By Brittany Amell
Brittany Amell is a PhD student studying in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies at Carleton University, Canada. She leads writing retreats and workshops for graduate students in a variety of disciplines. Her research interests lie at the intersection between creative practices, social change, and doctoral writing. In this post she describes and shares some activities from a workshop she developed to support other doctoral students with “finding” their research question. If you are interested in incorporating more activities similar to the ones described in this article, you might also be interested in a recent Special Issue of the Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie on “Play, Visual Strategies and Innovative Approaches to Graduate Writing”. You can access the special issue here.
All research is informed by a question, though how this question is phrased and presented (if at all) no doubt depends on the discipline one is located within. Research questions can guide empirical studies, of course, but they can also guide our literature reviews and theoretical papers. But while one may know that beginning with a question is important, useful even, just how does one arrive at a question to begin with?
This is the question that spawned a fairly well-attended workshop I run, called “Gamestorm your research space”. What is gamestorming, you wonder? I describe gamestorming as similar to brainstorming, but more fun. Continue reading