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How to Write a Good Research Question (w/ Examples)

statement of research questions

What is a Research Question?

A research question is the main question that your study sought or is seeking to answer. A clear research question guides your research paper or thesis and states exactly what you want to find out, giving your work a focus and objective. Learning  how to write a hypothesis or research question is the start to composing any thesis, dissertation, or research paper. It is also one of the most important sections of a research proposal . 

A good research question not only clarifies the writing in your study; it provides your readers with a clear focus and facilitates their understanding of your research topic, as well as outlining your study’s objectives. Before drafting the paper and receiving research paper editing (and usually before performing your study), you should write a concise statement of what this study intends to accomplish or reveal.

Research Question Writing Tips

Listed below are the important characteristics of a good research question:

A good research question should:

  • Be clear and provide specific information so readers can easily understand the purpose.
  • Be focused in its scope and narrow enough to be addressed in the space allowed by your paper
  • Be relevant and concise and express your main ideas in as few words as possible, like a hypothesis.
  • Be precise and complex enough that it does not simply answer a closed “yes or no” question, but requires an analysis of arguments and literature prior to its being considered acceptable. 
  • Be arguable or testable so that answers to the research question are open to scrutiny and specific questions and counterarguments.

Some of these characteristics might be difficult to understand in the form of a list. Let’s go into more detail about what a research question must do and look at some examples of research questions.

The research question should be specific and focused 

Research questions that are too broad are not suitable to be addressed in a single study. One reason for this can be if there are many factors or variables to consider. In addition, a sample data set that is too large or an experimental timeline that is too long may suggest that the research question is not focused enough.

A specific research question means that the collective data and observations come together to either confirm or deny the chosen hypothesis in a clear manner. If a research question is too vague, then the data might end up creating an alternate research problem or hypothesis that you haven’t addressed in your Introduction section .

The research question should be based on the literature 

An effective research question should be answerable and verifiable based on prior research because an effective scientific study must be placed in the context of a wider academic consensus. This means that conspiracy or fringe theories are not good research paper topics.

Instead, a good research question must extend, examine, and verify the context of your research field. It should fit naturally within the literature and be searchable by other research authors.

References to the literature can be in different citation styles and must be properly formatted according to the guidelines set forth by the publishing journal, university, or academic institution. This includes in-text citations as well as the Reference section . 

The research question should be realistic in time, scope, and budget

There are two main constraints to the research process: timeframe and budget.

A proper research question will include study or experimental procedures that can be executed within a feasible time frame, typically by a graduate doctoral or master’s student or lab technician. Research that requires future technology, expensive resources, or follow-up procedures is problematic.

A researcher’s budget is also a major constraint to performing timely research. Research at many large universities or institutions is publicly funded and is thus accountable to funding restrictions. 

The research question should be in-depth

Research papers, dissertations and theses , and academic journal articles are usually dozens if not hundreds of pages in length.

A good research question or thesis statement must be sufficiently complex to warrant such a length, as it must stand up to the scrutiny of peer review and be reproducible by other scientists and researchers.

Research Question Types

Qualitative and quantitative research are the two major types of research, and it is essential to develop research questions for each type of study. 

Quantitative Research Questions

Quantitative research questions are specific. A typical research question involves the population to be studied, dependent and independent variables, and the research design.

In addition, quantitative research questions connect the research question and the research design. In addition, it is not possible to answer these questions definitively with a “yes” or “no” response. For example, scientific fields such as biology, physics, and chemistry often deal with “states,” in which different quantities, amounts, or velocities drastically alter the relevance of the research.

As a consequence, quantitative research questions do not contain qualitative, categorical, or ordinal qualifiers such as “is,” “are,” “does,” or “does not.”

Categories of quantitative research questions

Qualitative research questions.

In quantitative research, research questions have the potential to relate to broad research areas as well as more specific areas of study. Qualitative research questions are less directional, more flexible, and adaptable compared with their quantitative counterparts. Thus, studies based on these questions tend to focus on “discovering,” “explaining,” “elucidating,” and “exploring.”

Categories of qualitative research questions

Quantitative and qualitative research question examples.

stacks of books in black and white; research question examples

Good and Bad Research Question Examples

Below are some good (and not-so-good) examples of research questions that researchers can use to guide them in crafting their own research questions.

Research Question Example 1

The first research question is too vague in both its independent and dependent variables. There is no specific information on what “exposure” means. Does this refer to comments, likes, engagement, or just how much time is spent on the social media platform?

Second, there is no useful information on what exactly “affected” means. Does the subject’s behavior change in some measurable way? Or does this term refer to another factor such as the user’s emotions?

Research Question Example 2

In this research question, the first example is too simple and not sufficiently complex, making it difficult to assess whether the study answered the question. The author could really only answer this question with a simple “yes” or “no.” Further, the presence of data would not help answer this question more deeply, which is a sure sign of a poorly constructed research topic.

The second research question is specific, complex, and empirically verifiable. One can measure program effectiveness based on metrics such as attendance or grades. Further, “bullying” is made into an empirical, quantitative measurement in the form of recorded disciplinary actions.

Steps for Writing a Research Question

Good research questions are relevant, focused, and meaningful. It can be difficult to come up with a good research question, but there are a few steps you can follow to make it a bit easier.

1. Start with an interesting and relevant topic

Choose a research topic that is interesting but also relevant and aligned with your own country’s culture or your university’s capabilities. Popular academic topics include healthcare and medical-related research. However, if you are attending an engineering school or humanities program, you should obviously choose a research question that pertains to your specific study and major.

Below is an embedded graph of the most popular research fields of study based on publication output according to region. As you can see, healthcare and the basic sciences receive the most funding and earn the highest number of publications. 

statement of research questions

2. Do preliminary research  

You can begin doing preliminary research once you have chosen a research topic. Two objectives should be accomplished during this first phase of research. First, you should undertake a preliminary review of related literature to discover issues that scholars and peers are currently discussing. With this method, you show that you are informed about the latest developments in the field.

Secondly, identify knowledge gaps or limitations in your topic by conducting a preliminary literature review . It is possible to later use these gaps to focus your research question after a certain amount of fine-tuning.

3. Narrow your research to determine specific research questions

You can focus on a more specific area of study once you have a good handle on the topic you want to explore. Focusing on recent literature or knowledge gaps is one good option. 

By identifying study limitations in the literature and overlooked areas of study, an author can carve out a good research question. The same is true for choosing research questions that extend or complement existing literature.

4. Evaluate your research question

Make sure you evaluate the research question by asking the following questions:

Is my research question clear?

The resulting data and observations that your study produces should be clear. For quantitative studies, data must be empirical and measurable. For qualitative, the observations should be clearly delineable across categories.

Is my research question focused and specific?

A strong research question should be specific enough that your methodology or testing procedure produces an objective result, not one left to subjective interpretation. Open-ended research questions or those relating to general topics can create ambiguous connections between the results and the aims of the study. 

Is my research question sufficiently complex?

The result of your research should be consequential and substantial (and fall sufficiently within the context of your field) to warrant an academic study. Simply reinforcing or supporting a scientific consensus is superfluous and will likely not be well received by most journal editors.  

reverse triangle chart, how to write a research question

Editing Your Research Question

Your research question should be fully formulated well before you begin drafting your research paper. However, you can receive English paper editing and proofreading services at any point in the drafting process. Language editors with expertise in your academic field can assist you with the content and language in your Introduction section or other manuscript sections. And if you need further assistance or information regarding paper compositions, in the meantime, check out our academic resources , which provide dozens of articles and videos on a variety of academic writing and publication topics.

Enago Academy

Research Problem Statement — Find out how to write an impactful one!

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Table of Contents

What Is a Research Problem Statement?

A research problem statement is a clear, concise, and specific statement that describes the issue or problem that the research project addresses. It should be written in a way that is easily understandable to both experts and non-experts in the field.

To write a research problem statement, you should:

  • Identify the general area of interest: Start by identifying the general area of research that interests you.
  • Define the specific problem: Narrow down the general area of interest to a specific problem or issue.
  • Explain the significance of the problem: Provide context for the problem by explaining why it is important to study and what gap in current knowledge or understanding it fills.
  • Provide a clear and concise statement: State the problem in a clear and concise manner, making sure to use language that is easily understood by your intended audience.
  • Use a scientific and objective tone: The problem statement should be written in a neutral and objective tone, avoiding any subjective language and personal bias .

An Example of a Research Problem Statement

“The increasing prevalence of obesity in children is a growing public health concern. Despite the availability of information on healthy eating and physical activity, many children are still not engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors. The problem this study addresses is the lack of understanding of the barriers and facilitators to healthy lifestyle behaviors in children.”

When to Write a Problem Statement in Research?

A research problem statement should be written at the beginning of the research process, before any data collection or analysis takes place. This is because the statement sets the foundation for the entire research project by clearly defining the problem that the research is trying to address.

Writing a problem statement early in the research process helps to guide the research design and methodology , and ensures that the research is focused on addressing the specific problem at hand. It also helps to ensure that the research is relevant and addresses a gap in current knowledge or understanding.

In addition, a well-written problem statement effectively communicates the purpose and significance of the research to potential funders, collaborators, and other stakeholders. It also generates interest and support for the research project.

It’s also important to note that, during the research process, the statement can be refined or updated as new information is discovered or as the research progresses. This is normal and it’s a good idea to revise the statement as needed to ensure that it remains clear and concise and that it accurately reflects the current focus of the research project.

What Does a Research Problem Statement Include?

A research problem statement typically includes the following elements:

1. The research topic:

The general area of interest or field of study that the research project addresses.

2. The specific problem or issue:

A clear and concise statement of the problem or issue that the research project aims to address.

3. The significance of the problem:

A discussion of why the problem is important and what gap in current knowledge or understanding it fills.

4. The research questions:

A set of questions that the research project aims to answer, in order to address the problem or issue.

5. The research objectives:

A set of specific and measurable objectives that the research project aims to achieve.

6. The scope of the research:

A description of the specific population, setting, or context that the research project will focus on.

7. The theoretical framework:

A discussion of the theoretical concepts and principles that inform the research project.

8. The research design:

A description of the research methodologies that will be used to collect and analyze data in order to address the research questions and objectives.

It’s important to note that the problem statement is usually brief and concise, typically a few sentences or a short paragraph. But it should provide enough information to convey the main idea of the research project.

Important Features of Research Problem Statement

The problem statement should be clear and easy to understand. Write it in a way that is accessible to both experts and non-experts in the field.

2. Specificity

The statement should be specific and clearly define the problem or issue that the research project aims to address. It should be narrow enough to be manageable, but broad enough to be of interest to others in the field.

3. Significance

The statement should explain why the problem is important and what gap in current knowledge or understanding it fills. It should provide context for the research project and help to justify its importance.

4. Relevance

The statement should be relevant to the field of study and address an issue that is currently of concern to researchers.

5. Research questions

The statement should include a set of research questions that the research project aims to answer in order to address the problem or issue.

6. Research objectives

The statement should include a set of specific and measurable objectives that the research project aims to achieve.

The statement should define the specific population, setting, or context that the research project will focus on.

8. Theoretical framework

The statement should provide an overview of the theoretical concepts and principles that inform the research project.

9. Research design

The statement should provide an overview of the research methodologies. This will be useful collect and analyze data in order to address the research questions and objectives.

Difference Between a Thesis Statement and a Problem Statement

A thesis statement and a problem statement are related but distinct elements of a research project.

A thesis statement is a statement that summarizes the central argument or claim of a research paper or essay. It presents the main idea of the paper and sets the direction for the rest of the content. It’s usually located at the end of the introduction, and it’s often one sentence.

A problem statement, on the other hand, is a statement that describes a specific problem or issue that the research project aims to address. It sets the foundation for the entire research project by clearly defining the research problem. It is usually located at the beginning of a research paper or proposal, and is of one or a few paragraphs.

In summary, a thesis statement is a summary of the main point or key argument of the research paper. A problem statement describes the specific issue that the research project aims to address. A thesis statement is more focused on the final outcome of the research. While a problem statement is focused on the current state of knowledge and the gap in understanding that the research project aims to fill.

In Conclusion

A problem statement is a critical component of the research project, as it provides a clear and concise roadmap for the research, and helps to ensure that the research is well-designed and addresses a significant and relevant issue.

We hope this blog has clarified your doubts and confusion associated with research problem statement and helps you write an effective statement for your research project!

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Good and straightforward explanations with ease of understanding for all the students and teachers alike.

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How to Write a Statement of the Problem for Your Research Proposal

Defining your research problem is essential when conducting an experiment. In this article, you will learn how to write a statement of the problem for your research proposal. Learn about the characteristics of a good statement of the problem and examples of research questions.

Updated on May 17, 2022

A researcher working on a problem statement for a new article

You are a great researcher. You are full of ideas and questions as to where to go next with your work. You would not be in this position if you were not good at coming up with interesting questions within your area.

One problem, though, is knowing where to spend your time, energy, and money. Which ideas, questions, and problems are worthwhile?

You need to be able to define a good research problem. A research problem addresses an existing gap in knowledge in your field and leads to further investigations by you and other researchers. Inspiring others with your research problem will lead to citations, enhancing your and your institution's impact.

In order to write a clear and useful problem statement, you need to describe a question and its consequences.

One key way to assess the ‘usefulness' of your research ideas is to learn how to express them as clear problems.

In this article, we will talk about how to write a statement of the problem for your next research proposal. This is important not just for assessing the ‘usefulness' of research ideas, but also for formulating a grant application or proposal. We'll talk about how to explain your research ideas to others in the form of a problem statement in your proposal.

What is a statement of the problem in research?

All research projects should start with a clear problem statement. A problem statement is a formulation of an issue which is usually a ‘gap' within your area. A research gap is an unanswered question, an issue, controversy, or untested hypothesis that has not yet been addressed.

The trick with research problems is working out whether they are actually worth investing the time, energy, and money to figure out. This comes with experience, or you could just read on!

Since a clear problem statement is going to form the basis of your next research project, the question is: How can I write one?

How is this done? The first step is to become familiar with the basic elements of a problem statement in effective research.

Characteristics of a problem statement

A research problem statement has two key attributes:

  • The problem must be challenging and original, but also potentially achievable by your team.
  • The problem must not be incremental. In other words, don't try to address a small change or advance on an existing study that leads to no new scientific insight. This could be damaging to your and your team's reputation, and will likely not lead to a meaningful publication.

Developing a ‘good' research problem statement, therefore, involves systematic planning and setting time-based, realistic objectives. Your problem has to be achievable.

You'll also need to apply feasible research methods based on an approach that best suits the research question. Your methods have to make sense. They must be usable. In other words, you must be able to acquire statistically sufficient and relevant data that is reproducible.

Finally, the problem you define means you'll need to train team members in this particular research area and methods.

Writing a statement of the problem

Stating a research problem is done by defining it within the general area of your research. This depends on your previous work and experience. It may be an area you want to move into or a topic related to what you have already worked on as a researcher. Examples could include a question in astrophysics within physics, robotics within engineering, nutrition within medicine, or marine biology within ocean and Earth science.

Once you've determined your overall area (and you'll know this already of course), it's time to drill down, decide, and define a research problem within that field.

First , your statement should identify a problem that needs to be addressed within your selected sub-area.

This will almost certainly require literature work, but the idea may arise from:

  • Discussions you've had with colleagues;
  • Discussions at a conference;
  • A paper you've read.

