Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Starting the research process
  • Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples

Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples

Published on October 26, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 21, 2023.

A research question pinpoints exactly what you want to find out in your work. 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
  • 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

Table of contents

How to write a research question, what makes a strong research question, using sub-questions to strengthen your main research question, research questions quiz, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research questions.

You can follow these steps to develop a strong research question:

  • Choose your topic
  • Do some preliminary reading about the current state of the field
  • Narrow your focus to a specific niche
  • Identify the research problem that you will address

The way you frame your question depends on what your research aims to achieve. The table below shows some examples of how you might formulate questions for different purposes.

Research question formulations
Describing and exploring
Explaining and testing
Evaluating and acting is X

Using your research problem to develop your research question

Example research problem Example research question(s)
Teachers at the school do not have the skills to recognize or properly guide gifted children in the classroom. What practical techniques can teachers use to better identify and guide gifted children?
Young people increasingly engage in the “gig economy,” rather than traditional full-time employment. However, it is unclear why they choose to do so. What are the main factors influencing young people’s decisions to engage in the gig economy?

Note that while most research questions can be answered with various types of research , the way you frame your question should help determine your choices.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Research questions anchor your whole project, so it’s important to spend some time refining them. The criteria below can help you evaluate the strength of your research question.

Focused and researchable

Criteria Explanation
Focused on a single topic Your central research question should work together with your research problem to keep your work focused. If you have multiple questions, they should all clearly tie back to your central aim.
Answerable using Your question must be answerable using and/or , or by reading scholarly sources on the to develop your argument. If such data is impossible to access, you likely need to rethink your question.
Not based on value judgements Avoid subjective words like , , and . These do not give clear criteria for answering the question.

Feasible and specific

Criteria Explanation
Answerable within practical constraints Make sure 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.
Uses specific, well-defined concepts All the terms you use in the research question should have clear meanings. Avoid vague language, jargon, and too-broad ideas.

Does not demand a conclusive solution, policy, or course of action Research is about informing, not instructing. Even if your project is focused on a practical problem, it should aim to improve understanding rather than demand a ready-made solution.

If ready-made solutions are necessary, consider conducting instead. Action research is a research method that aims to simultaneously investigate an issue as it is solved. In other words, as its name suggests, action research conducts research and takes action at the same time.

Complex and arguable

Criteria Explanation
Cannot be answered with or Closed-ended, / questions are too simple to work as good research questions—they don’t provide enough for robust investigation and discussion.

Cannot be answered with easily-found facts If you can answer the question through a single Google search, book, or article, it is probably not complex enough. A good research question requires original data, synthesis of multiple sources, and original interpretation and argumentation prior to providing an answer.

Relevant and original

Criteria Explanation
Addresses a relevant problem Your research question should be developed based on initial reading around your . It should focus on addressing a problem or gap in the existing knowledge in your field or discipline.
Contributes to a timely social or academic debate The question should aim to 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.
Has not already been answered You don’t have to ask something that nobody has ever thought of before, but your question should have some aspect of originality. For example, you can focus on a specific location, or explore a new angle.

Chances are that your main research question likely can’t be answered all at once. That’s why sub-questions are important: they allow you to answer your main question in a step-by-step manner.

Good sub-questions should be:

  • Less complex than the main question
  • Focused only on 1 type of research
  • Presented in a logical order

Here are a few examples of descriptive and framing questions:

  • Descriptive: According to current government arguments, how should a European bank tax be implemented?
  • Descriptive: Which countries have a bank tax/levy on financial transactions?
  • Framing: How should a bank tax/levy on financial transactions look at a European level?

Keep in mind that sub-questions are by no means mandatory. They should only be asked if you need the findings to answer your main question. If your main question is simple enough to stand on its own, it’s okay to skip the sub-question part. As a rule of thumb, the more complex your subject, the more sub-questions you’ll need.

Try to limit yourself to 4 or 5 sub-questions, maximum. If you feel you need more than this, it may be indication that your main research question is not sufficiently specific. In this case, it’s is better to revisit your problem statement and try to tighten your main question up.

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

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

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

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.

