Developing Your Research Question

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					        Developing Your
       Research Question

    I know what general area, but
I’m not sure of my research question?



                                        1
The Importance of Good Questions
A good research question:

   Defines the investigation
   Sets boundaries
   Provides direction
   Helps produce good research
                                   2
Defining Your Topic
If you are finding it a challenge to
  generate a research topic you can:

   Hone in on your passions
   Use your curiosity
   Look for inspiration from the creative arts
   Develop ‘right brain’ skills such as concept
    mapping

                                                   3
Concept Map of Potential
Research Topics




                           4
Minding Practicalities
Research directions are not always at the
 full discretion of the researcher.
 Practicalities include:

   Appropriateness of the topic
   Your ability to get supervisory support
   Funding opportunities and commitments


                                              5
From Interesting Topics to
Researchable Questions
   theory
   observations/personal experiences
   contemporary issues
   engagement with the literature
   develop a title
   Pose the topic as a brief question


                                         6
Narrowing and Clarifying
   Narrowing, clarifying, and even
    redefining your questions is essential to
    the research process.
   Forming the right ‘questions’ should be
    seen as an iterative process that is
    informed by reading and doing at all
    stages.

                                            7
The Hypothesis Dilemma
   Hypotheses are designed to express
    relationships between variables. If this
    is the nature of your question, a
    hypothesis can add to your research
   If your question is more descriptive or
    explorative, generating a hypothesis
    may not be appropriate

                                               8
The Hypothesis Dilemma
A hypothesis may not be appropriate if:
   You do not have a hunch or educated guess
    about a particular situation
   You do not have a set of defined variables.
   Your question centres on phenomenological
    description
   Your question centres on an ethnographic
    study of a cultural group

                                                  9
Good Question Checklist
Is the question right for me?

 Will the question hold my interest?
 Can I manage any potential
  biases/subjectivities I may have?



                                        10
Good Question Checklist
 Is the question right for the field?


 Will the findings be considered
  significant?
 Will it make a contribution?



                                         11
Good Question Checklist
Is the question well articulated?

 Are the terms well-defined?
 Are there any unchecked assumptions?




                                     12
 Good Question Checklist
Is the question doable?

 Can information be collected in an attempt to answer
  the question?
 Do I have the skills and expertise necessary to access
  this information? If not, can the skills be developed?
 Will I be able to get it all done within my time
  constraints?
 Are costs likely to exceed my budget?
 Are there any potential ethics problems?
                                                       13
Good Question Checklist
Does the question get the tick of
 approval from those in the know?

 Does my supervisor think I am on the
  right track?
 Do ‘experts’ in the field think my
  question is relevant/ important/ doable?

                                         14

				
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