You may need to develop your research question at some time throughout your degree program. The research question identifies the exact problem or subject that your essay will address. It also describes the assignment you must finish.
There is no set of standards that applies to all research questions. Priorities and criteria vary throughout fields. Good research questions for a biology article will be different from those for a history paper. However, generally speaking, the best research question is:
- Focused and lucid To put it another way, the question should make it apparent what the writer must do
- Neither too thin nor too broad. The breadth of the query ought to be proper. If the question is too general, it won’t be feasible to respond to it fully in the allotted word count. If it is too limited, you won’t have enough material to write about and it will be difficult to formulate a compelling argument
- Difficult to answer. For instance, the query should not only accept a yes-or-no response
- Not too challenging to respond. Within the allotted time and word count, you must be able to provide a comprehensive response to the question
- A sufficient number of high-quality research resources, including scholarly books and peer-reviewed journal articles, must be available to you
- Analytical as opposed to descriptive In other words, rather than just describing a problem or issue, your research question should enable you to analyze it
Why does the research process require a research question?
Usually, after the Introduction, the problem statement is expressed more precisely and in greater detail as a specific research question (McGaghie, 2001).
By offering a guide through the research and writing processes, research questions assist writers in concentrating their research. Writers might steer clear of the “all-about” article by using the specificity of a well-developed research question to support a clear, debatable argument.
Developing a research question
1. Establish the prerequisites.
Students must first understand exactly what is required of them before beginning the dissertation’s preliminary phase so that they may plan their work correctly (TWH, 2021). You must ascertain the criteria of your task before you can create a good research query.
What does this task aim to achieve? Is it to put a claim to the test? Is it to assess a collection of data? Is it to present and support a position? Review the assignment guidelines and talk with your tutor or lecturer about the goal.
The best topic to write about and the most effective manner to phrase your query will both benefit from knowing the purpose.
2. Choose a subject.
Can you choose your themes, or have you been provided a list of options? Check the assignment guidelines, and if you still have questions, talk to your tutor or lecturer about them.
The greatest strategy is to select a subject that interests you. You are more likely to devote more time, energy, and creativity to your research and writing if you are passionate about the subject. The more invested you are, the more likely it is that you will turn in a well-written assignment.
3. Carry out a preliminary analysis
You should read a few pertinent scholarly publications before you write your inquiry. Your reading should be limited to recent publications and perhaps one or two important works on the subject. Learn about the major arguments that have been raised in academic writing on the subject.
Reading for research question development is different from reading for research question resolution. Concentrate on the key points and arguments (these are usually found in the introduction and the conclusion). As you will likely return to the content at a later time, you don’t need to read every word or make in-depth notes at this time.
4. Concentrate on one subject.
After conducting some basic research on your dissertation proposal example, you ought to be able to focus on your topic.
Most of the time, you will need to focus on a particular debate or aspect of the larger topic. This is because covering a single issue or aspect of a topic in-depth is considerably more successful than just skimming the surface of several.
There are various methods you can use to focus on a certain area:
- Consider the bigger topic’s subtopics, particular issues, and important arguments
- Consider the advantages of concentrating on a certain era, a specific region, a specific company, or a specific set of people
- Consider your assignment’s thesis statement. What are the main ideas and arguments you wish to convey? Which subtopic, timeframe, or another constraint would allow you to best illustrate these points?
5. Write your inquiry.
You can focus on how to phrase your research question now that you have limited your topic.
As was already said, the research question needs to clearly state the work you must carry out.
When considering the wording of your inquiry, keep in mind that the purpose will vary depending on the discipline and that you must keep this in mind.
A solid research question, however, typically calls for you to analyze a problem or issue. Because of this, how and why questions are more beneficial than what or describe ones. You might also use the phrases “critique,” “debate,” “examine,” and “evaluate.”
Sample Research Questions
- How social networking services should address the harm they produce is unclear
- It is obvious what steps social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook should take to safeguard members’ private information
The ambiguous form of this question makes no mention of the specific social networking sites in question or the potential harm that they might be creating. Additionally, it assumes that this “damage” has been established and/or acknowledged. The version that is more explicit names the websites (MySpace and Facebook), the category of potential harm (privacy concerns), and the potential victims of that harm (users). A good research question should never be open to interpretation or ambiguity.
However, if you are planning to buy dissertation methodology you don’t have to worry a lot about the methods.
- Unfocused: How does global warming affect the environment?
- Focused: Which aspect of glacial melting has the greatest impact on penguin life in Antarctica?
The unfocused research question is so broad that it couldn’t even be effectively addressed in a typical college-level paper, let alone a book-length one. The narrowed version concentrates on a particular consequence of global warming (glacial melting), a particular location (Antarctica), and a particular animal that is affected (penguins). The author must additionally express an opinion on which effect has the biggest influence on the impacted animal. When in doubt, try to be as specific and focused as you can with your research query.
McGaghie, William C.; Bordage, Georges; Shea, Judy A.*. Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. Academic Medicine: September 2001 – Volume 76 – Issue 9 – p 923-924
TWH (2019). HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR BEST THESIS. https://thesiswritinghelp.com.pk/how-to-structure-your-best-thesis