Second , your problem statement should be a “good research problem.” This will require further investigation and reading as you consider “what has been done?” and “what needs to be done?”

Third , search for more information, perhaps by:

  • Locating relevant books, papers and other materials;
  • Evaluating the quality and authority of the information collected;
  • Maintaining a regular literature review throughout the project;
  • Making regular notes on background material;
  • Deciding how this literature search will be carried out within the research group;
  • Deciding how information gained will be disseminated to the group (e.g., via each researcher carrying out a regular literature review in their sub-area and information disseminated at group meetings or via email at regular intervals).

This process may well change or modify how your research problem is stated or formulated.

Once your research problem has been identified, research questions within the problem need to be specified.

How long should your statement of the problem be?

Not too long. One page is more than enough for a clear and effective problem statement.

Research questions within your problem

The first stage of writing your research problem statement involves formulating your questions in a meaningful way. In the context of important questions, we are looking for things that many readers across different disciplines find to be interesting. But at the same time, set your question within your field.

Thus, once a research problem has been established, several questions can be written down. These questions should specify exactly what needs to be determined to address the problem.

These questions should also be specific enough that they can be answered using appropriate available research methods - or methods that could be made available to the research group (e.g. by buying or borrowing equipment).

These questions should require complex in-depth investigation, analysis, and argument. They should not be simple enough that they can be answered easily with well-established facts or yes/no answers.

All research questions should be focused, specific, appropriately complex, and relevant to the overall aims of the project.

Examples of questions and next steps

  • How do government regulations prevent companies from polluting water systems?
  • What factors have influenced population growth in the fastest growing countries?
  • How can a bespoke thermal desorption unit be designed and built for use in detection of trace particulate matter in a polluted environment (e.g., a busy city street)?
  • What methods and procedures can be used to understand, and hence control, fundamental chemical processes that occur in flames?
  • How can measurement protocols used in mass spectrometry in a university research laboratory be developed and standardized to enable direct comparison with related measurements in a government laboratory?

Once the problem and questions have been identified, the resources required to carry out the research will need to be assessed. This will involve:

  • Identifying the equipment needed. Find out what is available and what needs to be purchased.
  • Assessing which consumables (e.g., chemicals) are needed for the project, and determining if they can be obtained on a regular basis (i.e., in the right quantities at the appropriate times).
  • Identifying the software, data-analyses and other computer support needed. Assess what needs to be purchased.
  • Assessing what laboratory and office space is needed. And if more is required, discuss this with the relevant laboratory manager.
  • Identifying what support for travel is needed for the group, as well as what resources are required for the group to attend relevant conferences and training of group personnel.

Final thoughts

Defining and writing a clear statement of a problem as the basis of a project is the first - and most important - step in any research. The tips and ideas in this article will help you clearly identify the purpose of the research you are developing.

A clear research problem statement will likely form the skeleton of the Introduction of your final article. If you are able to clearly direct your reader (the most important person in the publishing process) to an important and interesting question, they will likely stay engaged, and use and cite your article in the future.

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A research problem is a definite or clear expression [statement] about an area of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in scholarly literature, in theory, or within existing practice that points to a need for meaningful understanding and deliberate investigation. A research problem does not state how to do something, offer a vague or broad proposition, or present a value question. In the social and behavioral sciences, studies are most often framed around examining a problem that needs to be understood and resolved in order to improve society and the human condition.

Bryman, Alan. “The Research Question in Social Research: What is its Role?” International Journal of Social Research Methodology 10 (2007): 5-20; Guba, Egon G., and Yvonna S. Lincoln. “Competing Paradigms in Qualitative Research.” In Handbook of Qualitative Research . Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, editors. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994), pp. 105-117; Pardede, Parlindungan. “Identifying and Formulating the Research Problem." Research in ELT: Module 4 (October 2018): 1-13; Li, Yanmei, and Sumei Zhang. "Identifying the Research Problem." In Applied Research Methods in Urban and Regional Planning . (Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2022), pp. 13-21.

Importance of...

The purpose of a problem statement is to:

  • Introduce the reader to the importance of the topic being studied . The reader is oriented to the significance of the study.
  • Anchors the research questions, hypotheses, or assumptions to follow . It offers a concise statement about the purpose of your paper.
  • Place the topic into a particular context that defines the parameters of what is to be investigated.
  • Provide the framework for reporting the results and indicates what is probably necessary to conduct the study and explain how the findings will present this information.

In the social sciences, the research problem establishes the means by which you must answer the "So What?" question. This declarative question refers to a research problem surviving the relevancy test [the quality of a measurement procedure that provides repeatability and accuracy]. Note that answering the "So What?" question requires a commitment on your part to not only show that you have reviewed the literature, but that you have thoroughly considered the significance of the research problem and its implications applied to creating new knowledge and understanding or informing practice.

To survive the "So What" question, problem statements should possess the following attributes:

  • Clarity and precision [a well-written statement does not make sweeping generalizations and irresponsible pronouncements; it also does include unspecific determinates like "very" or "giant"],
  • Demonstrate a researchable topic or issue [i.e., feasibility of conducting the study is based upon access to information that can be effectively acquired, gathered, interpreted, synthesized, and understood],
  • Identification of what would be studied, while avoiding the use of value-laden words and terms,
  • Identification of an overarching question or small set of questions accompanied by key factors or variables,
  • Identification of key concepts and terms,
  • Articulation of the study's conceptual boundaries or parameters or limitations,
  • Some generalizability in regards to applicability and bringing results into general use,
  • Conveyance of the study's importance, benefits, and justification [i.e., regardless of the type of research, it is important to demonstrate that the research is not trivial],
  • Does not have unnecessary jargon or overly complex sentence constructions; and,
  • Conveyance of more than the mere gathering of descriptive data providing only a snapshot of the issue or phenomenon under investigation.

Bryman, Alan. “The Research Question in Social Research: What is its Role?” International Journal of Social Research Methodology 10 (2007): 5-20; Brown, Perry J., Allen Dyer, and Ross S. Whaley. "Recreation Research—So What?" Journal of Leisure Research 5 (1973): 16-24; Castellanos, Susie. Critical Writing and Thinking. The Writing Center. Dean of the College. Brown University; Ellis, Timothy J. and Yair Levy Nova. "Framework of Problem-Based Research: A Guide for Novice Researchers on the Development of a Research-Worthy Problem." Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline 11 (2008); Thesis and Purpose Statements. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Thesis Statements. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Selwyn, Neil. "‘So What?’…A Question that Every Journal Article Needs to Answer." Learning, Media, and Technology 39 (2014): 1-5; Shoket, Mohd. "Research Problem: Identification and Formulation." International Journal of Research 1 (May 2014): 512-518.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Types and Content

There are four general conceptualizations of a research problem in the social sciences:

  • Casuist Research Problem -- this type of problem relates to the determination of right and wrong in questions of conduct or conscience by analyzing moral dilemmas through the application of general rules and the careful distinction of special cases.
  • Difference Research Problem -- typically asks the question, “Is there a difference between two or more groups or treatments?” This type of problem statement is used when the researcher compares or contrasts two or more phenomena. This a common approach to defining a problem in the clinical social sciences or behavioral sciences.
  • Descriptive Research Problem -- typically asks the question, "what is...?" with the underlying purpose to describe the significance of a situation, state, or existence of a specific phenomenon. This problem is often associated with revealing hidden or understudied issues.
  • Relational Research Problem -- suggests a relationship of some sort between two or more variables to be investigated. The underlying purpose is to investigate specific qualities or characteristics that may be connected in some way.

A problem statement in the social sciences should contain :

  • A lead-in that helps ensure the reader will maintain interest over the study,
  • A declaration of originality [e.g., mentioning a knowledge void or a lack of clarity about a topic that will be revealed in the literature review of prior research],
  • An indication of the central focus of the study [establishing the boundaries of analysis], and
  • An explanation of the study's significance or the benefits to be derived from investigating the research problem.

NOTE :   A statement describing the research problem of your paper should not be viewed as a thesis statement that you may be familiar with from high school. Given the content listed above, a description of the research problem is usually a short paragraph in length.

II.  Sources of Problems for Investigation

The identification of a problem to study can be challenging, not because there's a lack of issues that could be investigated, but due to the challenge of formulating an academically relevant and researchable problem which is unique and does not simply duplicate the work of others. To facilitate how you might select a problem from which to build a research study, consider these sources of inspiration:

Deductions from Theory This relates to deductions made from social philosophy or generalizations embodied in life and in society that the researcher is familiar with. These deductions from human behavior are then placed within an empirical frame of reference through research. From a theory, the researcher can formulate a research problem or hypothesis stating the expected findings in certain empirical situations. The research asks the question: “What relationship between variables will be observed if theory aptly summarizes the state of affairs?” One can then design and carry out a systematic investigation to assess whether empirical data confirm or reject the hypothesis, and hence, the theory.

Interdisciplinary Perspectives Identifying a problem that forms the basis for a research study can come from academic movements and scholarship originating in disciplines outside of your primary area of study. This can be an intellectually stimulating exercise. A review of pertinent literature should include examining research from related disciplines that can reveal new avenues of exploration and analysis. An interdisciplinary approach to selecting a research problem offers an opportunity to construct a more comprehensive understanding of a very complex issue that any single discipline may be able to provide.

Interviewing Practitioners The identification of research problems about particular topics can arise from formal interviews or informal discussions with practitioners who provide insight into new directions for future research and how to make research findings more relevant to practice. Discussions with experts in the field, such as, teachers, social workers, health care providers, lawyers, business leaders, etc., offers the chance to identify practical, “real world” problems that may be understudied or ignored within academic circles. This approach also provides some practical knowledge which may help in the process of designing and conducting your study.

Personal Experience Don't undervalue your everyday experiences or encounters as worthwhile problems for investigation. Think critically about your own experiences and/or frustrations with an issue facing society or related to your community, your neighborhood, your family, or your personal life. This can be derived, for example, from deliberate observations of certain relationships for which there is no clear explanation or witnessing an event that appears harmful to a person or group or that is out of the ordinary.

Relevant Literature The selection of a research problem can be derived from a thorough review of pertinent research associated with your overall area of interest. This may reveal where gaps exist in understanding a topic or where an issue has been understudied. Research may be conducted to: 1) fill such gaps in knowledge; 2) evaluate if the methodologies employed in prior studies can be adapted to solve other problems; or, 3) determine if a similar study could be conducted in a different subject area or applied in a different context or to different study sample [i.e., different setting or different group of people]. Also, authors frequently conclude their studies by noting implications for further research; read the conclusion of pertinent studies because statements about further research can be a valuable source for identifying new problems to investigate. The fact that a researcher has identified a topic worthy of further exploration validates the fact it is worth pursuing.

III.  What Makes a Good Research Statement?

A good problem statement begins by introducing the broad area in which your research is centered, gradually leading the reader to the more specific issues you are investigating. The statement need not be lengthy, but a good research problem should incorporate the following features:

1.  Compelling Topic The problem chosen should be one that motivates you to address it but simple curiosity is not a good enough reason to pursue a research study because this does not indicate significance. The problem that you choose to explore must be important to you, but it must also be viewed as important by your readers and to a the larger academic and/or social community that could be impacted by the results of your study. 2.  Supports Multiple Perspectives The problem must be phrased in a way that avoids dichotomies and instead supports the generation and exploration of multiple perspectives. A general rule of thumb in the social sciences is that a good research problem is one that would generate a variety of viewpoints from a composite audience made up of reasonable people. 3.  Researchability This isn't a real word but it represents an important aspect of creating a good research statement. It seems a bit obvious, but you don't want to find yourself in the midst of investigating a complex research project and realize that you don't have enough prior research to draw from for your analysis. There's nothing inherently wrong with original research, but you must choose research problems that can be supported, in some way, by the resources available to you. If you are not sure if something is researchable, don't assume that it isn't if you don't find information right away--seek help from a librarian !

NOTE:   Do not confuse a research problem with a research topic. A topic is something to read and obtain information about, whereas a problem is something to be solved or framed as a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution, or explained as a source of perplexity, distress, or vexation. In short, a research topic is something to be understood; a research problem is something that needs to be investigated.

IV.  Asking Analytical Questions about the Research Problem

Research problems in the social and behavioral sciences are often analyzed around critical questions that must be investigated. These questions can be explicitly listed in the introduction [i.e., "This study addresses three research questions about women's psychological recovery from domestic abuse in multi-generational home settings..."], or, the questions are implied in the text as specific areas of study related to the research problem. Explicitly listing your research questions at the end of your introduction can help in designing a clear roadmap of what you plan to address in your study, whereas, implicitly integrating them into the text of the introduction allows you to create a more compelling narrative around the key issues under investigation. Either approach is appropriate.

The number of questions you attempt to address should be based on the complexity of the problem you are investigating and what areas of inquiry you find most critical to study. Practical considerations, such as, the length of the paper you are writing or the availability of resources to analyze the issue can also factor in how many questions to ask. In general, however, there should be no more than four research questions underpinning a single research problem.

Given this, well-developed analytical questions can focus on any of the following:

  • Highlights a genuine dilemma, area of ambiguity, or point of confusion about a topic open to interpretation by your readers;
  • Yields an answer that is unexpected and not obvious rather than inevitable and self-evident;
  • Provokes meaningful thought or discussion;
  • Raises the visibility of the key ideas or concepts that may be understudied or hidden;
  • Suggests the need for complex analysis or argument rather than a basic description or summary; and,
  • Offers a specific path of inquiry that avoids eliciting generalizations about the problem.

NOTE:   Questions of how and why concerning a research problem often require more analysis than questions about who, what, where, and when. You should still ask yourself these latter questions, however. Thinking introspectively about the who, what, where, and when of a research problem can help ensure that you have thoroughly considered all aspects of the problem under investigation and helps define the scope of the study in relation to the problem.

V.  Mistakes to Avoid

Beware of circular reasoning! Do not state the research problem as simply the absence of the thing you are suggesting. For example, if you propose the following, "The problem in this community is that there is no hospital," this only leads to a research problem where:

  • The need is for a hospital
  • The objective is to create a hospital
  • The method is to plan for building a hospital, and
  • The evaluation is to measure if there is a hospital or not.

This is an example of a research problem that fails the "So What?" test . In this example, the problem does not reveal the relevance of why you are investigating the fact there is no hospital in the community [e.g., perhaps there's a hospital in the community ten miles away]; it does not elucidate the significance of why one should study the fact there is no hospital in the community [e.g., that hospital in the community ten miles away has no emergency room]; the research problem does not offer an intellectual pathway towards adding new knowledge or clarifying prior knowledge [e.g., the county in which there is no hospital already conducted a study about the need for a hospital, but it was conducted ten years ago]; and, the problem does not offer meaningful outcomes that lead to recommendations that can be generalized for other situations or that could suggest areas for further research [e.g., the challenges of building a new hospital serves as a case study for other communities].

