How to compose or develop a Good Research Question
It is important to consider the audience. Usually research papers are written in technical language, because research papers are written for technical audience.
Always keep in mind one thing that “Great Research Starts with Good Research Question”. So how we will find that a Research Question is good or not? It should have some properties .
1) Choose a topic about you know or want to know?
2) Read research papers, Books, encyclopedia and explore web about that topic. It is very necessary to do some preliminary research about topic, especially what has been done before and what are deficiencies. This will help the researcher to narrow down his/her topic.
3) Ask question about it to yourself like [3,4]
What do I want to find out?
Why I am doing this research, what I want to prove?
Who will be interested, what I will found?
Is this is right time to ask this question? Is it hot or obsolete topic?
Is this study done before? If so, may I have some chance of improvement?
Will my study have a significant impact in this field?
List all questions you would like to answer yourself regarding the topic. Then choose the best one that is not too boring nor too narrow. If you have already some knowledge about your topic then make a question based on your knowledge and if do not, think again and again. For example, if you are assigned a topic “Issue confronting the ancient Babylonian family”. Now you have some ideas about the family issues. So you can develop a good research question after some research on the Babylonian family issues .
Usually 2 types of question are asked, Skinny question and Fat Question .
Skinny questions are those which can be answered in yes or no or in one sentence. Often start with ‘When, How Many, Where, Who’. These types of questions are not very good Research questions.
Fat Questions are those which cannot be answered in one sentence, and make us think new questions, usually begin with ‘Why, Which, Who’. And these are Good Research Question, because they involve Research and analysis.
But sometimes answers to skinny question leads to Fat Question. E.g.what is the best routing protocol for an Autonomous system?? Let’ssay it is OSPF. But if we ask, Why OSPF is best protocol for AS?? So it will become a Fat Question.
Sometimes you may change your Skinny Questions to Fat Question by just replacing ‘when, where, how many, who’ with ‘why, which, how’.
Try to avoid questions which can’t be answered and about opinion question.
In depth knowledge of the topic may arise many questions to be answered. But these Research Questions should be developed in the beginning phase of the research. Any additional question during the research should never compromise of the primary or basic question, because these additional questions may increase the scope and complexity of the topic. And may add unnecessary considerations in the research, those were never the part of the study.
It is always a good idea to evaluate your research question before completing the research. You can take the feedback from the experts, your supervisors, colleagues etc.