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Choosing a question

Choosing a question

Question structure

Use the links below to help you design your own academic question.

Types of questions

There are many ways in which questions can be phrased but there are three main types: closed, open and implicit.

Word choice

By looking closely at the choice of words you will get an idea what you need to include in your essay.

Defining your question

This tool will help you to define and focus your question.

Example questions

These past questions encourage an analytical and evaluative approach – they may help you to think of your own question.

Quiz: what makes a good academic question?

Play the interactive quiz to identify the characteristics of a good academic question.

Game: drag-and-drop words

Match up the question terms with their correct definitions by dragging and dropping.

Helpful hints

Follow these hints and tips to help you define your question.

Expert penguinKeep focused – choose key words to help shape your future structure

Avoid too much description – make sure you give yourself an issue or problem to explore.

NUpenguinChallenge yourself – don’t make your question too easy, does your question presuppose a black/white answer or a pre-existing one which doesn’t allow you to demonstrate higher thinking?

Be realistic – don’t make it so broad a question that you can’t answer it or too narrow that you can’t analyse and evaluate.