As you cannot possibly read every source related to your topic, it’s important to evaluate sources to assess their relevance. Use preliminary evaluation to determine whether a source is worth examining in more depth.

This involves:

  • Reading abstracts , prefaces, introductions , and conclusions
  • Looking at the table of contents to determine the scope of the work
  • Consulting the index for key terms or the names of important scholars

A research hypothesis is your proposed answer to your research question. The research hypothesis usually includes an explanation (“ x affects y because …”).

A statistical hypothesis, on the other hand, is a mathematical statement about a population parameter. Statistical hypotheses always come in pairs: the null and alternative hypotheses . In a well-designed study , the statistical hypotheses correspond logically to the research hypothesis.

Writing Strong Research Questions

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

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, November 21). Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-process/research-questions/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to define a research problem | ideas & examples, how to write a problem statement | guide & examples, 10 research question examples to guide your research project, get unlimited documents corrected.

✔ Free APA citation check included ✔ Unlimited document corrections ✔ Specialized in correcting academic texts

  • Affiliate Program

Wordvice

  • UNITED STATES
  • 台灣 (TAIWAN)
  • TÜRKIYE (TURKEY)
  • Academic Editing Services
  • - Research Paper
  • - Journal Manuscript
  • - Dissertation
  • - College & University Assignments
  • Admissions Editing Services
  • - Application Essay
  • - Personal Statement
  • - Recommendation Letter
  • - Cover Letter
  • - CV/Resume
  • Business Editing Services
  • - Business Documents
  • - Report & Brochure
  • - Website & Blog
  • Writer Editing Services
  • - Script & Screenplay
  • Our Editors
  • Client Reviews
  • Editing & Proofreading Prices
  • Wordvice Points
  • Partner Discount
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • APA Citation Generator
  • MLA Citation Generator
  • Chicago Citation Generator
  • Vancouver Citation Generator
  • - APA Style
  • - MLA Style
  • - Chicago Style
  • - Vancouver Style
  • Writing & Editing Guide
  • Academic Resources
  • Admissions Resources

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

how to find a good research question

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 .

What is the importance of genetic research in the medical field?
How might the discovery of a genetic basis for alcoholism impact triage processes in medical facilities?

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

Attempt to describe the behavior of a population in regard to one or more variables or describe characteristics of those variables that will be measured. These are usually “What?” questions.Seek to discover differences between groups within the context of an outcome variable. These questions can be causal as well. Researchers may compare groups in which certain variables are present with groups in which they are not.Designed to elucidate and describe trends and interactions among variables. These questions include the dependent and independent variables and use words such as “association” or “trends.”

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

Attempt to identify and describe existing conditions.Attempt to describe a phenomenon.
Assess the effectiveness of existing methods, protocols, theories, or procedures.
Examine a phenomenon or analyze the reasons or relationships between subjects or phenomena.
Focus on the unknown aspects of a particular topic.

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Question Examples

Descriptive research question
Comparative research question
Correlational research question
Exploratory research question
Explanatory research question
Evaluation research question

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. 

how to find a good research question

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.

Grad Coach

Research Question 101 📖

Everything you need to know to write a high-quality research question

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | October 2023

If you’ve landed on this page, you’re probably asking yourself, “ What is a research question? ”. Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll explain what a research question is , how it’s differen t from a research aim, and how to craft a high-quality research question that sets you up for success.

Research Question 101

What is a research question.

  • Research questions vs research aims
  • The 4 types of research questions
  • How to write a research question
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Examples of research questions

As the name suggests, the research question is the core question (or set of questions) that your study will (attempt to) answer .

In many ways, a research question is akin to a target in archery . Without a clear target, you won’t know where to concentrate your efforts and focus. Essentially, your research question acts as the guiding light throughout your project and informs every choice you make along the way.

Let’s look at some examples:

What impact does social media usage have on the mental health of teenagers in New York?
How does the introduction of a minimum wage affect employment levels in small businesses in outer London?
How does the portrayal of women in 19th-century American literature reflect the societal attitudes of the time?
What are the long-term effects of intermittent fasting on heart health in adults?

