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Formulating a Research Question

Designing scientific research is an art that can be learnt only by practice. We all are involved in doing research in one form or another, for example, writing a dissertation, thesis or a scientific paper. Research question should be very clear and concise so that it can focus the development of a research design. Scientific curiosity is our most important attribute for generating research ideas.

The main sources which help us in identification of a research question are:
1.    Good observation
2.    Critical reading/thinking
3.    Discussions
4.    Experience
5.    Mentor: you can get idea/expert opinion from your professor/mentor
6.    Journal articles: you might get the idea from published research papers
7.    Research groups: you can approach different groups through internet

Types of Research Questions

Primarily describe what is going on or what exists?
Design to look at the relationship between two or more variables.
Determine cause and effect relationship among variables

Evaluation of Research Question

•    Does the question deal with a topic or issue that interests you enough?
•    Is the question easily and fully researchable?
•    What type of information is needed to answer the question?
•    Is the scope of this information reasonable?
•    What sources are needed to answer the research question?
•    What researcher’s skills are required?
•    What is the overall probability of successful completion?

Research Rationale

Research is simply the manner by which we solve knotty problems. The research question should have logical rationale that supports this specific approach used to test it. You must have sound theory to formulate a specific research question. Three general criteria should be considered to determine that it is worth pursuing.
It should be:
1.    Important
2.    Answerable
3.    Feasible

Feasibility of Research Question

The question should be:
1.    Relevant
2.    Interesting
3.    Without duplication
4.    Political acceptable
5.    Applicable
6.    Cost effective
7.    Ethically reasonable

Read more about research methodology…

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