How to Come up with a Research Question

What is a research question?

A research question is a question that a research project sets out to answer or around which your research is centered. Choosing a research question is the primary step to begin with your Ph.D. project. It is an essential element for both quantitative and qualitative research. You will need to do a lot of investigation around your research question, and the investigation will involve: data collection and analysis.

But you cannot just take any question randomly, your research question should be:

  • Clear: Before you come up with a research question, make sure it is clear. When we say clear, it simply means that your question is easily understandable, which means your readers are able to understand the purpose of your research work.
  • Self-explanatory: It is again important that your research question is self-explanatory. Your research question should be framed in a ways that your readers can understand it without needing additional explanation.
  • Focused: Not only your report required to be focused, but also your research question should be focused.
  • Incisive: Your research question should be expressed in the fewest possible words, it should be crisp and precise.
  • Open-ended: Your research question should be open-ended, which means it should not be answerable with a simple “yes” or “no.” It should be composite.
  • Debatable: Your question should be such that its potential answers are open to debate instead of having bland facts and figures.
  • Relatable: The question you ask should be relatable to the discipline you are studying. For instance, if you are studying biology, then definitely your research question should revolve around your subject that precisely centers the topic or area which you are interested in. Because Biology is a vast area. You can even take your professor’s help to develop the research question.

Why do we need to have a research question?

Developing a research question is not only a primary step, but also it is an indispensable one. A research question simply conveys what exactly the researcher is trying to find out, and the entire research revolves around that. It also helps one to be focused, organized, and clear while writing his/her research project.

Steps to come up with a research question

check markKnow your area of interest. Before you choose your research question, it is important to know your area of interest. Choosing an interesting research question will help you going, it will help you work on your project with enthusiasm and zeal.

check markDoing research on your general topic will help. Make sure you do a preliminary research on your general topic. Doing research will allow you to have information about which all topics are already done on a particular area, and what are the potential areas left for you to explore.

check markKnow your readers. Of course, your readers will come from an academic background, but it is imperative that you know your readers well. Make sure you keep them in mind before you narrow your topic and come up with your research question. It is important to have a question that will interest your readers. If your readers are not interested then you might need to reconsider the whole thing.

check markCome up with more than one question. While doing preliminary research, make sure you come up with more than one question. This will help you have choices to select the best question.

check markAssess your question. Once you have developed a couple of questions, next you need to do is – assess them all. Assessing your potential questions will help you determine whether these questions are effective or they need some revision.

check markDoes your research question fulfill basic requirements? In the beginning, we have shared how a research question should be. Once you develop your question, you need to see if it fulfills all the basic requirements, such as being clear, focused, open-ended, precise, debatable, and so on. In order to have an effective research question, it is important to check these. And if your question lacks any of these, then definitely, it needs revising and refining.

Final Verdict……

Follow the steps mentioned above to come up with a research question and develop a wonderful research question that would help you write a great dissertation that impresses your readers.

academic and scientist proofreader

Additional sources

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

Challenges of Doing a PhD

Challenges of Doing a PhD

PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy. It refers to the academic or professional degree that, in most states or countries qualifies the degree holder to work in a specialized position in their chosen field of study or teach their chosen subject at University level. The word “Philosophy” is developed from the Ancient Greek “Philosophia” which…
Dissertation Acknowledgement

Dissertation Acknowledgement – Who to Acknowledge in Your Dissertation?

Introduction The acknowledgments page is usually one of the preliminary pages of a dissertation. It usually contains paragraphs of text that acknowledge and thank the people who have helped you while you were researching and writing your dissertation. This page usually includes both personal and professional acknowledgments. The acknowledgments page is typically placed after the…
How to Structure a Dissertation

How to Structure a Dissertation?

A dissertation refers to the long piece of academic writing usually based on original research submitted as part of a postgraduate degree. As a graduate student, your dissertation is most likely the longest piece of work you have ever written and knowing where to start or how to go about it can be a little…
Do not squeez you PhD dissertation into a research paper

Do not Squeeze Your PhD Dissertation into a Paper

After spending years working diligently on something that matters to you, it is common to want people to know about your findings. However, the problem is most authors want to put everything in at once. There is no way to put your whole PhD dissertation in 6,000 words or less successfully. It cannot work. Therefore,…
To do a PhD

To Do a PhD Or Not To Do a PhD

In life, there come difficult times when you want to make impactful decisions. They could determine the next phase of your life, or perhaps even change it forever. Deciding whether or not to do a PhD is definitely one of them! During times as such, being in a dilemma can lead to frustration. Research is…