The research question
|Introduction to research|
|Getting started||Defining research | The research process | The research question | Evaluating a research question | Finding information | Research methods | Presentation | Summary|
How does a research question evolve?
A researcher starts with an area of interest: a topic or subject. These areas may arise from confusion that the researcher has about a particular topic, from problems that need solving, or from simple intellectual curiosity. But topics and subjects are very broad, and the process of formulating a question is a way of narrowing and focussing the area of study until it becomes truly researchable.
Developing a good research question is an on-going and iterative process. As the researcher does the background work to understand the topic, the topic will modify and change until a searchable and meaningful question emerges that will then become the primary research focus.
A research question emerges and takes shape from the reading and enquiry that the researcher undertakes around your topic of interest. Steps in formulating a research question
1. Identify the general area of interest
2. Read and discuss the topic to build a deep knowledge base.
3. Reflect on what is already known about the topic, what remains to be explored, and what is of interest to the researcher.
4. Formulate an initial question.
5. Read, reflect and discuss the initial question further.
6. Refine the question and develop the research project
Developing a research question requires the researcher to engage with previous research and with other knowledgeable people in the discipline.