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Define Research Question

Define Research Question and Guidelines for Proper Structuring of your Thesis

Having trouble with your thesis?

Trust us, you’re not alone!

Many students are unable to write a proper thesis or dissertation only because they cannot define their research question correctly and this affects their entire study.

But before formulating a good definition of the research question and before writing your thesis or dissertation, it is important to know how to cover these integral aspects of your dissertation. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to write before you begin the research process.

How to define the research question?

Defining a research question in simple words refers to explicitly stating a question that a researcher will attempt to answer through a logical investigative process. A research question is the methodological point of the beginning of the intellectual study of natural sciences and humanities. Defining a research question more elaborately is like going for a road trip in a strange place, you need to have a road map with exact specifications so that it can guide you through the journey. That road map is the research question in case of investigative studies. In other words, it is the driving force behind the entire research process.

So, how can you properly structure a research question for your thesis or dissertation?

Guideline for proper structuring of a research question:

The basic structure of a good research question needs to be SMART i.e. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. But that’s not all. Let’s look at a basic guideline for research questions:

A research question should

  1. Be analytical that requires data analysis
  2. Be somewhat predictable or explanative in the outcome of the research
  3. Contain two or more variables that should be a measurable thorough investigation
  4. Should be focused and should clearly show the relationship between the study to the field of research chosen
  5. Have scope that is broad enough to be researchable and narrow enough to be completed within the specified time frame
  6. Require that the researcher make observations, then generalization through which conclusion would be derived.
  7. Answer basic questions like who, when what and where of the theme
  8. Be researchable and you should be skilled enough and resourced enough to investigate upon the subject
  9. Most importantly the study question that you compose should be valid. The research that you take up should actually be worth the study. Through the research question, the knowledge that you reveal should be significant.

A research question should not

  1. Contain jargons or abbreviations so that understanding for the reader is difficult
  2. contain subjective words which can be interpreted differently by different people
  3. be questions that can be answered in ‘yes’ or ‘no’
  4. be uninteresting for the reader

Hence, for formulating a good research question; it is important that you know how to define a research question and have a clear idea of what it signifies so that you can follow its structural guidelines easily and effectively. Now click here to see a few powerful tips to write elaborate and spot-on answers of the research question.

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