Alvesson, Mats and Jörgen Sandberg. “Generating Research Questions Through Problematization.” Academy of Management Review 36 (April 2011): 247-271 ; Choosing and Refining Topics. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; D'Souza, Victor S. "Use of Induction and Deduction in Research in Social Sciences: An Illustration." Journal of the Indian Law Institute 24 (1982): 655-661; Ellis, Timothy J. and Yair Levy Nova. "Framework of Problem-Based Research: A Guide for Novice Researchers on the Development of a Research-Worthy Problem." Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline 11 (2008); How to Write a Research Question. The Writing Center. George Mason University; Invention: Developing a Thesis Statement. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; Problem Statements PowerPoint Presentation. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Procter, Margaret. Using Thesis Statements. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Shoket, Mohd. "Research Problem: Identification and Formulation." International Journal of Research 1 (May 2014): 512-518; Trochim, William M.K. Problem Formulation. Research Methods Knowledge Base. 2006; Thesis and Purpose Statements. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Thesis Statements. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Pardede, Parlindungan. “Identifying and Formulating the Research Problem." Research in ELT: Module 4 (October 2018): 1-13; Walk, Kerry. Asking an Analytical Question. [Class handout or worksheet]. Princeton University; White, Patrick. Developing Research Questions: A Guide for Social Scientists . New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2009; Li, Yanmei, and Sumei Zhang. "Identifying the Research Problem." In Applied Research Methods in Urban and Regional Planning . (Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2022), pp. 13-21.

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Grad Coach

Research Aims, Objectives & Questions

The “Golden Thread” Explained Simply (+ Examples)

By: David Phair (PhD) and Alexandra Shaeffer (PhD) | June 2022

The research aims , objectives and research questions (collectively called the “golden thread”) are arguably the most important thing you need to get right when you’re crafting a research proposal , dissertation or thesis . We receive questions almost every day about this “holy trinity” of research and there’s certainly a lot of confusion out there, so we’ve crafted this post to help you navigate your way through the fog.

Overview: The Golden Thread

  • What is the golden thread
  • What are research aims ( examples )
  • What are research objectives ( examples )
  • What are research questions ( examples )
  • The importance of alignment in the golden thread

What is the “golden thread”?  

The golden thread simply refers to the collective research aims , research objectives , and research questions for any given project (i.e., a dissertation, thesis, or research paper ). These three elements are bundled together because it’s extremely important that they align with each other, and that the entire research project aligns with them.

Importantly, the golden thread needs to weave its way through the entirety of any research project , from start to end. In other words, it needs to be very clearly defined right at the beginning of the project (the topic ideation and proposal stage) and it needs to inform almost every decision throughout the rest of the project. For example, your research design and methodology will be heavily influenced by the golden thread (we’ll explain this in more detail later), as well as your literature review.

The research aims, objectives and research questions (the golden thread) define the focus and scope ( the delimitations ) of your research project. In other words, they help ringfence your dissertation or thesis to a relatively narrow domain, so that you can “go deep” and really dig into a specific problem or opportunity. They also help keep you on track , as they act as a litmus test for relevance. In other words, if you’re ever unsure whether to include something in your document, simply ask yourself the question, “does this contribute toward my research aims, objectives or questions?”. If it doesn’t, chances are you can drop it.

Alright, enough of the fluffy, conceptual stuff. Let’s get down to business and look at what exactly the research aims, objectives and questions are and outline a few examples to bring these concepts to life.

Free Webinar: How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic

Research Aims: What are they?

Simply put, the research aim(s) is a statement that reflects the broad overarching goal (s) of the research project. Research aims are fairly high-level (low resolution) as they outline the general direction of the research and what it’s trying to achieve .

Research Aims: Examples  

True to the name, research aims usually start with the wording “this research aims to…”, “this research seeks to…”, and so on. For example:

“This research aims to explore employee experiences of digital transformation in retail HR.”   “This study sets out to assess the interaction between student support and self-care on well-being in engineering graduate students”  

As you can see, these research aims provide a high-level description of what the study is about and what it seeks to achieve. They’re not hyper-specific or action-oriented, but they’re clear about what the study’s focus is and what is being investigated.

Need a helping hand?

statement of research questions

Research Objectives: What are they?

The research objectives take the research aims and make them more practical and actionable . In other words, the research objectives showcase the steps that the researcher will take to achieve the research aims.

The research objectives need to be far more specific (higher resolution) and actionable than the research aims. In fact, it’s always a good idea to craft your research objectives using the “SMART” criteria. In other words, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound”.

Research Objectives: Examples  

Let’s look at two examples of research objectives. We’ll stick with the topic and research aims we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic:

To observe the retail HR employees throughout the digital transformation. To assess employee perceptions of digital transformation in retail HR. To identify the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR.

And for the student wellness topic:

To determine whether student self-care predicts the well-being score of engineering graduate students. To determine whether student support predicts the well-being score of engineering students. To assess the interaction between student self-care and student support when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students.

  As you can see, these research objectives clearly align with the previously mentioned research aims and effectively translate the low-resolution aims into (comparatively) higher-resolution objectives and action points . They give the research project a clear focus and present something that resembles a research-based “to-do” list.

The research objectives detail the specific steps that you, as the researcher, will take to achieve the research aims you laid out.

Research Questions: What are they?

Finally, we arrive at the all-important research questions. The research questions are, as the name suggests, the key questions that your study will seek to answer . Simply put, they are the core purpose of your dissertation, thesis, or research project. You’ll present them at the beginning of your document (either in the introduction chapter or literature review chapter) and you’ll answer them at the end of your document (typically in the discussion and conclusion chapters).  

The research questions will be the driving force throughout the research process. For example, in the literature review chapter, you’ll assess the relevance of any given resource based on whether it helps you move towards answering your research questions. Similarly, your methodology and research design will be heavily influenced by the nature of your research questions. For instance, research questions that are exploratory in nature will usually make use of a qualitative approach, whereas questions that relate to measurement or relationship testing will make use of a quantitative approach.  

Let’s look at some examples of research questions to make this more tangible.

Research Questions: Examples  

Again, we’ll stick with the research aims and research objectives we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic (which would be qualitative in nature):

How do employees perceive digital transformation in retail HR? What are the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR?  

And for the student wellness topic (which would be quantitative in nature):

Does student self-care predict the well-being scores of engineering graduate students? Does student support predict the well-being scores of engineering students? Do student self-care and student support interact when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students?  

You’ll probably notice that there’s quite a formulaic approach to this. In other words, the research questions are basically the research objectives “converted” into question format. While that is true most of the time, it’s not always the case. For example, the first research objective for the digital transformation topic was more or less a step on the path toward the other objectives, and as such, it didn’t warrant its own research question.  

So, don’t rush your research questions and sloppily reword your objectives as questions. Carefully think about what exactly you’re trying to achieve (i.e. your research aim) and the objectives you’ve set out, then craft a set of well-aligned research questions . Also, keep in mind that this can be a somewhat iterative process , where you go back and tweak research objectives and aims to ensure tight alignment throughout the golden thread.

The importance of strong alignment 

Alignment is the keyword here and we have to stress its importance . Simply put, you need to make sure that there is a very tight alignment between all three pieces of the golden thread. If your research aims and research questions don’t align, for example, your project will be pulling in different directions and will lack focus . This is a common problem students face and can cause many headaches (and tears), so be warned.

Take the time to carefully craft your research aims, objectives and research questions before you run off down the research path. Ideally, get your research supervisor/advisor to review and comment on your golden thread before you invest significant time into your project, and certainly before you start collecting data .  

Recap: The golden thread

In this post, we unpacked the golden thread of research, consisting of the research aims , research objectives and research questions . You can jump back to any section using the links below.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below – we always love to hear from you. Also, if you’re interested in 1-on-1 support, take a look at our private coaching service here.

statement of research questions

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

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34 Comments

Isaac Levi

Thank you very much for your great effort put. As an Undergraduate taking Demographic Research & Methodology, I’ve been trying so hard to understand clearly what is a Research Question, Research Aim and the Objectives in a research and the relationship between them etc. But as for now I’m thankful that you’ve solved my problem.

Hatimu Bah

Well appreciated. This has helped me greatly in doing my dissertation.

Dr. Abdallah Kheri

An so delighted with this wonderful information thank you a lot.

so impressive i have benefited a lot looking forward to learn more on research.

Ekwunife, Chukwunonso Onyeka Steve

I am very happy to have carefully gone through this well researched article.

Infact,I used to be phobia about anything research, because of my poor understanding of the concepts.

Now,I get to know that my research question is the same as my research objective(s) rephrased in question format.

I please I would need a follow up on the subject,as I intends to join the team of researchers. Thanks once again.

Tosin

Thanks so much. This was really helpful.

sylas

i found this document so useful towards my study in research methods. thanks so much.

Michael L. Andrion

This is my 2nd read topic in your course and I should commend the simplified explanations of each part. I’m beginning to understand and absorb the use of each part of a dissertation/thesis. I’ll keep on reading your free course and might be able to avail the training course! Kudos!

Scarlett

Thank you! Better put that my lecture and helped to easily understand the basics which I feel often get brushed over when beginning dissertation work.

Enoch Tindiwegi

This is quite helpful. I like how the Golden thread has been explained and the needed alignment.

Sora Dido Boru

This is quite helpful. I really appreciate!

Chulyork

The article made it simple for researcher students to differentiate between three concepts.

Afowosire Wasiu Adekunle

Very innovative and educational in approach to conducting research.

Sàlihu Abubakar Dayyabu

I am very impressed with all these terminology, as I am a fresh student for post graduate, I am highly guided and I promised to continue making consultation when the need arise. Thanks a lot.

Mohammed Shamsudeen

A very helpful piece. thanks, I really appreciate it .

Sonam Jyrwa

Very well explained, and it might be helpful to many people like me.

JB

Wish i had found this (and other) resource(s) at the beginning of my PhD journey… not in my writing up year… 😩 Anyways… just a quick question as i’m having some issues ordering my “golden thread”…. does it matter in what order you mention them? i.e., is it always first aims, then objectives, and finally the questions? or can you first mention the research questions and then the aims and objectives?

UN

Thank you for a very simple explanation that builds upon the concepts in a very logical manner. Just prior to this, I read the research hypothesis article, which was equally very good. This met my primary objective.

My secondary objective was to understand the difference between research questions and research hypothesis, and in which context to use which one. However, I am still not clear on this. Can you kindly please guide?

Derek Jansen

In research, a research question is a clear and specific inquiry that the researcher wants to answer, while a research hypothesis is a tentative statement or prediction about the relationship between variables or the expected outcome of the study. Research questions are broader and guide the overall study, while hypotheses are specific and testable statements used in quantitative research. Research questions identify the problem, while hypotheses provide a focus for testing in the study.

Saen Fanai

Exactly what I need in this research journey, I look forward to more of your coaching videos.

Abubakar Rofiat Opeyemi

This helped a lot. Thanks so much for the effort put into explaining it.

Lamin Tarawally

What data source in writing dissertation/Thesis requires?

What is data source covers when writing dessertation/thesis

Latifat Muhammed

This is quite useful thanks

Yetunde

I’m excited and thankful. I got so much value which will help me progress in my thesis.

Amer Al-Rashid

where are the locations of the reserch statement, research objective and research question in a reserach paper? Can you write an ouline that defines their places in the researh paper?

Webby

Very helpful and important tips on Aims, Objectives and Questions.

Refiloe Raselane

Thank you so much for making research aim, research objectives and research question so clear. This will be helpful to me as i continue with my thesis.

Annabelle Roda-Dafielmoto

Thanks much for this content. I learned a lot. And I am inspired to learn more. I am still struggling with my preparation for dissertation outline/proposal. But I consistently follow contents and tutorials and the new FB of GRAD Coach. Hope to really become confident in writing my dissertation and successfully defend it.

Joe

As a researcher and lecturer, I find splitting research goals into research aims, objectives, and questions is unnecessarily bureaucratic and confusing for students. For most biomedical research projects, including ‘real research’, 1-3 research questions will suffice (numbers may differ by discipline).

Abdella

Awesome! Very important resources and presented in an informative way to easily understand the golden thread. Indeed, thank you so much.

Sheikh

Well explained

New Growth Care Group

The blog article on research aims, objectives, and questions by Grad Coach is a clear and insightful guide that aligns with my experiences in academic research. The article effectively breaks down the often complex concepts of research aims and objectives, providing a straightforward and accessible explanation. Drawing from my own research endeavors, I appreciate the practical tips offered, such as the need for specificity and clarity when formulating research questions. The article serves as a valuable resource for students and researchers, offering a concise roadmap for crafting well-defined research goals and objectives. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced researcher, this article provides practical insights that contribute to the foundational aspects of a successful research endeavor.

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How to Write a Research Question: Types and Examples 

research quetsion

The first step in any research project is framing the research question. It can be considered the core of any systematic investigation as the research outcomes are tied to asking the right questions. Thus, this primary interrogation point sets the pace for your research as it helps collect relevant and insightful information that ultimately influences your work.   

Typically, the research question guides the stages of inquiry, analysis, and reporting. Depending on the use of quantifiable or quantitative data, research questions are broadly categorized into quantitative or qualitative research questions. Both types of research questions can be used independently or together, considering the overall focus and objectives of your research.  

What is a research question?

A research question is a clear, focused, concise, and arguable question on which your research and writing are centered. 1 It states various aspects of the study, including the population and variables to be studied and the problem the study addresses. These questions also set the boundaries of the study, ensuring cohesion. 

Designing the research question is a dynamic process where the researcher can change or refine the research question as they review related literature and develop a framework for the study. Depending on the scale of your research, the study can include single or multiple research questions. 

A good research question has the following features: 

  • It is relevant to the chosen field of study. 
  • The question posed is arguable and open for debate, requiring synthesizing and analysis of ideas. 
  • It is focused and concisely framed. 
  • A feasible solution is possible within the given practical constraint and timeframe. 

A poorly formulated research question poses several risks. 1   

  • Researchers can adopt an erroneous design. 
  • It can create confusion and hinder the thought process, including developing a clear protocol.  
  • It can jeopardize publication efforts.  
  • It causes difficulty in determining the relevance of the study findings.  
  • It causes difficulty in whether the study fulfils the inclusion criteria for systematic review and meta-analysis. This creates challenges in determining whether additional studies or data collection is needed to answer the question.  
  • Readers may fail to understand the objective of the study. This reduces the likelihood of the study being cited by others. 

Now that you know “What is a research question?”, let’s look at the different types of research questions. 

Types of research questions

Depending on the type of research to be done, research questions can be classified broadly into quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods studies. Knowing the type of research helps determine the best type of research question that reflects the direction and epistemological underpinnings of your research. 

The structure and wording of quantitative 2 and qualitative research 3 questions differ significantly. The quantitative study looks at causal relationships, whereas the qualitative study aims at exploring a phenomenon. 

  • Quantitative research questions:  
  • Seeks to investigate social, familial, or educational experiences or processes in a particular context and/or location.  
  • Answers ‘how,’ ‘what,’ or ‘why’ questions. 
  • Investigates connections, relations, or comparisons between independent and dependent variables. 

Quantitative research questions can be further categorized into descriptive, comparative, and relationship, as explained in the Table below. 

  • Qualitative research questions  

Qualitative research questions are adaptable, non-directional, and more flexible. It concerns broad areas of research or more specific areas of study to discover, explain, or explore a phenomenon. These are further classified as follows: 

  • Mixed-methods studies  

Mixed-methods studies use both quantitative and qualitative research questions to answer your research question. Mixed methods provide a complete picture than standalone quantitative or qualitative research, as it integrates the benefits of both methods. Mixed methods research is often used in multidisciplinary settings and complex situational or societal research, especially in the behavioral, health, and social science fields. 

What makes a good research question

A good research question should be clear and focused to guide your research. It should synthesize multiple sources to present your unique argument, and should ideally be something that you are interested in. But avoid questions that can be answered in a few factual statements. The following are the main attributes of a good research question. 

