Choose More Questions to Broaden a Research Project

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  • 0:02 Your Research Project
  • 0:50 Analyze Your Thesis
  • 1:50 Brainstorm
  • 3:02 Create Your Questions
  • 4:01 Finalize Extension
  • 5:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

You have created a research project. Now that you are finished, what type of extension questions can you create to broaden your topic? This video lesson will answer that question and help you extend your research project.

Your Research Project

You have finished a research project on a particular topic. Now your teacher asks you to come up with follow-up questions to extend your project. What do you do?

First, you need to know the meaning of follow-up questions, also called extension questions. Follow-up questions are questions that extend beyond the specific focus of your project. This means you must relate your main idea to other logical areas. Many students mistakenly think their job is done when the initial research is finished and then struggle creating follow-up questions.

Often you may be required to include a section in your project for extension. You may even have to answer some of those extension questions within your research project. This means that the research project is only the beginning.

Analyze Your Thesis

In order to create extension questions, you need to analyze your thesis, or main idea. This means you need to look closely at your main argument. For example, if you wrote a research paper on the role of social class in Charles Dickens' novels, your argument might look something like this: 'Charles Dickens used distinctions between social class as a means to develop his characters in all his novels.' This thesis states that your research paper was on the role of social class and how it affected characters in all of Dickens' novels.

To analyze this thesis, pick out the words with the most meaning. The first phrase that stands out in this example is 'social class,' which refers to a person's status in society. The second phrase that stands out is 'develop characters,' which refers to the growth characters made in Dickens' novels. These two phrases are the most important ideas in that thesis. Look at your thesis and pick out two or three meaningful words or phrases.


Once you have a few meaningful words, you need to brainstorm, which means to note down all relevant ideas about a topic. A great way to brainstorm is to create a graphic organizer, which is a visual representation of information. Examples include a web, chart, bulleted list or a table. Write down the meaningful words or phrases from your thesis, and create a graphic organizer to brainstorm about those topics.

To give you an example of how to brainstorm, look at the important phrases from the Charles Dickens' thesis again. For this, you need to brainstorm about social class and the development of characters. In your graphic organizer, some ideas that might come off of the social class concept could be poverty rates or current social classes. For the developing characters concept, branching ideas could include social class developing the plot, social class portrayed in the genre or even social class represented in other media forms, i.e. movies, television, newspapers, etc.

Take some time and brainstorm about your meaningful phrases. Write down any idea you can think of. You do not need to use everything you write down.

Create Your Questions

Once you have your brainstorming and graphic organizer complete, you are ready to create follow-up questions. Look at the ideas in your graphic organizer. Try to change each idea into a question that can be researched or examined.

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