How to Develop Your Research Question: 4 Tips to Choose Your Research Question
If you are reading this article, it means you have finally found the topic you want to study and research. However, you might still be trying to choose your research question. Have no fear; Educatly is here to help you! This article will offer you a complete guide to writing your research question.
All about developing and choosing your research question:
Why do we need a research question?
Firstly, let's explain what a research question is. It is simply a question that your research paper or project sets out to answer. Whether your research is qualitative or quantitative, your research needs to answer a question. It does not only help the reader know what to expect throughout the rest of the paper and helps you organize your research and focus on your variables more clearly.
What are the points to include in your research question?
Your research must be original. I’m not saying that you are obligated to research something that has never been studied before, but that your research question must be original and must reflect your interest in the topic. Look at it that way; your research paper should be filling in the gaps that other works and research papers failed to fill. Also, your research question should aim to contribute to an existing debate on that topic.
What should you do before you write the research question?
The first thing that you need to do before writing your research question is to know the variables that you are trying to test in your research.
You can know your variables by asking questions like:
• What are you attempting to test?
• Are there previous works that discuss this topic for you to use?
• What is the goal of this research? Or what are you trying to prove?
• Is there a specific time or era that you are researching?
• Is there a specific location?
And so on.
Your next step is to do some preliminary readings and research to discover the debates and issues associated with your topic. That will help you understand precisely what you are trying to test, and it will also help you create a clear narrowed-down research question.
How to narrow down and develop your research question?
For example, let’s say you want to write a study about the effects of using social media. You need to:
• Narrow down and highlight the points you are attempting to test: In this example mentioned above, you need to know if you want to test the effects of Facebook on children, teenagers, or adults or if you want to test the effects of Instagram on mental or physical health. You also need to choose a location, so for example, you might want to test these effects in the Middle East or in another country. Choosing a time or duration is also important. For example, do you want to test these effects nowadays or maybe in the past?
• Put your final points in a feasible question: For example, what physical effects might result from using Facebook on teenagers younger than 16 in Russia? As you can see here, you have a narrowed-down question that mentions exactly what you are trying to test throughout your research. Your reader now knows what exactly to expect.
• Make sure that these points exist in your research question: The research question must be focused on a single problem or issue. It needs to be narrowed down as much as possible. For example, instead of writing something like, “What are the benefits of using artificial intelligence?” You can try out something like, “What are the different benefits of using artificial intelligence tools such as Google Chrome among medical students in the Middle East?
• It also must be researchable: It's better if your reader or the researchers that come after you do not struggle with finding primary or secondary sources to understand your research.
• Make sure you use legit literature works or papers: Any other mentioned works in your research paper must be suitable and enough to give your reader a clear idea about your topic and the answer to your research question.
• You need to have enough time and proper resources: To work on your research paper and answer your research question, you need to assess your capabilities and timeline successfully. It goes as simple as this if you think you might struggle a little bit to gain access to proper data that will help you build a good research question, then maybe you should consider narrowing down your research question to be more specific and straight to the point.
We know you can handle this task and do something you're proud of.