What are Examples of Research Questions?

To effectively write the statement of the problem of your thesis, you will need to bear in mind certain principles that will guide you in framing those critical questions.  Well-written research questions determine how the whole research process will proceed.

At least three basic research outcomes are expected. These are described below along with examples of research questions for each outcome.

There are already many pieces of literature written on how to write the research questions required in investigating a phenomenon. But how are the research questions framed in actual situations? How do you write the research questions?

You will need to bear in mind certain rules and principles on how to go about writing the research questions. Before you start writing the research questions, you should be able to discern what you intend to arrive at in your research.

What are your aims and what are your expected research outcomes? Do you intend to describe something, determine differences or explain the causes of a phenomenon?

Three Basic Research Outcomes

There are at least three basic research outcomes that will arise in writing the research questions. These are 1) come up with a description, 2) determine differences between variables, and 3) find out correlations between variables.

Research Outcome Number 1. Come up with a description.

The outcome of your research question may be in the form of a description. The description is provided to contextualize the situation, explain something about the subjects or respondents of the study or provide the reader an overview of your study.

Below are examples of common research questions for Research Outcome Number 1 on a research conducted on teachers as respondents in a study.

Example Research Questions

  • What is the demographic profile of the teachers in terms of age, gender, educational attainment, civil status, and number of training attended?
  • How much time do teachers devote in preparing their lessons?
  • What teaching styles are used by teachers in managing their students?

The expected outcomes of the questions above will be a description of the teachers’ demographic profile, a range of time devoted to preparing their lessons, and a description of the teaching styles used by the teachers. These research outcomes can be presented in the form of tables and graphs with accompanying descriptions of the highlights of the findings. Highlights are those interesting trends or dramatic results that need attention such as very few training provided to teachers.

Research Outcome Number 2. Determine differences between variables.

To be able to write research questions that integrate the variables of the study, you should be able to define what is a variable. If this term is already quite familiar to you, and you are confident in your understanding, you may read the rest of this post.studying

You might want to find out the differences between groups in a selected variable in your study. Say, you would want to know if there is a significant difference in long quiz score (the variable you are interested in) between students who study at night and students who study early in the morning. You may frame your research questions thus:

Example Research Questions

  • Non-directional: Is there a significant difference in long quiz score between students who study early in the morning and students who study at night?
  • Directional: Are the quiz scores of students who study early in the morning higher than those who study at night?

The intention of the first research question is to find out if a difference exists in long quiz scores between students who study at night and those who study early in the morning, hence is non-directional. The second research question aims to find out if indeed students who study in the morning have better quiz scores as what the review of the literature suggests. Thus, the latter is directional.

Research Outcome Number 3. Find out correlations or relationships between variables.

The outcome of research questions in this category will be to explain correlations or causality. Below are examples of research questions that aim to find out correlations or relationships between variables using a combination of the variables mentioned in research outcome numbers 1 and 2.

Example Research Questions

  • Is there a significant relationship between teaching style and long quiz score of students?
  • Is there a significant association between the student’s long quiz score and the teacher’s age, gender, and training attended?
  • Is there a relationship between the long quiz score and the number of hours devoted by students in studying their lessons?

Note that in all the preceding examples of research questions, the variables of the study found in the conceptual framework of the study are integrated. Therefore, research questions must always incorporate the variables in them so that the researcher can describe, find differences, or correlate them with each other.

If you find this helpful, take the time to share this with your peers so that they can likewise discover new, exciting and interesting things along their fields of interest.

© 2012 October 22 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (October 22, 2012). What are Examples of Research Questions?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2012/10/22/what-are-examples-of-research-questions/

113 thoughts on “What are Examples of Research Questions?”

    1. Dear Patricia,
      Thanks for visiting SimplyEducate.Me. Qualitative methodology answers questions that cannot be answered simply by quantification. Answers to qualitative research questions are words, not numbers, as data for analysis. In the given example above on students’ long quiz score, you might want to ask a qualitative question like “What keeps students from studying their lessons?” Essentially, qualitative questions require qualitative methodology.

      1. Dear zahir, education system is quite broad. What do you want to know about it. Narrow down your research topic into something that you can manage, or break down into variables that you can measure.