  • Specific: The research question should not be a fishing expedition performed in the hopes that some new information will be found that will benefit the researcher. The central research question should work with your research problem to keep your work focused. If using multiple questions, they should all tie back to the central aim. 
  • Measurable: The research question must be answerable using quantitative and/or qualitative data or from scholarly sources to develop your research question. If such data is impossible to access, it is better to rethink your question. 
  • Attainable: Ensure you have enough time and resources to do all research required to answer your question. If it seems you will not be able to gain access to the data you need, consider narrowing down your question to be more specific. 
  • You have the expertise 
  • You have the equipment and resources 
  • Realistic: Developing your research question should be based on initial reading about your topic. It should focus on addressing a problem or gap in the existing knowledge in your field or discipline. 
  • Based on some sort of rational physics 
  • Can be done in a reasonable time frame 
  • Timely: The research question should contribute to an existing and current debate in your field or in society at large. It should produce knowledge that future researchers or practitioners can later build on. 
  • Novel 
  • Based on current technologies. 
  • Important to answer current problems or concerns. 
  • Lead to new directions. 
  • Important: Your question should have some aspect of originality. Incremental research is as important as exploring disruptive technologies. For example, you can focus on a specific location or explore a new angle. 
  • Meaningful whether the answer is “Yes” or “No.” Closed-ended, yes/no questions are too simple to work as good research questions. Such questions do not provide enough scope for robust investigation and discussion. A good research question requires original data, synthesis of multiple sources, and original interpretation and argumentation before providing an answer. 

Steps for developing a good research question

The importance of research questions cannot be understated. When drafting a research question, use the following frameworks to guide the components of your question to ease the process. 4  

  • Determine the requirements: Before constructing a good research question, set your research requirements. What is the purpose? Is it descriptive, comparative, or explorative research? Determining the research aim will help you choose the most appropriate topic and word your question appropriately. 
  • Select a broad research topic: Identify a broader subject area of interest that requires investigation. Techniques such as brainstorming or concept mapping can help identify relevant connections and themes within a broad research topic. For example, how to learn and help students learn. 
  • Perform preliminary investigation: Preliminary research is needed to obtain up-to-date and relevant knowledge on your topic. It also helps identify issues currently being discussed from which information gaps can be identified. 
  • Narrow your focus: Narrow the scope and focus of your research to a specific niche. This involves focusing on gaps in existing knowledge or recent literature or extending or complementing the findings of existing literature. Another approach involves constructing strong research questions that challenge your views or knowledge of the area of study (Example: Is learning consistent with the existing learning theory and research). 
  • Identify the research problem: Once the research question has been framed, one should evaluate it. This is to realize the importance of the research questions and if there is a need for more revising (Example: How do your beliefs on learning theory and research impact your instructional practices). 

How to write a research question

Those struggling to understand how to write a research question, these simple steps can help you simplify the process of writing a research question. 

Sample Research Questions

The following are some bad and good research question examples 

  • Example 1 
  • Example 2 

References:  

  • Thabane, L., Thomas, T., Ye, C., & Paul, J. (2009). Posing the research question: not so simple.  Canadian Journal of Anesthesia/Journal canadien d’anesthésie ,  56 (1), 71-79. 
  • Rutberg, S., & Bouikidis, C. D. (2018). Focusing on the fundamentals: A simplistic differentiation between qualitative and quantitative research.  Nephrology Nursing Journal ,  45 (2), 209-213. 
  • Kyngäs, H. (2020). Qualitative research and content analysis.  The application of content analysis in nursing science research , 3-11. 
  • Mattick, K., Johnston, J., & de la Croix, A. (2018). How to… write a good research question.  The clinical teacher ,  15 (2), 104-108. 
  • Fandino, W. (2019). Formulating a good research question: Pearls and pitfalls.  Indian Journal of Anaesthesia ,  63 (8), 611. 
  • Richardson, W. S., Wilson, M. C., Nishikawa, J., & Hayward, R. S. (1995). The well-built clinical question: a key to evidence-based decisions.  ACP journal club ,  123 (3), A12-A13 

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Home » Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Questions

Research Questions

Definition:

Research questions are the specific questions that guide a research study or inquiry. These questions help to define the scope of the research and provide a clear focus for the study. Research questions are usually developed at the beginning of a research project and are designed to address a particular research problem or objective.

Types of Research Questions

Types of Research Questions are as follows:

Descriptive Research Questions

These aim to describe a particular phenomenon, group, or situation. For example:

  • What are the characteristics of the target population?
  • What is the prevalence of a particular disease in a specific region?

Exploratory Research Questions

These aim to explore a new area of research or generate new ideas or hypotheses. For example:

  • What are the potential causes of a particular phenomenon?
  • What are the possible outcomes of a specific intervention?

Explanatory Research Questions

These aim to understand the relationship between two or more variables or to explain why a particular phenomenon occurs. For example:

  • What is the effect of a specific drug on the symptoms of a particular disease?
  • What are the factors that contribute to employee turnover in a particular industry?

Predictive Research Questions

These aim to predict a future outcome or trend based on existing data or trends. For example :

  • What will be the future demand for a particular product or service?
  • What will be the future prevalence of a particular disease?

Evaluative Research Questions

These aim to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular intervention or program. For example:

  • What is the impact of a specific educational program on student learning outcomes?
  • What is the effectiveness of a particular policy or program in achieving its intended goals?

How to Choose Research Questions

Choosing research questions is an essential part of the research process and involves careful consideration of the research problem, objectives, and design. Here are some steps to consider when choosing research questions:

  • Identify the research problem: Start by identifying the problem or issue that you want to study. This could be a gap in the literature, a social or economic issue, or a practical problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Conduct a literature review: Conducting a literature review can help you identify existing research in your area of interest and can help you formulate research questions that address gaps or limitations in the existing literature.
  • Define the research objectives : Clearly define the objectives of your research. What do you want to achieve with your study? What specific questions do you want to answer?
  • Consider the research design : Consider the research design that you plan to use. This will help you determine the appropriate types of research questions to ask. For example, if you plan to use a qualitative approach, you may want to focus on exploratory or descriptive research questions.
  • Ensure that the research questions are clear and answerable: Your research questions should be clear and specific, and should be answerable with the data that you plan to collect. Avoid asking questions that are too broad or vague.
  • Get feedback : Get feedback from your supervisor, colleagues, or peers to ensure that your research questions are relevant, feasible, and meaningful.

How to Write Research Questions

Guide for Writing Research Questions:

  • Start with a clear statement of the research problem: Begin by stating the problem or issue that your research aims to address. This will help you to formulate focused research questions.
  • Use clear language : Write your research questions in clear and concise language that is easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to your readers.
  • Be specific: Your research questions should be specific and focused. Avoid broad questions that are difficult to answer. For example, instead of asking “What is the impact of climate change on the environment?” ask “What are the effects of rising sea levels on coastal ecosystems?”
  • Use appropriate question types: Choose the appropriate question types based on the research design and objectives. For example, if you are conducting a qualitative study, you may want to use open-ended questions that allow participants to provide detailed responses.
  • Consider the feasibility of your questions : Ensure that your research questions are feasible and can be answered with the resources available. Consider the data sources and methods of data collection when writing your questions.
  • Seek feedback: Get feedback from your supervisor, colleagues, or peers to ensure that your research questions are relevant, appropriate, and meaningful.

Examples of Research Questions

Some Examples of Research Questions with Research Titles:

Research Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

  • Research Question : What is the relationship between social media use and mental health, and how does this impact individuals’ well-being?

Research Title: Factors Influencing Academic Success in High School

  • Research Question: What are the primary factors that influence academic success in high school, and how do they contribute to student achievement?

Research Title: The Effects of Exercise on Physical and Mental Health

  • Research Question: What is the relationship between exercise and physical and mental health, and how can exercise be used as a tool to improve overall well-being?

Research Title: Understanding the Factors that Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

  • Research Question : What are the key factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions, and how do these factors vary across different demographics and products?

Research Title: The Impact of Technology on Communication

  • Research Question : How has technology impacted communication patterns, and what are the effects of these changes on interpersonal relationships and society as a whole?

Research Title: Investigating the Relationship between Parenting Styles and Child Development

  • Research Question: What is the relationship between different parenting styles and child development outcomes, and how do these outcomes vary across different ages and developmental stages?

Research Title: The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Treating Anxiety Disorders

  • Research Question: How effective is cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating anxiety disorders, and what factors contribute to its success or failure in different patients?

Research Title: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

  • Research Question : How is climate change affecting global biodiversity, and what can be done to mitigate the negative effects on natural ecosystems?

Research Title: Exploring the Relationship between Cultural Diversity and Workplace Productivity

  • Research Question : How does cultural diversity impact workplace productivity, and what strategies can be employed to maximize the benefits of a diverse workforce?

Research Title: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

  • Research Question: How can artificial intelligence be leveraged to improve healthcare outcomes, and what are the potential risks and ethical concerns associated with its use?

Applications of Research Questions

Here are some of the key applications of research questions:

  • Defining the scope of the study : Research questions help researchers to narrow down the scope of their study and identify the specific issues they want to investigate.
  • Developing hypotheses: Research questions often lead to the development of hypotheses, which are testable predictions about the relationship between variables. Hypotheses provide a clear and focused direction for the study.
  • Designing the study : Research questions guide the design of the study, including the selection of participants, the collection of data, and the analysis of results.
  • Collecting data : Research questions inform the selection of appropriate methods for collecting data, such as surveys, interviews, or experiments.
  • Analyzing data : Research questions guide the analysis of data, including the selection of appropriate statistical tests and the interpretation of results.
  • Communicating results : Research questions help researchers to communicate the results of their study in a clear and concise manner. The research questions provide a framework for discussing the findings and drawing conclusions.

Characteristics of Research Questions

Characteristics of Research Questions are as follows:

  • Clear and Specific : A good research question should be clear and specific. It should clearly state what the research is trying to investigate and what kind of data is required.
  • Relevant : The research question should be relevant to the study and should address a current issue or problem in the field of research.
  • Testable : The research question should be testable through empirical evidence. It should be possible to collect data to answer the research question.
  • Concise : The research question should be concise and focused. It should not be too broad or too narrow.
  • Feasible : The research question should be feasible to answer within the constraints of the research design, time frame, and available resources.
  • Original : The research question should be original and should contribute to the existing knowledge in the field of research.
  • Significant : The research question should have significance and importance to the field of research. It should have the potential to provide new insights and knowledge to the field.
  • Ethical : The research question should be ethical and should not cause harm to any individuals or groups involved in the study.

Purpose of Research Questions

Research questions are the foundation of any research study as they guide the research process and provide a clear direction to the researcher. The purpose of research questions is to identify the scope and boundaries of the study, and to establish the goals and objectives of the research.

The main purpose of research questions is to help the researcher to focus on the specific area or problem that needs to be investigated. They enable the researcher to develop a research design, select the appropriate methods and tools for data collection and analysis, and to organize the results in a meaningful way.

Research questions also help to establish the relevance and significance of the study. They define the research problem, and determine the research methodology that will be used to address the problem. Research questions also help to determine the type of data that will be collected, and how it will be analyzed and interpreted.

Finally, research questions provide a framework for evaluating the results of the research. They help to establish the validity and reliability of the data, and provide a basis for drawing conclusions and making recommendations based on the findings of the study.

Advantages of Research Questions

There are several advantages of research questions in the research process, including:

  • Focus : Research questions help to focus the research by providing a clear direction for the study. They define the specific area of investigation and provide a framework for the research design.
  • Clarity : Research questions help to clarify the purpose and objectives of the study, which can make it easier for the researcher to communicate the research aims to others.
  • Relevance : Research questions help to ensure that the study is relevant and meaningful. By asking relevant and important questions, the researcher can ensure that the study will contribute to the existing body of knowledge and address important issues.
  • Consistency : Research questions help to ensure consistency in the research process by providing a framework for the development of the research design, data collection, and analysis.
  • Measurability : Research questions help to ensure that the study is measurable by defining the specific variables and outcomes that will be measured.
  • Replication : Research questions help to ensure that the study can be replicated by providing a clear and detailed description of the research aims, methods, and outcomes. This makes it easier for other researchers to replicate the study and verify the results.

Limitations of Research Questions

Limitations of Research Questions are as follows:

  • Subjectivity : Research questions are often subjective and can be influenced by personal biases and perspectives of the researcher. This can lead to a limited understanding of the research problem and may affect the validity and reliability of the study.
  • Inadequate scope : Research questions that are too narrow in scope may limit the breadth of the study, while questions that are too broad may make it difficult to focus on specific research objectives.
  • Unanswerable questions : Some research questions may not be answerable due to the lack of available data or limitations in research methods. In such cases, the research question may need to be rephrased or modified to make it more answerable.
  • Lack of clarity : Research questions that are poorly worded or ambiguous can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. This can result in incomplete or inaccurate data, which may compromise the validity of the study.
  • Difficulty in measuring variables : Some research questions may involve variables that are difficult to measure or quantify, making it challenging to draw meaningful conclusions from the data.
  • Lack of generalizability: Research questions that are too specific or limited in scope may not be generalizable to other contexts or populations. This can limit the applicability of the study’s findings and restrict its broader implications.

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/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="statement of research questions"> Cornell University --> Graduate School

Research statement, what is a research statement.

The research statement (or statement of research interests) is a common component of academic job applications. It is a summary of your research accomplishments, current work, and future direction and potential of your work.

The statement can discuss specific issues such as:

  • funding history and potential
  • requirements for laboratory equipment and space and other resources
  • potential research and industrial collaborations
  • how your research contributes to your field
  • future direction of your research

The research statement should be technical, but should be intelligible to all members of the department, including those outside your subdiscipline. So keep the “big picture” in mind. The strongest research statements present a readable, compelling, and realistic research agenda that fits well with the needs, facilities, and goals of the department.

Research statements can be weakened by:

  • overly ambitious proposals
  • lack of clear direction
  • lack of big-picture focus
  • inadequate attention to the needs and facilities of the department or position

Why a Research Statement?

  • It conveys to search committees the pieces of your professional identity and charts the course of your scholarly journey.
  • It communicates a sense that your research will follow logically from what you have done and that it will be different, important, and innovative.
  • It gives a context for your research interests—Why does your research matter? The so what?
  • It combines your achievements and current work with the proposal for upcoming research.
  • areas of specialty and expertise
  • potential to get funding
  • academic strengths and abilities
  • compatibility with the department or school
  • ability to think and communicate like a serious scholar and/or scientist

Formatting of Research Statements

The goal of the research statement is to introduce yourself to a search committee, which will probably contain scientists both in and outside your field, and get them excited about your research. To encourage people to read it:

  • make it one or two pages, three at most
  • use informative section headings and subheadings
  • use bullets
  • use an easily readable font size
  • make the margins a reasonable size

Organization of Research Statements

Think of the overarching theme guiding your main research subject area. Write an essay that lays out:

  • The main theme(s) and why it is important and what specific skills you use to attack the problem.
  • A few specific examples of problems you have already solved with success to build credibility and inform people outside your field about what you do.
  • A discussion of the future direction of your research. This section should be really exciting to people both in and outside your field. Don’t sell yourself short; if you think your research could lead to answers for big important questions, say so!
  • A final paragraph that gives a good overall impression of your research.

