Brandel Library

MUS 3010: Music History and Literature I

These pages provide resources and tips for completing your research assignment for Music 3010. Feel free to contact me for help with this assignment using the information on the bottom of this page.

Research Questions

Good Research Starts with Good Questions

A good research question is:

  • Interesting to you. You will do better research and write a more engaging paper if you choose a topic that you find significant.
  • Supportable with research (not just personal opinion).
  • Precise. Defines the boundaries and direction of your research. 
  • Appropriately scoped for the length of the assignment (neither too broad nor too narrow).

Descriptive and Interpretive Research Question

Descriptive Research Questions Interpretive Research Questions
  • answerable with facts
  • focus on who, what, when, where
  • answerable by examining a topic through a particular frame/lens
  • focus on why, how 

The research/writing challenge:

  • Sift through a variety of sources to identify the most critical information for answering your question.
  • Synthesize those sources into a unified piece of writing.

The research/writing challenge:

  • Understand other scholars' interpretations of your research topic.
  • Fit your own interpretive voice into that conversation.

Picking Your Topic IS Research

Preliminary Research

You'll typically need to do some preliminary research to help you wrap your head around a topic before you can come up with a good question. Good starting places: