without a purpose or direction. Think of the research question or thesis statement as a compass. The research the student has completed is a vast sea of information through which he must navigate; without a compass, the student will be tossed aimlessly about by the waves of sources. In the end, he might discover the Americas (though the journey will be much longer than needed), or—and what is more likely—he will sink.