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Developing a Good Research Question Using Stasis Theory

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This solution offers a step by step plan for developing a productive and interesting research question. While this solution is currently in English Language and Literature, it can be useful for students writing in all disciplines. Stasis theory is a way of categorizing questions within a topic and finding out where the controversy lies in a topic. "Stasis" comes from the Greek "to stand," as in, "knowing where you stand." This solution will help you figure out what a productive research question is within your topic, and how to refine that question so you can begin looking for appropriate sources. We will use the five different stases (Fact/Definition, Cause/Effect, Quality/Value, Action, and Jurisdiction) to categorize questions within a given topic.

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Stasis theory is a way of categorizing questions within a topic and finding out where the controversy lies in a topic. "Stasis" comes from the Greek "to stand," as in, "knowing where you stand." You should come to this process with a few different topic ideas. Using stasis theory to generate questions can help you articulate the different positions and voices in your topic, and will help you determine whether or not it is a good topic for research. First we will learn what the different stases are, and how they can help you generate research questions. Next, we will fill out a stasis grid (attached) and walk through the process of filling out the grid with an example topic. Finally, we will discuss how to select the best research questions from the grid.

Step 1: Understanding the Five Stases

There are five different stases, which are defined as follows:

Fact/Definition Stasis: This stasis contains questions of existence or definition. Examples are: Does X exist? How do we define X?

Cause/Effect Stasis: What are causes of X? What are the effects of X?

Value/Quality Stasis: Is X good or bad?

Action Stasis: What should be done about X? What is the best way to prevent X? What is the best way to resolve X?

Jurisdiction Stasis: Who has the right to decide about X?

Organizing questions with the stasis help you to categorize the debates in your topic, which will in turn help you to articulate a clear and compelling research question.

Step 2: Filling out the Stasis Grid

You may have a writing or research assignment that asks you to generate your own topic. This can be quite difficult, when there are so many questions revolving around one issue. You should have a few different possible topic ideas that interest you to begin this process.

We will work through an example topic: Bullying in Schools. We will generate different questions in each of the stasis, and then we will determine if these questions are controversial and ...

Solution Summary

This solution offers a step by step plan for developing a productive and interesting research question. While this solution is currently in English Language and Literature, it can be useful for students writing in all disciplines. We will use Stasis Theory to generate and select the best research questions, so that you can be sure of a compelling and productive research project.

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