By Amanda Wolf
Amanda Wolf is Deputy Head of the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Like many of us, I was taught that research starts with a research question. The more generous texts and supervisors may quietly soften that imperative with a whispered confidence that it is permissible to amend the research question—many times if need be—before speaking the final gem aloud. But, not ‘having a research question’ too often can debilitate students, who conclude that they are not yet started on their research.
Over the years, I have instructed students in a simple technique to bypass the no-question-yet paralysis, and thereby allow the question to pop out. The heart of the technique is to name both curiosity and purpose succinctly, in four steps. Continue reading