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PTK Honors in Action Research


So you've decided on the broad topic of artificial intelligence and food. What now?

Now it's time to develop a research question related to that topic: 


First, read the PTK Honors in Action Program Guide page on developing a research question. There are helpful questions to ask about your topic, like:

  • What do we want to find out about our research topic?

  • What research have scholars conducted already?

  • What remains undiscovered about this topic?

  • What are the relevant and credible sources, and how readily available are they?


The Guide also cautions chapters to keep in mind that:

  • The scope and nature of your question can change.

  • Your theme may change based on what your team finds.


Consider these guidelines about research questions:


  • Questions should be open-ended and cannot be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no' or Google search:

    • Not open-ended: Is artificial intelligence used in agriculture?

    • Better: How is artificial intelligence used in agriculture? 

    • Even better: How can artificial intelligence technologies help improve outcomes related to food production, safety, and waste in the agricultural sector?


  • Questions should address a problem or real-world issue and considers your theme "through an international lens":

    • Not problem-focused: What are artificial intelligence and machine learning? 

    • Better: How can artificial intelligence and machine learning address problems in agriculture?

    • Even better: Can technological advances like artificial intelligence and machine learning help solve agricultural problems related to climate change, such as soil degradation? 


  • Questions should go a step further than "how?" and attempt to address the "so what?" aspect. Why do your research question and answers matter? What impact could finding the answers to your question have on the world?

    • Good: How can artificial intelligence and machine learning address problems in agriculture?

    • Even better: How can the application of artificial intelligence and related technologies in the food and agriculture industries improve health and nutrition outcomes worldwide, especially areas most affected by climate change?

PTK Program Guide to Developing a Research Question