Writing Research Statements

  • Avoid jargon. Make sure that you describe your research in language that many people outside your specific subject area can understand. Ask people both in and outside your field to read it before you send your application. A search committee won’t get excited about something they can’t understand.
  • Write as clearly, concisely, and concretely as you can.
  • Keep it at a summary level; give more detail in the job talk.
  • Ask others to proofread it. Be sure there are no spelling errors.
  • Convince the search committee not only that you are knowledgeable, but that you are the right person to carry out the research.
  • Include information that sets you apart (e.g., publication in  Science, Nature,  or a prestigious journal in your field).
  • What excites you about your research? Sound fresh.
  • Include preliminary results and how to build on results.
  • Point out how current faculty may become future partners.
  • Acknowledge the work of others.
  • Use language that shows you are an independent researcher.
  • BUT focus on your research work, not yourself.
  • Include potential funding partners and industrial collaborations. Be creative!
  • Provide a summary of your research.
  • Put in background material to give the context/relevance/significance of your research.
  • List major findings, outcomes, and implications.
  • Describe both current and planned (future) research.
  • Communicate a sense that your research will follow logically from what you have done and that it will be unique, significant, and innovative (and easy to fund).

Describe Your Future Goals or Research Plans

  • Major problem(s) you want to focus on in your research.
  • The problem’s relevance and significance to the field.
  • Your specific goals for the next three to five years, including potential impact and outcomes.
  • If you know what a particular agency funds, you can name the agency and briefly outline a proposal.
  • Give broad enough goals so that if one area doesn’t get funded, you can pursue other research goals and funding.

Identify Potential Funding Sources

  • Almost every institution wants to know whether you’ll be able to get external funding for research.
  • Try to provide some possible sources of funding for the research, such as NIH, NSF, foundations, private agencies.
  • Mention past funding, if appropriate.

Be Realistic

There is a delicate balance between a realistic research statement where you promise to work on problems you really think you can solve and over-reaching or dabbling in too many subject areas. Select an over-arching theme for your research statement and leave miscellaneous ideas or projects out. Everyone knows that you will work on more than what you mention in this statement.

Consider Also Preparing a Longer Version

  • A longer version (five–15 pages) can be brought to your interview. (Check with your advisor to see if this is necessary.)
  • You may be asked to describe research plans and budget in detail at the campus interview. Be prepared.
  • Include laboratory needs (how much budget you need for equipment, how many grad assistants, etc.) to start up the research.

Samples of Research Statements

To find sample research statements with content specific to your discipline, search on the internet for your discipline + “Research Statement.”

  • University of Pennsylvania Sample Research Statement
  • Advice on writing a Research Statement (Plan) from the journal  Science

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Graduate School Applications: Writing a Research Statement

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The research statement is a common component of a potential candidate’s application for post-undergraduate study. This may include applications for graduate programs, post-doctoral fellowships, or faculty positions. The research statement is often the primary way that a committee determines if a candidate’s interests and past experience make them a good fit for their program/institution.

What is a Research Statement?

A research statement is a short document that provides a brief history of your past research experience, the current state of your research, and the future work you intend to complete.

What Should It Look Like?

Research statements are generally one to two single-spaced pages. You should be sure to thoroughly read and follow the length and content requirements for each individual application.

Your research statement should situate your work within the larger context of your field and show how your works contributes to, complicates, or counters other work being done. It should be written for an audience of other professionals in your field.

What Should It Include?

Your statement should start by articulating the broader field that you are working within and the larger question or questions that you are interested in answering. It should then move to articulate your specific interest.

The body of your statement should include a brief history of your past research . What questions did you initially set out to answer in your research project? What did you find? How did it contribute to your field? (i.e. did it lead to academic publications, conferences, or collaborations?). How did your past research propel you forward?

It should also address your present research . What questions are you actively trying to solve? What have you found so far? How are you connecting your research to the larger academic conversation? (i.e. do you have any publications under review, upcoming conferences, or other professional engagements?) What are the larger implications of your work?

Finally, it should describe the future trajectory on which you intend to take your research. What further questions do you want to solve? How do you intend to find answers to these questions? How can the institution to which you are applying help you in that process? What are the broader implications of your potential results?

Note: Make sure that the research project that you propose can be completed at the institution to which you are applying.

Other Considerations:

  • What is the primary question that you have tried to address over the course of your academic career? Why is this question important to the field? How has each stage of your work related to that question?
  • Include a few specific examples that show your success. What tangible solutions have you found to the question that you were trying to answer? How have your solutions impacted the larger field? Examples can include references to published findings, conference presentations, or other professional involvement.
  • Be confident about your skills and abilities. The research statement is your opportunity to sell yourself to an institution. Show that you are self-motivated and passionate about your project.

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  • v.24(1); Jan-Mar 2019

Formulation of Research Question – Stepwise Approach

Simmi k. ratan.

Department of Pediatric Surgery, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India

1 Department of Community Medicine, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Medical College, New Delhi, India

2 Department of Pediatric Surgery, Batra Hospital and Research Centre, New Delhi, India

Formulation of research question (RQ) is an essentiality before starting any research. It aims to explore an existing uncertainty in an area of concern and points to a need for deliberate investigation. It is, therefore, pertinent to formulate a good RQ. The present paper aims to discuss the process of formulation of RQ with stepwise approach. The characteristics of good RQ are expressed by acronym “FINERMAPS” expanded as feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, relevant, manageable, appropriate, potential value, publishability, and systematic. A RQ can address different formats depending on the aspect to be evaluated. Based on this, there can be different types of RQ such as based on the existence of the phenomenon, description and classification, composition, relationship, comparative, and causality. To develop a RQ, one needs to begin by identifying the subject of interest and then do preliminary research on that subject. The researcher then defines what still needs to be known in that particular subject and assesses the implied questions. After narrowing the focus and scope of the research subject, researcher frames a RQ and then evaluates it. Thus, conception to formulation of RQ is very systematic process and has to be performed meticulously as research guided by such question can have wider impact in the field of social and health research by leading to formulation of policies for the benefit of larger population.

I NTRODUCTION

A good research question (RQ) forms backbone of a good research, which in turn is vital in unraveling mysteries of nature and giving insight into a problem.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ] RQ identifies the problem to be studied and guides to the methodology. It leads to building up of an appropriate hypothesis (Hs). Hence, RQ aims to explore an existing uncertainty in an area of concern and points to a need for deliberate investigation. A good RQ helps support a focused arguable thesis and construction of a logical argument. Hence, formulation of a good RQ is undoubtedly one of the first critical steps in the research process, especially in the field of social and health research, where the systematic generation of knowledge that can be used to promote, restore, maintain, and/or protect health of individuals and populations.[ 1 , 3 , 4 ] Basically, the research can be classified as action, applied, basic, clinical, empirical, administrative, theoretical, or qualitative or quantitative research, depending on its purpose.[ 2 ]

Research plays an important role in developing clinical practices and instituting new health policies. Hence, there is a need for a logical scientific approach as research has an important goal of generating new claims.[ 1 ]

C HARACTERISTICS OF G OOD R ESEARCH Q UESTION

“The most successful research topics are narrowly focused and carefully defined but are important parts of a broad-ranging, complex problem.”

A good RQ is an asset as it:

  • Details the problem statement
  • Further describes and refines the issue under study
  • Adds focus to the problem statement
  • Guides data collection and analysis
  • Sets context of research.

Hence, while writing RQ, it is important to see if it is relevant to the existing time frame and conditions. For example, the impact of “odd-even” vehicle formula in decreasing the level of air particulate pollution in various districts of Delhi.

A good research is represented by acronym FINERMAPS[ 5 ]

Interesting.

  • Appropriate
  • Potential value and publishability
  • Systematic.

Feasibility means that it is within the ability of the investigator to carry out. It should be backed by an appropriate number of subjects and methodology as well as time and funds to reach the conclusions. One needs to be realistic about the scope and scale of the project. One has to have access to the people, gadgets, documents, statistics, etc. One should be able to relate the concepts of the RQ to the observations, phenomena, indicators, or variables that one can access. One should be clear that the collection of data and the proceedings of project can be completed within the limited time and resources available to the investigator. Sometimes, a RQ appears feasible, but when fieldwork or study gets started, it proves otherwise. In this situation, it is important to write up the problems honestly and to reflect on what has been learned. One should try to discuss with more experienced colleagues or the supervisor so as to develop a contingency plan to anticipate possible problems while working on a RQ and find possible solutions in such situations.

This is essential that one has a real grounded interest in one's RQ and one can explore this and back it up with academic and intellectual debate. This interest will motivate one to keep going with RQ.

The question should not simply copy questions investigated by other workers but should have scope to be investigated. It may aim at confirming or refuting the already established findings, establish new facts, or find new aspects of the established facts. It should show imagination of the researcher. Above all, the question has to be simple and clear. The complexity of a question can frequently hide unclear thoughts and lead to a confused research process. A very elaborate RQ, or a question which is not differentiated into different parts, may hide concepts that are contradictory or not relevant. This needs to be clear and thought-through. Having one key question with several subcomponents will guide your research.

This is the foremost requirement of any RQ and is mandatory to get clearance from appropriate authorities before stating research on the question. Further, the RQ should be such that it minimizes the risk of harm to the participants in the research, protect the privacy and maintain their confidentiality, and provide the participants right to withdraw from research. It should also guide in avoiding deceptive practices in research.

The question should of academic and intellectual interest to people in the field you have chosen to study. The question preferably should arise from issues raised in the current situation, literature, or in practice. It should establish a clear purpose for the research in relation to the chosen field. For example, filling a gap in knowledge, analyzing academic assumptions or professional practice, monitoring a development in practice, comparing different approaches, or testing theories within a specific population are some of the relevant RQs.

Manageable (M): It has the similar essence as of feasibility but mainly means that the following research can be managed by the researcher.

Appropriate (A): RQ should be appropriate logically and scientifically for the community and institution.

Potential value and publishability (P): The study can make significant health impact in clinical and community practices. Therefore, research should aim for significant economic impact to reduce unnecessary or excessive costs. Furthermore, the proposed study should exist within a clinical, consumer, or policy-making context that is amenable to evidence-based change. Above all, a good RQ must address a topic that has clear implications for resolving important dilemmas in health and health-care decisions made by one or more stakeholder groups.

Systematic (S): Research is structured with specified steps to be taken in a specified sequence in accordance with the well-defined set of rules though it does not rule out creative thinking.

Example of RQ: Would the topical skin application of oil as a skin barrier reduces hypothermia in preterm infants? This question fulfills the criteria of a good RQ, that is, feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, and relevant.

Types of research question

A RQ can address different formats depending on the aspect to be evaluated.[ 6 ] For example:

  • Existence: This is designed to uphold the existence of a particular phenomenon or to rule out rival explanation, for example, can neonates perceive pain?
  • Description and classification: This type of question encompasses statement of uniqueness, for example, what are characteristics and types of neuropathic bladders?
  • Composition: It calls for breakdown of whole into components, for example, what are stages of reflux nephropathy?
  • Relationship: Evaluate relation between variables, for example, association between tumor rupture and recurrence rates in Wilm's tumor
  • Descriptive—comparative: Expected that researcher will ensure that all is same between groups except issue in question, for example, Are germ cell tumors occurring in gonads more aggressive than those occurring in extragonadal sites?
  • Causality: Does deletion of p53 leads to worse outcome in patients with neuroblastoma?
  • Causality—comparative: Such questions frequently aim to see effect of two rival treatments, for example, does adding surgical resection improves survival rate outcome in children with neuroblastoma than with chemotherapy alone?
  • Causality–Comparative interactions: Does immunotherapy leads to better survival outcome in neuroblastoma Stage IV S than with chemotherapy in the setting of adverse genetic profile than without it? (Does X cause more changes in Y than those caused by Z under certain condition and not under other conditions).

How to develop a research question

  • Begin by identifying a broader subject of interest that lends itself to investigate, for example, hormone levels among hypospadias
  • Do preliminary research on the general topic to find out what research has already been done and what literature already exists.[ 7 ] Therefore, one should begin with “information gaps” (What do you already know about the problem? For example, studies with results on testosterone levels among hypospadias
  • What do you still need to know? (e.g., levels of other reproductive hormones among hypospadias)
  • What are the implied questions: The need to know about a problem will lead to few implied questions. Each general question should lead to more specific questions (e.g., how hormone levels differ among isolated hypospadias with respect to that in normal population)
  • Narrow the scope and focus of research (e.g., assessment of reproductive hormone levels among isolated hypospadias and hypospadias those with associated anomalies)
  • Is RQ clear? With so much research available on any given topic, RQs must be as clear as possible in order to be effective in helping the writer direct his or her research
  • Is the RQ focused? RQs must be specific enough to be well covered in the space available
  • Is the RQ complex? RQs should not be answerable with a simple “yes” or “no” or by easily found facts. They should, instead, require both research and analysis on the part of the writer
  • Is the RQ one that is of interest to the researcher and potentially useful to others? Is it a new issue or problem that needs to be solved or is it attempting to shed light on previously researched topic
  • Is the RQ researchable? Consider the available time frame and the required resources. Is the methodology to conduct the research feasible?
  • Is the RQ measurable and will the process produce data that can be supported or contradicted?
  • Is the RQ too broad or too narrow?
  • Create Hs: After formulating RQ, think where research is likely to be progressing? What kind of argument is likely to be made/supported? What would it mean if the research disputed the planned argument? At this step, one can well be on the way to have a focus for the research and construction of a thesis. Hs consists of more specific predictions about the nature and direction of the relationship between two variables. It is a predictive statement about the outcome of the research, dictate the method, and design of the research[ 1 ]
  • Understand implications of your research: This is important for application: whether one achieves to fill gap in knowledge and how the results of the research have practical implications, for example, to develop health policies or improve educational policies.[ 1 , 8 ]

Brainstorm/Concept map for formulating research question

  • First, identify what types of studies have been done in the past?
  • Is there a unique area that is yet to be investigated or is there a particular question that may be worth replicating?
  • Begin to narrow the topic by asking open-ended “how” and “why” questions
  • Evaluate the question
  • Develop a Hypothesis (Hs)
  • Write down the RQ.

Writing down the research question

  • State the question in your own words
  • Write down the RQ as completely as possible.

For example, Evaluation of reproductive hormonal profile in children presenting with isolated hypospadias)

  • Divide your question into concepts. Narrow to two or three concepts (reproductive hormonal profile, isolated hypospadias, compare with normal/not isolated hypospadias–implied)
  • Specify the population to be studied (children with isolated hypospadias)
  • Refer to the exposure or intervention to be investigated, if any
  • Reflect the outcome of interest (hormonal profile).

Another example of a research question

Would the topical skin application of oil as a skin barrier reduces hypothermia in preterm infants? Apart from fulfilling the criteria of a good RQ, that is, feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, and relevant, it also details about the intervention done (topical skin application of oil), rationale of intervention (as a skin barrier), population to be studied (preterm infants), and outcome (reduces hypothermia).

Other important points to be heeded to while framing research question

  • Make reference to a population when a relationship is expected among a certain type of subjects
  • RQs and Hs should be made as specific as possible
  • Avoid words or terms that do not add to the meaning of RQs and Hs
  • Stick to what will be studied, not implications
  • Name the variables in the order in which they occur/will be measured
  • Avoid the words significant/”prove”
  • Avoid using two different terms to refer to the same variable.

Some of the other problems and their possible solutions have been discussed in Table 1 .

