What Makes A Good Question For A Research Essay

What Makes A Good Question For A Research Essay-21
If nothing else, begin with the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a wonderful but sadly neglected resource.Read a few books or articles on topics you find of interest.Why did the Labour Party win the last British general election?

There are, however, gradations of primary evidence.

The best sources are those in original languages that are linked to persons directly involved in the event or development that you are researching.

In your research, you should endeavor to get as close as possible to the events or phenomena you are studying.

But, of course, no one can speak every language and interview every participant in a political or social event.

Primary sources in this case might include economic statistics, memoirs of politicians from the period or reportage in east European newspapers (available in English or other languages). You might also arrange an interview with an expert in the field: a noted scholar, a British government representative, a prominent journalist.

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The point about primary sources is that they take you as close as possible to where the action isthe real, on-the-ground, rubber-meets-the-road facts from which you will construct your interpretive argument.

Say you want to write a paper on the causes of Communisms demise in eastern Europe. Or say you want to write about how conceptions of national identity have changed in Britain since the 1980s.

You would begin by reading some general secondary sources on the collapse of Communism, from which you might surmise that two factors were predominant: economic problems of Communist central planning and Mikhail Gorbachevs reforms in the Soviet Union. In this case, you might examine the speeches of British political leaders, editorials in major British newspapers, and voting support for the Scottish National Party or other regional parties.

And you should do all this as early in the course as possible.

A research question, at least in the social sciences, begins with the word why or how.

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