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How to Write a Research Question

What is a research question? A research question is the question around which you center your research. It should be:

  • clear : it provides enough specifics that one’s audience can easily understand its purpose without needing additional explanation.
  • focused : it is narrow enough that it can be answered thoroughly in the space the writing task allows.
  • concise : it is expressed in the fewest possible words.
  • complex : it is not answerable with a simple “yes” or “no,” but rather requires synthesis and analysis of ideas and sources prior to composition of an answer.
  • arguable : its potential answers are open to debate rather than accepted facts.

You should ask a question about an issue that you are genuinely curious and/or passionate about.

The question you ask should be developed for the discipline you are studying. A question appropriate for Biology, for instance, is different from an appropriate one in Political Science or Sociology. If you are developing your question for a course other than first-year composition, you may want to discuss your ideas for a research question with your professor.

Why is a research question essential to the research process? Research questions help writers focus their research by providing a path through the research and writing process. The specificity of a well-developed research question helps writers avoid the “all-about” paper and work toward supporting a specific, arguable thesis.

Steps to developing a research question:

  • Choose an interesting general topic. Most professional researchers focus on topics they are genuinely interested in studying. Writers should choose a broad topic about which they genuinely would like to know more. An example of a general topic might be “Slavery in the American South” or “Films of the 1930s.”
  • Do some preliminary research on your general topic. Do a few quick searches in current periodicals and journals on your topic to see what’s already been done and to help you narrow your focus. What issues are scholars and researchers discussing, when it comes to your topic? What questions occur to you as you read these articles?
  • Consider your audience. For most college papers, your audience will be academic, but always keep your audience in mind when narrowing your topic and developing your question. Would that particular audience be interested in the question you are developing?
  • Start asking questions. Taking into consideration all of the above, start asking yourself open-ended “how” and “why” questions about your general topic. For example, “Why were slave narratives effective tools in working toward the abolishment of slavery?” or “How did the films of the 1930s reflect or respond to the conditions of the Great Depression?”
  • Is your research question clear? With so much research available on any given topic, research questions must be as clear as possible in order to be effective in helping the writer direct his or her research.
  • Is your research question focused? Research questions must be specific enough to be well covered in the space available.
  • Is your research question complex? Research questions 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. They often begin with “How” or “Why.”
  • Begin your research . After you’ve come up with a question, think about the possible paths your research could take. What sources should you consult as you seek answers to your question? What research process will ensure that you find a variety of perspectives and responses to your question?

Sample Research Questions

Unclear: How should social networking sites address the harm they cause? Clear: What action should social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook take to protect users’ personal information and privacy? The unclear version of this question doesn’t specify which social networking sites or suggest what kind of harm the sites might be causing. It also assumes that this “harm” is proven and/or accepted. The clearer version specifies sites (MySpace and Facebook), the type of potential harm (privacy issues), and who may be experiencing that harm (users). A strong research question should never leave room for ambiguity or interpretation. Unfocused: What is the effect on the environment from global warming? Focused: What is the most significant effect of glacial melting on the lives of penguins in Antarctica?

The unfocused research question is so broad that it couldn’t be adequately answered in a book-length piece, let alone a standard college-level paper. The focused version narrows down to a specific effect of global warming (glacial melting), a specific place (Antarctica), and a specific animal that is affected (penguins). It also requires the writer to take a stance on which effect has the greatest impact on the affected animal. When in doubt, make a research question as narrow and focused as possible.

Too simple: How are doctors addressing diabetes in the U.S.? Appropriately Complex:   What main environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors predict whether Americans will develop diabetes, and how can these commonalities be used to aid the medical community in prevention of the disease?

The simple version of this question can be looked up online and answered in a few factual sentences; it leaves no room for analysis. The more complex version is written in two parts; it is thought provoking and requires both significant investigation and evaluation from the writer. As a general rule of thumb, if a quick Google search can answer a research question, it’s likely not very effective.

Last updated 8/8/2018

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

an effective research question be

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. 

an effective research question be

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.

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How To Write a Research Question

Deeptanshu D

Academic writing and research require a distinct focus and direction. A well-designed research question gives purpose and clarity to your research. In addition, it helps your readers understand the issue you are trying to address and explore.

Every time you want to know more about a subject, you will pose a question. The same idea is used in research as well. You must pose a question in order to effectively address a research problem. That's why the research question is an integral part of the research process. Additionally, it offers the author writing and reading guidelines, be it qualitative research or quantitative research.

In your research paper , you must single out just one issue or problem. The specific issue or claim you wish to address should be included in your thesis statement in order to clarify your main argument.

A good research question must have the following characteristics.

an effective research question be

  • Should include only one problem in the research question
  • Should be able to find the answer using primary data and secondary data sources
  • Should be possible to resolve within the given time and other constraints
  • Detailed and in-depth results should be achievable
  • Should be relevant and realistic.
  • It should relate to your chosen area of research

While a larger project, like a thesis, might have several research questions to address, each one should be directed at your main area of study. Of course, you can use different research designs and research methods (qualitative research or quantitative research) to address various research questions. However, they must all be pertinent to the study's objectives.

What is a Research Question?


A research question is an inquiry that the research attempts to answer. It is the heart of the systematic investigation. Research questions are the most important step in any research project. In essence, it initiates the research project and establishes the pace for the specific research A research question is:

  • Clear : It provides enough detail that the audience understands its purpose without any additional explanation.
  • Focused : It is so specific that it can be addressed within the time constraints of the writing task.
  • Succinct: It is written in the shortest possible words.
  • Complex : It is not possible to answer it with a "yes" or "no", but requires analysis and synthesis of ideas before somebody can create a solution.
  • Argumental : Its potential answers are open for debate rather than accepted facts.

A good research question usually focuses on the research and determines the research design, methodology, and hypothesis. It guides all phases of inquiry, data collection, analysis, and reporting. You should gather valuable information by asking the right questions.

Why are Research Questions so important?

Regardless of whether it is a qualitative research or quantitative research project, research questions provide writers and their audience with a way to navigate the writing and research process. Writers can avoid "all-about" papers by asking straightforward and specific research questions that help them focus on their research and support a specific thesis.

Types of Research Questions


There are two types of research: Qualitative research and Quantitative research . There must be research questions for every type of research. Your research question will be based on the type of research you want to conduct and the type of data collection.

The first step in designing research involves identifying a gap and creating a focused research question.

Below is a list of common research questions that can be used in a dissertation. Keep in mind that these are merely illustrations of typical research questions used in dissertation projects. The real research questions themselves might be more difficult.

Example Research Questions


The following are a few examples of research questions and research problems to help you understand how research questions can be created for a particular research problem.

Steps to Write Research Questions


You can focus on the issue or research gaps you're attempting to solve by using the research questions as a direction.

If you're unsure how to go about writing a good research question, these are the steps to follow in the process:

  • Select an interesting topic Always choose a topic that interests you. Because if your curiosity isn’t aroused by a subject, you’ll have a hard time conducting research around it. Alos, it’s better that you pick something that’s neither too narrow or too broad.
  • Do preliminary research on the topic Search for relevant literature to gauge what problems have already been tackled by scholars. You can do that conveniently through repositories like Scispace , where you’ll find millions of papers in one place. Once you do find the papers you’re looking for, try our reading assistant, SciSpace Copilot to get simple explanations for the paper . You’ll be able to quickly understand the abstract, find the key takeaways, and the main arguments presented in the paper. This will give you a more contextual understanding of your subject and you’ll have an easier time identifying knowledge gaps in your discipline.

     Also: ChatPDF vs. SciSpace Copilot: Unveiling the best tool for your research

  • Consider your audience It is essential to understand your audience to develop focused research questions for essays or dissertations. When narrowing down your topic, you can identify aspects that might interest your audience.
  • Ask questions Asking questions will give you a deeper understanding of the topic. Evaluate your question through the What, Why, When, How, and other open-ended questions assessment.
  • Assess your question Once you have created a research question, assess its effectiveness to determine if it is useful for the purpose. Refine and revise the dissertation research question multiple times.

Additionally, use this list of questions as a guide when formulating your research question.

Are you able to answer a specific research question? After identifying a gap in research, it would be helpful to formulate the research question. And this will allow the research to solve a part of the problem. Is your research question clear and centered on the main topic? It is important that your research question should be specific and related to your central goal. Are you tackling a difficult research question? It is not possible to answer the research question with a simple yes or no. The problem requires in-depth analysis. It is often started with "How" and "Why."

Start your research Once you have completed your dissertation research questions, it is time to review the literature on similar topics to discover different perspectives.

Strong  Research Question Samples

Uncertain: How should social networking sites work on the hatred that flows through their platform?

Certain: What should social media sites like Twitter or Facebook do to address the harm they are causing?

This unclear question does not specify the social networking sites that are being used or what harm they might be causing. In addition, this question assumes that the "harm" has been proven and/or accepted. This version is more specific and identifies the sites (Twitter, Facebook), the type and extent of harm (privacy concerns), and who might be suffering from that harm (users). Effective research questions should not be ambiguous or interpreted.

Unfocused: What are the effects of global warming on the environment?

