What Makes a Good Research Question?

I came in to LRNT522 knowing little about “research” apart from the broad understanding that it involves studying things and people. Exposure to the readings, the methodologies, and the varying types of research has deepened my thoughts on research, and heightened my awareness of the complexities that go in to “good” research.

More than anything, I am aware of how a research question can shape the way that a researchers intentions come together. Changes in wording or scope can change the entire trajectory of a research project, or end up producing results that do not match the initial hypothesis or inquisitive statement. From the formal readings in the course, and from reviewing my peers’ padlet submissions I have decided that a good research question is:

  • Clear
  • Appropriately narrow
  • Realizable

In relation to Clear, the researcher must clearly describe what their research will uncover or confirm for the audience. In reading the research question, the audience should be able to develop an accurate understanding of what they are about to read.

In relation to Appropriately Narrow, the researcher should ensure that the subject or participants of their research are consistent enough to draw conclusions towards the hypothesis at the end. Narrowing a research question could include adding geographic areas, participant demographics, economic circumstance, etc. Research questions with too broad a scope may produce too many variables.

In relation to Realizable, the researcher must ensure that the topic of their study is actually attainable or achievable. They must consider various elements, such as plausibility, ethics, available of subjects and more, to ensure that their research will produce a result while maintaining its ethical integrity. For example, a research question or study focused on how technology use impacts youth amongst uncontacted tribes throughout the world is clear, narrow, but entirely unrealizable.

One thought on “What Makes a Good Research Question?”

  1. Paula, I like the way you clearly expand on each of these important points in developing a good research question.

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