  1. Congratulation for the work you have been doing. my question is, “How social-economic status of student affect his/her academic perfomance?” and can I use it as my research title?

    1. Hello Philemon, thank you for visiting SimplyEducate.me. Your question that will lend itself to statistical analysis should be: “Is there a significant relationship between a student’s socio-economic status and his/her academic performance?” By all means you may use the two variables in your research title. But I suppose there are already a lot of literature that show that there, indeed, is a significant relationship between socioeconomic status and academic performance. Here’s a good review to start you off: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/media/users/lec321/Sirin_Articles/Sirin_2005.pdf

    2. Hello sir,
      I am going to do a research in my university. I have to make my research question based on political economy subject. I don’t know how to make a question to be applicable in the university. I need your help in this regard.

      Thank you

      1. Dear Zirbena,
        Your research questions on political economy should revolve around interaction between politics and the economy. For example, you may ask the question: How can the level of corruption affect the market processes? Or probably, national policies on biodiversity to wildlife trade. Your question depends on your interest as a researcher. You also need to read researches related to political economy. See this example: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/wp97139.pdf

  2. Keep it up with the great work you are doing. At least i have an idea of what i am suppose to do in a research.
    I however have one question, how can i frame my research question on multiculturalism? I am interested in finding out the degree of influence that other cultures have to the US economy particularly the Asians’.

  3. you are doing a wonderful job!
    My question is,” Do good athletes make good students and good citizens?” can u help me to find a good literature for dis topic… is this a good question?

    – Educate Me Plx ! –

    1. Dear Rozy, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, in his book aerobics says that studies indicate that those who were intelligent enough to keep themselves in good physical condition were also intelligent enough to make it as students and officers. Further, he says that a man who is physically fit usually has a better outlook, among others so that means that person will also be good citizens. Read the following article and see the references for more readings: http://www.nwu.ac.za/sites/www.nwu.ac.za/files/files/p-fasrek/pdf/2011/DU%20TOIT%20et%20al%20%282011%29%20RELATIONSHIP%20BETWEEN%20PHYSICAL%20FITNESS%20AND%20ACADEMIC%20PERFORMANCE%20IN%20SOUTH%20AFRICAN%20CHILDREN.pdf

  4. Hello Gabriel, thanks for visiting simplyeducate.me. I think that would make a good topic. But you have to define the context of your study. What specific accident would you like to look into? Is it road accident, accident at work, or other places it could occur? You need to translate your idea into something that you can focus on or manage.

  5. What would be good research questions for a research topic ” project based learning on teaching and learning in Business Education.

    1. Dear Kupsy, project based learning is founded on the assumption that learning can be best achieved if done independently by students. Thus, they are exposed to real world problems unlike the conventional approach in classrooms where they are at the receiving end.
      An example directional research question I could figure out is: Are students trained under project based learning approach more congruent with their jobs after graduation compared to those who underwent conventional academic training? You may then have to measure the level of congruence as the dependent variable while the teaching approach, conventional and project based, are your independent variables.
      Hope that helps.

  6. Is this a good research question?
    “Is there a significant relationship between the active use of Facebook and the self-esteem of a student?”

  7. Dear Louie, your question is okay as long as you are clear on how you are going to measure active use of Facebook as well as a student’s self esteem. You also need to establish the relationship between the use of social media such as Facebook and self-esteem through your review of literature. That will strengthen your thesis on the social media vs. self-esteem connection.

  8. Is this a good research question; “studying the relationship between managerial succession and organizational performance” and where would i get the literature view that would enable me build a good hypothesis and framework for data collection

  9. Dear JoMak,
    Let me rephrase your research question. It should be stated something like this: “Is there a significant relationship between managerial succession and managerial performance?” You will have to define your managerial succession and managerial performance. Read: http://simplyeducate.me/2012/10/22/what-are-examples-of-variables-in-research/
    You should be able to get free literature from several sources. I wrote about those sources here: http://simplyeducate.me/2014/02/07/five-techniques-to-review-related-literature/

  10. What will be likely research questions for a project like ” Motivation and teachers retention in secondary schools”? And what statistical method will be suitable?Thanks.