Focused: What are the most important effects of glacial melting in Antarctica on penguins' lives?

This broad research question cannot be addressed in a book, let alone a college-level paper. Focused research targets a specific effect of global heating (glacial  melting), an area (Antarctica), or a specific animal (penguins). The writer must also decide which effect will have the greatest impact on the animals affected. If in doubt, narrow down your research question to the most specific possible.

Too Simple: What are the U.S. doctors doing to treat diabetes?

Appropriately complex: Which factors, if any, are most likely to predict a person's risk of developing diabetes?

This simple version can be found online. It is easy to answer with a few facts. The second, more complicated version of this question is divided into two parts. It is thought-provoking and requires extensive investigation as well as evaluation by the author. So, ensure that a quick Google search should not answer your research question.

How to write a strong Research Question?


The foundation of all research is the research question. You should therefore spend as much time as necessary to refine your research question based on various data.

You can conduct your research more efficiently and analyze your results better if you have great research questions for your dissertation, research paper , or essay .

The following criteria can help you evaluate the strength and importance of your research question and can be used to determine the strength of your research question:

  • Researchable
  • It should only cover one issue.
  • A subjective judgment should not be included in the question.
  • It can be answered with data analysis and research.
  • Specific and Practical
  • It should not contain a plan of action, policy, or solution.
  • It should be clearly defined
  • Within research limits
  • Complex and Arguable
  • It shouldn't be difficult to answer.
  • To find the truth, you need in-depth knowledge
  • Allows for discussion and deliberation
  • Original and Relevant
  • It should be in your area of study
  • Its results should be measurable
  • It should be original

Conclusion - How to write Research Questions?

Research questions provide a clear guideline for research. One research question may be part of a larger project, such as a dissertation. However, each question should only focus on one topic.

Research questions must be answerable, practical, specific, and applicable to your field. The research type that you use to base your research questions on will determine the research topic. You can start by selecting an interesting topic and doing preliminary research. Then, you can begin asking questions, evaluating your questions, and start your research.

Now it's easier than ever to streamline your research workflow with SciSpace ResearchGPT . Its integrated, comprehensive end-to-end platform for research allows scholars to easily discover, read, write and publish their research and fosters collaboration.

an effective research question be

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Frequently asked questions

What makes a good research question.

Research questions anchor your whole project, so it’s important to spend some time refining them.

In general, they should be:

  • Focused and researchable
  • Answerable using credible sources
  • Complex and arguable
  • Feasible and specific
  • Relevant and original

Frequently asked questions: Writing a research paper

A research project is an academic, scientific, or professional undertaking to answer a research question . Research projects can take many forms, such as qualitative or quantitative , descriptive , longitudinal , experimental , or correlational . What kind of research approach you choose will depend on your topic.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .

However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:

  • Researchability
  • Feasibility and specificity
  • Relevance and originality

All research questions should be:

  • Focused on a single problem or issue
  • Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources
  • Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly
  • Complex enough to develop the answer over the space of a paper or thesis
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or society more broadly

Writing Strong Research Questions

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.

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 …

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

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 .

The main guidelines for formatting a paper in Chicago style are to:

  • Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Use 1 inch margins or larger
  • Apply double line spacing
  • Indent every new paragraph ½ inch
  • Include a title page
  • Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center
  • Cite your sources with author-date citations or Chicago footnotes
  • Include a bibliography or reference list

To automatically generate accurate Chicago references, you can use Scribbr’s free Chicago reference generator .

The main guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style are as follows:

  • Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Set 1 inch page margins
  • Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page
  • Center the paper’s title
  • Use title case capitalization for headings
  • Cite your sources with MLA in-text citations
  • List all sources cited on a Works Cited page at the end

To format a paper in APA Style , follow these guidelines:

  • Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman or 11 pt Arial
  • If submitting for publication, insert a running head on every page
  • Apply APA heading styles
  • Cite your sources with APA in-text citations
  • List all sources cited on a reference page at the end

No, it’s not appropriate to present new arguments or evidence in the conclusion . While you might be tempted to save a striking argument for last, research papers follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the results and discussion sections if you are following a scientific structure). The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

The conclusion of a research paper has several key elements you should make sure to include:

  • A restatement of the research problem
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or findings
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.

This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .

The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .

A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.

The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:

  • A hook to catch the reader’s interest
  • Relevant background on the topic
  • Details of your research problem

and your problem statement

  • A thesis statement or research question
  • Sometimes an overview of the paper

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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 


  • 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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Research Question Examples 🧑🏻‍🏫

25+ Practical Examples & Ideas To Help You Get Started 

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | October 2023

A well-crafted research question (or set of questions) sets the stage for a robust study and meaningful insights.  But, if you’re new to research, it’s not always clear what exactly constitutes a good research question. In this post, we’ll provide you with clear examples of quality research questions across various disciplines, so that you can approach your research project with confidence!

Research Question Examples

  • Psychology research questions
  • Business research questions
  • Education research questions
  • Healthcare research questions
  • Computer science research questions

Examples: Psychology

Let’s start by looking at some examples of research questions that you might encounter within the discipline of psychology.

How does sleep quality affect academic performance in university students?

This question is specific to a population (university students) and looks at a direct relationship between sleep and academic performance, both of which are quantifiable and measurable variables.

What factors contribute to the onset of anxiety disorders in adolescents?

The question narrows down the age group and focuses on identifying multiple contributing factors. There are various ways in which it could be approached from a methodological standpoint, including both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Do mindfulness techniques improve emotional well-being?

This is a focused research question aiming to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific intervention.

How does early childhood trauma impact adult relationships?

This research question targets a clear cause-and-effect relationship over a long timescale, making it focused but comprehensive.

Is there a correlation between screen time and depression in teenagers?

This research question focuses on an in-demand current issue and a specific demographic, allowing for a focused investigation. The key variables are clearly stated within the question and can be measured and analysed (i.e., high feasibility).

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Examples: Business/Management

Next, let’s look at some examples of well-articulated research questions within the business and management realm.

How do leadership styles impact employee retention?

This is an example of a strong research question because it directly looks at the effect of one variable (leadership styles) on another (employee retention), allowing from a strongly aligned methodological approach.

What role does corporate social responsibility play in consumer choice?

Current and precise, this research question can reveal how social concerns are influencing buying behaviour by way of a qualitative exploration.

Does remote work increase or decrease productivity in tech companies?

Focused on a particular industry and a hot topic, this research question could yield timely, actionable insights that would have high practical value in the real world.

How do economic downturns affect small businesses in the homebuilding industry?

Vital for policy-making, this highly specific research question aims to uncover the challenges faced by small businesses within a certain industry.

Which employee benefits have the greatest impact on job satisfaction?

By being straightforward and specific, answering this research question could provide tangible insights to employers.

Examples: Education

Next, let’s look at some potential research questions within the education, training and development domain.

How does class size affect students’ academic performance in primary schools?

This example research question targets two clearly defined variables, which can be measured and analysed relatively easily.

Do online courses result in better retention of material than traditional courses?

Timely, specific and focused, answering this research question can help inform educational policy and personal choices about learning formats.

What impact do US public school lunches have on student health?

Targeting a specific, well-defined context, the research could lead to direct changes in public health policies.

To what degree does parental involvement improve academic outcomes in secondary education in the Midwest?

This research question focuses on a specific context (secondary education in the Midwest) and has clearly defined constructs.

What are the negative effects of standardised tests on student learning within Oklahoma primary schools?

This research question has a clear focus (negative outcomes) and is narrowed into a very specific context.

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Examples: Healthcare

Shifting to a different field, let’s look at some examples of research questions within the healthcare space.

What are the most effective treatments for chronic back pain amongst UK senior males?

Specific and solution-oriented, this research question focuses on clear variables and a well-defined context (senior males within the UK).

How do different healthcare policies affect patient satisfaction in public hospitals in South Africa?

This question is has clearly defined variables and is narrowly focused in terms of context.

Which factors contribute to obesity rates in urban areas within California?

This question is focused yet broad, aiming to reveal several contributing factors for targeted interventions.

Does telemedicine provide the same perceived quality of care as in-person visits for diabetes patients?

Ideal for a qualitative study, this research question explores a single construct (perceived quality of care) within a well-defined sample (diabetes patients).

Which lifestyle factors have the greatest affect on the risk of heart disease?

This research question aims to uncover modifiable factors, offering preventive health recommendations.

Research topic evaluator

Examples: Computer Science

Last but certainly not least, let’s look at a few examples of research questions within the computer science world.

What are the perceived risks of cloud-based storage systems?

Highly relevant in our digital age, this research question would align well with a qualitative interview approach to better understand what users feel the key risks of cloud storage are.

Which factors affect the energy efficiency of data centres in Ohio?

With a clear focus, this research question lays a firm foundation for a quantitative study.

How do TikTok algorithms impact user behaviour amongst new graduates?

While this research question is more open-ended, it could form the basis for a qualitative investigation.

What are the perceived risk and benefits of open-source software software within the web design industry?

Practical and straightforward, the results could guide both developers and end-users in their choices.