As you can see in these examples, research questions are clear, specific questions that can be feasibly answered within a study. These are important attributes and we’ll discuss each of them in more detail a little later . If you’d like to see more examples of research questions, you can find our RQ mega-list here .

Free Webinar: How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic

Research Questions vs Research Aims

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “ How is a research question different from a research aim? ”. Within any given study, the research aim and research question (or questions) are tightly intertwined , but they are separate things . Let’s unpack that a little.

A research aim is typically broader in nature and outlines what you hope to achieve with your research. It doesn’t ask a specific question but rather gives a summary of what you intend to explore.

The research question, on the other hand, is much more focused . It’s the specific query you’re setting out to answer. It narrows down the research aim into a detailed, researchable question that will guide your study’s methods and analysis.

Let’s look at an example:

Research Aim: To explore the effects of climate change on marine life in Southern Africa.
Research Question: How does ocean acidification caused by climate change affect the reproduction rates of coral reefs?

As you can see, the research aim gives you a general focus , while the research question details exactly what you want to find out.

Need a helping hand?

how to find a good research question

Types of research questions

Now that we’ve defined what a research question is, let’s look at the different types of research questions that you might come across. Broadly speaking, there are (at least) four different types of research questions – descriptive , comparative , relational , and explanatory . 

Descriptive questions ask what is happening. In other words, they seek to describe a phenomena or situation . An example of a descriptive research question could be something like “What types of exercise do high-performing UK executives engage in?”. This would likely be a bit too basic to form an interesting study, but as you can see, the research question is just focused on the what – in other words, it just describes the situation.

Comparative research questions , on the other hand, look to understand the way in which two or more things differ , or how they’re similar. An example of a comparative research question might be something like “How do exercise preferences vary between middle-aged men across three American cities?”. As you can see, this question seeks to compare the differences (or similarities) in behaviour between different groups.

Next up, we’ve got exploratory research questions , which ask why or how is something happening. While the other types of questions we looked at focused on the what, exploratory research questions are interested in the why and how . As an example, an exploratory research question might ask something like “Why have bee populations declined in Germany over the last 5 years?”. As you can, this question is aimed squarely at the why, rather than the what.

Last but not least, we have relational research questions . As the name suggests, these types of research questions seek to explore the relationships between variables . Here, an example could be something like “What is the relationship between X and Y” or “Does A have an impact on B”. As you can see, these types of research questions are interested in understanding how constructs or variables are connected , and perhaps, whether one thing causes another.

Of course, depending on how fine-grained you want to get, you can argue that there are many more types of research questions , but these four categories give you a broad idea of the different flavours that exist out there. It’s also worth pointing out that a research question doesn’t need to fit perfectly into one category – in many cases, a research question might overlap into more than just one category and that’s okay.

The key takeaway here is that research questions can take many different forms , and it’s useful to understand the nature of your research question so that you can align your research methodology accordingly.

Free Webinar: Research Methodology 101

How To Write A Research Question

As we alluded earlier, a well-crafted research question needs to possess very specific attributes, including focus , clarity and feasibility . But that’s not all – a rock-solid research question also needs to be rooted and aligned . Let’s look at each of these.

A strong research question typically has a single focus. So, don’t try to cram multiple questions into one research question; rather split them up into separate questions (or even subquestions), each with their own specific focus. As a rule of thumb, narrow beats broad when it comes to research questions.

Clear and specific

A good research question is clear and specific, not vague and broad. State clearly exactly what you want to find out so that any reader can quickly understand what you’re looking to achieve with your study. Along the same vein, try to avoid using bulky language and jargon – aim for clarity.

Unfortunately, even a super tantalising and thought-provoking research question has little value if you cannot feasibly answer it. So, think about the methodological implications of your research question while you’re crafting it. Most importantly, make sure that you know exactly what data you’ll need (primary or secondary) and how you’ll analyse that data.

A good research question (and a research topic, more broadly) should be rooted in a clear research gap and research problem . Without a well-defined research gap, you risk wasting your effort pursuing a question that’s already been adequately answered (and agreed upon) by the research community. A well-argued research gap lays at the heart of a valuable study, so make sure you have your gap clearly articulated and that your research question directly links to it.

