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.

Fiat Lux: How Do I Narrow Topics Into Questions?

This is a copy of a guide created by Lindsay Davis while working at UC Merced. She presented this series at SCIL Works 2019.

Using the 5Ws to Develop a Research Questions

This video illustrates how to take a topic and use the 5Ws to create a more focused research question.  Using the 5Ws to Develop a Research Questions (2:57) – New Literacies Alliance

 

Example

Sleep habits

Who: college students

What: academic success

Most scholarly research examines fairly narrow topics and looks at relationships between concepts. For example, sleep habits is a broad topic, but looking at the relationship between sleep habits and academic success might be a more manageable topic.

My new question might be: "How do sleep habits affect the academic success of college students?"

But how did I get there? I did have to do some pre-research to find an angle, but the W/H method helped me brainstorm possibilities to investigate. After some quick searching, I saw that there were articles related to this topic. I had to try it out before committing to this investigation. I can possibly expand my review to include how to combat poor sleep patterns.

The overall research question serves as my guide.