Remember, these are just examples…

In this post, we’ve tried to provide a wide range of research question examples to help you get a feel for what research questions look like in practice. That said, it’s important to remember that these are just examples and don’t necessarily equate to good research topics . If you’re still trying to find a topic, check out our topic megalist for inspiration.

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How to Develop a Good Research Question? — Types & Examples

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Cecilia is living through a tough situation in her research life. Figuring out where to begin, how to start her research study, and how to pose the right question for her research quest, is driving her insane. Well, questions, if not asked correctly, have a tendency to spiral us!

Image Source: https://phdcomics.com/

Questions lead everyone to answers. Research is a quest to find answers. Not the vague questions that Cecilia means to answer, but definitely more focused questions that define your research. Therefore, asking appropriate question becomes an important matter of discussion.

A well begun research process requires a strong research question. It directs the research investigation and provides a clear goal to focus on. Understanding the characteristics of comprising a good research question will generate new ideas and help you discover new methods in research.

In this article, we are aiming to help researchers understand what is a research question and how to write one with examples.

Table of Contents

What Is a Research Question?

A good research question defines your study and helps you seek an answer to your research. Moreover, a clear research question guides the research paper or thesis to define exactly what you want to find out, giving your work its objective. Learning to write a research question is the beginning to any thesis, dissertation , or research paper. Furthermore, the question addresses issues or problems which is answered through analysis and interpretation of data.

Why Is a Research Question Important?

A strong research question guides the design of a study. Moreover, it helps determine the type of research and identify specific objectives. Research questions state the specific issue you are addressing and focus on outcomes of the research for individuals to learn. Therefore, it helps break up the study into easy steps to complete the objectives and answer the initial question.

Types of Research Questions

Research questions can be categorized into different types, depending on the type of research you want to undergo. Furthermore, knowing the type of research will help a researcher determine the best type of research question to use.

1. Qualitative Research Question

Qualitative questions concern broad areas or more specific areas of research. However, unlike quantitative questions, qualitative research questions are adaptable, non-directional and more flexible. Qualitative research question focus on discovering, explaining, elucidating, and exploring.

i. Exploratory Questions

This form of question looks to understand something without influencing the results. The objective of exploratory questions is to learn more about a topic without attributing bias or preconceived notions to it.

Research Question Example: Asking how a chemical is used or perceptions around a certain topic.

ii. Predictive Questions

Predictive research questions are defined as survey questions that automatically predict the best possible response options based on text of the question. Moreover, these questions seek to understand the intent or future outcome surrounding a topic.

Research Question Example: Asking why a consumer behaves in a certain way or chooses a certain option over other.

iii. Interpretive Questions

This type of research question allows the study of people in the natural setting. The questions help understand how a group makes sense of shared experiences with regards to various phenomena. These studies gather feedback on a group’s behavior without affecting the outcome.

Research Question Example: How do you feel about AI assisting publishing process in your research?

2. Quantitative Research Question

Quantitative questions prove or disprove a researcher’s hypothesis through descriptions, comparisons, and relationships. These questions are beneficial when choosing a research topic or when posing follow-up questions that garner more information.

i. Descriptive Questions

It is the most basic type of quantitative research question and it seeks to explain when, where, why, or how something occurred. Moreover, they use data and statistics to describe an event or phenomenon.

Research Question Example: How many generations of genes influence a future generation?

ii. Comparative Questions

Sometimes it’s beneficial to compare one occurrence with another. Therefore, comparative questions are helpful when studying groups with dependent variables.

Example: Do men and women have comparable metabolisms?

iii. Relationship-Based Questions

This type of research question answers influence of one variable on another. Therefore, experimental studies use this type of research questions are majorly.

Example: How is drought condition affect a region’s probability for wildfires.  

How to Write a Good Research Question?

good research question

1. Select a Topic

The first step towards writing a good research question is to choose a broad topic of research. You could choose a research topic that interests you, because the complete research will progress further from the research question. Therefore, make sure to choose a topic that you are passionate about, to make your research study more enjoyable.

2. Conduct Preliminary Research

After finalizing the topic, read and know about what research studies are conducted in the field so far. Furthermore, this will help you find articles that talk about the topics that are yet to be explored. You could explore the topics that the earlier research has not studied.

3. Consider Your Audience

The most important aspect of writing a good research question is to find out if there is audience interested to know the answer to the question you are proposing. Moreover, determining your audience will assist you in refining your research question, and focus on aspects that relate to defined groups.

4. Generate Potential Questions

The best way to generate potential questions is to ask open ended questions. Questioning broader topics will allow you to narrow down to specific questions. Identifying the gaps in literature could also give you topics to write the research question. Moreover, you could also challenge the existing assumptions or use personal experiences to redefine issues in research.

5. Review Your Questions

Once you have listed few of your questions, evaluate them to find out if they are effective research questions. Moreover while reviewing, go through the finer details of the question and its probable outcome, and find out if the question meets the research question criteria.

6. Construct Your Research Question

There are two frameworks to construct your research question. The first one being PICOT framework , which stands for:

  • Population or problem
  • Intervention or indicator being studied
  • Comparison group
  • Outcome of interest
  • Time frame of the study.

The second framework is PEO , which stands for:

  • Population being studied
  • Exposure to preexisting conditions
  • Outcome of interest.

Research Question Examples

  • How might the discovery of a genetic basis for alcoholism impact triage processes in medical facilities?
  • How do ecological systems respond to chronic anthropological disturbance?
  • What are demographic consequences of ecological interactions?
  • What roles do fungi play in wildfire recovery?
  • How do feedbacks reinforce patterns of genetic divergence on the landscape?
  • What educational strategies help encourage safe driving in young adults?
  • What makes a grocery store easy for shoppers to navigate?
  • What genetic factors predict if someone will develop hypothyroidism?
  • Does contemporary evolution along the gradients of global change alter ecosystems function?

How did you write your first research question ? What were the steps you followed to create a strong research question? Do write to us or comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Research questions guide the focus and direction of a research study. Here are common types of research questions: 1. Qualitative research question: Qualitative questions concern broad areas or more specific areas of research. However, unlike quantitative questions, qualitative research questions are adaptable, non-directional and more flexible. Different types of qualitative research questions are: i. Exploratory questions ii. Predictive questions iii. Interpretive questions 2. Quantitative Research Question: Quantitative questions prove or disprove a researcher’s hypothesis through descriptions, comparisons, and relationships. These questions are beneficial when choosing a research topic or when posing follow-up questions that garner more information. Different types of quantitative research questions are: i. Descriptive questions ii. Comparative questions iii. Relationship-based questions

Qualitative research questions aim to explore the richness and depth of participants' experiences and perspectives. They should guide your research and allow for in-depth exploration of the phenomenon under investigation. After identifying the research topic and the purpose of your research: • Begin with Broad Inquiry: Start with a general research question that captures the main focus of your study. This question should be open-ended and allow for exploration. • Break Down the Main Question: Identify specific aspects or dimensions related to the main research question that you want to investigate. • Formulate Sub-questions: Create sub-questions that delve deeper into each specific aspect or dimension identified in the previous step. • Ensure Open-endedness: Make sure your research questions are open-ended and allow for varied responses and perspectives. Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." Encourage participants to share their experiences, opinions, and perceptions in their own words. • Refine and Review: Review your research questions to ensure they align with your research purpose, topic, and objectives. Seek feedback from your research advisor or peers to refine and improve your research questions.

Developing research questions requires careful consideration of the research topic, objectives, and the type of study you intend to conduct. Here are the steps to help you develop effective research questions: 1. Select a Topic 2. Conduct Preliminary Research 3. Consider Your Audience 4. Generate Potential Questions 5. Review Your Questions 6. Construct Your Research Question Based on PICOT or PEO Framework

There are two frameworks to construct your research question. The first one being PICOT framework, which stands for: • Population or problem • Intervention or indicator being studied • Comparison group • Outcome of interest • Time frame of the study The second framework is PEO, which stands for: • Population being studied • Exposure to preexisting conditions • Outcome of interest

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Home » Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Questions

Research Questions


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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How to Write a Research Question: Types & Examples

Research questions

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A research question is the main query that researchers seek to answer in their study. It serves as the basis for a scholarly project such as research paper, thesis or dissertation. A good research question should be clear, relevant and specific enough to guide the research process. It should also be open-ended, meaning that it allows for multiple possible answers or interpretations.

If you have located your general subject and main sources but still aren’t quite sure about the exact research questions for your paper, this guide will help you out. First, we will explore the concept of it together, so you could answer it in your work. Then some simple steps on composing your inquiry will be suggested. In the end, we will draw your attention to some specific details which can make your work good or bad. Sometimes it’s just easier to delegate all challenging tasks to a reliable research paper service . StudyCrumb is a trustable network of qualified writers ready to efficiently solve students’ challenges.

What Is a Good Research Question: Full Definition

Good research questions provide a concise definition of a problem. As a scholar, your main goal at the beginning is to select the main focus. It should be narrow enough so you could examine it within your deadline. Your work should be focused on something specific. Otherwise, it will require too much work and might not produce clear answers. At the same time your answer should be arguable and supported by data you’ve collected. Take a look at this example:

example of a good research question

How to Write a Research Question: Step-By-Step Guide

In this section we will examine the process of developing a research question. We will guide you through it, step by step. Keep in mind that your subject should be important for your audience. So it requires some preliminary study and brainstorming. Let’s take a closer look at the main steps.

