The goal of research is to help solve a problem and not simply to rehash what has been discovered.
In research, solving a problem is answering an important question. While a faculty mentor is a great resource to help develop a focused and feasible research question, you should consider the following points before meeting with a faculty member about research:
- What topics are you interested in and what questions need to be answered in that field? Remember that the key to good research is contributing novel (new) perspectives and answers.
- Is your topic too broad? You need to be able to assemble evidence in support of your answer—is the scope of your ambition manageable from a data collection standpoint? Can you complete the project within a specified time period for your research?
- Is there a feasible methodology to answer your question? In other words, how will you go about answering this question? What resources are available?
- Is it ethical to ask and answer this question? (Unacceptable physical risks or invasion of privacy?)
Remember, faculty are often looking for students to aid them with their own research where focused, feasible questions have already been determined. Your role may be a more narrow scope of a broader project. Nonetheless, when aiding faculty, these primary questions should always be at the forefront of your participation.