How to Develop a STRONG Research Question | Scribbr 🎓


A good research question is really like a
lighthouse, it’s essential to guide your research paper pinpoints exactly what you want to find out and gives your work a clear purpose and focus. Hi, I’m Jessica from Scribbr, here to help
you achieve your academic goals. Without further ado, here are 5 steps to develop a strong research question. Step 1, choose a broad topic. Go with a topic that sparks your interest,
since you’ll be spending quite some time with it. For me, I’m thinking maybe something about social media. Step 2, do some preliminary reading about the topic. Ok, so I’ve read a lot of newspaper writing about how social media negatively impacts high school students’ academic performances. And they also happen to be one of the most
active age groups on social media. Step 3, narrow down to a specific niche. This way, you can make sure the research is within a feasible scope instead of something too broad to achieve in a given timeframe. Since academic performance is too broad, let me narrow it down to attention span. Step 4, identify a research problem. So we already established that adolescents are one of the most active age groups on social media platforms but only a scarce amount of research has been done on the effect social media has on the younger generation’s attention span. This will be my research problem. Step 5, write your research question! Turning your research problem into a question,
and it sounds something like: What effect does daily use of Twitter have on the attention span of people in the age group of 16 to 20? Since this is descriptive research, the research question is also descriptive. But there are also other kinds of research
questions, it all depends on the type of research you’ll do For example comparative research,
descriptive research, or correlational research. Now we have a research question, but how do
you know if it’s good or not? Here’s a checklist for you. A good research question should be focused. And focused it is. Since it focuses on a single problem of Twitter’s effect on the attention span of high school students. It should be researchable. That means the answer to your question can
be found by collecting empirical data or through existing literature. In our case, we can go for a quantitative
approach, like using eye-tracking or mouse-tracking to measure the attention span. It needs to be feasible, so is it doable within
a certain timeframe? Do you have access to the data you need or
the right kind of respondents? It really depends on your situation. But for this research question, it would fit more into the timeframe of a longer project. So it wouldn’t be feasible for an assignment you have to hand in by the end of the month. Be specific! All the terms you use in the research question should have clear meanings. Notice how I don’t use “often”, but
“daily”? And instead of “adolescents”, I use a
specific age group. The research question should also be complex enough. If the research question can be answered with yes or no, or with easily found facts then it’s NOT complex enough. Last but not least, make sure your problem is relevant to your field of study or society! Well, social media is pretty much all we use
now, so that’s definitely relevant to society. It also targets a currently unanswered question, and contribute knowledge that future research can build on. Now keep in mind, in a research paper or essay,
you’ll usually write only one research question. But for a bigger project, you can also develop multiple research questions around the same problem. For example, I can also ask: Does the infinite scroll function on Twitter contribute to the effect on attention span? Follow the steps and checklist, and you’ll
end up with a research question as a solid foundation for your research! Make sure you also check out our articles on writing the literature review and the methodology section! They are linked in the description. Good luck writing! I’ll see you in our next video.

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