As we mentioned earlier, your research aim and research question are (or at least, should be) tightly linked. So, make sure that your research question (or set of questions) aligns with your research aim . If not, you’ll need to revise one of the two to achieve this.

FAQ: Research Questions

Research question faqs, how many research questions should i have, what should i avoid when writing a research question, can a research question be a statement.

Typically, a research question is phrased as a question, not a statement. A question clearly indicates what you’re setting out to discover.

Can a research question be too broad or too narrow?

Yes. A question that’s too broad makes your research unfocused, while a question that’s too narrow limits the scope of your study.

Here’s an example of a research question that’s too broad:

“Why is mental health important?”

Conversely, here’s an example of a research question that’s likely too narrow:

“What is the impact of sleep deprivation on the exam scores of 19-year-old males in London studying maths at The Open University?”

Can I change my research question during the research process?

How do i know if my research question is good.

A good research question is focused, specific, practical, rooted in a research gap, and aligned with the research aim. If your question meets these criteria, it’s likely a strong question.

Is a research question similar to a hypothesis?

Not quite. A hypothesis is a testable statement that predicts an outcome, while a research question is a query that you’re trying to answer through your study. Naturally, there can be linkages between a study’s research questions and hypothesis, but they serve different functions.

How are research questions and research objectives related?

The research question is a focused and specific query that your study aims to answer. It’s the central issue you’re investigating. The research objective, on the other hand, outlines the steps you’ll take to answer your research question. Research objectives are often more action-oriented and can be broken down into smaller tasks that guide your research process. In a sense, they’re something of a roadmap that helps you answer your research question.

Need some inspiration?

If you’d like to see more examples of research questions, check out our research question mega list here .  Alternatively, if you’d like 1-on-1 help developing a high-quality research question, consider our private coaching service .

how to find a good research question

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

You Might Also Like:

Research constructs: construct validity and reliability

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Print Friendly

Research: From selecting a topic to writing the bibliography

  • Selecting a Topic
  • Developing a Research Question
  • What Type of Source Do I Need?
  • Selecting the Best Place to Search
  • Search Like a Pro
  • Evaluating Information

Research Questions Worth Asking

This video from the UMD, Global Campus gives a good introduction to research questions.

What is a research question?

Once you have selected a topic, you need to develop a research question. You may be used to working with a thesis statement, but a thesis statement is an answer. If you start your research with an answer, you might miss something important or your paper might be too one-sided. Starting with a question allows you to explore your topic while still having it clearly defined. 

A good research question is specific and focused.

Topic : Netflix

Research Question : How has the rise of streaming television changed the nature of advertising during television shows?

Topic : the environmental impact of fracking

Research Question : What are some of the most effective ways of protecting local ground water from the waste water produced by fracking?

Tip: Beware of research questions that are too broad or too narrow.

Too Broad:  Why is reality television so popular?

Too Narrow:  What are the economic and social consequences of the popularity of Jersey Shore on the lives of teenagers living in Omaha, Nebraska? 

Tip: be willing to tweak your research question as you go.

Research Question:  How has the rise of streaming television changed the nature of advertising during television shows?

Potential Research Finding:  Advertising during television hasn't changed much recently.

New Research Question:  Why has advertising on television been able to remain the same when how we watch television has changed so much?

Examples of Research Questions

The assignment is a 10-15 page paper relying primarily on scholarly resources.