  11. Dear Ogah,
    Your research question may be posed like this: Is there a significant relationship between motivation and teacher’s retention in secondary schools? But of course you need to define what is motivation and teacher’s retention in measurable terms for you to apply statistical tests for it. The nature of the two variables that you try to relate will determine the type of statistical test. See discussion of the appropriate statistical test in http://simplyeducate.me/2015/02/18/statistical-analysis-how-to-choose-a-statistical-test/

    1. Hello Hanna,

      If you want to study people being overweight, there are many things you need to consider such as associating this with health problems like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Or you might want to study a group of people who were once overweight but engaged themselves in an exercise program. Or maybe you’d want to study the relationship between diet and being overweight. Thus, you need to narrow down further your topic into something that can be investigated based on laid out objectives of your study. You should have a goal in mind first. You may read my previous post on how to design your study to address this concern: http://simplyeducate.me/2014/04/24/research-goal-its-importance-in-designing-a-study/

  12. Dear Mari, your research topic appears okay as long as you specify the group activities you will study as well as the specific variable you need to measure academic performance. There are just a lot of group activities that can influence academic performance which may be the student’s grade in a particular subject. To identify which group activities affect academic performance, you will have to review relevant literature.

    1. Sir you are doing a great job which we are all benefiting from but my question sir is um currently doing an attachment at a company which specialises in the manufacturing of stock feed so i want to know how do i come out with a research question based on the company for an example one of the research question i had thought of was What makes(company name) succesful in the stockfeed industry?

      1. Dear t.J, the first question you have to ask yourself or probably better, questions you should ask the managers or leaders of your stock feed company, is “What improvements do they desire or problems the company has to solve related to the operations of the stock feed company?” You just use research as a tool to help them. The bottom line is: Why do you want to do research in the first place? What are your objectives, goals or desires for the company? Start off with a purpose and design your research to fulfill that purpose. Your question will depend on the goals or objectives of the company. You should align your research to what they want to realize as a supplier of stock feed.

  13. pls sir what do u think could be my research questions on effects of broken homes on academic performance of secondary students in Nigeria

  14. Hi ..thank you so much for your article I was wondering if the following would be a good problem statement
    What are effective strategies that will help to successfully implement reading groups in the elementary classroom?

  15. Dear Betty,
    Your question can be answered by reviewing existing literature. You should find a way to measure differences between strategies in implementing reading groups by comparing pupil performance under each strategy. Your question would be to compare differences between these strategies. For example, “Is there a significant difference between Strategy A and Strategy B in implementing reading groups among elementary pupils?”
    I hope that helps. Thank you for visiting simplyeducate.me

  16. hi. in my country primary schools make up school development plans, which is a road map of the year. the plans are made towards the end of the year in preparation for the following year. however, most school do not follow their plans. as a researcher i want to find out why is this so. what do you think can be a research question .

    1. Dear busi,
      I missed your question but here’s my answer: Your concern is about the implementation of school development plans. Are schools required by the government to plan then execute their plans? If they are required then the issue is about the school’s compliance to the government’s directive. And there may be many reasons behind their inability to do so. Your initial question should be “What are the reasons for the school’s inability to follow their plans?” You will get a simple listing of all the reasons and you can then rank them accordingly to see which ones are preventing them from following their plans. It is possible that those plans were not backed up by the corresponding budget to carry it out. From this initial question, many other questions may arise for follow-up research.

  17. I’m currently doing a project proposal for my Stat class. Is this a reasonable research question for a semester?
    “Do students who go to school and work at the same time affect their academic performances?”

  18. I am looking at reading intervention at my school for children from grades 3-8. what would be my possible research question for this topic. What am seeing here is that children guess many words, having hard time to pronounce them and more.

  19. Dear Paul,
    What you are saying that children guess many words is already your hypothesis. The issue has something to do with reading comprehension. You will need references about reading comprehension to direct your research towards your intended study.
    Meanwhile, what would you like to do? Do you want to try your reading intervention if it will work? If you want to do so, your question would be “Is there a significant difference in reading comprehension between pupils who have undergone teaching style X and those who did not?” This of course requires a tool to measure reading comprehension.

  20. Hi Patrick,
    I am doing a research on struggling readers at a particular school. Can this research question work? If not how can I improve it? Please help. “What are the causes and effects of struggling readers at X school?”

