1. What topic, problem, or issue are you interested in? Do background research to find out more about it.

4. Choose one question to be your research question. Why? or How? questions are often the best.
2. What specific part of your topic is the most interesting to you? Break the topic down and group ideas about in clusters on the back of this page. Pick a cluster or a part of one.

5. Make your question as clear and specific as possible. Write down specifically who, what, where, and when you are talking about. Clarify any vague words.
3. List questions about your specific topic area by asking: What? Who? When? Where? Why? How?

6. State your working thesis. The working thesis should summarize the answer to your main research question, and will likely change after you do some research.