  • How is malaria treated?
  • Will tablet computing replace the need for laptops?
  • How much has the popularity of Harry Potter improved the reading scores of second graders in Missouri?
  • At what point in time will the need for nurses in pedatric wards outpace the graduation rates from nursing schools?
  • In what ways have online communities changed the nature of support systems available for people with Attention Deficit Disorder?
  • How has mountaintop removal mining in western Kentucky impacted the migratory habits of the local bird population?
  • << Previous: Selecting a Topic
  • Next: What Type of Source Do I Need? >>
  • Last Updated: Jun 13, 2024 10:49 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.gwu.edu/research

Educational resources and simple solutions for your research journey

How to craft a strong research question (with research question examples)

How to Craft a Strong Research Question (With Research Question Examples)

A sound and effective research question is a key element that must be identified and pinned down before researchers can even begin their research study or work. A strong research question lays the foundation for your entire study, guiding your investigation and shaping your findings. Hence, it is critical that researchers spend considerable time assessing and refining the research question based on in-depth reading and comprehensive literature review. In this article, we will discuss how to write a strong research question and provide you with some good examples of research questions across various disciplines.

Table of Contents

The importance of a research question

A research question plays a crucial role in driving scientific inquiry, setting the direction and purpose of your study, and guiding your entire research process. By formulating a clear and focused research question, you lay the foundation for your investigation, ensuring that your research remains on track and aligned with your objectives so you can make meaningful contribution to the existing body of knowledge. A well-crafted research question also helps you define the scope of your study and identify the appropriate methodologies and data collection techniques to employ.

Key components of a strong research question

A good research question possesses several key components that contribute to the quality and impact of your study. Apart from providing a clear framework to generate meaningful results, a well-defined research question allows other researchers to understand the purpose and significance of your work. So, when working on your research question, incorporate the following elements:

  • Specificity : A strong research question should be specific about the main focus of your study, enabling you to gather precise data and draw accurate conclusions. It clearly defines the variables, participants, and context involved, leaving no room for ambiguity.
  • Clarity : A good research question is clear and easily understood, so articulate the purpose and intent of your study concisely without being generic or vague. Ensuring clarity in your research question helps both you and your readers grasp the research objective.
  • Feasibility : While crafting a research question, consider the practicality of conducting the research and availability of necessary data or access to participants. Think whether your study is realistic and achievable within the constraints of time, resources, and ethical considerations.

How to craft a well-defined research question

A first step that will help save time and effort is knowing what your aims are and thinking about a few problem statements on the area or aspect one wants to study or do research on. Contemplating these statements as one undertakes more progressive reading can help the researcher in reassessing and fine-tuning the research question. This can be done over time as they read and learn more about the research topic, along with a broad literature review and parallel discussions with peer researchers and supervisors. In some cases, a researcher can have more than one research question if the research being undertaken is a PhD thesis or dissertation, but try not to cover multiple concerns on a topic.

A strong research question must be researchable, original, complex, and relevant. Here are five simple steps that can make the entire process easier.

  • Identify a broad topic from your areas of interest, something that is relevant, and you are passionate about since you’ll be spending a lot of time conducting your research.
  • Do a thorough literature review to weed out potential gaps in research and stay updated on what’s currently being done in your chosen topic and subject area.
  • Shortlist possible research questions based on the research gaps or see how you can build on or refute previously published ideas and concepts.
  • Assess your chosen research question using the FINER criteria that helps you evaluate whether the research is Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical, and Relevant. 1
  • Formulate the final research question, while ensuring it is clear, well-written, and addresses all the key elements of a strong research question.

Examples of research questions

Remember to adapt your research question to suit your purpose, whether it’s exploratory, descriptive, comparative, experimental, qualitative, or quantitative. Embrace the iterative nature of the research process, continually evaluating and refining your question as you progress. Here are some good examples of research questions across various disciplines.

Exploratory research question examples

  • How does social media impact interpersonal relationships among teenagers?
  • What are the potential benefits of incorporating mindfulness practices in the workplace?

Descriptive research question examples

  • What factors influence customer loyalty in the e-commerce industry?
  • Is there a relationship between socioeconomic status and academic performance among elementary school students?

Comparative research question examples

  • How does the effectiveness of traditional teaching methods compare to online learning platforms in mathematics education?
  • What is the impact of different healthcare policies on patient outcomes in various countries?

Experimental research question examples

  • What are the effects of a new drug on reducing symptoms of a specific medical condition?
  • Does a dietary intervention have an impact on weight loss among individuals with obesity?

Qualitative research question examples

  • What are the lived experiences of immigrants adapting to a new culture?
  • What factors influence job satisfaction among healthcare professionals?

