The horror of any student: the research question and/or proposal. Oh, the hours I have spent struggling with this deceptively simple task… It seems so easy. All you need to do is come up with a question you want to answer and explain how you plan to go about it. How difficult can it be? Very, as it turns out.
By popular demand, I have put together a list of 5 very basic tips to help you distill your disconnected thoughts (“something about Christopher Isherwood”) into a coherent concept (“how the architecture of the main character’s house reflects his struggle as a gay man living in 1950′s America in Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, how the interpretation in Tom Ford’s film adaptation differs, and why this matters”).
(Note: these tips are specific to students of literature, but the basic principles apply to other fields as well, especially within the humanities.)