Step 1. Choose a Broad Topic for Your Research Paper Question

First, you need to decide on your general direction. When trying to identify your research paper questions, it is better to choose an area you are really interested in. You should be able to obtain enough data to write something about this topic. Therefore, do not choose something out of your reach. At the same time, your broad topic should not be too simple. Research paper questions that can be answered without any study would hardly make any sense for your project.

Step 2. Do Preliminary Reading Before Starting Your Research Question

Next, it is time we explore the context of the selected topic. You wouldn’t want to choose research questions that have already been examined and answered in detail. On the other hand, choosing a topic that is a complete ‘terra incognita’ might be a bridge too far for your project. Browse through available sources that are related to this topic. You should try and find out what has been discovered about it before. Do you see a gap that you can fill with your study? You can proceed with developing your exact inquiry! Have no time for in-depth topic exploration? Leave this task to professionals. Entrust your “ write my research paper ” order to StudyCrumb and get a top-notch work.

Step 3. Consider an Audience for Your Research Question

It is good to know your reader well to be able to convey your ideas and results to them in the best possible way. Before writing research questions for your projects, you might need to perform a brief analysis of your audience. That's how you'll be able to understand what is interesting for them and what is not. This will allow you to make better decisions when narrowing your broad topic down. Select a topic that is interesting for your reader! This would contribute much to the success for writing a research paper .

Step 4. Start Asking a Good Research Question

After you have considered your options, go ahead and compose the primary subject of your paper. What makes a good research question? It should highlight some problematic and relevant aspects of the general topic. So, after it is answered, you should have obtained some new valuable knowledge about the subject.  Typically scholars start narrowing down their general topic by asking ‘how’, ‘why’ or ‘what’s next’ questions. This approach might help you come up with a great idea quickly.

Step 5. Evaluate Your Research Question

Finally, after you have composed a research paper question, you should take a second look at it and see if it is good enough for your paper. It would be useful to analyze it from the following sides:

  • Is it clear for your audience?
  • Is it complex enough to require significant study?
  • Is it focused on a certain aspect of your general topic?

You might use the help of your peers or your friends at this step. You can also show it to your tutor and ask for their opinion.

Types of Research Questions: Which to Choose

A number of research questions types are available for use in a paper. They are divided into two main groups:

Qualitative questions:

  • Explanatory
  • Ethnographic

Quantitative questions:

  • Descriptive
  • Comparative
  • Relationship based.

Selecting a certain type would impact the course of your study. We suggest you think about it carefully. Below you can find a few words about each type. Also, you can seek proficient help from academic experts. Buy a research paper from real pros and forget about stress once and for all.

Qualitative Research Questions: Definition With Example

When doing qualitative research, you are expected to aim to understand the different aspects and qualities of your target problem. Therefore, your thesis should focus on analyzing people’s experience, ideas and reflections rather than on obtaining some statistical data and calculating trends. Thus, this inquiry typically requires observing people’s behavior, interacting with them and learning how they interpret your target problem.  Let’s illustrate this with an example:

Example of Qualitative Research Questions

What Is Contextual Research Questions

Contextual research revolves around examining your subject in its natural, everyday environment. It may be watching animals living in their usual habitats or people doing their normal activities in their familiar surroundings (at home, at school or at office). This academic approach helps to understand the role of the context. You'll be able to better explain connections between your problem, its environment and outcomes. This type of inquiry ought to be narrow enough. You shouldn’t have to examine each and every aspect of the selected problem in your paper. Consider this example:

Example of Contextual Research Questions

Definition and Sample of Evaluative Research Questions

Evaluative research is performed in order to carefully assess the qualities of a selected object, individual, group, system or concept. It typically serves the purpose of collecting evidence that supports or contradicts solutions for a problem. This type of inquiry should focus on how useful a certain quality is for solving the problem.  To conduct such study, you need to examine selected qualities in detail. Then, you should assume whether they match necessary criteria. It might include some quantitative methods such as collecting statistics. Although, the most important part is analyzing the qualities. If you need some examples, here’s one for you:

Sample of Evaluative Research Questions

Explanatory Research Questions: Definition With Example

Your paper can be dedicated to explaining a certain phenomenon, finding its reasons and important relationships between it and other important things. Your explanatory research question should aim to highlight issues, uncertainties and problematic aspects of your subject. So, your study should bring clarity about these qualities. It should show how and why they have developed this way. An explanation may include showing causes and effects of issues in question, comparing the selected phenomenon to other similar types and showing whether the selected qualities match some predefined criteria. If you need some examples, check this one:

Example of Explanatory Research Questions

Generative Research Questions

This type of research is conducted in order to better understand the subject. With its help, you can find some new solutions or opportunities for improvement. Therefore, its main purpose is to develop a theoretical basis for further actions. You need to compose your generative research questions in a way that facilitates obtaining new ideas. It would help to begin with asking ‘why’, ‘what is the relationship between the subject and the problems X, Y, and Z’, ‘what can be improved here’, ‘how we can prevent it’ and so on. Need relevant examples? We’ve got one for you:

Example of Generative Research Questions

Ethnographic Research Question

Ethnography research is focused on a particular group of people. The aim is to study their behavior, typical reactions to certain events or information, needs, preferences or habits. Important parameters of this group which are most relevant to your general subject are taken into consideration. These are age, sex, language, religion, ethnicity, social status and so on. Main method in this case is first-hand observation of people from the selected group during an extended period of time. If you need strong examples, here’s one:

Ethnographic Research Question Example

Quantitative Research Questions: Full Definition With Examples

Quantitative research deals with data – first of all, it is numeric data. It involves mathematical calculations and statistical analysis. It helps to obtain knowledge which is mostly expressed in numbers, graphs and tables. Unlike the qualitative type, the purpose of quantitative research is finding patterns, calculating probabilities, testing causal relationships and making predictions. It is focused on testing theories and hypotheses. (We have the whole blog on what is a hypothesis .) It is mostly used in natural and social sciences. These are: chemistry, biology, psychology, economics, sociology, marketing, etc. Here are a couple of examples:

Quantitative Research Questions Example

Descriptive Research Questions: Definition With Example

This is probably the most widespread type of quantitative research question. Such inquiries seek to explain when, where, why, or how something occurred. They describe it accurately and systematically. These inquiries typically start with ‘what’. You are expected to use various methods to investigate one or more variables and determine their dependencies. Note, however, that you cannot control or manipulate any of these variables. You can only observe and measure them. Looking for some interesting examples? Here is one:

Descriptive Research Questions

Definition of Comparative Research Questions

Comparative research question is used to highlight different variables and provide numerical evidence. This type is based on comparing one object, parameter or issue with another one of a similar kind. It can help to discover the differences between two or more groups by examining their outcome variables.  Take a look at these two examples:

Example of Comparative Research Questions

Relationship Research Questions

We conduct this type of research when we need to make it clear whether one parameter of a selected object causes another one. A relationship based quantitative research question should help us to explore and define trends and interactions between two or more variables. Are these two things mutually dependent? What kind of dependence is it? How has it developed? And what are possible outcomes of this connection? Here is an example of relationship-based quantitative research questions:

Relationship Research Questions Example

Research Questions Examples: Free

This section contains a number of helpful examples of research questions. Feel free to use them as inspiration to create your own questions and conduct productive study. Let’s start with two simple ones:

examples of research questions

Are you interested in well written and inspiring questions? Do you want to learn what to avoid in your study? Just stay with us – there will be more of them below.

Examples of Good and Bad Research Questions

Everyone is interested in getting the best possible appraisal for their study. Choosing a topic which doesn't suit your specific situation may be discouraging. Thus, the quality of your paper might get affected by a poor choice. We have put together some good and bad examples so that you could avoid such mistakes.

Good Research Questions Examples

It is important to include clear terms into your questions. Otherwise, it would be difficult for you to plan your investigation properly. Also, they must be focused on a certain subject, not multiple ones. And finally, it should be possible to answer them. Let’s review several good examples:

Good Research Questions Example

Examples of Bad Research Questions

It is difficult to evaluate qualities of objects, individuals or groups if your purpose is not clear. This is why you shouldn’t create unclear research questions or try to focus on many problems at once. Some preliminary study might help to understand what you should focus on. Here are several bad examples:

Bad Research Questions Example

In case you may need some information about the discussion section of a research paper example , find it in our blog.

Final Thoughts on Research Questions

In this article we have made a detailed review of the most popular types of research questions. We described peculiarities. We also provided some tips on conducting various kinds of study. Besides, a number of useful examples have been given for each category of questions.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Research Questions

1. what is an example of a weak research question.

Here is an example of the weakest research question: 

An answer would be simply making a list of species that inhabit the country. This subject does not require any actual study to be conducted. There is nothing to calculate or analyze here.

