What Makes a Good Research Question?

A research question forms out of a necessity to delve deeper into a subject matter and becomes the foundation for a study. A good research question “…aims to explore an existing uncertainty in an area of concern and points to a need for deliberate investigation” (Ratan et. al., 2019, p.15).

A good and effective research question should be:

      • specific, well-conceived, and define what you will examine
      • clear and concise, yet open to interpretation and argument
      • based on good research and evidence

A good research question will:

      • be relevant, addressing a problem that has yet to be unpacked
      • guide the study design through an applicable methodological approach
      • utilize the FINERMAPS acronym: feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, relevant, manageable, appropriate, potential value, publishability, and systematic (Ratan et. al., 2019).

Developing a research question requires time and thoughtful consideration. Remember the acronym for the characteristics of a good research question: FINERMAPS, feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, relevant, manageable, appropriate, potential value, publishability, and systematic. Incorporating these considerations will allow for the creation of a strong and impactful research question.


Ratan, S. K., Anand, T., & Ratan, J. (2019). Formulation of Research Question – Stepwise Approach. Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, 24(1), 15–20. https://doi.org/10.4103/jiaps.JIAPS_76_18

Impact of Digital Learning on the Existing Digital Divide in Canada

For this activity, I partnered with Anabella and Jolee to discuss the impact of digital learning on the existing digital divide in Canada. In doing so, we gathered information to highlight the plans and policies in place to reduce the digital divide and increase digital literacy and inclusion, as well as articulate the impact on academic performance.

Please hover over the hotspots to find articles to support our research.

Visual Network Map

The networks presented in my Visual Network Map are indicative of the various areas of interest and intersections of both my work and personal endeavours. As Dron & Anderson (2014) point out in Teaching Crowds, “[e]very individual’s network is different from those of others because it is defined by social connections and therefore it matters whose perspective and connections are being observed” (p.76). It is through this relationship of perspective and observation of connections, that I have constructed the networks presented here. My professional network is simply labeled Education Network. The modes of interactions in this network are primarily one-to-one, although some are one-to-many. Included in this map are my peers within the MALAT program, a network connected to my higher education pursuits. The Volleyball Network is a blend of professional (coaching) and participation in sport (athlete), where both have allowed for many meaningful connections. The Personal Social Network is made up of friends and family, where primary interactions are one-to-one, or one-to-many, and are done through social media tools such as Instagram and Facebook.

I have used Kumu to complete this mapping task. Kumu offers ease-of-use and accessibility for even the most inexperienced user. If you have a LinkedIn account, you will delight in its features of importing csv. files and modifying where needed. It offers tutorials and how-to’s if you ever run into trouble. There is one drawback from my experience, in that it does require some time to edit if you are not importing a large network of connections from LinkedIn.

Angela’s Visual Network Map



Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press. https://www.aupress.ca/books/120235-teaching-crowds/


Visitor-Resident Mapping

As I stare at my blank, hand-drawn tension-pair map (White & Le Cornu, 2011), I find myself reflecting on my digital identity. After some time, I am able to finish the activity, but not before reflecting on the act itself: it is complicated. I know it shouldn’t be, but it is painstaking.

I manage to transfer my perceptions onto my drawing using pencil and paper, nothing fancy. It’s greyscale. I choose grey because the complexity of colour is too intricate a detail to deconstruct. I move things around just enough to make it capture me. There are no compartments, I can’t be compartmentalized. I want it to look like water, because I want to believe I am fluid, not fixed.

Here’s where I get stuck: When do we consider the factors that contribute to the typologies presented? Before, after, during? What about time: do we reconstruct a new map every so many years? How about context: do we reconstruct a new map for every career change?

In 2021, is my digital identity separate from my personal identity? When I participate in this act, and log my engagement in digital spaces, am I not fully participating? I wonder if our modes of behaviour are extrinsic to our identity politics. I wonder how much we are performing (Cover, 2012), and how much we are authentic in these spaces, and to what degree this affects our placement.

Whether I like it or not, I am pegged down onto this spectrum in one way or another.

And I suppose that’s the point.

“There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet”  -T. S. Eliot



White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011, September 5). View of Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement: First Monday. View of Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement | First Monday. https://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049

Cover, R. (2012). Performing and undoing identity online: social networking, identity theories and the incompatibility of online profiles and friendship regimes. Convergence18(2), 177–193. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856511433684

Eliot, T. S. (n.d.). The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/44212/the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock

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