Potential problems and solutions while making research question

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G OING B EYOND F ORMULATION OF R ESEARCH Q UESTION–THE P ATH A HEAD

Once RQ is formulated, a Hs can be developed. Hs means transformation of a RQ into an operational analog.[ 1 ] It means a statement as to what prediction one makes about the phenomenon to be examined.[ 4 ] More often, for case–control trial, null Hs is generated which is later accepted or refuted.

A strong Hs should have following characteristics:

  • Give insight into a RQ
  • Are testable and measurable by the proposed experiments
  • Have logical basis
  • Follows the most likely outcome, not the exceptional outcome.

E XAMPLES OF R ESEARCH Q UESTION AND H YPOTHESIS

Research question-1.

  • Does reduced gap between the two segments of the esophagus in patients of esophageal atresia reduces the mortality and morbidity of such patients?

Hypothesis-1

  • Reduced gap between the two segments of the esophagus in patients of esophageal atresia reduces the mortality and morbidity of such patients
  • In pediatric patients with esophageal atresia, gap of <2 cm between two segments of the esophagus and proper mobilization of proximal pouch reduces the morbidity and mortality among such patients.

Research question-2

  • Does application of mitomycin C improves the outcome in patient of corrosive esophageal strictures?

Hypothesis-2

In patients aged 2–9 years with corrosive esophageal strictures, 34 applications of mitomycin C in dosage of 0.4 mg/ml for 5 min over a period of 6 months improve the outcome in terms of symptomatic and radiological relief. Some other examples of good and bad RQs have been shown in Table 2 .

Examples of few bad (left-hand side column) and few good (right-hand side) research questions

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R ESEARCH Q UESTION AND S TUDY D ESIGN

RQ determines study design, for example, the question aimed to find the incidence of a disease in population will lead to conducting a survey; to find risk factors for a disease will need case–control study or a cohort study. RQ may also culminate into clinical trial.[ 9 , 10 ] For example, effect of administration of folic acid tablet in the perinatal period in decreasing incidence of neural tube defect. Accordingly, Hs is framed.

Appropriate statistical calculations are instituted to generate sample size. The subject inclusion, exclusion criteria and time frame of research are carefully defined. The detailed subject information sheet and pro forma are carefully defined. Moreover, research is set off few examples of research methodology guided by RQ:

  • Incidence of anorectal malformations among adolescent females (hospital-based survey)
  • Risk factors for the development of spontaneous pneumoperitoneum in pediatric patients (case–control design and cohort study)
  • Effect of technique of extramucosal ureteric reimplantation without the creation of submucosal tunnel for the preservation of upper tract in bladder exstrophy (clinical trial).

The results of the research are then be available for wider applications for health and social life

C ONCLUSION

A good RQ needs thorough literature search and deep insight into the specific area/problem to be investigated. A RQ has to be focused yet simple. Research guided by such question can have wider impact in the field of social and health research by leading to formulation of policies for the benefit of larger population.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.

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Alignment of Problem, Purpose, and Questions

Overarching alignment of doctoral project/dissertation-in-practice components, alignment of the quantitative research components, the quantitative general and specific problem, alignment of the qualitative research components, the qualitative phenomenon and specific problem.

  • Conceptual Framework
  • Avoiding Common Mistakes
  • Synthesis and Analysis in Writing Support This link opens in a new window
  • Qualitative Research Questions This link opens in a new window
  • Quantitative Research Questions This link opens in a new window
  • Qualitative & Quantitative Research Support with the ASC This link opens in a new window
  • Library Research Consultations This link opens in a new window
  • Library Guide: Research Process This link opens in a new window
  • ASC Guide: Outlining and Annotating This link opens in a new window
  • Library Guide: Organizing Research & Citations This link opens in a new window
  • Library Guide: RefWorks This link opens in a new window
  • Library Guide: Copyright Information This link opens in a new window

In a project designed to address a local problem as is the case in the applied doctoral experience, alignment of problem, purpose, and questions is key to having a successful project outcome. To help check alignment, some students find the following activity to be helpful.

  • Activity - Aligning Problem, Purpose, and Questions Download this activity to check the alignment of your problem, purpose, and questions.

Instructions for completing the activity:

  • Copy each segment of your specific problem statement into a cell in the first column.
  • Then copy the corresponding segment of your purpose statement into the second column.
  • Finally, copy the related questions into the third column.
  • Read across to note any discrepancies.

Activity example:

For information: Please visit the NU ASC website and view the resources on constructing a problem statement. 

The problem of your study can be determined by gaps in the literature; HOWEVER, a gap in the literature is not the problem. A problem is a clear and distinct problem that can be empirically verified and has a consequence. NOTE: A problem statement does not suggest any action to be taken nor does it ask a question. 

Example: “My car has a flat tire, so I cannot go to work and my livelihood is affected.” (This is a statement of fact and can be verified.)

As soon as  an action is noted, it becomes a purpose statement – “I need to investigate why I have a flat tire.”

If you ask a question, it is no longer a problem statement either – “How does my flat tire affect my livelihood?”   

Your general and specific problem statements should have at least two to three current (within three years) citations.

An example problem statement format is provided below. Please use the information and templates below to construct each component based on the quantitative research design selected earlier.

Constructing the General problem and Specific Problem Statements using the Funnel Approach

The premise is that the “funnel” approach to constructing the problem statement funnels from a general problem to a specific one. 

The general problem statement. Using the funnel approach to write a problem statement, the first component developed is the general problem. The general problem represents a situation that exists that can be directly attributed to a specific problem that is the focus of the doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice. 

Exercise #3.

Based on the type of problem addressed by the doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice, write the general problem statement below.

"The general problem is (describe the situation linked to the negative outcome) (two-three citations)."

The Specific Problem Statement

Once again, using the funnel approach to write a problem statement (see Problem Statement webinar on the NU ASC website at http://www.viddler.com/v/a70ecc81), the second  component developed is the “specific problem.” The specific problem represents an undesirable or negative outcome that can be researched, and is directly attributable to the general problem.

Exercise #4.

With the type of problem in mind, write the specific problem addressed by the proposed project below.

"The specific problem to be studied is when the (study population/site/program) experience/results in/causes (the general problem), (state the negative outcome) (two to three citations."

Following the Problem Statement is the Purpose Statement. The purpose should directly align with the problem.

The Purpose Statement.

The purpose statement describes the aim of the doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice and includes the project design, method, and variables. 

Based on the design the purpose statement can be constructed slightly differently.

Correlational Design Purpose Statement

The purpose of this quantitative correlational Doctoral Project or Applied Dissertation is to examine if there is a relationship between (variable 1) and (variable 2). 

Causal Comparative Design Purpose Statement

The purpose of this quantitative causal-comparative doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice is to examine the difference in (dependent variable) between (group 1) and (group2). 

NOTE:  The groups represent the independent variable. For example, you could be investigating the difference between high school and college students, so the independent variable is education level.

Exercise #5.

Based on the design write the purpose statement for the proposed doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice below.

"The purpose of this quantitative (design) doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice is to examine (connection) of (variables)."

Doctoral Project or Dissertation-in-Practice Research Questions

The type and number of research questions are dependent upon the design and purpose of the doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice.

Visit the following site to identify the appropriate structure for the proposed project: http://dissertation.laerd.com/how-to-structure-quantitative-research-questions.php

  • Causal Comparative Research Questions

RQ1.  What is the difference in (dependent variable) between (group 1)? (group 2), (group…n)? OR RQ1. How are/is (group 1) different from (group 2) in terms of (dependent variable) for (participants) at (research location)?

  • Correlational Research Questions

Q1. What is the relationship of (variable 1)to ( variable 2) for (participants) at (research location)?

Exercise #6.

Write the appropriate number research question(s) based on the project design and purpose of the proposed Doctoral Project or Applied Dissertation.

Research Question: RQ1. (see examples above to complete)

Hypotheses For each research question there should be a null and alternative hypothesis.

Causal Comparative Hypotheses H10. There is no difference in (dependent variable between (group 1) and (group 2). H1A. There is a statistically significant difference in (dependent variable between (group 1) and (group 2). Correlational Hypotheses H10. There is no relationship between (variable 1) and (variable 2). H1A. There is a relationship between (variable 1) and (variable 2).

Visit Please review the following site to properly construct hypotheses: https://statistics.laerd.com/statistical-guides/hypothesis-testing-3.php

Write the appropriate hypotheses for the proposed doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice below.

H10. (see examples above to complete)     H1A. (see examples above to complete)

For information: Please visit the NU ASC website and view the webinar about constructing a problem statement. 

As soon as an action is noted, it becomes a purpose statement – “I need to investigate why I have a flat tire.”

If you ask a question, it is no longer a problem statement either – “How does my flat tire affect my livelihood?”  

In qualitative studies, the problem is the phenomenon under study.  

The General Problem Statement

Using the funnel approach, i.e., moving from a general to a specific problem, to write a problem statement (see Problem Statement webinar, on the NU ASC website at http://www.viddler.com/v/a70ecc81, the first component developed is the “phenomenon,” also known as the general problem. The phenomenon represents a situation that exists that can be directly attributed to a specific problem that is the focus of the purposed Doctoral Project or Applied Dissertation.

Use the script below by replacing the italicized text with the appropriate information to write a one-sentence statement representing the phenomenon, and include at least two to three current (within three years) citations to support the statement.

"The general problem is that (describe the phenomenon) (two to three current citations)."

Once again, using the funnel approach to write a problem statement (see Problem Statement webinar on the NU ASC website at http://www.viddler.com/v/a70ecc81), the second component developed is the “specific problem.” The specific problem represents an undesirable or negative outcome that can be researched, and is directly attributable to the phenomenon of the proposed  doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice.

Use the script below by replacing the italicized text with the appropriate information to write a one-sentence statement representing the specific problem, and include at least two to three current (within three years) citations to support the statement.

"The specific problem is when the (doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice participants) (experience the phenomenon), (negative/undesirable outcome) (two to three current citations)."

Often, it may be more effective to write one overarching problem statement that includes both the general and specific problems.

The Purpose Statement

The purpose statement describes the aim of the proposed doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice and includes the research methodology and design, phenomenon, and project participants.

Use the script below by replacing the italicized text with the appropriate information to write a one-sentence statement representing the purpose statement.

"The purpose of this qualitative (design) study is to explore (the phenomenon), as perceived by ( Doctoral Project or Dissertation in Practice participants)."

Research Questions

Often, one question is designed to explore the barriers or challenges related to the phenomenon, and the second question asks about how to improve the phenomenon. However, there can be more than two research questions. The questions can be constructed in several different ways; a few examples are shown in RQ1. And RQ2. The questions should always include the phenomenon and doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice participants and ask the “How,” “What,” or “Why,” as related to the phenomenon.

Use the script below by replacing the italicized text with the appropriate information to write two one-sentence research questions that together explore the phenomenon as it is perceived by the  (Doctoral Project or Applied Dissertation participants). 

"RQ1.  What are the challenges of the (phenomenon) from the perspectives of the (doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice participants)?" "RQ2.  How can the (phenomenon) be improved, as perceived by the ( Doctoral Project or Dissertation in Practice participants)?"

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Research Interest Statement Samples That Worked

Research Interest Statement Sample

A good research interest statement sample can be hard to find. Still, it can also be a beneficial tool for writing one and preparing for a grad school application or post-graduate position. Your research interest statement is one of the key components of your application to get into grad school . In a few cases, admissions committees have used it instead of an interview, so it is important to write a strong essay. We’ve provided research interest statement samples for you in this blog post. We have also included several tips that will help you write a strong statement to help improve your chances of getting accepted into your dream program. 

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 13 min read

What is a research interest statement.

A research interest statement is essential for most graduate school, post-graduate, and academic job applications. Sometimes, it may be referred to it as a " statement of intent " or "description of research interests." While they are similar, research interest statement may require some additional information. Generally, your statement will pride a brief overview of your research background, including your past research experience, the current state of your research, and the future research you'd like to complete, including any required equipment and collaborations. It is usually written in the form of a short essay. Still, of course, different graduate programs can have specific requirements, so make sure to check the program you are applying to and read the particular instructions that they give to ensure your research interest statement meets their requirements. 

Your research statement plays a big role in the committee's decision. Ultimately, they are trying to figure out if you, as a person, and your research, would be a good fit for their program. A strong statement can help you convince them of this by showing your passion for research, your research interests and experience, the connection between your interests and the program, and the extent of your writing skills which is really important for paper and grant writing, and thus for earning money for your research!

Undergraduate programs are centered around classes, but graduate and post-graduate programs are all about your research and what your research contributes to your discipline of choice. That is why a research interest statement is so important, because it is essentially a way for you to share this information with the program that you have chosen.

Writing a strong statement can be helpful to you, as well. Having to explain your research and talk about your goals coherently will give you a chance to define your future research and career plans, as well as academic interests.

What Should Your Research Interest Statement Include?

The exact requirements of the research interest statement can vary depending on where you are applying and for what position. Most faculty positions will need you to produce a separate file for your statement, and most of the time, for an academic program, you can simply include your statement within your CV for graduate school .  

Need to prepare your grad school CV? This video has helpful advice for you:

Unless otherwise stated by the program or faculty that you are applying to, your statement should be one to two pages long or between 600 and 1000 words. If you are including your description of interest statements on your resume, then it would be ideal to keep it between 400 and 600 words. Most programs will give you guidelines for the research interest statement so make sure you follow those. They rarely include a specific question or prompt but they might ask for a particular detail to be included in your interest statement. For example, a university’s requirements may look something like this: “In your statement of interest, you should detail your study and/or research interests and reasons for seeking admission. You must identify a faculty member from the Anthropology of Department with whom you are interested in being your advisor. The length of a statement of intent should be 2 pages in length (single-spaced, Times New Roman font size 12 point)”

Your statement should include a brief history of your past research. It should tell the committee what you have previously set out to answer with your research projects, what you found, and if it led to any academic publications or collaborations. It should also address your current research. What questions are you actively trying to solve? You will need to tell the committee if you’ve made any progress, what you have found, if you are connecting your research to the larger academic conversation and what the larger implications of your work actually are. Finally, you want to talk about the future of your research. What further questions do you want to solve? How do you intend to find answers to these questions? What are the broader implications of your potential results, and how can the institution you are applying to help you?

Before we show you some examples, let's go over a few essential things that you need to keep in mind while writing your research interest statement to make sure it is strong. 

Preparation

Give Yourself Ample Time: Much like with other components of your application, like your CV or a graduate school interview question , preparation is the key to success. You should give yourself enough time to thoroughly research the program or faculty you are applying to, gather all the information or documents that can aid you in writing, and then write and rewrite as many times as you need to. Give yourself at least 6 weeks to draft, redraft, and finalize your statement. You may also want to consider investing in a graduate school admissions consultant as they have more experience writing these types of essays and may see things that you can’t.

Research the Program/Faculty: The purpose of your research interest statement is to tell the committee all about your research plans, how it will contribute to the field and convince them that not only is their institution is the best place for it, but that you will be an asset to them as a candidate. To do this, you need to know what kind of candidate they are looking for, what kind of research they have been interested in in the past, and if there is anything particular that they require in the research interest statement. Remember, expectations for research statements can vary among disciplines and universities, so it is essential that you write for the right audience.

The Format / Writing Style

Your research statement should be in an academic essay format. It needs to be concise, well-organized, and easy to read. For graduate school, PhD or post-doc positions, your research interest statement will usually be a part of your resume. We recommend that you stick to the following things when it comes to the format:

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The Content

Introduction: This is a functional academic document, unlike college essays or personal statements, so you want to go straight to the point and focus on the key information that needs to be conveyed. You want to use this paragraph to tell the committee why you are writing this statement. In other words, you should clearly state what kind of research you are interested in pursuing at the institution in question and explain why you are drawn to the subject. 