2. What is the most effective type of research question?

Most effective type of research question is the one that doesn't have a single correct answer. However, you should also pay close attention to your audience. If you need to create a strong effect, better choose a topic which is relevant for them.

3. What is a good nursing research question?

If you need an idea for a nursing research question, here are a few helpful examples you could use as a reference:

4. What are some sociological research questions?

Sociological questions are the ones that examine the social patterns or a meaning of a social phenomenon. They could be qualitative or quantitative. They should target groups of people with certain parameters, such as age or income level. Keep in mind that type of study usually requires collecting numerous data about your target groups.


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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.


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 ]


“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 ]


  • 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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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.


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?


  • 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?


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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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


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.


Module 1: Asking Questions

What is a research question, learning objectives.

Identify the qualities of an effective research question

In the past few pages, we’ve claimed that all research begins with questions. By a kind of chicken-and-egg logic, though, you might wonder where the research questions come from. As we’ve seen, the initial impulse for the question tends to come from our interests and experience.

Research questions aren’t quite the same as everyday questions, however. To be an effective research question, a question has to have a few special qualities.

  • Questions that are purely values-based (such as “Should assisted suicide be legal?”) cannot be answered objectively because the answer varies depending on one’s values.  Be wary of questions that include “should” or “ought” because those words often (although not always) indicate a values-based question. However, note that most values-based questions can be turned into research questions by judicious reframing.  For instance, you could reframe “Should assisted suicide be legal?” as “What are the ethical implications of legalizing assisted suicide?”  Using a “what are” frame turns a values-based question into a legitimate research question by moving it out of the world of debate and into the world of investigation.
  • Ask yourself: could your research question be answered in a number of ways, or it it a question with only one answer? A question like “Are video games popular?” can really only be answered “yes,” so it should be eliminated right off the bat. If your research question seems like it has a consensus answer, it might be a sub-ideal question.
  • The question, “Does carbon-based life exist outside of Earth’s solar system?” is a perfectly good research question in the sense that it is not values-based and therefore could be answered in an objective way, IF it were possible to collect data about the presence of life outside of Earth’s solar system.  That is not yet possible with current technology; therefore, this is not (yet) a research question because it’s not (now) possible to obtain the data that would be needed to answer it. We could reframe this as “How could we know if carbon-based life exists outside of Earth’s solar system?” and it becomes a potential research question investigating how scientists look for extraterrestrial life.
  • Note: A term paper is meant to demonstrate your grasp of an issue and ability to include different points of view by drawing on first and second-hand sources. It’s important to check that the research question you pose will allow you to find enough sources to cite, reference, and engage in discussion.
  • If the answer to the question is readily available in a good encyclopedia, textbook, or reference book, then it is a homework question, not a research question. It was probably a research question in the past, but if the answer is so thoroughly known that you can easily look it up and find it, then it is no longer an open question. However, it is important to remember that as new information becomes available, homework questions can sometimes be reopened as research questions.  Equally important, a question may have been answered for one population or circumstance, but not for all populations or all circumstances.
  • You want your question to be focused on a specific sector, population, social trend, legislation, program, approach or behavior, in order to effectively write about the issue in a term paper. The more narrow the topic, the more room there is to contextualize it, examine different perspectives, present an argument, and defend a thesis.
  • Avoid multi-part questions, and find simple, specific language.

Research Questions vs. Regular Questions

Most of us look for information to answer questions every day, and we often act on the answers to those questions. Are research questions any different from most of the questions for which we seek information? Yes.

See how they’re different by looking over the examples of both kinds below and answering questions about them in the next activity.

EXAMPLES: Regular vs. Research Questions

Regular Question:  What time is my movie showing at Lennox on Friday?

Research Question:  How do “sleeper” films end up having outstanding attendance figures?

Regular Question:  What can I do about my insomnia?

Research Question:  How do flights more than 16 hours long affect the reflexes of commercial jet pilots?

Regular Question:  How many children in the U.S. have allergies?

Research Question:  How does his or her country of birth affect a child’s chances of developing asthma?

Regular Question:  What year was metformin approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration?

Research Question:  Why are nanomedicines, such as doxorubicin, worth developing?

Regular Question:  Could citizens register to vote at branches of the Columbus Public Library in 2016?

Research Question:  How do public libraries in the United States support democracy?

Regular Question:  What is the Whorfian Hypothesis?

Research Question:  Why have linguists cared about the Whorfian hypothesis?

Regular Question:  Where is the Apple, Inc. home office?

Research Question:  Why are Apple’s marketing efforts so successful?

Regular Question:  What is Mers?

Research Question:  How could decision making about whether to declare a pandemic be improved?

Regular Question:  Does MLA style recommend the use of generic male pronouns intended to refer to both males and females?

Research Question:  How do age, gender, IQ, and socioeconomic status affect whether students interpret generic male pronouns as referring to both males and females?

Research Questions in the Wild

Usually, authors don’t reveal their research questions. Occasionally, however, you’ll see the original research questions in an academic essay. Here are a few examples of research questions from published academic essays:

From an essay about the character of Rue in The Hunger Games book and movie:

To support my analysis, I focused on the following research questions: 1. How is Rue characterized in the first Hunger Games novel? 2. How does the characterization of Rue defy stereotypical portrayals of Black girls? 3. What are the implications of critically examining sites of alterity in texts? (Toliver 5)
As I considered the landmark work of Britton, the more recent work of [Writing Across the Curriculum] ethnographers, the scholarship in genre and discourse studies, and my own initial reading of the assignments in my collection, I shaped a number of research questions: • What purposes are students asked to write for in different disciplines? • What audiences are students asked to address? What role are they asked to play as writers? What role do instructors play as audience? • What genres are students asked to write in? How do these genres vary from discipline to discipline and instructor to instructor? What is the rhetorical context for these genres? • How do academic discourse communities differ? Is there a generalized definition of academic discourse that crosses disciplines? (Melzer 14)
Do ‘Fast and Furious’ Movies Cause a Rise in Speeding? (Jena et. al.)

Jena, Anupam B.,  Aakash Jain  and  Tanner R. Hicks. “Do ‘Fast and Furious’ Movies Cause a Rise in Speeding?”  The New York Times,  Jan. 30, 2018.

Melzer, Dan.  Assignments Across the Curriculum: A National Study of College Writing . University Press of Colorado, 2014.

Toliver, S. R. “Alterity and Innocence: The Hunger Games, Rue, and Black Girl Adultification.”  Journal of Children’s Literature  44.2 (2018): 4-15.

  • Good Research Questions. Authored by : Janet Zepernick. Provided by : Pittsburg State University. Located at : https://courses.lumenlearning.com/englishcomp2kscopexmaster/chapter/the-qualities-of-a-good-research-question/ . Project : Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Regular vs. Research Questions. Provided by : Teaching & Learning, Ohio State University Libraries. Located at : https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/choosingsources/chapter/regular-vs-research-questions/ . Project : Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Research Question questions. Provided by : Teaching & Learning, Ohio State University Libraries. Located at : https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/choosingsources/ . Project : Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research. License : CC BY: Attribution

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  • The Correct Way to Do Your Research: 5 Tips for Students

Mastering the art of research is a fundamental skill that underpins academic success across all disciplines. Whether you’re embarking on a simple essay or delving into a complex thesis, the ability to conduct thorough and effective research is invaluable. Yet, many students find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available, struggling to sift through data, discern credible sources, and organize their findings cohesively. This challenge underscores the need for a structured approach to research, one that simplifies the process while enhancing the quality of the outcomes.

Recognizing the critical role research plays in academic achievement, this article aims to demystify the process, offering five key tips to guide students toward more productive and less stressful research experiences. These strategies are designed to not only streamline your research process but also improve the caliber of your work, potentially transforming the daunting task of starting to dissertation writing help into a more manageable and even enjoyable endeavor. By applying these tips, students can develop a robust framework for research that supports academic growth and fosters confidence in their ability to tackle complex topics.

Tip 1: Define Your Research Question Clearly

A well-defined research question is the cornerstone of any successful research endeavor. It guides the direction of your study, helping to focus your efforts on finding relevant information. Start by identifying the main topic or issue you wish to explore, then narrow it down to a specific question that is both clear and concise. This question should be specific enough to provide direction but broad enough to allow for comprehensive exploration. Examples of effective research questions include “What impact does daily technology use have on teenagers’ social skills?” or “How do renewable energy sources affect global economic policies?”

Tip 2: Use Reliable Sources

The credibility of your research largely depends on the sources you choose. To ensure your work is grounded in reliable information, prioritize sources that are peer-reviewed, such as academic journals, books published by reputable publishers, and websites with authoritative domain extensions (e.g., .edu, .gov). Utilize academic databases like JSTOR, PubMed, and Google Scholar to find scholarly articles. Additionally, learning to assess the author’s credentials, the publication date and the presence of citations can help you determine the reliability of your sources.

Tip 3: Organize Your Research Efficiently

An organized research process is key to managing the wealth of information you’ll encounter. Digital tools and software, such as citation management software like Zotero or EndNote, can be incredibly helpful for keeping track of sources, notes, and bibliographies. Creating a structured outline early on, based on your preliminary findings, can guide your research and writing process, ensuring that you cover all necessary aspects of your topic systematically. This approach not only saves time but also helps maintain a clear focus throughout your project.

