Importance of Research Questions
Research questions are a requisite in every research or dissertation paper. The research question (s) has a major influence on the research methods to be adopted and therefore the validity of the research. The research question is important in research for various reasons that include:
a) It plays a key role in the approval of the research project. The research question informs the Supervisory Committee on the feasibility of a research project. This committee is interested in understanding the link between research question(s) and expected results.
b) Close to the above importance, research question (s) influences the decision of potential financiers. If it is well formulated and the answers it seeks to answer are relevant to the industry, the easier it is to secure relevant funding.
c) The research question(s) determines the kind of research design to be adopted. This is in regard to the methods and techniques to be utilized in the process of data collection and analysis.
Features of a Good Research Question
A good research question is distinctive in nature. This is evident in some features that are characteristic in such questions. These features include:
a) It should be interesting. Research questions should be interesting in the sense that seeking their respective answers is fascinating for all the parties involved in the research may it be the researcher, Supervisory Committee, peers, and the target audience.
b) The research question should be feasible. In this, it should encompass numerous subjects that require investigation and research. It should also consider the availability of relevant technical expertise, time, and financial resources in its investigation. Importantly, the research question should be manageable in scope.
c) The research question should be relevant. This entails the ability to contribute to the body of existing scientific knowledge and/or to future research.
d) It should be novel. This looks at the originality of the research question. It should result into new knowledge where it could refute, confirm, or extend previous knowledge or findings.
Approach when Formulating Research Questions
The process of formulating a research question is quite encompassing. It takes into consideration various factors and activities. These include:
a) Researching on the area of interest should be the first step. This entails reading through academic materials relevant to your research study. Evaluate the contemporary arguments and counter-arguments regarding your study.
b) Find out the relevant research setting. In this, it is important to find out whether it is possible to secure access to the place to conduct your research, more specifically, data collection.
c) Evaluate the time needed to conduct the research. A good research question should put into consideration the time required to carry out the research and the available time for the researcher.
d) Narrowing down the research question is another key step. The researcher should reevaluate the research question to ensure that it is within the right scope.
e) The researcher should evaluate the requisite skills in the investigation of the research question (s).