Quantitative research question examples

  • Is there a relationship between sleep duration and academic performance among college students?
  • How effective is a specific intervention in reducing anxiety levels among individuals with phobias?

With these simple guidelines and inspiring examples of research questions, you are equipped to embark on your research journey with confidence and purpose. Here’s wishing you all the best for your future endeavors!

References:

  • How to write a research question: Steps and examples. Indeed Career Guide. Available online at https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-write-research-questions

R Discovery is a literature search and research reading platform that accelerates your research discovery journey by keeping you updated on the latest, most relevant scholarly content. With 250M+ research articles sourced from trusted aggregators like CrossRef, Unpaywall, PubMed, PubMed Central, Open Alex and top publishing houses like Springer Nature, JAMA, IOP, Taylor & Francis, NEJM, BMJ, Karger, SAGE, Emerald Publishing and more, R Discovery puts a world of research at your fingertips.  

Try R Discovery Prime FREE for 1 week or upgrade at just US$72 a year to access premium features that let you listen to research on the go, read in your language, collaborate with peers, auto sync with reference managers, and much more. Choose a simpler, smarter way to find and read research – Download the app and start your free 7-day trial today !  

Related Posts

how to find a good research question

How R Discovery is Transforming Research Reading Habits for Academics in Brazil

independent publishing

What is Independent Publishing in Academia?

  • Resources Home 🏠
  • Try SciSpace Copilot
  • Search research papers
  • Add Copilot Extension
  • Try AI Detector
  • Try Paraphraser
  • Try Citation Generator
  • April Papers
  • June Papers
  • July Papers

SciSpace Resources

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.

how to find a good research question

  • 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?

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

types-of-research-question

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.

Research Question Type

Question

Descriptive 

What are the properties of A?

Comparative 

What are the similarities and distinctions between A and B?

Correlational

What can you do to correlate variables A and B?

Exploratory

What factors affect the rate of C's growth? Are A and B also influencing C?

Explanatory

What are the causes for C? What does A do to B? What's causing D?

Evaluation

What is the impact of C? What role does B have? What are the benefits and drawbacks of A?

Action-Based

What can you do to improve X?

Example Research Questions

examples-of-research-question

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.

Problem

Question

Due to poor revenue collection, a small-sized company ('A') in the UK cannot allocate a marketing budget next year.

What practical steps can the company take to increase its revenue?

Many graduates are now working as freelancers even though they have degrees from well-respected academic institutions. But what's the reason these young people choose to work in this field?

Why do fresh graduates choose to work for themselves rather than full-time? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the gig economy? What do age, gender, and academic qualifications do with people's perceptions of freelancing?

Steps to Write Research Questions

steps-to-write-a-research-question

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?

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.

how to find a good research question

You might also like

Consensus GPT vs. SciSpace GPT: Choose the Best GPT for Research

Consensus GPT vs. SciSpace GPT: Choose the Best GPT for Research

Sumalatha G

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework: Understanding the Differences

Nikhil Seethi

Types of Essays in Academic Writing - Quick Guide (2024)

How to write a research question

Last updated

7 February 2023

Reviewed by

Miroslav Damyanov

In this article, we take an in-depth look at what a research question is, the different types of research questions, and how to write one (with examples). Read on to get started with your thesis, dissertation, or research paper .

Make research less tedious

Dovetail streamlines research to help you uncover and share actionable insights

  • What is a research question?

A research question articulates exactly what you want to learn from your research. It stems directly from your research objectives, and you will arrive at an answer through data analysis and interpretation.

However, it is not that simple to write a research question—even when you know the question you intend to answer with your study. The main characteristics of a good research question are:

Feasible. You need to have the resources and abilities to examine the question, collect the data, and give answers.

Interesting. Create research questions that offer fascinating insights into your industry.

Novel. Research questions have to offer something new within your field of study.

Ethical. The research question topic should be approved by the relevant authorities and review boards.

Relevant. Your research question should lead to visible changes in society or your industry.

