A good research question is really like a lighthouse. It guides your research paper, pinpoints precisely what you want to find out, and gives your work a clear purpose with proper focus.
Here are some simple 5 steps to develop a strong research question:-
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Step 1 – Choose a broad topic.
Since you will be spending quite some time with it, go with a topic that sparks your interest. For me, I’m thinking of maybe something about social media.
Step 2 – Do some preliminary reading on the topic.
Ok, so I’ve read a lot of newspaper writings about how social media negatively impacts high school students’ academic performances. They also happen to be one of the most active age groups on social media.
Step 3 – Narrow down to a specific niche.
In this way, you can ensure that the research is within a feasible scope instead of something too broad to achieve in a given timeframe. Since academic performance is too broad, let me narrow it down to attention span.
Step 4 – Identify a research problem.
So we have already established that adolescents are one of the most active age groups on social media platforms. However, only a scarce amount of research has been done on social media’s effect on the younger generation’s attention span. This will be my research problem.
Step 5 – Write your research question!
Turning your research problem into a question sounds like this: What effect does daily use of Twitter have on people’s attention span in the age group of 16 to 20?
Since this is descriptive research, the research question is also descriptive. But there are also other kinds of research questions, and it all depends on the type of research you’ll do. Some of the examples include
Now that you have a research question, how do you know if it’s good or not? Here’s a checklist for you.
Now keep in mind, in a research paper or essay, you’ll usually write only one research question. But for a bigger project, you can also develop multiple research questions around the same problem. For example, I can also ask: “Does the infinite scroll function on Twitter contribute to the effect on attention span?” Follow the steps and checklist, and you’ll end up with a research question as a solid foundation for your research!
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