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|How To Write A Good Research Question In A Research Project by eduprojectsng: 2:03pm On May 20|
[sub][/sub]The majority, if not all, studies and experiments begin with a research question i.e after selecting good final year project topics in your field. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for researchers to translate what they consider to be real, important problems into sound research questions (Doody & Bailey, 2016). Furthermore, despite the importance of properly designing these questions, there is little guidance about how to come up with an original research issue (Sandberg & Alvesson, 2011). Although the ability to ask good questions is not a natural trait in researchers, it can be developed (Lipowski, 2008).This article aims to guide researchers in the pursuit of creating good research questions by first providing a research question’s definition and importance and then discussing methods commonly used in constructing these questions.
What is a Research project Question?
The aim of a study or research project is to address a research question. This question often refers to a problem or issue that is addressed in the study's conclusion by data analysis and interpretation. The research question in most studies is written to describe different aspects of the analysis, such as the population and variables to be analyzed, as well as the issue that the study solves a research issue. research questions, as their name suggests, are often based on research. As a result, these questions are complex, which means that as researchers review relevant literature and create a context for the analysis, they may modify or refine the research question. Although several research projects concentrate on a single research issue, broader studies often employ multiple research questions.
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Importance of the research question
The primary benefit of framing the research question is that it narrows down a wide field of interest into a particular study area (Creswell, 2014). Hypotheses and study problems both act as a driving paradigm for research. These questions often show the study's parameters, establishing its limits and maintaining continuity.
Furthermore, the research topic has a cascading impact on the remainder of the research. The research methodology, sample size, data collection, and data analysis are all influenced by these concerns (Lipowski, 2008).
Types of Research Questions
Depending on the type of study to be conducted, research questions may be divided into various categories. Knowing what form of study one wants to conduct—quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods studies—can aid in choosing the best research topic.
As discussed below, Doody and Bailey (2016) propose a range of different types of research questions.
Quantitative research questions: Quantitative analysis problems have a high level of precision. The population to be studied, dependent and independent variables, and the study design to be used are usually included in these questions. They are normally framed and finalized at the beginning of the research project (Berger, 2015).
Quantitative research questions often help to link the research question to the research design. Furthermore, these aren't questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." As a consequence, terms like "is," "are," "do," and "does" aren't included in quantitative research queries.
Quantitative research questions are often used to better understand specific social, familial, or educational experiences or processes that take place in a specific setting and/or venue (Marshall & Rossman, 2011). They're divided into three categories: descriptive, comparative, and relationship.
Descriptive research questions are used to determine how a study's population responds to one or more variables, or to identify variables that will be measured in the study. The majority of these inquiries begin with the word "what."
The aim of comparative research questions is to find out how two or more groups differ on an outcome variable. These inquiries may also be causal. For example, the researcher might compare a group in which a particular variable is present to a group in which that variable is absent.
The aim of relationship research is to discover and identify patterns and interactions between two or more variables. The terms "association" and "trends" are often used in these queries, which involve both contingent and independent variables.
Qualitative research questions: Qualitative research questions may cover a wide range of topics or focus on a particular field of study. Qualitative research questions are related to research design in the same way as quantitative research questions are. Qualitative research issues, on the other hand, are typically adaptable, non-directional, and more versatile than their quantitative counterparts (Creswell, 2013). As a result, studies based on these questions are typically designed to "discover," "explain," or "explore."
Ritchie et al. (2014) and Marshall and Rossman (2011) have also further categorized qualitative research questions into a number of types, as listed below:
Contextual research questions seek to describe the nature of what already exists.
Emancipatory research questions aim to produce knowledge that allows for engagement in social action, especially for the benefit of disadvantaged people.
Evaluative research questions assess the effectiveness of existing methods or paradigms.
Explanatory research questions seek to expound on a phenomenon or examine reasons for and associations between what exists.
Exploratory research questions investigate little-known areas of a particular topic.
Generative research questions aim to provide new ideas for the development of theories and actions.
Ideological research questions are used in research that aims to advance specific ideologies of a position.
In most mixed-methods studies, a collection of quantitative and qualitative research questions is needed. Where a mixed-methods analysis focuses on the importance and differences in quantitative and qualitative methods rather than the study's integrative aspect, separate questions are necessary (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2010).
