User:Evarenon/sandbox/Approaches to Knowledge/Seminar Group 3

Sandbox for seminar group 3

Superconcept essay structure drafts


Your super-drafts!

Wikibook chapters drafts


Your drafts!

Superconcept applied to a discipline – Essay training


Possible Essays and Research questions

Issues in Interdisciplinarity – Wikibook chapter training


Disciplinary Categories






How to read an academic article?


The Huffington Post, How to read and understand a scientific paper

Rodriguez, Infographic: How to read a scientific paper

How to formulate a research question?


A guide, by Kristin Poling, for the Department of History at Harvard, 2008/2009

Common Problems in Question Posing


1. The Deceptively Simple Question

A question that demands a simple answer to a complex question.

Ex: When did women achieve equality?

2. The Fictional Question

Ex: If Hitler had been accepted to art school, would World War II have happened?

3. The Stacked Question, or, The Embedded Assumption

Ex: Why did the Carter presidency fail?

4. The Semantic Question

A question that hinges on the definition of terms. Ex: Are all radical revolutions violent?

5. The Impossible-to-Answer Question

Ex: Was World War I inevitable?

6. The Opinion or Ethical Question

Ex: Was Truman wrong to authorize the use of the atomic bomb?

7. The Anachronistic Question

Ex: How good was ancient Athens’ record on civil rights?

The biggest problem a researcher could have is an absent question.

Is this a good research question? A Self-Test

  1. Does my question allow form any possible answers? Is it flexible and open-ended?
  2. Is it testable? Do I know what kind of evidence would allow an answer?
  3. Can I break big “why” questions into empirically resolvable pieces?
  4. Is the question clear and precise? Do I use vocabulary that is vague or needs definition?
  5. Have I made the premises explicit?
  6. Is it of a scale suitable to the length of the assignment?
  7. Can I explain why the answer matters?

Good research questions are


According to Sue Hemmings (The Open University) and Anne Hollows (Sheffield Hallam University), good research questions are:

  • Relevant: Arising from issues raised in literature and/or practice, the question will be of academic and intellectual interest.
  • Manageable: You must be able to access your sources of data (be they documents or people), and to give a full and nuanced answer to your question.
  • Substantial and original: The question should showcase your imaginative abilities, however far it may be couched in existing literature.
  • Fit for assessment: Remember, you must satisfy the learning outcomes of your course. Your question must be open to assessment, as well as interesting.
  • Clear and simple: A clear and simple research question will become more complex as your research progresses. Start with an uncluttered question then unpeel the layers in your reading and writing.
  • Interesting: Make your question interesting, but try to avoid questions which are convenient or flashy.