Tip 4: Take Effective Notes

Effective note-taking is crucial for capturing important information and ideas from your sources. Develop a system that works for you, whether it’s digital note-taking apps, traditional notebooks, or annotated bibliographies. Focus on summarizing key points in your own words, which aids comprehension and helps avoid unintentional plagiarism. Be sure to record bibliographic details for each source, making it easier to cite them correctly in your work. Highlighting or color-coding can also be useful for categorizing notes by theme or relevance.

By adhering to these foundational tips, students can enhance their research skills, leading to more insightful, well-supported academic papers. The next steps will delve into evaluating and synthesizing information, rounding out the comprehensive guide to conducting effective research.

Tip 5: Evaluate and Synthesize Information

Critical evaluation is essential to differentiate between information that genuinely supports your research question and data that is irrelevant or biased. Assess each source’s purpose, its context, and the evidence it presents. Look for patterns and relationships between the information gathered from various sources. Synthesizing this information involves integrating ideas from multiple sources to construct a comprehensive understanding of your topic. This step is crucial for developing a well-argued thesis or research paper that reflects a deep understanding of the subject matter.

Incorporating Feedback and Revising

Once you’ve drafted your research paper, seeking feedback is a valuable step in refining your work. Share your draft with peers, mentors, or educators who can offer constructive criticism. Be open to suggestions and willing to revise your work based on this feedback. This iterative process of writing, receiving feedback, and revising helps enhance the clarity, coherence, and overall impact of your research.

Ethical Considerations

Ethical research practices are fundamental to maintaining the integrity of your academic work. This includes properly citing all sources to avoid plagiarism, ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of any participants if conducting original research, and being honest about the limitations of your study. Understanding and adhering to these ethical guidelines is crucial for building trust and credibility in your academic endeavors.

The Role of Technology in Research

Technology plays an increasingly significant role in the research process. From digital libraries and academic databases to specialized research software and plagiarism detection tools, leveraging technology can streamline the research process, enhance the quality of your work, and ensure its originality. Familiarize yourself with the technological tools available in your field of study to take full advantage of these resources.

Mastering the art of research is a journey that involves continuous learning, practice, and refinement. By defining clear research questions, utilizing reliable sources, organizing your research efficiently, taking effective notes, and critically evaluating and synthesizing information, you can elevate the quality of your academic work. Remember, incorporating feedback, adhering to ethical guidelines, and leveraging technology are also key components of successful research. For students seeking additional support, turning to the best paper writing service can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of academic writing and research. Ultimately, developing strong research skills is an investment in your academic success and a valuable asset in your future career.

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For Gen Z, an Age-Old Question: Who Pays for Dates?

  • Decision Making
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  • Members in the Media
  • Personality/Social
  • Sex Differences
  • Social Psychology

During a recent dinner at a cozy bar in Upper Manhattan, I was confronted with an age-old question about gender norms. Over bowls of ramen and sips of gin cocktails, my date and I got into a debate: Who should pay for dates?

My date, a 27-year-old woman I matched with on Hinge, said gender equality didn’t mean men and women should pay the same when they went out. Women, she said, earn less than men in the workplace, spend more time getting ready for outings and pay more for reproductive care.

When the date ended, we split the bill. But our discussion was emblematic of a tension in modern dating. At work and on social media, where young people spend much of their personal time, they like to emphasize equity and equality. When it comes to romance and courtship, young people — specifically women and men in heterosexual relationships — seem to be following the same dating rules their parents and older generations grew up learning.

Contemporary research, popular culture and conversations I had with more than a dozen young Americans suggest that a longstanding norm still holds true: Men tend to foot the bill more than women do on dates. And there seems to be an expectation that they should.

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): The New York Times

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Privacy Overview

My research question is What are the most effective regulatory...

Answer & explanation.

Upon reviewing your research question, "What are the most effective regulatory measures for controlling firearm use, and how do their impacts vary between the firearm itself and the individuals who possess them?" and considering potential bias, here is a revised response:

1. Reporting Verbs: The choice of reporting verbs in your research question appears to be neutral. The verbs "are" and "vary" do not indicate a biased perspective but rather suggest an objective inquiry into the effectiveness of different regulatory measures and their impacts.

2. Confirmation Bias: It is important to be cautious of confirmation bias, which can occur when researchers unconsciously favor evidence that supports their pre-existing beliefs. To mitigate this bias, it is crucial to approach the research question with an open mind and a willingness to consider and analyze all available evidence, even if it contradicts initial expectations.

3. Cherry Picking: To avoid cherry-picking, it is essential to collect and analyze data comprehensively and inclusively. By considering a wide range of studies, perspectives, and data sources, you can ensure a more balanced and objective analysis of the effectiveness of various regulatory measures on firearm use and their impacts on individuals.

4. Reducing Bias: To minimize bias, it is recommended to engage in rigorous research practices. This includes conducting a thorough literature review, using multiple research methods, and involving peer review and collaboration. Additionally, being transparent about your research methods, limitations, and any potential conflicts of interest can help maintain the integrity and objectivity of your study.

By being aware of potential biases and implementing these strategies, you can enhance the credibility and objectivity of your research question and subsequent study on regulatory measures for controlling firearm use and their impacts.

Approach to solving the question:

Detailed explanation:

Key references:

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College of Nursing

Leadership coaching to improve nursing unit practice council effectiveness.

View as pdf A later version of this article appeared in  Nurse Leader ,  Volume 21, Issue 6 , December 2023 . 

Nursing shared governance (SG) provides an opportunity for alignment between frontline team members and nursing leadership. A Department of Nursing had a mature SG program with many thriving departmental-based SG groups. However, structural processes and guidance for unit-based SG groups were lacking and demonstrated a need for improvement. The General Theory of Effective Multi-Level Shared Governance (GEMS) framework provided an opportunity to refocus and improve Unit Practice Councils (UPC). Results demonstrated that UPC leadership competencies can be improved through focused 1:1 leadership coaching by identifying a UPC’s area of opportunity and utilizing evidence-based tools and resources.

Organizations have adopted shared governance structures over the past 40 years to drive empowerment at the frontlines of nursing care. 1  SG creates a structure that allows for professional autonomy, control of nursing practice, and ultimately communication. 2 Studies have demonstrated improvement in patient outcomes such as falls with injury and a reduction in hospital-acquired infections in areas that have SG in place. 1 In addition, staff engagement and satisfaction have shown improvement amongst nurses who participate in SG. Improving staff morale and enhancing the way they provide care to improve patient outcomes can give a sense of belonging, which can enhance engagement across diverse areas such as inpatient, ambulatory, and perioperative settings. 1 Nursing SG results in shared decision-making between nurses at all levels of an organization, a shift from the historical top-down management approach to one that is more collaborative and inclusive, allowing for open communication, discussion, and action around change. Creating and implementing these processes and structures can be challenging, and if not executed with clear expectations and guidance, can create future concerns such as ineffective and inefficient use of time, poor staff engagement, and practice variations. 3  

General Theory of Effective Multilevel Shared Governance (GEMS)

The GEMS framework (Figure 1) is used to accelerate shared governance. GEMS help teams identify where they are, organize themselves, and then work to make meaningful changes to evolve into a more productive and effective state. 4 GEMS includes nine individual competencies: skillfulness, usefulness, effectiveness, supported by management, empowers nursing and nurses, improves patient safety, improves patient care, provides leadership, and enhances professional nursing practice. These competencies are staged amongst three phases of development: foundational inputs, empowering practices, and aligning goals. 4

View Figure 1 as pdf

Nine gems competencies and definitions - see pdf for more

Figure 1. General Theory of Effective Multilevel Shared Governance Framework

(Reprinted with permission from Joseph ML, Bogue RJ. A theory-based approach to nursing shared governance.  Nurs Outlook. 2016;64(4):339–351.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2016.01.004 )

GEMS competencies may be used to identify the focal areas of 1:1 coaching. SG paired with leadership development can promote empowering behaviors as well as enhance the overall effectiveness of the team. Providing leadership coaching creates alignment between leaders and frontline team members. Leadership must provide SG groups with time, encouragement, communication, resources, and information. 5  Together leadership, coaching, and shared governance align cohesively and allow for professional development of individuals and teams.

Leadership Coaching

For SG to be successful, nurse leaders must possess effective skillsets that promote participation to improve the work environment. Organizational leaders must promote leadership development for team members of all levels, including frontline leaders. 5 These structures must be in place to drive the intended behaviors and subsequent outcomes. 6 As healthcare systems become more complex, nursing leaders must integrate team principles to enhance SG and foster shared decision-making. 7 Leaders should ensure structures are in place to drive nurse empowerment and develop a practice environment that engages individuals to take ownership of their professional practice. To create an environment that cultivates decision-making, builds relationships, and develops accountability, there must be strong alignment from the organization. 6 Leadership coaching creates a supportive environment and mentoring in this way supports leadership development. 