Body: This is your “why and how” paragraphs. In 2 or 3 paragraphs, you should expand on your interest, background, accomplishments, and plans in the field of research. Depending on your level of experience, you may use this time to talk about your previous or current research. If you do not have much experience, then you may use this paragraph to talk about any skills or academic achievements that could be relevant. 

Conclusion: To conclude, you should restate your interest and tie it back to the research you intend to continue at the university. Be specific about the direction you’d like to take the research in, who you’d like to work with, and what the institution has that would help you. We also suggest including a concise statement that reiterates your unique suitability for the program, and what you can contribute to it and your chosen field.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Being Too Personal: Often, students will confuse the statement of purpose and the research interest statement or letter of intent. It is essential to understand the difference between these two documents because some programs will ask for both of these documents. There is quite a bit of overlap between the two essays, so they are very easy to mix up. Both documents ask applicants to focus on their research interests, relevant past academic & professional experiences, and their long-term goals in the field. However, a statement of purpose is more of a personal statement that describes your journey and overall suitability for a program. In contrast, a research interest statement is a more formal academic document specific to the research you intend to pursue in a program. It will include many details such as the faculty members you want to work with, the program facilities and resources you wish to use, etc.

Not Following Guidelines: As mentioned earlier, these statements can vary depending on the discipline and the faculty. It is crucial that you review all the institution's guidelines and follow them. Some schools will have a specific word count, others may simply give you a maximum and minimum word count. Others may even have a specific prompt or question that you will need to answer with your essay. You want to make sure that you are following the instructions provided by the program. 

Using Too Much Jargon: Your statement will be read by people who are most likely knowledgeable, but they might not be from your specific field or specialty. We understand that it may not be possible to be clear about your research without using a few niche words, but try to keep them at a minimum and avoid using acronyms that are not well known outside of your specialty.

Having One Generic Statement: The requirements of your research statement are different from one school to another, and you should tailor your letter to the program you are writing to. We know that the research and experience you are talking about are still the same, but the qualities and aspects of that experience you play up should help you appeal to the school you are applying to. For example, if you are applying to a very collaborative program, you should highlight your collaborations and your experience working as part of a team.

Looking for tips on getting into grad school? This infographic is for you:

Research of Interest Statement Samples

Below are sample research interest statements for reference: 

Research Statement of Interest 1

Jennifer Doe

As the child of an immigrant, I have always been fascinated by the relationship between identity, geographic territory, and economic development. With the rise of globalization, there is a broader effort in the social sciences to study the link between cultural identity, human mobility, and economic development in the contemporary world. I hope that my research will contribute to this as well. I am applying to the X University Global Anthropology program, as it is the best place for me to explore my research interests and channel them towards my long-term goals. I believe that my undergraduate education and the research experience it gave me have prepared me to undertake advanced research projects, thus making me an excellent candidate for this program.

I spent the first two years of undergraduate studies taking psychology courses. I went to university knowing that I wanted to learn about human behavior and culture. I was thirsty for information, but I did not know what kind of information just yet. It wasn’t until I took an elective anthropology class in my second year and started discussing identity in anthropology that something clicked. Unlike many other social sciences, anthropology explores the different ways that cultures affect human behavior and that connected right away with my experience as an immigrant. I have been passionate about the subject ever since, and I intend on spending my career exploring this topic further.

In the long run, I am interested in understanding how geography affects the construction of one’s cultural identity, especially when it comes to immigrants. Literature already exists on the topic, but most of it examines the upper levels of this process of social reproduction, concentrating on the roles of governments and associations in promoting ties between migrants and their homelands. Prof. Jane Doe Smith is one of the anthropologists researching the transnational migration experience, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with her at X University.

I was fortunate to be part of a summer research experience as an undergraduate, which took place in several west African countries, including Mali, Senegal, and Nigeria. Dr. Sam Smith was leading the research, and my time on his team allowed me to gain hands-on experience in research while living abroad. One of the things that I did almost daily was interview the subjects in a controlled environment, and sometimes I got to be a part of traditional ceremonies. I learnt how to observe without being intrusive and how to interact with clinical subjects. The experience only strengthened my curiosity and conviction that today more than ever, we need to understand what identity is and the different factors that can affect it.

I enrolled in several challenging research-oriented courses such as Applied Statistical Inference for the Behavioral Sciences, Principles of Measurement, and more throughout my degree. I was also able to work as a research lab assistant for one of my mentors, Mr. Jonathan Smith. I worked with him while he studied the relationship between identity, culture and “self.” My main duties were to assist in the creating of surveys and other assessment materials, administer written and verbal tests to participants, create literature reviews for potential resources, create summaries of findings for analysis and other office duties such as reserving testing rooms. This particular experience allowed me to get some hands-on experience with data collection, data analysis, report preparation and the creation of data summaries.

I know that there is a lot more that I can learn from the X University. I have seen the exemplary work in anthropology and other social studies done by the staff and alumni of this school. It has inspired and convinced me beyond the shadow of a doubt that pursuing my graduate studies in your program meets my personal, academic, and professional goals objectives.

My advanced research skills, passion for anthropology and clinical research, as well as my academic proficiency make me the ideal candidate for X University's Clinical Global Anthropology Master’s program. I believe that X University’s rigorous curriculum and facilities make it the perfect place for me, my long-term career goals and my research commitments. 

Jamie Medicine

I am applying to the brain and development master's program of X university because it is one of the few universities that not only has a program that combines the two disciplines that I majored in my undergraduate studies: Psychology and Linguistics; but also because it is a program that I know would allow me to grow as a researcher, contribute to my chosen fields and achieve my long-term career goals. My research is motivated by two of my favorite things: language and music. To be more specific, hip-hop music. In 20xx, Rollingstone magazine published an article stating that hip hop was now more popular than rock and roll. The rise in popularity of this initially very niche genre has sparked a conversation in specific academic fields such as psychology, sociology, linguistics, and English about the use of language within it but also the effects that it can have on those who listen to it. I hope to one day contribute to that conversation by studying the relationship between hip-hop music and vocabulary development, and I believe that pursuing this particular research interest at X university is the best way for me to do that.

There are many potential places this research may lead me and many potential topics I may explore. Furthermore, there are many things that it would allow us to learn about the effect that music has on our brains and society at large.

I was fortunate enough to work under Dr. Jane D. Smith at the University of X for two years while conducting her recently published study on vocabulary instruction for children with a developmental language disorder. During my time in her lab, I interviewed participants and put together evaluation materials for them. I was also responsible for data entry, analysis, and summarizing. This experience gave me the skills and the knowledge that allowed me to exceed expectations for my final research project in undergraduate school.

One of my undergraduate degree requirements was to complete a small independent study under the supervision of a professor. I chose to study music's effect on children's vocabulary development. Several studies look for ways to decrease the million-word gap, and I wanted to see if this thing that I am so passionate about, music, had any effect at all. I compiled multiple literature reviews and analyzed their results, and I found that there is indeed a correlation between the number of words that a child spoke and the amount of music that they were exposed to. 

This research is currently being explored on a larger scale by Prof. John Doe at X university and learning from him is one of the many reasons I have applied to this program. I took several research methodology courses throughout my degree, and I would love to enroll in the Applied Statistics for Psychology course he is currently teaching to build upon the foundational knowledge I already have. There are several other faculty members in the brain and language department with whom learning from would be a dream come true. In addition to that, working with them is a real possibility because the research they are currently doing and the research I hope to pursue are greatly matched.

I genuinely believe that X university has the curriculum and facilities that I need to meet my long-term goals and research commitments. I also believe that my academic achievements, eagerness to learn, and passion make me the perfect candidate for your program. 

Interested in some tips to help you manage grad school once you're there? Check out this video :

It is essentially an essay that provides a brief overview of your research experience and goals. This includes your past research experience, the current state of your research, and the future research you'd like to complete. It is also sometimes referred to as a "statement of intent" or "description of research interests."

This statement tells the admissions committee more about you as an applicant. It gives you the opportunity to tell them more about your research (past, present, and future) and show them that you are a good fit for their institution.

No. Some graduate school programs might ask for a statement of purpose and a writing sample instead, or they could ask for none of the above. You should always check the requirements of the specific program that you’re applying to.

Generally, your statement should be 400 to 1000 words or about two pages long. That said, most programs will give you guidelines so make sure you check those and follow them.

You certainly can but we do not recommend it. You should always tailor your statement to the program you are applying to. Remember that the aim is to convince the admissions committee that you are a good fit for their school so make sure you highlight the qualities and values that they care about.

We recommend that you doublecheck the information provided by your chosen program as they often have specific instructions for the format of the letter. If none exist, make sure that the format of your document is pleasing to the eye. Stick to easily legible fonts, a decent font size, spacing, margins, etc.  Also, it is best to keep the content of the letter concise and professional.

We recommend giving yourself at least 6 weeks to write your statement. This will give you ample time to brainstorm, write a strong letter, read it again and edit it as many times as necessary. It also gives you enough time to get expert eyes on your letter and work with them to improve it if you wish.

No. Research interest statements are often required for post-graduate school applications and for other positions in academic faculties.

Absolutely! You can always reach out to admissions professionals, such as graduate school admissions consultants or grad school essays tutors .

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hello, thanks for providing guide line for Research Interest statement, the important aspect of scholarship application. Kindly guide me, What should be the title of the Research Statement. Thanks

Hi Sadia! Check the requirements of your school first. They might provide some info on whether a title is even needed. 

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statement of research questions

statement of research questions

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[WASHINGTON, DC, February 6, 2023] During a time when species are going extinct faster than any period in human history, the survival of species and persistence of healthy ecosystems requires science-based decisions. A new analysis by NatureServe addresses five essential questions about biodiversity–the variety of life on Earth–that need to be answered if we are going to effectively conserve nature: 1) How many species and ecosystems are at risk? 2) Are species and ecosystems adequately protected? 3) What are the major threats to biodiversity? 4) Where is imperiled biodiversity concentrated? 5) Where do we go from here?  

In the first report of its kind, Biodiversity in Focus: United States Edition reveals an alarming conclusion: 34% of plants and 40% of animals are at risk of extinction, and 41% of ecosystems are at risk of range-wide collapse. Because many protected areas prioritize geological features or landscapes of cultural significance instead of targeting threatened biodiversity, most at-risk species and ecosystems are insufficiently protected to prevent further decline.  

Biodiversity in Focus leverages nearly 50 years of intensive data collection by NatureServe and the NatureServe Network, a collaborative of more than 60 programs that work together to develop, curate, analyze, and share information that can offer novel, actionable insights into biodiversity conservation. A major takeaway of the report is that to truly protect imperiled biodiversity, a range of on-the-ground data and analyses, including calculations of spatial overlap between individual species and specific threats, should be used to guide conservation decisions.

“ For fifty years, the NatureServe Network has been collecting the information necessary to understand biodiversity imperilment in the United States. This new analysis of that data, a first in 20 years, makes crystal clear the urgency of that work ,” stated Regan Smyth, Vice President for Data and Methods at NatureServe. She continued, “ Two-fifths of our ecosystems are in trouble. Freshwater invertebrates and many pollinators, the foundation of a healthy, functional planet, are in precipitous decline. Understanding and addressing these risks is critical if we are to forestall devastating consequences for the biodiversity that humanity needs to survive. ” 

Because the data are collected in a standardized way and by local partners such as state authorities, the authors of the report were able to examine detailed patterns relevant to where at-risk biodiversity is found and why it is threatened across the United States. They found that habitat degradation, invasive species, dams, and climate change are among the primary threats to biodiversity in the United States. At-risk species are concentrated where threats are greatest, but species face different types and levels of threats in different regions of the country. For example, among pollinators, bees are particularly threatened, with 37% of assessed species classified as at risk. Bees in the West are more threatened than bees in the East.

A map of the United States highlights areas where imperiled species are underprotected

The authors also examined risks to ecosystems, documenting the impacts of centuries of land conversion and identifying ecosystem types at greatest risk. America’s once vast grasslands and diverse, life-sustaining wetlands are highlighted as being in particular need of conservation attention.  

Biodiversity in Focus shines a light on species and ecosystems in peril, allowing us to make plans to protect these precious resources. The analyses presented in the report inform how to effectively and efficiently use our financial resources to make the best conservation decisions. The 30x30 global initiative calls for the conservation of 30% of the planet’s land and water by 2030. Meeting this goal requires investments in land acquisition and management to maximize value for biodiversity conservation. Those investments need to be targeted where they can have the greatest impact, and this report helps spotlight the species, ecosystems, and locations where resources are most needed. Strategies that protect the full diversity of natural ecosystems can be complemented by strategies that address the needs of individual species at risk of extinction.

“ We are currently experiencing and causing the Sixth Extinction—the mass extinction of species across the planet. NatureServe’s data highlight where the threats are right here at home ,” stated Dr. Sean T. O’Brien, President and CEO of NatureServe. He continued, “ The plants, animals, and ecosystems found in our state, tribal, and federal lands are key components of our cultural and natural heritage. We should be proud of the biodiversity in our backyard and should prioritize protecting what is here, now. ”  

To access the full Biodiversity in Focus, U.S. Edition report visit: www.natureserve.org/bif  

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FDA Approves First Cellular Therapy to Treat Patients with Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma

FDA News Release

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Amtagvi (lifileucel), the first cellular therapy indicated for the treatment of adult patients with a type of skin cancer (melanoma) that is unable to be removed with surgery (unresectable) or has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) that previously has been treated with other therapies (a PD-1 blocking antibody, and if BRAF V600 mutation positive, a BRAF inhibitor with or without a MEK inhibitor). 

“Unresectable or metastatic melanoma is an aggressive form of cancer that can be fatal,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). “The approval of Amtagvi represents the culmination of scientific and clinical research efforts leading to a novel T cell immunotherapy for patients with limited treatment options.”

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is often caused by exposure to ultraviolet light, which can come from sunlight or indoor tanning. Although melanomas only represent approximately 1% of all skin cancers, they account for a significant number of cancer-related deaths. Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body if not detected and treated early, resulting in metastatic disease. 

Treatment for unresectable or metastatic melanoma may include immunotherapy using PD-1 inhibitors, which are antibodies targeting certain proteins in the body to help the immune system fight off cancer cells. In addition, drugs targeting the BRAF gene, which helps with managing the growth and functioning of cells, may be used for treating melanoma associated with BRAF gene mutations. Those patients whose melanoma has progressed with these therapies have a high unmet medical need.

Amtagvi is a tumor-derived autologous T cell immunotherapy composed of a patient’s own T cells, a type of cell that helps the immune system fight cancer. A portion of the patient’s tumor tissue is removed during a surgical procedure prior to treatment. The patients’ T cells are separated from the tumor tissue, further manufactured and then returned to the same patient as a single dose for infusion. This is the first FDA-approved tumor-derived T cell immunotherapy.

“Melanoma is a life-threatening cancer that can cause devastating impacts to affected individuals, with a significant risk of metastasizing and spreading to other areas in the body,” said Nicole Verdun, M.D., director of the Office of Therapeutic Products in CBER. “Today’s approval reflects the FDA’s dedication and commitment to the development of innovative, safe and effective treatment options for cancer patients.”

