Research Question Examples


Below are two strong examples of student research question/ proposals you can use to model your own research questions from. The research questions are highlighted in blue.


Student Research Question #1


From Fictional Heroines to Feminist Icons

My research question is focused on the J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series and Suzanne Collins Hunger Games Series, specifically the characters of Hermione and Katniss. How does Hermione and Katniss’ contrast to the standard portrayal of focusing on a love story for female characters has affected modern popular culture? Harry Potter changes the standard portrayal of females through the character of Hermione through her equality with the other two main characters, and not having her storyline main purpose being romance. Hunger Games also forgoes the standard romance plot, instead using it as a secondary plot, to help develop the protagonist Katniss. Both heroine’s are transformed into strong role models fighting for family, friends, what they believe is right, and prioritizing that above finding love. The success of both the books and movies of these two franchises has transformed standard female portrayal and made the demand for strong complex female characters grow other the years. This demand has morphed the modern pop culture and helped expand the feminist movement.



Student Research Question #2

The Wild West: Cowboys, Outlaws, and American Values

For my research paper I would like to answer the question: how do traditional Western films such as classic John Wayne movies represent American values and culture, and how do modern western films differ in their portrayals of these themes? The culture and values of our country always seems to be shifting, with constantly people arguing about what values are important and what needs to change. The Western film genre is something that’s uniquely American, and it offers an interesting insight into the fabric of American values and culture in different time periods. For example, in Westerns of the 40s and 50s the Cowboy was held up as a moral role model, someone for young boys across the country to look up to. Men were expected to be strong, chivalrous, and fight off any outlaws (evils) with their strength. The American west was a painted as a place of adventure and expansion, with little regard shown to the Native Americans living in the west at the time. In fact, the cowboy is almost always painted as the “good guy” when facing off against the Indian. In contrast, modern westerns depict American values and morality in more of a grey area, with a focus shifted to the problems of the American west rather than building up a Cowboy hero as a role model.