Usually, you write one single research question to guide your entire research paper. The answer becomes the thesis statement—the central position of your argument. A dissertation or thesis, on the other hand, may require multiple problem statements and research questions. However, they should be connected and focused on a specific problem.

  • Importance of the research question

A research question acts as a guide for your entire study. It serves two vital purposes:

to determine the specific issue your research paper addresses

to identify clear objectives

Therefore, it helps split your research into small steps that you need to complete to provide answers.

Your research question will also provide boundaries for your study, which help set limits and ensure cohesion.

Finally, it acts as a frame of reference for assessing your work. Bear in mind that research questions can evolve, shift, and change during the early stages of your study or project.

  • Types of research questions

The type of research you are conducting will dictate the type of research question to use. Primarily, research questions are grouped into three distinct categories of study:

qualitative

quantitative

mixed-method

Let’s look at each of these in turn:

Quantitative research questions

The number-one rule of quantitative research questions is that they are precise. They mainly include:

independent and dependent variables

the exact population being studied

the research design to be used

Therefore, you must frame and finalize quantitative research questions before starting the study.

Equally, a quantitative research question creates a link between itself and the research design. These questions cannot be answered with simple 'yes' or' no' responses, so they begin with words like 'does', 'do', 'are', and 'is'.

Quantitative research questions can be divided into three categories:

Relationship research questions usually leverage words such as 'trends' and 'association' because they include independent and dependent variables. They seek to define or explore trends and interactions between multiple variables.

Comparative research questions tend to analyze the differences between different groups to find an outcome variable. For instance, you may decide to compare two distinct groups where a specific variable is present in one and absent in the other.

Descriptive research questions usually start with the word 'what' and aim to measure how a population will respond to one or more variables.

Qualitative research questions

Like quantitative research questions, these questions are linked to the research design. However, qualitative research questions may deal with a specific or broad study area. This makes them more flexible, very adaptable, and usually non-directional.

Use qualitative research questions when your primary aim is to explain, discover, or explore.

There are seven types of qualitative research questions:

Explanatory research questions investigate particular topic areas that aren't well known.

Contextual research questions describe the workings of what is already in existence.

Evaluative research questions examine the effectiveness of specific paradigms or methods.

Ideological research questions aim to advance existing ideologies.

Descriptive research questions describe an event.

Generative research questions help develop actions and theories by providing new ideas.

Emancipatory research questions increase social action engagement, usually to benefit disadvantaged people.

Mixed-methods studies

With mixed-methods studies, you combine qualitative and quantitative research elements to get answers to your research question. This approach is ideal when you need a more complete picture. through a blend of the two approaches.

Mixed-methods research is excellent in multidisciplinary settings, societal analysis, and complex situations. Consider the following research question examples, which would be ideal candidates for a mixed-methods approach

How can non-voter and voter beliefs about democracy (qualitative) help explain Town X election turnout patterns (quantitative)?

How does students’ perception of their study environment (quantitative) relate to their test score differences (qualitative)?

  • Developing a strong research question—a step-by-step guide

Research questions help break up your study into simple steps so you can quickly achieve your objectives and find answers. However, how do you develop a good research question? Here is our step-by-step guide:

1. Choose a topic

The first step is to select a broad research topic for your study. Pick something within your expertise and field that interests you. After all, the research itself will stem from the initial research question.

2. Conduct preliminary research

Once you have a broad topic, dig deeper into the problem by researching past studies in the field and gathering requirements from stakeholders if you work in a business setting.

Through this process, you will discover articles that mention areas not explored in that field or products that didn’t resonate with people’s expectations in a particular industry. For instance, you could explore specific topics that earlier research failed to study or products that failed to meet user needs.

3. Keep your audience in mind

Is your audience interested in the particular field you want to study? Are the research questions in your mind appealing and interesting to the audience? Defining your audience will help you refine your research question and ensure you pick a question that is relatable to your audience.

4. Generate a list of potential questions

Ask yourself numerous open-ended questions on the topic to create a potential list of research questions. You could start with broader questions and narrow them down to more specific ones. Don’t forget that you can challenge existing assumptions or use personal experiences to redefine research issues.

