Some research questions focus your attention onto the relationship of particular theories and concepts: For an undergraduate dissertation, your question needs to be more targeted than either of these. Creating a research question is a task.
Good research questions are formed and worked on, and are rarely simply found. You start with what interests you, and you refine it until it is workable.
There is no recipe for the perfect research question, but there are bad research questions. The following guidelines highlight some of the features of good questions.
The question will be of academic and intellectual interest to people in the field you have chosen to study. The question arises from issues raised in the literature or in practice. You should be able to establish a clear purpose for your research in relation to the chosen field. For example, are you filling a gap in knowledge, analysing academic assumptions or professional practice, monitoring a development in practice, comparing different approaches or testing theories within a specific population?
You need to be realistic about the scope and scale of the project. The question you ask must be within your ability to tackle. For example, are you able to access people, statistics, or documents from which to collect the data you need to address the question fully? Are you able to relate the concepts of your research question to the observations, phenomena, indicators or variables you can access?
Can this data be accessed within the limited time and resources you have available to you? Sometimes a research question appears feasible, but when you start your fieldwork or library study, it proves otherwise. In this situation, it is important to write up the problems honestly and to reflect on what has been learnt.
It may be possible, with your supervisor, to develop a contingency plan to anticipate possible problems of access. The question should not simply copy questions asked in other final year modules, or modules previously undertaken. It shows your own imagination and your ability to construct and develop research issues. And it needs to give sufficient scope to develop into a dissertation.
The question must allow you the scope to satisfy the learning outcomes of the course. For example, you can choose to conduct a theoretical study, one that does not contain analysis of empirical data. In this case, it will be necessary for you to think carefully before making such a choice. You would be required to give an account of your methodology, to explain why theoretical analysis was the most appropriate way of addressing the question and how you have gone about using theoretical models to produce new insights about the subject.
The complexity of a question can frequently hide unclear thoughts and lead to a confused research process. A very elaborate research question, 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, but it is one of the hardest parts of your work. However, a muddled question is likely to generate muddled data and equally muddled analysis. If you create a clear and simple research question, you may find that it becomes more complex as you think about the situation you are studying and undertake the literature review. Having one key question with several sub-components will guide your research here.
The question needs to intrigue you and maintain your interest throughout the project. There are two traps to avoid. Make sure that you have a real, grounded interest in your research question, and that you can explore this and back it up by academic and intellectual debate. It is your interest that will motivate you to keep working and to produce a good dissertation. Here one student talks about the difficulties she had: My original question was too vague and unanswerable.
In terms of tightening it up, I knew I wanted to link disability to employment. Todd, Bannister and Clegg, , p This student did eventually come up with a workable question and went on to complete her dissertation.
Download Case Study 5 Devising research questions from a real geographical and social situation. So far, we have considered a number of issues relevant to developing an appropriate research methodology for your dissertation. The chart below should help you to synthesise your thinking to date. Work through each of the boxes but be prepared to revisit this at different stages of the dissertation.
Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Approaches. London, Sage, chapter 4. Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences. Content About this site What is a Dissertation?
How to start your dissertation Help with finding literature and research Formulating the research question. Introduction What is a good research question? Resources Further reading Research papers. Formulating the Research Question 1 Introduction In the previous section we talked about ways to define your topic, but there is a difference between a topic and a question.
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Generate your APA citations for free! Home Knowledge Base Dissertation roadmap Examples of main research questions for a dissertation. Examples of main research questions for a dissertation Date published December 2, by Bas Swaen. Are you on track with your postgraduate research? Supports postgraduate researchers in the early stages.
Clarifies what you want to research. Clarifies how to conduct that research. Guides you through the whole writing process. Is this article helpful? Bas Swaen Bas is co-founder of Scribbr.
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PhD Dissertation Topics Great PhD Dissertation Topics to Get that Degree A dissertation is a requirement for students to obtain a doctoral .
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MyDissertations - Your Dissertation Writing Service. We understand dissertation content from start to finish. This includes the abstract, introduction, research question, literature review, methodology, discussion, thesis, research proposal, and other details. Dissertation Research Questions The number one question in writing a dissertation is what questions you need to rise and what kind of a research must be done. It is a well-known fact that every dissertation considers a deep research depending on .
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