To effectively write the statement of your thesis’s problem, 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. This article features some examples of research questions.
There are already many literature pieces 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?
The intention of the research activity should guide all research activities. Once this is clearly defined, the research has three primary outcomes. The next sections discuss these principles in more detail.
Intention of Writing Research Questions
You will need to bear in mind specific rules and principles on how to go about writing the research questions. Before you start writing the research questions, you should 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?
Research has at least three essential research outcomes. These are described below, along with examples of research questions for each outcome.
Three Primary 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 contextualizes the situation, explains something about the subjects or respondents of the study. It also provides the reader with an overview of your research.
Below are examples of research questions for Research Outcome Number 1 on research about teachers.
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 example research 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 teachers’ teaching styles. These research outcomes show tables and graphs with accompanying 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 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.
You might want to find out the differences between groups in a selected variable in your study. Say you would like to know if there is a significant difference in long quiz scores (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 first example research question intends to determine if a difference exists in long quiz scores between students who study at night and those who study early in the morning, hence are non-directional. The second research question aims to determine if students who study in the morning have better quiz scores than what the literature review 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 determine 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 conceptual framework integrates the study variables. 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 to discover new and exciting things along with their fields of interest.
© 2012 October 22 P. A. Regoniel