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A Research Question

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Why do professors, thesis supervisors and other seasoned dissertation writers say that a research question is the most important aspect in the entire report?

Why do they insist that the research question should be the first thing to be composed after the selection of the topic and that the entire process of data collection, methodology and data analysis depends on your research question?

What makes it so important?

Before we answer these questions let’s see what is a research question?

What makes it so important?

A research question is a focused, concise and significant question that is arguable and relates to the theme of your research. A research question is the foundation of any research that answers the basic query of the researcher that; ‘what do I want to know about my topic?’ And it gives the writer a clear path for the entire structure of the literature review, data collection, data analysis and conclusion.

A good research question must follow these fourbasic guidelines

  1. It should ultimately generate basis for an argument
  2. The question should be constructed within a single statement
  3. It should have a limited field of topic

What is a quantitative research question?

In quantitative research, the purpose of the study is to determine a relationship between two or more variables which is achieved through statistical support. Because this type of research is based on quantity their research questions usually begin with ‘how many’ or ‘how often’ or what is the impact of (variable 1) on (variable 2)?

Example: What is the impact of upper level employee absenteeism on the amount of salary that he is receiving in any organization?

What is a qualitative research question?

Qualitative research also tries to determine the relationship between two or more variables but is more focused on individual experiences and events rather than on numbers which is why their research questions start with ‘how does’ and ‘why’?

Example: How does the current social media toolsutilization impact a student’s grades?

How to write a research question for a qualitative research?

Now that we know what qualitative and quantitative research questions are, let’s see how we can formulate a research question easily?

  1. The first step is to select the topic of your study. The best way to come up with a topic is to observe your environment and pick a topic that will be interesting to work on. Consult your supervisor and old students before finalizing your topic.
  2. The next step is to determine the basic aim of your research in broad and general terms. Here you will answer ‘what do I want to study through this research?’
  3. Now that you have the general statement, it’s time to make it more specific to give your thesis a focused direction and to narrow the scope of your research. Here you will determine the relationship between two variables so your research question will be ‘how can I determine the relationship between the two variables?’

So, now your research question is ready to be used to formulate the rest of your study aspects like the data collection method, the methodology and analysis techniques of your dissertation or thesis.

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