Framing The Right Research Question – The Core of your Dissertation

Well, now you have diligently read your instructor’s instructions and have selected a research topic. Now there is yet another important task to be done.

Yes, it is nothing but coming up with an excellent research question.

“The single most important component of a study is the research question. It is the keystone of the entire exercise.” Bordage and Dawson (2003).

Forming a good research question is one of the important steps in the research process. A research question guides you throughout the research process and looks out for details in a specific subject.

When it is properly written, it will drive the research project and also help in the formation of a coherent argument. You would be concentrating on the data collection, however the preparation stage i.e the research question is very important.

Framing The Right Research Question - The Core of your Dissertation

Why do you need clear and precise research questions?

  • Once you formulate a clear research question, you will be able to assess the literature in an effective manner.
  • You can develop clear objectives.
  • You can come out with hypotheses.
  • You can arrive at a pertinent research design for your study.
  • A well-grounded research question is the core of the study. You can search appropriately and get the results.
  • A good research question assists in giving the focus for where the research commences.
  • Research question also play an important role in funding and resource allotment.

Tips for developing a good research question

  • Select a question that is neither too narrow nor too broad.

For example,

Too narrow:

Does India have nationalized health care system?

Too broad:

What is the evolution of singing in India?

All research studies should consist of at least one research question.

Too simple:

How are schools systems addressing excessive playful attitude in students?

Ascertain that you are accustomed to the wider literature.

Make sure that the research question is pertinent to the large research community.

Use various means of producing ideas including brainstorming, mind mapping, etc. Regard the viability of each of these questions.

Your research question should concentrate on a new viewpoint. Evaluate an issue and arrive at your own ideas. Don’t just give a report on another person’s findings.

Ensure that the research question is measurable.

Make sure that the research question is dependent on current information and technologies.

Suppose you have come up with a good research question, question yourself regarding the availability of resources.

When everything is favorable i.e. a research question that generates answers that matters, and which would be possible to accomplish within the given resources, you can also get feedback from other individuals.

Research question in the context of the literature review of your dissertation

Performing a thorough literature review will let you identify what is already known about the subject. You can also identify any gaps that require more delving. Sometimes your research question may have already been answered. This doesn’t mean that you should completely discard the possibility. A different method can be used to answer the research question.

Before starting out with the research question, it is essential to ask if your proposed study is viable for you to conduct. This should be done especially if you are a new researcher.

Research question in the context of research design

A lack of focus on research design will probably shift your concentration away from the significance of research questions. The relationship between a research design and research question is so important that an effective research design can be developed after coherent research questions have been formed.

Designing and forming a relevant research question can be a daunting task. However, remember that you are asking a question about a concern that you are genuinely curious about. So, formulate a research question that is focused, not vague, brief, and arguable.

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