A good research question states the focus of investigation in the research and is:

  • specific
  • clear
  • not answerable with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’-are open ended

Qualitative Research Questions

Qualitative research questions take on two forms, the central question and associated sub questions. The central question is a broad question that asks for exploration of the central phenomenon or concept in a study, while sub questions serve to narrow the focus of the study and leave open the questioning. Good qualitative research questions may begin with the words ‘what’ or ‘how’ and use exploratory verbs like discover, seek to understand, explore or describe (Creswell, J., 2009).

Quantitative Research Questions

Quantitative research questions seek to inquire about the relationships among variables the researcher seeks to know and may include directional words like ‘determine’, ‘impact,’ ’cause’, ‘relate’ or ‘influence’.

Mixed Methods Research Questions

Mixed methods research advances both qualitative and quantitative research questions.




Byrne, D. (2017). How do I know if my research question is suitable?. Project Planner. 10.4135/9781526408525.

Creswell, J. 2009. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Retrieved from https://library.royalroads.ca/writing-centre/writing/structure/thesis-statements