The process of choosing a good research question usually starts broad and then gets more specific.
Not sure where to begin?
- Wander the science section of the library and see if anything catches your eye.
- Look at the Science in Context database and read through the list of biology topics or look at the Science Daily website and see if anything inspires you.
Once you decide on a general topic or two . . .
- Quickly brainstorm as many questions as you can related to those topics.
- From your long list of questions, choose a few that are the most interesting.
Do some reading.
- Read some general articles about the topics you are considering. (Wikipedia could be a good source for this.)
- Use what you learn from the reading to add to, subtract from, or modify your list of questions.
Then ask yourself . . .
- Which of these questions seem manageable?
- Which could you answer in the time allowed?
- Which fit into the constraints of what can be done at ASD in terms of equipment, ethics, etc.
Of the topics that are still in the running, brainstorm ways you might find the answer to your questions.
From the IB Biology Guide 2016:
Some of the possible tasks include: • a hands-on laboratory investigation • using a spreadsheet for analysis and modelling • extracting data from a database and analysing it graphically • producing a hybrid of spreadsheet/database work with a traditional hands-on investigation • using a simulation provided it is interactive and open-ended.
Now choose your best question.
- Word it carefully. The better your question, the more focused your research will be.
Then get specific.
- What is your independent variable?
- What is your dependent variable?
- How will you measure each of these variables (both units and equipment)?
- What are some controlled variables that will need to be addressed?