Amtagvi was approved through the Accelerated Approval pathway , under which the FDA may approve drugs for serious or life-threatening illnesses or conditions where there is an unmet medical need and the drug is shown to have an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict a clinical benefit to patients (improving how patients feel or function, or whether they survive longer). This pathway generally gives patients the opportunity for earlier access to a promising therapy while the company conducts further trials to verify the predicted clinical benefit. A confirmatory trial is ongoing to verify Amtagvi’s clinical benefit.

The safety and effectiveness of Amtagvi was evaluated in a global, multicenter, multicohort clinical study including adult patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma who had previously been treated with at least one systemic therapy, including a PD-1 blocking antibody, and if positive for the BRAF V600 mutation, a BRAF inhibitor or BRAF inhibitor with an MEK inhibitor. Effectiveness was established based on objective response rate to treatment and duration of response (measured from the date of confirmed initial objective response to the date of progression, death from any cause, starting a new anti-cancer treatment or discontinuation from follow-up, whichever came first). Among the 73 patients treated with Amtagvi at the recommended dose, the objective response rate was 31.5%, including three (4.1%) patients with a complete response and 20 (27.4%) patients with a partial response. Among patients who were responsive to the treatment, 56.5%, 47.8% and 43.5% continued to maintain responses without tumor progression or death at six, nine and 12 months, respectively.

Patients treated with Amtagvi may exhibit prolonged severe low blood count, severe infection, cardiac disorder, or develop worsened respiratory or renal function or have fatal treatment-related complications. A Boxed Warning is included in the label containing information about these risks. Patients receiving this product should be closely monitored before and after infusion for signs and symptoms of adverse reactions. Treatment should be withheld or discontinued in the presence of these symptoms, as indicated.

The most common adverse reactions associated with Amtagvi included chills, fever, fatigue, tachycardia (abnormally fast heart rate), diarrhea, febrile neutropenia (fever associated with a low level of certain white blood cells), edema (swelling due to buildup of fluid in body tissues), rash, hypotension, hair loss, infection, hypoxia (abnormally low oxygen levels in the body) and feeling short of breath. 

Amtagvi also received Orphan Drug , Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy , Fast Track , and Priority Review designations. 

The FDA granted the approval of Amtagvi to Iovance Biotherapeutics Inc.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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  • Research Objectives | Definition & Examples

Research Objectives | Definition & Examples

Published on July 12, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan . Revised on November 20, 2023.

Research objectives describe what your research is trying to achieve and explain why you are pursuing it. They summarize the approach and purpose of your project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement . They should:

  • Establish the scope and depth of your project
  • Contribute to your research design
  • Indicate how your project will contribute to existing knowledge

Table of contents

What is a research objective, why are research objectives important, how to write research aims and objectives, smart research objectives, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research objectives.

Research objectives describe what your research project intends to accomplish. They should guide every step of the research process , including how you collect data , build your argument , and develop your conclusions .

Your research objectives may evolve slightly as your research progresses, but they should always line up with the research carried out and the actual content of your paper.

Research aims

A distinction is often made between research objectives and research aims.

A research aim typically refers to a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear at the end of your problem statement, before your research objectives.

Your research objectives are more specific than your research aim and indicate the particular focus and approach of your project. Though you will only have one research aim, you will likely have several research objectives.

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Research objectives are important because they:

  • Establish the scope and depth of your project: This helps you avoid unnecessary research. It also means that your research methods and conclusions can easily be evaluated .
  • Contribute to your research design: When you know what your objectives are, you have a clearer idea of what methods are most appropriate for your research.
  • Indicate how your project will contribute to extant research: They allow you to display your knowledge of up-to-date research, employ or build on current research methods, and attempt to contribute to recent debates.

Once you’ve established a research problem you want to address, you need to decide how you will address it. This is where your research aim and objectives come in.

Step 1: Decide on a general aim

Your research aim should reflect your research problem and should be relatively broad.

Step 2: Decide on specific objectives

Break down your aim into a limited number of steps that will help you resolve your research problem. What specific aspects of the problem do you want to examine or understand?

Step 3: Formulate your aims and objectives

Once you’ve established your research aim and objectives, you need to explain them clearly and concisely to the reader.

You’ll lay out your aims and objectives at the end of your problem statement, which appears in your introduction. Frame them as clear declarative statements, and use appropriate verbs to accurately characterize the work that you will carry out.

The acronym “SMART” is commonly used in relation to research objectives. It states that your objectives should be:

  • Specific: Make sure your objectives aren’t overly vague. Your research needs to be clearly defined in order to get useful results.
  • Measurable: Know how you’ll measure whether your objectives have been achieved.
  • Achievable: Your objectives may be challenging, but they should be feasible. Make sure that relevant groundwork has been done on your topic or that relevant primary or secondary sources exist. Also ensure that you have access to relevant research facilities (labs, library resources , research databases , etc.).
  • Relevant: Make sure that they directly address the research problem you want to work on and that they contribute to the current state of research in your field.
  • Time-based: Set clear deadlines for objectives to ensure that the project stays on track.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

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Research objectives describe what you intend your research project to accomplish.

They summarize the approach and purpose of the project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement .

Your research objectives indicate how you’ll try to address your research problem and should be specific:

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

Scope of research is determined at the beginning of your research process , prior to the data collection stage. Sometimes called “scope of study,” your scope delineates what will and will not be covered in your project. It helps you focus your work and your time, ensuring that you’ll be able to achieve your goals and outcomes.

Defining a scope can be very useful in any research project, from a research proposal to a thesis or dissertation . A scope is needed for all types of research: quantitative , qualitative , and mixed methods .

To define your scope of research, consider the following:

  • Budget constraints or any specifics of grant funding
  • Your proposed timeline and duration
  • Specifics about your population of study, your proposed sample size , and the research methodology you’ll pursue
  • Any inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Any anticipated control , extraneous , or confounding variables that could bias your research if not accounted for properly.

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Ryan, E. (2023, November 20). Research Objectives | Definition & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-process/research-objectives/

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An agar plate containing colonies of Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria, one of the drug-resistant strains the synthetic compound cresomycin has shown to combat.

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Potential new weapon in battle against superbugs

Harvard team’s synthetic molecule highly effective against drug-resistant bacteria

Anne J. Manning

Harvard Staff Writer

Harvard researchers have created an antibiotic that can overcome many drug-resistant infections, which have become a growing, deadly global health menace.

A team led by Andrew Myers, Amory Houghton Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, reports in Science that their synthetic compound, cresomycin, kills many strains of drug-resistant bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

“While we don’t yet know whether cresomycin and drugs like it are safe and effective in humans, our results show significantly improved inhibitory activity against a long list of pathogenic bacterial strains that kill more than a million people every year, compared with clinically approved antibiotics,” Myers said.

The new molecule demonstrates an improved ability to bind to bacterial ribosomes, which are biomolecular machines that control protein synthesis. Disrupting ribosomal function is a hallmark of many existing antibiotics, but some bacteria have evolved shielding mechanisms that prevent legacy drugs from working.

“…our results show significantly improved inhibitory activity against a long list of pathogenic bacterial strains that kill more than a million people every year…” Andrew Myers

Cresomycin is one of several promising compounds that Myers’ team has developed, with the goal of helping win the war against superbugs. Their work in advancing these compounds through preclinical profiling studies is being supported by a $1.2 million grant from Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) . A Boston University-based global nonprofit partnership, CARB-X is dedicated to supporting early stage antibacterial research and development.

The Harvard team’s new molecule draws inspiration from the chemical structures of lincosamides, a class of antibiotics that includes the commonly prescribed clindamycin. Like many antibiotics, clindamycin is made via semisynthesis, in which complex products isolated from nature are modified directly for drug applications. The new Harvard compound, however, is fully synthetic and features chemical modifications that cannot be accessed through existing means.   

“The bacterial ribosome is nature’s preferred target for antibacterial agents, and these agents are the source of inspiration for our program,” said co-author Ben Tresco, a Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student. “By leveraging the power of organic synthesis, we are limited almost only by our imagination when designing new antibiotics.”

Bacteria can develop resistance to ribosome-targeting antibiotic drugs by expressing genes that produce enzymes called ribosomal RNA methyltransferases. These enzymes box out the drug components that are designed to disrupt the ribosome.

Andrew Myers, Amory Houghton Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Cresomycin is one of several promising compounds that Andrew Myers’ team has developed.

File photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

To get around this problem, Myers and team engineered their compound into a rigidified shape that gives it a stronger grip on the ribosome. The researchers call their drug “pre-organized” for ribosomal binding because it doesn’t need to expend as much energy conforming to its target as existing drugs must do.

The researchers arrived at cresomycin using what they call component-based synthesis, a method pioneered by the Myers lab that involves building large molecular components of equal complexity and bringing them together at late stages — like pre-building sections of a complicated Lego set before assembling them. This system allows them to make and test not just one, but hundreds of target molecules, greatly speeding up the drug discovery process.

The stakes are clear. “Antibiotics form the foundation on which modern medicine is built,” said co-author and graduate student Kelvin Wu. “Without antibiotics, many cutting-edge medical procedures, like surgeries, cancer treatments, and organ transplants, cannot be done.”

Myers’ component-based synthesis research received early support from Harvard’s Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator , part of the Office of Technology Development , which awarded funding to Myers’ lab in 2013 to enable testing of drug compounds.

The Office of Technology Development protected the Myers Research Group’s innovations and, along with the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, will support the research team for the duration of the CARB-X agreement. The newly awarded CARB-X funding allows the researchers to continue profiling and optimizing drug leads.

“Funding and other support from groups like the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and CARB-X are essential for the discovery and development of new antibiotics,” said Curtis Keith, the accelerator’s chief scientific officer. “These innovations from the Myers Research Group have the potential to yield new drugs that will one day meet a global health need.”

The published work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

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Penn Engineering launches first Ivy League undergraduate degree in artificial intelligence

The new degree will push the limits on ai’s potential and prepare students to lead the use of this world-changing technology..

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The University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science today announced the launch of a  Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Artificial Intelligence (AI) degree, the first undergraduate major of its kind among Ivy League universities and one of the very first AI undergraduate engineering programs in the U.S.

The rapid rise of generative AI is transforming virtually every aspect of life: health, energy, transportation, robotics, computer vision, commerce, learning, and even national security. This produces an urgent need for innovative, leading-edge AI engineers who understand the principles of AI and how to apply them in a responsible and ethical way.

“Inventive at its core, Penn excels at the cutting edge,” says Interim President J. Larry Jameson . “Data, including AI, is a critical area of focus for our strategic framework, In Principle and Practice, and this new degree program represents a leap forward for the Penn engineers who will lead in developing and deploying these powerful technologies in service to humanity. We are deeply grateful to Raj and Neera Singh, whose leadership helps make this possible.”

The Raj and Neera Singh Program in Artificial Intelligence equips students to unlock AI’s potential to benefit our society. Students in the program will be empowered to develop responsible AI tools that can harness the full knowledge available on the internet, provide superhuman attention to detail, and augment humans in making transformative scientific discoveries, researching materials for chips of the future, creating breakthroughs in health care through new antibiotics, applying lifesaving treatments, and accelerating knowledge and creativity.

Raj and Neera Singh are visionaries in technology and a constant force for innovation through their philanthropy. Their generosity graciously provides funding to support leadership, faculty, and infrastructure for the new program.

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“Penn Engineering has long been a pioneer in computing and education, with ENIAC, the first digital computer, and the first Ph.D. in computer science,” says Raj Singh, who together with his wife Neera, have established the first undergraduate degree program in artificial intelligence within the Ivy League. “This proud legacy of innovation continues with Penn Engineering’s AI program, which will produce engineers that can leverage this powerful technology in a way that benefits all humankind.”

“We are thrilled to continue investing in Penn Engineering and the students who can best shape the future of this field,” says Neera Singh.

Preparing the next generation of AI engineers

The curriculum offers high-level coursework in topics including machine learning, computing algorithms, data analytics, and advanced robotics.

“The timing of this new undergraduate program comes as AI poses one of the most promising yet challenging opportunities the world currently faces,” says Vijay Kumar , Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering. “Thanks to the generosity of Raj and Neera Singh to Penn Engineering’s B.S.E. in Artificial Intelligence program, we are preparing the next generation of engineers to create a society where AI isn’t just a tool, but a fundamental force for good to advance society in ways previously unimaginable.”

Leading the program will be George J. Pappas , UPS Foundation Professor of Transportation at Penn Engineering. “Realizing the potential of AI for positive social impact stands as one of the paramount challenges confronting engineering,” says Pappas, a 2024 National Academy of Engineering inductee. “We are excited to introduce a cutting-edge curriculum poised to train our students as leaders and innovators in the ongoing AI revolution.”

Ivy League coursework equipping students for the future

The new program’s courses will be taught by world-renowned faculty in the setting of Amy Gutmann Hall, Penn Engineering’s newest building. A hub for data science on campus and for the Philadelphia community when it officially opens this year, the state-of-the-art facilities in Amy Gutmann Hall will further transform the University’s capabilities in engineering education, research, and innovation as Penn Engineering advances the development of artificial intelligence.

“We are training students for jobs that don’t yet exist in fields that may be completely new or revolutionized by the time they graduate,” says Robert Ghrist , associate dean of Undergraduate Education in Penn Engineering and the Andrea Mitchell University Professor. “In my decades of teaching, this is one of the most exciting educational opportunities I’ve ever seen, and I can’t wait to work with these amazing students.”

More details about the AI curriculum and a full list of courses available within the program can be reviewed at Penn Engineering’s new artificial intelligence website .

“Our carefully selected curriculum reflects the reality that AI has come into its own as an academic discipline, not only because of the many amazing things it can do, but also because we think it’s important to address fundamental questions about the nature of intelligence and learning, how to align AI with our social values, and how to build trustworthy AI systems,” says Zachary Ives , Adani President’s Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer and Information Science in Penn Engineering.

The new B.S.E in Artificial Intelligence program will begin in fall 2024, with applications for existing University of Pennsylvania students who would like to transfer into the 2024 cohort available this fall. Fall 2025 applications for all prospective students will be made available in fall 2024.

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Recommendations address impact of climate change on child health

by Elana Gotkine and Mark Arredondo, M.D. s

Recommendations address impact of climate change on child health

In a policy statement and accompanying technical report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and published online Feb. 20 in Pediatrics , recommendations are presented for addressing the impact of climate change on child health.

Noting that children's physical and mental health are threatened by climate change, Samantha Ahdoot, M.D., from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, and colleagues developed recommendations for climate change actions necessary to protect children now and in the future.

The authors recommend that climate change counseling be incorporated into clinical practice. Climate risks should be assessed and solutions recommended when screening for and addressing social determinants of health. Families should be educated on regional climate and health risks and protective strategies. To adequately prepare physicians to provide appropriate health care for children, climate, health, and equity curricula should be incorporated into medical school, residency, continuing education, and board examinations. Carbon emissions should be reduced in the health sector through operating facilities on carbon-free energy sources; in addition, energy, water, and other resource efficiency should be improved in health care buildings and product manufacturing. Decarbonization should be incentivized by incorporating the carbon intensity of services into value-based health care metrics. Physicians should serve as role models for promoting sustainability in practice, including by embracing active transportation, reducing home energy use, transitioning to clean energy sources, and adopting a more plant-based diet.

"Climate solutions are the foundation of a healthy future for every child," Ahdoot said in a statement.

Pediatrics e2023065505. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2023-065505 publications.aap.org/pediatric … -s-Health-Building-a

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