As you progress with your studies, chances are you won’t always be allocated an assessment question to answer. Instead, you’ll need to decide on your own line of research based your course work.
Below are 5 factors to think about when developing your research question.
If you are struggling with the concept of choosing a research question it might be because you haven’t gathered and read enough information. Once you decide on a broad topic of interest, you should then read as much as you can on that topic to find out what has already been discussed, what issues, relating to your topic, are talked about widely and what the social and cultural issues are surrounding your topic. Getting a deep understanding of the literature will naturally bring up questions that you will want answers to. It is then that you can formulate those questions into your specific research question.
You will need to narrow down your question enough so that you will be able to discuss it in detail without there being too many factors and variables to focus on. Once you have a broad topic you can reduce your focus to a subtopic or group of people. For example, if you are focusing on the effects of Covid 19 on filmmakers you may wish to focus your answer on directors only. And then you may want to explore how those directors have managed large group scenes. The number of words you are limited to can affect this too. For instance, an assessment with a 1500-word limit will have a less detailed question that one of 3000 words, where you will be able to include more information and perspectives.
On the flip side of point 2, you should make sure that when you choose your research question somebody else has written about the issues surrounding your topic. If you choose a question that is too obscure or that is not measurable you will not be able to find enough articles and material to back up your ideas or construct a discussion. Before you decide on a line of inquiry it is worth doing a preliminary search into the data.
The research and reading you will need to do will seem easier if you are genuinely interested in what you are reading. You might even get lost in your readings for hours! When you're choosing your topic, relate it to the work that you see yourself doing in the future and it will keep your passion for the study alive. (In saying that, you may find that after working on a topic, it’s not for you – this is good to know too!) But usually, if you're interested in what you are reading that will come across in your results.
Finally, template below outlines an example for developing research questions, including the types of information sources to use throughout the process. And as always, please contact the AFTRS Library if ever you need some research advice.