A good research question begins with interest; the amount of work involved in undertaking the quality and quantity of research that would lead to substantial and change related research findings is immense and requires a high level of dedication from the researcher. Without a full commitment to the research, the researcher would find it difficult to sustain the energy and commitment level throughout the research.

While listening through the MALAT LRNT-521 Virtual Symposium (that’s the guest link – in case you are not a RRU student)- specifically, the End in Mind track (which included a chance to hear from MALAT students who were just in the process of completing their research projects) – I was struck by one of the MALAT student’s statements regarding the importance of interest in choosing his Research Project. The student was a carpenter, and taught carpentry, and was involved in the development of on-line versions of his courses. His research centered on the use of fundings that were earmarked for development, and if those funds were utilized to their full capacity. He mentioned how much work that the creation of his study had taken, and that he could have easily spent even more time than he did in creating the study (in afterthought he would have liked to have broadened his outreach to more schools as he only reached out to three, and would have expanded that number in order to get a larger, more accurate view of the issue); even though he had spent a considerable amount of time on the research. He made it clear that he was very interested in his chosen research topic, and that his interest allowed him to push himself through the considerable work load and that in hindsight, he was happy with his choice.

Of course, there are other considerations in the question “what makes a good research question?”, but without interest on the part of the researcher, than the outcome would pale by comparison to a research question undertaken with other motives – to me, interest plays the most important role in the decision making process.

So, to summarize;

What makes a good research question?

  • Strong interest in the outcome of the research
  • Strong interest in the overall research arena
  • Having a stake in the outcome, although not absolutely required, helps drive efforts