Research Question

Topics: Research, Scientific method, Social class Pages: 28 (1164 words) Published: March 24, 2015
Developing Research Questions

1

Research Questions
• Focused a specific area
– Narrows research
– Saves time

• Usually given to students in undergraduate
classes
• The key words can tell you what to search for
and how the paper should be structured

2

• What are the main kinds of disease among fish
kept in freshwater ponds?
• How has the economy of Japan changed in the
last 20 years?
• Why do girls perform better than boys in
school exams in the UK?
3

• What are the main kinds of disease among fish
kept in freshwater ponds?
• How has the economy of Japan changed in the
last 20 years?
• Why do girls perform better than boys in
school exams in the UK?
4

• What are the main kinds of disease among fish
kept in freshwater ponds?
• How has the economy of Japan changed in the
last 20 years?
• Why do girls perform better than boys in
school exams in the UK?
5

• What evidence is there either to support or
contradict the view that the media have a
powerful influence on audience beliefs?
• Why does academic achievement at school
and university level vary between students
from different social classes and ethnic
backgrounds?
• Many industrially advanced countries have
ageing population. What can governments do
about this?
6

• What evidence is there either to support or
contradict the view that the media have a
powerful influence on audience beliefs?
• Why does academic achievement at school
and university level vary between students
from different social classes and ethnic
backgrounds?
• Many industrially advanced countries have
ageing population. What can governments do
about this?
7

• What evidence is there either to support or
contradict the view that the media have a
powerful influence on audience beliefs?
• Why does academic achievement at school
and university level vary between students
from different social classes and ethnic
backgrounds?
• Many industrially advanced countries have
ageing population. What can governments do
about this?
8

What if you are not given a research
question?
• …or it is not specific enough?
• Usually for thesis projects and many postgraduate projects you will need to come up with a focused question
• The page limit of your paper (or time limit of
your presentation) may mean you need to
focus the given question more
9

A good research question
• Defines what needs to be investigated
• Set boundaries, limits
• Provides direction
• Not about your individual beliefs or values
10

Identify the Good
• Are government policies on free trade fair to
the poor?
• What arguments are there to support the view
that the government should fully subsidise
post-secondary education?
• How have people in the Canadian military
influenced political decisions?
• What techniques can be used into order to
teach ESL students to better read and write?
11

Narrowing the Topic
• Ask: What can you easily talk about? What are
you passionate about?
• Ask: What are you curious about knowing?
• Consider:






Personal experience
Theory and observations
Current issues
Topics from the literature
Relation to the class material

• Brainstorm
• Create concept/mind maps

12

Do parents teach their daughters that
You’re
so pretty!!

worth is dependent on external
beauty?

You look so nice in that!

Attraction to opposite sex

Compliments
Desire to be popular

Peers

School ridicule

Poor Self
Image in
Young Girls

Parents
Weight obsessed
mother

Diet ads
Do young girls have an
unrealistic perception of normal?

Media

Size of ‘stars’
is newsworthy
Thin TV Stars
Magazine Models

O'Leary, Z. (2004) The Essential Guide to Doing Research. London: Sage. Chapter 3
13

The influence of the internet on
children

14

Selecting
• Depending on what the research is for – the
selection of a topic is slightly different
• Can it satisfy the instructions and...

References: Danya International Inc. (2003). “The Relationship Between the Research Question, Hypotheses, Specific Aims,
and Long-Term Goals of the Project.” Retrieved March 1, 2012 from
Glendinning, E. & Holmstrom, B. (2004). Study: Reading (2 nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lipowski, E. (2008). Developing great research questions. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 65
(17), 1667-1670.
O 'Leary, Z. (2004). The Essential Guide to Doing Research. London: Sage. (Chapter 3)
University of Victoria Libraries
Wallace, M. (2004). Study: Skills in English (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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