My advisor gave me this little list of questions for research when I started working with him, and I've kept it pinned up in my office space ever since. It's surprisingly relevant, even outside academic research.
@edsu Image description: A piece of paper clipped to some board. It says:
10 Questions 1. What is the problem? (in the theoretical debate, the world) 2. Who cares? (an argument about its importance) 3. What have others done? (the lit review, but posted as an argument) 4. What is your approach? (your general approach, the new idea) 5. What are your going to do explicitly? (your operationalization, investigation) 6. What will happen? (or did happen, if you have results) (1/2)