According to Turabian every research project should begin with a topic (X), a question about the topic (Y), and the significance of answering that question (Z).
Turabian says that when put together these three things form a comprehensive sentence that states, “I am writing about X, because I want to know Y, so that I can help others understand Z.”
Even though I’m only in the beginning stages of my research project, it’s a good idea to construct an XYZ sentence about what I’m doing. Obviously this sentence will change and morph throughout my project, but this can give me a solid foundation as I move forward. Without further adieu:
I am writing about Virginia Tech during World War I, because I want to know how the war affected ordinary people and communities at a local level, so that I can help others understand the impact the Great War had on American society.
As I said, this statement will change, as will my project. But at the moment I’m hoping to use Virginia Tech as a case study to reveal larger themes in the era of the Great War.