The questions that arise in our human minds make us answer them. Research is a method of searching to answer questions. The research question rather than not being vague should define your research in a more focused way. Therefore, asking the right question has become an important issue that needs to be discussed.
Research Process Needs A Strong Research Question
When a research process is just beginning, it needs a strong research question to go well. The research question guides the research process and provides a clear objective for the researcher to further focus on. Understanding the characteristics of a good research question will give you new ideas and help you find new methods to use in research.
In this article, we are going to discuss “What is the research question?” and “What are the characteristics of a good research question and how to create them?” We will also explain the types of research questions with examples for researchers.
What Is a Research Question?
A good research question defines your study and helps you seek an answer to your research. In addition, a clear research question states exactly what you want to find out and defines the purpose of your work.
Learning to write a research question is essential for starting any thesis, doctoral dissertation, or research paper. Finally, the question addresses issues or problems that are answered through data analysis and interpretation. If you want to know about the role of abstract in research paper, click here.
Why Is a Research Question Important?
A strong research question directs the design of a study. In addition, it helps to determine the type of research and identify the specific objectives of the research. Research questions state the research topic and focus on the research results. Therefore, the study is divided into easier steps to reach the research objectives and answer the primary research questions.
Types of research questions
Depending on the type of research you want to do, research questions can be categorized into different types. Besides that, knowing the type of research helps the researcher to determine the best type of research questions for their research.
1. Qualitative research question
Qualitative questions are related to broad areas or more specific areas of research. However, unlike quantitative questions, qualitative research questions are consistent, non-directional, and more flexible. Qualitative research questions focus on discovery, explanation, and exploration.
I. Exploratory questions
This form of questioning gets the issues across without affecting the results. The purpose of exploratory questions is to find out about a topic without a specific orientation or preconceived ideas.
Example of an exploratory question: A question about how to use a chemical substance or observations about a particular topic.
II. Predictive questions
Predictive research questions are defined as survey questions that automatically predict the best possible options for answering the questions based on the question text. In addition, these questions seek to understand the purpose or future outcome surrounding the research topic.
Example of a predictive question: Asking why a consumer behaves in a certain way or chooses a certain option compared to other options.
III. Interpretive questions
This type of research question provides the possibility of studying people in the natural environment. Interpretive questions help to understand how a group of shared experiences in relation to different phenomena together make sense. These studies collect feedback on a group’s behavior without influencing the outcome.
Example of an interpretive question: What is your opinion about how artificial intelligence has influenced the process of publishing your article?
2. Quantitative research question
Quantitative questions prove or disprove the researcher’s hypotheses through descriptions, comparisons, and examining relationships. These questions are useful when choosing a research topic or when asking follow-up questions to gather more information.
I. Descriptive questions
Descriptive questions are the most basic type of quantitative research questions and seek to explain when, where, why, or how something happened. In addition, descriptive questions use data and statistics to describe an event or phenomenon.
Sample of descriptive question: How many generations of genes affect the next generation?
II. Comparative questions
Sometimes it is useful to compare one event with another. Comparative questions are useful when studying groups with dependent variables.
Example: Do men and women have the same metabolism?
III. Relationship-based questions
This type of research question answers the effect of one variable on another variable. Therefore, these types of research questions are used in experimental studies.
Example: How does drought condition affect a region’s probability of wildfires?
How to Write a Good Research Question?
1. Choose a topic
The first step in writing a good research question is choosing a research topic. You can choose a research topic that you are interested in because the whole research should go beyond the research question. So, make sure you choose a topic that interests you to make your research study more enjoyable.
2. Conduct preliminary research
After finalizing the topic, read about it. See if anyone has ever done any research studies on this. In addition, preliminary research will help you find articles that have topics to discuss. You can explore topics that previous research has not studied.
3. Consider your audience
The most important aspect of writing a good research question is figuring out if there is an audience that would be interested in knowing the answer to your research question. Additionally, determining your audience will help you refine your research question.
4. Generate potential questions
The best way to generate potential questions is to ask open-ended questions. Asking questions from broader topics allows you not to be limited to specific questions. Identifying gaps in the literature can also give you topics for writing research questions. Additionally, you can challenge existing assumptions or use personal experiences to redefine research issues.
5. Review your questions
Once you have listed some of your questions, evaluate them to find out if the research questions are effective. In addition, review the exact details of the question and its possible outcomes and find out if the question meets the criteria of the research question.
6. Create your research question
There are two frameworks for constructing your research question. The first is the PICOT framework, which stands for:
- Population or problem
- Indicator being studied
- Comparison group
- Outcome of interest
- Time frame of the study.
The second framework is PEO, which stands for:
-Exposure to existing conditions
Research Question Examples
How might the discovery of a genetic basis for alcoholism impact triage processes in medical facilities?
How do ecological systems respond to chronic anthropological disturbance?
What are the demographic consequences of ecological interactions?
What roles do fungi play in wildfire recovery?
How does feedback reinforce patterns of genetic divergence on the landscape?
What educational strategies help encourage safe driving in young adults?
What makes a grocery store easy for shoppers to navigate?
What genetic factors predict if someone will develop hypothyroidism?
Does contemporary evolution along the gradients of global change alter the function of ecosystems?
How did you write your first research question? What were the steps you took to develop a strong research question? Write to us your experiences or comment.