In addition, researchers can create a single mixed-methods research query. This suggests an integrative process or part between the study's quantitative and qualitative research methods, according to Tashakkori and Teddlie (2010).
Steps to Developing a Good Research Question
A good research question should be important, determined, and meaningful in general (Stone, 2002). Creating a research question is a difficult task, but there is a tool you can use to make it go more smoothly. This method's steps are illustrated below.
1. Start with a broad topic.
A broad topic provides writers with plenty of avenues to explore in their search for a viable research question. Techniques to help you develop a topic into subtopics and potential research questions include brainstorming and concept mapping. These techniques can organize your thoughts so you can identify connections and relevant themes within a broad topic.
When searching for a topic, it’s wise to choose an area of study that you are genuinely interested in, since your interest in a topic will affect your motivation levels throughout your research. It’s also wise to consider the interests being addressed recently by the research community, as this may affect your paper’s chances of getting published.
2. Do preliminary research to learn about topical issues.
Once you have picked a topic, you can start doing preliminary research. This initial stage of research accomplishes two goals. First, a preliminary review of related literature allows you to discover issues that are currently being discussed by scholars and fellow researchers. This way, you get up-to-date, relevant knowledge on your topic.
Second, a preliminary review of related literature allows you to spot existing gaps or limitations in existing knowledge of your topic. With a certain amount of fine-tuning, you can later use these gaps as the focus of your research question.
Moreover, according to Farrugia et al. (2010), certain institutions that provide grants encourage applicants to conduct a systematic review of available studies and evidence to see if a similar, recent study doesn’t already exist, before applying for a grant.
3. Narrow down your topic and determine potential research questions.
Once you have gathered enough knowledge on the topic you want to pursue, you can start focusing on a more specific area of study. One option is to focus on gaps in existing knowledge or recent literature. Referred to by Sandberg and Alvesson (2011) as “gap-spotting,” this method involves constructing research questions out of identified limitations in literature and overlooked areas of study. Similarly, researchers can choose research questions that extend or complement the findings of existing literature.
Another way of identifying and constructing research questions: problematization (Sandberg & Alvesson, 2011). As a methodology for constructing research questions, problematization aims to challenge and scrutinize assumptions that support others’ and the researcher’s theoretical position. This means constructing research questions that challenge your views or knowledge of the area of study.
Lipowski (2008), on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of taking into consideration the researcher’s personal experiences in the process of developing a research question. Researchers who are also practitioners, for instance, can reflect on problematic areas of their practice. Patterns and trends in practice may also provide new insights and potential ideas for research questions.
4. Evaluate the soundness of your research question.
Your initial research and review of related literature will have produced some interesting questions that seem like they’re worth pursuing. However, not all interesting questions make for sound research questions. Keep in mind that a research question draws its answer or conclusion through an analysis of evidence.
Hulley et al. (2007) suggest using a set of criteria- known as the “FINER” criteria-to find out if you have a good research question. The FINER criteria are outlined below:
F – Feasible
A good research question is feasible, which means that the question is well within the researcher’s ability to investigate. Researchers should be realistic about the scale of their research as well as their ability to collect data and complete the research with their skills and the resources available to them. It’s also wise to have a contingency plan in place in case problems arise.
I – Interesting
The ideal research question is interesting not only to the researcher but also to their peers and community. This interest boosts the researcher’s motivation to see the question answered.
N – Novel
Your research question should be developed to bring new insights to the field of study you are investigating. The question may confirm or extend previous findings on the topic you are researching, for instance.
E – Ethical
This is one of the more important considerations of making a research question. Your research question and your subsequent study must be something that review boards and the appropriate authorities will approve.
R – Relevant
Aside from being interesting and novel, the research question should be relevant to the scientific community and people involved in your area of study. If possible, your research question should also be relevant to the public’s interest.
5. Construct your research question properly.
Research questions should be structured properly to ensure clarity. There are a number of frameworks that you can use for properly constructing a research question. The two most commonly used frameworks are explained below.
The PICOT framework was first introduced in 1995 by Richardson et al. Using the PICOT framework; research questions can be constructed to address important elements of the study, including the population to be studied, the expected outcomes, and the time it takes to achieve the outcome. With these elements, the framework is more commonly used in clinical research and evidence-based studies.
P – population, patients, or problem
I – intervention or indicator being studied
C – comparison group
O – outcome of interest
T – timeframe of the study
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