A good research question is essential to guide your research paper, project or thesis. It pinpoints exactly what you want to find out and gives your work a clear focus and purpose. All research questions should be:
In a research paper or essay, you will usually write a single research question to guide your reading and thinking. The answer that you develop is your thesis statement — the central assertion or position that your paper will argue for.
In a bigger research project, such as a thesis or dissertation, you might have multiple research questions, but they should all be clearly connected and focused around a central research problem.
The process of developing your research question follows several steps:
When you have a clearly-defined problem, you need to formulate one or more questions. Think about exactly what you want to know and how it will contribute to resolving the problem.
|Example research problem
|Example research question(s)
|The teachers at school X do not have the skills to recognize or properly guide gifted children in the classroom.
|What practical techniques can teachers at school X use to better identify and guide gifted children?
Under-30s increasingly engage in the “gig economy” instead of traditional full-time employment, but there is little research into young people’s experiences of this type of work.
What are the main factors that influence young people’s decisions to engage in the gig economy? What do workers perceive as its advantages and disadvantages? Do age and education level have an effect on how people experience this type of work?