Evidence-Based Project for UPCs

The purpose of this evidence-based project was to evaluate and improve the overall effectiveness of six nursing UPCs by providing 1:1 leadership coaching to the unit leadership team. The leadership team or leaders used here references the nurse manager, assistant nurse managers, and the unit council staff nurse leaders. The project aims were to (a) improve leadership competencies, (b) improve UPC effectiveness, and (c) improve unit-based staff engagement. Six nursing units each from different divisions participated (ambulatory, behavioral health, children’s, intensive & specialty, medical-surgical, and perioperative). These units were selected because they had some type of an existing SG structure in place, but from the perspective of the division director, had opportunities for improvement. Having already established SG groups in place allowed for more time spent on development and growth instead of spending time in SG group creation.

Pre- and post-pilot data was collected utilizing two different measures: (1) staff engagement surveys and (2) Nursing Practice Council effectiveness scale (NPCes) Survey. 

Staff Engagement Survey 

Baseline nursing unit engagement data was collected from the 2021 annual organizational staff engagement survey. Post-pilot nursing unit engagement data was obtained from the 2022 survey. Individual item and total engagement scores were calculated by a vendor for the organization using a validated tool.

Responses for specific questions that align with the project purpose and outcomes, answered by unit nurses, were evaluated (1) I am involved in decisions that affect my work, (2) This organization provides career development opportunities, and (3) Where I work, employees and management work together to ensure the safest possible working conditions.

Nursing Practice Council Effectiveness Scale (NPCes) Survey 

The NPCes survey tool was sent to all members of the UPC pre- and post-pilot. Some of the participating units structure their UPCs to only include nurses. Others were structured in an interprofessional approach. Regardless of the participants, the survey was sent to all members identifying as active participants of the SG group. The 21-item survey measures perceived effectiveness of the council (9 items), management (4 items), nursing leadership (4 items), and executive leadership (4 items). NPCes survey questions are answered on a 0-9 Likert scale. 0=Don’t know, 1=Not at all, 5=Quite a lot, 9=Always. 8  

View Table 1 as pdf

Table 1. Nine GEMS Competencies and Definitions - see pdf for details


Pre-pilot engagement and NPCes results were collected and shared with the UPC leadership teams. The NPCes results illustrated each unit’s performance around all nine GEMS competencies (Table 1). Each competency was discussed. The unit leaders were challenged to evaluate the lowest scoring competencies and determine if they felt those were the best competencies to focus on in the coming months. 

Each leadership team identified three lower scoring competencies as areas of focus for coming six months of 1:1 coaching. Individualized, monthly 1:1 leadership coaching sessions took place for all six leadership teams, focusing on the three lower scoring competencies. Each session was approximately 60 minutes long. Evidence-based tools and strategies were identified based on the focus areas. For example, if skillfulness was a competency that was an area of focus, time was spent discussing evidence-based strategies such as creating agendas, minute taking, utilizing structured tools for record keeping, how to structure a meeting, and how to follow-up on items and share information after the meeting. If usefulness was a competency that was an area of focus, time was spent evaluating what the UPC’s expectations, norms, and purpose might be. How to define the scope of responsibility of the UPC and review of goal attainment was discussed. Key interventions such as how to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) were shared. Unit leadership teams then applied the learned concepts and collaboratively implemented the evidence-based tools at the local UPC level. At subsequent 1:1 sessions, the team would discuss how the previous UPC meetings went, how strategies were applied, and identified additional opportunities for improvement going forward. After six months of focused 1:1 coaching, the same survey tools were utilized for post-pilot data collection.

Analysis and Results

  Staff engagement score were analyzed by division. Mean scores were calculated and compared for improvement.

View Figure 2 as pdf

Figure 2. Organizational Staff Engagement Question Results for all Units - see pdf for more

Staff Engagement Scores

Improvement was seen in 4 of 18 scores (Figure 2). The medical-surgical unit improved in all three staff engagement questions. The perioperative unit, children’s unit, and ambulatory unit improved in one of the three staff engagement questions. The intensive & specialty unit and behavioral health unit did not show improvement in any of the three staff engagement questions. 

NPCes Scores

Improvement was seen in 13 of 15 scores (Figure 3-5). A subset of the NPCes participating units is being discussed, highlighting three of the five units. These three units, Medical-Surgical (Figure 3), Children’s (Figure 4), and Perioperative (Figure 5), demonstrated an improvement in each of their three focal competencies. Despite low “n” size, the medical-surgical unit demonstrated a clinically significant improvement in the usefulness and improves patient care competencies. Two units, intensive & specialty and behavioral health demonstrated an improvement in two of the three focal competencies. Interestingly, it was a project objective for all units to improve in the leadership competency as a result of focused 1:1 coaching. Four of the units (medical-surgical, children’s, perioperative, & intensive & specialty) identified the leadership competency as one of their three lower scoring competencies which was then an area of focus. Three of those four units (medical-surgical, children’s, perioperative), who focused on the leadership competency, demonstrated an improvement in the measure (Figure 6). The remaining units, who did not focus on the leadership competency during 1:1 coaching, did not show an improvement. Ambulatory unit’s post-pilot data was null and therefore not reported.

View Figure 3 as pdf

Figure 3. Medical-Surgical Unit 3 Competencies of Focus Results - see pdf for more

View Figure 4 as pdf

Figure 4. Children’s Unit 3 Competencies of Focus Results - see pdf for more

View Figure 5 as pdf

Figure 5. Perioperative Unit 3 Competencies of Focus Results -  see pdf for more

View Figure 6 as pdf

Figure 6. GEMS ‘Provides Leadership’ Competency Results for all Units -  see pdf for more

Frontline leaders need skillsets and competencies to effectively lead frontline shared governance teams. Foundational competencies are necessary to build upon to drive empowerment and organizational alignment. Dedicating time with unit leaders to build effective UPCs is achievable utilizing the GEMS framework (Figure 1). UPC leadership competencies can be improved through focused 1:1 leadership coaching. Identifying a UPC’s area of opportunity through the NPCes tool and utilizing evidence-based tools and resources that can assist them in improving is an effective intervention. A limitation of this project was that several unit’s sample sizes were low, particularly in the post-pilot. Additional project work should be completed to continue to improve UPCs. There should be additional effort to improve survey response rates and expand the survey distribution to more individuals, perhaps to the entire unit staff. While results varied, this pilot project demonstrates improved unit council competencies in all units. In addition, certain elements of staff engagement also improved. 

Implications for Executive Nursing Leaders

Executive nursing leadership cannot lose sight of the importance of the impact SG can have on both team members and patients. Ensuring team members have dedicated time away from the bedside to participate in SG is essential. The nursing workforce landscape is shifting in front of us. We must find evidence-based interventions and innovative ways to engage team members in SG and enhance our frontline leader’s abilities in leading these groups. Executive nursing leaders should recognize the value leadership coaching has on frontline leaders and be willing to invest the time and resources to develop them. In addition, as units embark on the unit-based SG journey, they should recognize the value structure and processes have on the overall success of the group. 

Utilizing the GEMS framework can provide the foundational attributes needed for future success. Nurse Executives should recognize the power shared governance can have on alignment between themselves and the front-line team members, building that bridge between the two. Improving the alignment between these two can help organizations achieve goals and push the profession of nursing forward. 9 Most nursing leaders today are focused on improving the patient experience, patient outcomes and staff engagement. Investing and prioritizing effective UPCs, with a focus on structural empowerment, may serve as the conduit to impact many organizational outcomes. 10  

  • Kutney-Lee A, Germack H, Hatfield L, et al. Nurse engagement in shared governance and patient and nurse outcomes. J Nurs Adm.  2016;46(11):605-612.
  • Kyytsönen M, Tomietto M, Moona H, Kanste O. Research on hospital-based shared governance: A scoping review. International Journal of Health Governance.  2020;25(4):371-386.
  • McKnight H, Moore SM. Nursing shared governance. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing; 2022, September 19.
  • Joseph ML, Bogue RJ. A theory-based approach to nursing shared governance. Nurs Outlook.  2016;64(4):339-351.
  • dos Santos JL, Erdmann AL, de Andrade SR, de Mello AL, de Lima SB, Pestana AL. Governança em enfermagem: revisão integrativa da literatura [Nursing governance: An integrative review of the literature]. Rev Esc Enferm USP.  2013;47(6):1417-1425.
  • Porter-O’Grady T, Clavelle JT. The structural framework for nursing professional governance: Foundation for empowerment. Nurse Leader.  2020;18(2):181-189.
  • Kennerly S. Perceived worker autonomy: The foundation for shared governance. J Nurs Adm.  2000;30(12):611-617.
  • Bogue RJ, Joseph ML, Sieloff CL. Shared governance as vertical alignment of nursing group power and nurse practice council effectiveness. J Nurs Manag.  2009;17(1):4-14.
  • Joseph ML, Bogue RJ. C-suite roles and competencies to support a culture of shared governance and empowerment. J Nurs Adm.  2018;48(7-8):395-399.
  • Speroni KG, Wisner K, Ober M, Haines F, Walters C, Budhathoki C. Effect of shared governance on nurse-sensitive indicator and satisfaction outcomes by Magnet ® recognition status. J Nurs Adm.  2021;51(7-8):379-388.