  21. Hi Sir! Could you please help me with my research. It is about relationship of vocabulary to student’s achievement in Math. I need some suggestions about this topic. Thank you!

    1. Dear Clang,
      You already have identified your topic. You are asking if the vocabulary of students has something to do with their Math achievement. You just have to define exactly what you mean by vocabulary. Does it have to do with their mastery of the English language? You need to read the article on variables here ( http://simplyeducate.me/2012/10/22/what-are-examples-of-variables-in-research/ ) to get a better idea on how to define the variables of your study.

  22. Hello Sir,
    Could you please help me with my research question. I am not sure if it has been already done. I am leaning towards qualitative research. The question I am formulating is : What teaching behaviors are strongly associated with high achievement among English Language Learners in elementary schools?
    Is this reasonable. Thank you!

  23. I need help developing research questions and need to know if we can start it out with the word “if”. If teenagers had a healthier alternative to caffeinated and carbonated beverages, would that lower and/or eliminate obesity amongst youth?

    1. Dear Viera,
      Your question shows that you are clear on what you intend to do. If you are a student and asking the question starting with “if” is allowed by your school, go ahead and ask the question. The point in asking questions is for you to be able to pin down the question in your mind in answerable form. Being unconventional or innovative opens new doors that offer exciting discoveries. Please read http://simplyeducate.me/2013/05/21/thinking-beyond-vs-outside-the-box/ for you to see what I mean. Alternatively, you may ask the question in its conventional form: “Is there a relationship between obesity and the type of beverage taken by the youth?”

  24. Hi, I was wondering if you could help me develop a research question. The topic I was interested in is overpopulation of humans. My teacher wants this to be very specific and I’m having a hard time developing a questions. Here are some I came up with: “How over fishing leads to destruction of bio ecosystems”, “What is the psychology behind overpopulation of humans”. Thank you for your time

  25. What is the correct way to phrase the research question about the age of consumers who no longer buy unhealthy beverages and the decline in sales of those beverages?

  26. I need help with my research question that is being carried out for 5 weeks. Would this question be possible, “is organic prodcuts overpriced?” I need primary research whIch I am struggling with.

  27. Dear Mich, if you want to know if your product is overpriced or not, then you need to have a standard by which you can compare. The price of products is dictated by the law of supply and demand. And at the end of the day, the final measure of the price is the willingness of people to pay for that product.
    Therefore, considering whether a product is overpriced or not is just a matter of consumer perception. You may then have to ask customers if the price of organic products is overpriced or not compared to what people think the price of an organic product should be. Another way would be to ask people how much additional cost they are willing to pay to buy an organic product. The average additional cost may be assumed as the price limit for a product that is not overpriced.
    I hope that helps. Thank you for visiting SimplyEducate.me.

      1. Dear Muhammad, if you are interested in knowing that Nestle milk pack is pure milk then you will have to use a standard that is considered pure milk. Alternatively, milk may be subjected to a lab test to confirm its purity.

  28. Dear Alou, you’re probably looking at a phenomenon on deteriorating performance of students in X high school. That’s a good start to review related literature on factors affecting academic performance.

  29. Gone through your work and its so wonderful how you handle it . i am working on my project proposal and am having hard time coming up with the best research question . help me out start with this if its good and its framing i will appreciate,,,, What are the implications of aligning investment decisions with overall strategy on company performance

  30. My research proposal is:
    In patients receiving medical care, what is the effect of animal-assisted therapy on physical, emotional, and observed behavior?
    Using PIO/question template but it sounds like it is missing something. Any advice?
    Does the question need a narrowed down population?
    Do I have too many dependent variables?
    Thanks!

  31. I am looking to develop a research question about the teaching the concept of packaging to grade 10 students. Whether having a practical setting of them actively packaging items than just sitting there listening to me teach the topic

  32. “How does the introduction of healthier items in McDonald’s menus from 2010-2015, measured by the nutrition count (provided by McDonald’s), have bearings on the image of Macdonald’s now in 2016?”

