What Makes a Good Research Question?

Photo by Burak Kebapci from Pexels

After doing some online searching, I have discovered that a good research question is comprised of the following characteristics:

      • It should be clear and specific yet not too narrow or too broad.  The question needs to have a focus.
      • The question cannot be answered by a yes or no response but instead be answered through the research process.
      • The question should be a go between your existing knowledge and the problem you want to solve.
      • It should possess recognizable aspects of a theoretical framework.
      • It should be feasible to answer through research within a certain allotted time frame.

Other things to consider when creating a research question are to choose a topic of interest because of the amount of time spent  focused on the topic.  And consider a research question that is relevant to your field of study or how it could contribute to society.


Grant, C., and Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, selecting, and integrating a theoretical framework in dissertation research: Creating the blueprint for your ‘house’. Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research. DOI: 10.5929/2014.4.2.9

Monach University. (n.d.). Developing research questions. Monach University. https://www.monash.edu/rlo/research-writing-assignments/understanding-the-assignment/developing-research-questions

Royal Roads University. (n.d.). Thesis statements/Research questions/Problem statements. RRU Library. https://library.royalroads.ca/writing-centre/writing/structure/thesis-statements


Where Am I? Visual Network Map


I created this map manually by using Kumu which was a first for me.  This was not a difficult task as I had envision in my head what my network map could potentially look like.  However, I was pleasantly surprised when I completed it and in awe of all the connections I have made.

My map starts with me in the centre and I have colour coded different sections of my map and specifically focused on the networks formed in my career.  My Education networks are red and includes the new networks being created at Royal Roads.  My education connects to my dental hygiene network/career in purple.   Purple is the colour of dental hygiene/dentistry and when I started dental hygiene school, I had a non-existent “dental network” compared to some of my peers.

My dental hygiene network started in the program with my 20 classmates and has grown by working in various dental clinics and dental hygiene institutions. From there, I have cultivated a community of dental hygienists who I often reach out to for collaboration, support, and guidance.  I have close relations with my 20 classmates and often see them at the Pacific Dental Conference or most recently at Zoom events put on by our Association or College.

My dental hygiene career has taken me on a new path in Public Health with the First Nations Health Authority represented in orange.  This role has presented me with opportunities to connect to new dental networks provincially and federally.  My work has also given me the opportunity to forge relationships with First Nations communities in BC and relationships with the dental programs from the various Health Authorities in the province coloured in blue.

After seeing my visual map, I am impressed at the dental network that I have built over the span of almost 20 years and have been reflecting based on the readings from Dron and Anderson (2014) as to what I would classify a “group” or “network” or “set” based on the readings from Dron & Anderson, 2014.

I see my BC Dental Public Health Community of Practice as a group.  These dental hygienists and I meet once a month, “to work collaboratively to develop excellence and continuous quality improvement of dental public health services” (BCDPHCP, 2019, p. 1).  This is a group by definition as there is restricted membership to attend the meetings with certain fixed roles:  Chair, Co-Chair, Recorder and a Terms of Reference.

Overall, this has been an eye-opening exercise to see my networks visually mapped out this way and I see how many of the nodes are connected to various other nodes within my map.


British Columbia Dental Public Health Community of Practice. (2019). British Columbia Dental Public Health Community of Practice Terms of Reference. Unpublished.

Dron, J, & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press. (pp. 93- 197).