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The Boston Globe

When is the best time to get your flu shot?

Have you avoided the flu so far this season? If not, it might be because you got your shot too early or too late.

Although the vaccine works for several months, its potency is known to wane over time. So for maximum protection, you don’t want to get it too far ahead of flu season. But if you wait too long, your immune system may not have enough time to rev up before it encounters the virus.

A Harvard research team asked the question — when is the ideal time to get vaccinated against influenza? — and found a clever way to answer it, at least for children. They realized that children tend to visit their pediatricians during their birth month, and that for children with birthdays in August through December, they typically get a flu shot during that visit.

Mining a vast trove of insurance claims, they found that kids who get their flu shot in October were least likely to get the flu. That points to October as possibly the ideal month to get a flu shot.

In one sense, it’s not surprising, said Dr. Anupam B. Jena, professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study , published Wednesday in the BMJ. October is about midway between when each year’s vaccine becomes available and when flu season typically begins. But through this study, he said, “We were able to show, in a more convincing way, that this is actually the optimal time.”

Jena thinks the finding probably applies to adults as well, but that question has not been studied.

He cautioned, however, that getting the vaccine at some point should be the first priority. The benefit of vaccination “is much larger than the benefit of tinkering around with the timing,” he said.

Small studies have suggested that antibody levels rise about two weeks after vaccination, but no one has examined what that means for protection against flu, Jena said. The most important question, he said, is whether the person gets severely ill with the flu — and that’s what his study looked at.

How fast the vaccine’s protection wanes depends on the individual and also the specific strain of flu. Most flu vaccines protect against more than one strain, so whether your vaccine remains effective may depend on which strain of flu you happen to encounter.

Dr. Edward Belongia, an infectious disease epidemiologist and vaccine researcher who was not involved with the study, called it “well-designed” with a “robust” methodology, and said it added useful new information about the ideal time to vaccinate children.

“It’s very helpful from a policy and planning perspective. It’s not really too relevant in terms of parents’ decision-making,” said Belongia, who is a senior research scientist with the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin. He advises parents to simply trust their pediatrician’s advice.

“The difference between September and October is going to be very modest. From a practical standpoint, I would not worry about it,” he said. “The most important thing is to get vaccinated before the flu season starts.” That season typically starts around December with peak transmission in February or March, but the timing can vary significantly from year to year.

This year, flu cases nationally and in Massachusetts peaked in late December. The number of cases has fallen sharply since then, but remain plateaued at a high level. Only 40 percent of Massachusetts residents have been vaccinated against the flu this season. But it’s not too late to benefit from a flu shot even now, because flu is still widely circulating, Jena said.

Dr. Christina R. Hermos, an associate professor of pediatrics at the UMass Chan Medical School who specializes in infectious diseases and immunology, called the report “a cool paper” whose results are convincing. But she cautioned, “If it’s summarized as a sound bite, it could be dangerous. I don’t want people to think vaccines don’t work unless given in October.”

The study encompassed 819,223 children ages 2 to 5 who were vaccinated against the flu during 2011 through 2018. It focused on children with birthdays between Aug. 1 and Jan. 31 who were continuously enrolled in employer-sponsored health insurance for at least one flu season, defined as September through May.

The analysis found that October was the most common month for children to be vaccinated. Children born in October were more likely to be vaccinated that month, and were least likely to come down with flu during the ensuing season. Some 3 percent of children vaccinated in August got the flu, compared with 2.7 percent of those vaccinated in October.

The study gathered information only on children who had commercial insurance, and did not include uninsured children and children on public insurance such as Medicaid. It also could not account for any vaccinations that were not submitted for insurance reimbursement.

Dr. Caroline J. Kistin, a pediatrician with Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence and a health services researcher at the Brown School of Public Health, who was not involved with the study, said the research points to the need “to build capacity to administer vaccines at optimal times … to think about whether we need to invest more in community-delivered vaccinations.”

Primary care practices might set up Saturday flu clinics in October, for example, she said.

Children whose annual pediatrician visit occurs in the spring may not be getting their shots at all, she noted. “There’s a huge population of kids who just logistically end up not getting it. We don’t make it in health care particularly easy to just pop in and get what you need.”

Kistin noted that the worst time to get the shot is after being exposed to the flu. “Getting it early is better than that,” she said.

If a child came to her for a visit in September, she would tell the parent that it’s important to get vaccinated, and mention there is some added benefit to getting it in October. If the parent thinks it would be difficult to come back the next month, she’d give the shot in September.

“I don’t want parents to feel stressed about getting it too early,” Kistin emphasized. The findings, she said, are more important as a “signal to the health care system to increase capacity during that key time.”

Kimberly Peguero peeked at the needle as she got her flu shot last October at the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston.

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Mesquite school adds safety measures after gun on campus; research questions effectiveness

These school hardening tactics will include metal detectors, additional cameras, and trainings for staff.

A sign for Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy charter school is seen after a student who...

By Julia James

5:28 PM on Feb 20, 2024 CST

New safety measures are already being installed at the Mesquite school where a student brought a gun Monday.

Police officers were dispatched about 8:50 a.m. for a 16-year-old student reported to be holding a gun in the office of the Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy campus in Mesquite. Police said school administrators attempted to keep the student calm until police arrived. When police arrived and were negotiating with the student, three officers fired shots at him. He suffered a wound to his leg before he complied and was taken into custody.

Nineteen shots were fired by officers , police said Tuesday, and the teen holding the gun did not fire his weapon. No other students were injured.

Related: Officers fired 19 shots at student who brought gun to Mesquite school; student didn’t fire

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The school announced Monday night in a news release that students would return to campus for a regular school day on Tuesday and that counselors would be on-site to speak with students for three days.

The release also stated several steps would be taken to “harden” the school and increase safety, including adding metal detectors and surveillance cameras, securing entry points, and providing additional training to staff. It is not clear what this additional training would entail. An additional news release clarified the metal detectors were being installed Tuesday.

District staff did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding how these strategies were chosen.

A news release mentioned the presence of an armed security guard on the campus, but it is not clear what role they played during the gun incident. A new Texas law that took effect in September requires schools to have some type of armed personnel on campus .

Related: Active shooter defense is becoming big business in Texas. Experts ask if it’s paying off

Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, said he would recommend the addition of a school resource officer. He said these officers have specific training and abilities that armed security guards do not, including potentially speeding up police response time and being specifically trained in de-escalation.

Canady also cautioned against adding metal detectors without a rigorous plan for their implementation. He said for the detectors to be effective, schools must identify one or two primary points of entry and secure all others. It also requires community education about the importance of not leaving doors propped open and designated personnel to maintain and operate the metal detectors all day long.

“You can very easily create a false sense of security,” he said. “Every solution has a bit of a problem to it that we have to overcome and think about.”

While some have previously questioned the absence of metal detectors in Dallas-Fort Worth area schools, including after a 2021 shooting at an Arlington high school, others have argued it’s not a viable option because of the layout of certain campuses and time involved in screening each student.

Related: Texas superintendents want safer schools. But money and logistics stand in the way

Efforts to harden schools across the state increased following deadly shootings in Santa Fe in 2018 and Uvalde in 2022, among others. These pushes have come with some financial support from the state but have primarily placed the burden on local districts to make costly upgrades to campuses.

Despite instituting expensive new safety requirements for schools during the legislative session, lawmakers allocated just $10 per student for security measures, which is below what many districts asked for. Lawmakers set aside an additional $15,000 per campus and millions in grant funding.

School-hardening tactics also may not be effective, according to one study. Research published in 2019 by James H. Price and Jagdish Khubchandani did not find any empirical evidence that school hardening decreased gun violence. The strategies they reviewed included school resource officers, metal detectors and locker searches.

“School officials should not give in to political pressures to ‘do something’ when that ‘something’ is likely to be ineffective and wasteful of limited school resources,” they wrote.

Staff writer Talia Richman contributed to this report.

Julia James , Breaking News Reporter . Julia is a breaking news reporter with the Dallas Morning News. She is a Louisiana native and a graduate of the University of Mississippi where she studied journalism and public policy. She previously covered education for Mississippi Today in Jackson, Miss.

Dallas residents concerned Old City Park takeover will strip land of history

Lies and dirty tricks: texas republicans are eating their own in this year’s primaries, attorney general says emails from denton isd principals violated election law, kevin durant confronted hecklers ahead of mavs-suns, ensured fans weren’t kicked out, brace yourself for traffic after 2024 solar eclipse in dallas-fort worth.


  1. How to Develop a Strong Research Question

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  1. 5 Tips for Effective Research Before You Come

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  1. Writing Strong Research Questions

    A good research question is essential to guide your research paper, dissertation, or thesis. All research questions should be: Focused on a single problem or issue. Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources. Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints. Specific enough to answer thoroughly.

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    A research question is the main question your study seeks to answer. Learn how to write a strong research question and see examples. 1-888-627-6631; [email protected]; ... 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 ...

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  27. When is the best time to get your flu shot?

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  28. Mesquite school adds safety measures after gun on campus; research

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