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5.2: Developing questions about your topic

  • Page ID
    65088
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    Ask yourself, "What are some of the attributes or aspects of my topic that interest me and will hold my curiosity?” Take your topic and ask it from the perspective of every kind of class you have ever seen in a school’s schedule: Ask a historical question, an economic question, a science (biology or other), a global question, a sociological question, a political question, an environmental question, a literature question, an artistic question and so on.

    Let’s say you want to do a paper on why the craft beer industry has taken off in San Diego, California.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\)
    Type of question Examples
    Historical What is the brewing history in San Diego? What was the drinking culture in San Diego like during prohibition?
    Economic Did the development of so many breweries displace other industries? Did it help other associated industries such as bottle manufacturing or hospitality/restaurants? Does the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau have statements about craft breweries?
    Global How does the experience in San Diego compare to other cities in the world that have an abundance of micro-breweries?
    Anthropological What cultural aspects grew with the micro-breweries? What are the demographics of people involved in the business and social side of microbreweries?
    Governmental What regulations help or hinder the development and growth of this industry?
    Sociological What regulations help or hinder the development and growth of this industry?
    Technological What regulations help or hinder the development and growth of this industry?
    Chemical What regulations help or hinder the development and growth of this industry?
    Sustainability/ Environmental What regulations help or hinder the development and growth of this industry?

    That is probably enough examples to give you the idea. Develop questions in the areas that are of interest to you and will hold your curiosity and, of course, will fulfill your paper/project’s guidelines. Include them in your research notes. In developing these questions you may discover that one of your questions is actually of more interest to you than your original idea. For example, maybe you change your topic to an environmental question: “Where does the craft beer industry get their ingredients and what kind of carbon footprint is being created?” It is fine to change or fine tune your topic early in the process. Start the research process as soon as you get your assignment so you have time to do just that.


    5.2: Developing questions about your topic is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Carol M. Withers with Bruce Johnson & Nathan Martin.

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