Skip to Main Content

Research Guide

Developing Research Questions

Once you have selected an initial topic, the next step is to develop research questions. To begin:

  • Write down what you already know or don't know about the topic.
  • Using the information you wrote down, develop questions you'd like to answer when doing your research.
    • Use probing questions such as why? how? what if? should?
    • Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no. 

An example is provided below.

Example: Francis Asbury

What do or don't I know about Francis Asbury?

I know he was ordained by Thomas Coke to preach in the United States. I know he was a Methodist who was very instrumental in the development of Methodism in the United States. I know he was a circuit rider. I know he was in the United States during the American Revolution. I don't know where or when he was born. I don't know how he became a Methodist. I don't know who influenced him other than John Wesley. I don't know how or when he died. I don't know how his theology differed from that of John Wesley. I don't know Francis Asbury's role with regard to the American Revolution.

Research Questions

  • What setting did Francis Asbury grow up in?
  • When and why did Asbury come to the United States?
  • How did Asbury influence events in early American Methodism?
  • Where did Asbury travel in the United States?
  • How did other major theologians of Asbury's day affect his theology?
  • What stance did Asbury take during the American Revolution?