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History Research Guide: Is This a Good Question? Self Test

This guide is intended as a point to departure for research in history. You will find search strategies to help guide your exploration of historical sources, as well as recommended databases.

Is This a Good Question? Self Test

Unsure about your question? Put it to the test using these seven questions. 

  1. Does my question allow for many 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?

If your question didn't do so well, remember to talk to your professor before starting over. They can help enhance your question for historical exploration.