Example #1: Why has religious fundamentalism arisen in North America?
Example #2: What is the relationship between theology and religious studies?
This is a good start, but it is much too general.
What does Donald Wiebe say about theology and religious studies?
This is more specific but you still need to bring the controversy to the forefront. As it stands, it invites a mere summary of Donald Wiebe's position.
Good research questions on this topic might be:
- Are there any conceptual problems with Wiebe's distinction between theology and religious studies?
- Does Wiebe's position on the distinction between theology and religious studies represent a radical departure from previous understandings of the relationship between the two?
- Does Wiebe's agenda to eliminate theology from Religious Studies have any unforeseen or undesirable practical implications?
All three of these questions have a narrower focus and can be answered in a variety of ways. Answering any of these questions will generate a thesis statement. Remember, the answer that you give to a research question is your thesis statement.
TIP – If you have done all your preliminary research and have developed a question, it is a good idea to get it approved by your professor even if it is not required. Most professors will be happy to discuss your topic and help you refine your question. Just make sure you have done your background work already and are not expecting them to develop a question for you!