  33. hi! I would like to ask if this is a good research title for my thesis?
    ” Factors affecting early childhood behaviour ” and if you have any reference that you would like to share with me?thanks a lot:)

  34. Dear roselle, childhood behavior is too broad. You need to narrow this down further. Are you looking into their antisocial behavior, aggressive behavior, etc. Once you narrow this down, you can just go to Google Scholar and type your keyword there to start off a review.

  35. hellow ! can you please narrow this reseach topic for me “A case study of khomasdal campus third and fourth year students teacher training on how to teach writing skills in senior primary phase” or is it fine like that ? Thanks

  36. I am about to begin an action research and your explanation of how to formulate research questions has made my task much clearer than before. Thank you very much for being generous with your knowledge.

  37. I need help! I am writing a research proposal and my topic is “Benefits Leveled Literacy Intervention system has on the reading levels for students identified as struggling readers”
    I have a section where I have to write sub-problems, assumptions and limitations. I am not sure what to write for those three sections any ideas?

  38. Dear Cari, just refer to your university’s research proposal manual for a description of the sections. Each university has its own unique format. Anyhow, subproblems are just mini-problems encompassed by your main questions. For example, if your problem statement is: Is there a relationship between BLLI and the reading levels of struggling readers? Your subproblem might be a question about the characteristics of struggling readers. When you cannot get the information you want for your study and it might be costly to obtain such information, you just write assumptions to level off understanding. You might assume that there is no difference between the reading skills of males and females. Lastly, limitations just define the extent of your study. For example, you might say that your study covers only first grade students, and not the everyone in the elementary level. May you find these tips useful in your study.

  39. Hi. Please help me in this one. Is Mathematics Performance Enhancement Program Among Students a good research title? What would be the possible questions for this one. tnx.

  40. Hi!

    I need help for my research question for my thesis. I was thinking along the lines and to do in in a qualitative method such as semi-structured interview because I am not confident with my quantitative analysis skills. Will that be okay? I understand that a mix of both is the best, but my current skills are not equipped with doing a quantitate analysis.

    I have a few questions in mind, are you able to assist me in your opinion and how to improve them?

    1) Will citizens be unhappy with poor government performance?
    2) Good government performance information is likely to increase more cynicism in citizens

    1. I missed this question Bryan. Your first question is easily answered. Who’s happy with poor government performance? The point is, you need not conduct a study about it. As for the second question, you could possibly do research on that topic. That is not a research question but a hypothesis.

  41. Hi!.. I am a teacher. Can you please help me to come up with topics that I can use for my research paper?.. It will be of great help if the topic is related to grade school pupils.

    A heartfelt thank you!

    Neri

  42. Hi
    What a cool forum! I want to design a research study on the benefits of homework in increasing engagement and academic levels in primary schools..would this topic need refining or narrowing down further??
    Thank you..

  43. Hello I nid help here cn u pliz hlp me to come up with a research problem in dis topic;engaging and empowering youth through government programs like;youth fund,national heritage,sports nd recreation and others also the literature review nd theories related to it…thanks

    1. Dear Thato, your request needs considerable time. Use Google Scholar and look for information using keywords like youth empowerment. That keyword will show you some relevant studies you can read and understand.

  44. Hi sir I greatly appreciate your work to humanity.I Wish you help me came out with a good research topic Muslim indigenous communities and their perceptions toward girl child long stay in school.Futhering education to post secondary

  45. Hello , your article was an interesting read. thank you
    We have to design a research question which is related to business.
    e.g. does business investment on advertising actually contribute toward customer awarness and lead to business profitability . is this is a suitable one?

  46. Dear Nilanke, the way I see it, you need not study that question. Indeed if there is advertising, people will be aware about a product and there is a greater chance that people will buy that product. Find other questions that are not easily answered or require a systematic approach to obtain answers.

  47. hello sir!
    i have my research regarding the facilitative learning style to raise the students’ academic performance and i want to know if there is a need for me to narrow down my topic ? Secondly, can you suggest research questions on this topic? thank you so much. 😉

  48. You are doing a great job sir and your articles are quite helpful. Please help see to this dissertation topic : Influence of Teachers attitude, intellectual capacity and experience on students academic achievement. Also, help with theoretical and conceptual framework. Thanks in anticipation.

  49. “Is there any relation between leadership style and the level of motivation?” Is this an appropriate topic to research..??

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