5. Review the questions

Evaluate your list of potential questions to determine which seems most effective. Ensure you consider the finer details of every question and possible outcomes. Doing this helps you determine if the questions meet the requirements of a research question.

6. Construct and evaluate your research question

Consider these two frameworks when constructing a good research question: PICOT and PEO. 

PICOT stands for:

P: Problem or population

I: Indicator or intervention to be studied

C: Comparison groups

O: Outcome of interest

T: Time frame

PEO stands for:

P: Population being studied

E: Exposure to any preexisting conditions

To evaluate your research question once you’ve constructed it, ask yourself the following questions:

Is it clear?

Your study should produce precise data and observations. For qualitative studies, the observations need to be delineable across categories. Quantitative studies must have measurable and empirical data.

Is it specific and focused?

An excellent research question must be specific enough to ensure your testing yields objective results. General or open-ended research questions are often ambiguous and subject to different kinds of interpretation.

Is it sufficiently complex?

Your research needs to yield substantial and consequential results to warrant the study. Merely supporting or reinforcing an existing paper is not good enough.

  • Examples of good research questions

A robust research question actively contributes to a specific body of knowledge; it is a question that hasn’t been answered before within your research field.

Here are some examples of good and bad research questions :

Good: How effective are A and B policies at reducing the rates of Z?

Bad: Is A or B a better policy?

The first is more focused and researchable because it isn't based on value judgment. The second fails to give clear criteria for answering the question.

Good: What is the effect of daily Twitter use on the attention span of college students?

Bad: What is the effect of social media use on people's minds?

The first includes specific and well-defined concepts, which the second lacks.

Ensure all terms within your research question have precise meanings. Avoid vague or general language that makes the topic too broad.

  • The bottom line

The success of any research starts with formulating the right questions that ensure you collect the most insightful data. A good research question will showcase the objectives of your systematic investigation and emphasize specific contexts.

Should you be using a customer insights hub?

Do you want to discover previous research faster?

Do you share your research findings with others?

Do you analyze research data?

Start for free today, add your research, and get to key insights faster

Editor’s picks

Last updated: 18 April 2023

Last updated: 27 February 2023

Last updated: 6 February 2023

Last updated: 6 October 2023

Last updated: 5 February 2023

Last updated: 16 April 2023

Last updated: 7 March 2023

Last updated: 9 March 2023

Last updated: 12 December 2023

Last updated: 11 March 2024

Last updated: 6 March 2024

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Last updated: 13 May 2024

Latest articles

Related topics, .css-je19u9{-webkit-align-items:flex-end;-webkit-box-align:flex-end;-ms-flex-align:flex-end;align-items:flex-end;display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-flex-direction:row;-ms-flex-direction:row;flex-direction:row;-webkit-box-flex-wrap:wrap;-webkit-flex-wrap:wrap;-ms-flex-wrap:wrap;flex-wrap:wrap;-webkit-box-pack:center;-ms-flex-pack:center;-webkit-justify-content:center;justify-content:center;row-gap:0;text-align:center;max-width:671px;}@media (max-width: 1079px){.css-je19u9{max-width:400px;}.css-je19u9>span{white-space:pre;}}@media (max-width: 799px){.css-je19u9{max-width:400px;}.css-je19u9>span{white-space:pre;}} decide what to .css-1kiodld{max-height:56px;display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;}@media (max-width: 1079px){.css-1kiodld{display:none;}} build next, decide what to build next.

how to find a good research question

Users report unexpectedly high data usage, especially during streaming sessions.

how to find a good research question

Users find it hard to navigate from the home page to relevant playlists in the app.

how to find a good research question

It would be great to have a sleep timer feature, especially for bedtime listening.

how to find a good research question

I need better filters to find the songs or artists I’m looking for.

Log in or sign up

Get started for free

  • News & Highlights

Search

  • Publications and Documents
  • Postgraduate Education
  • Browse Our Courses
  • C/T Research Academy
  • K12 Investigator Training
  • Harvard Catalyst On-Demand
  • Translational Innovator
  • SMART IRB Reliance Request
  • Biostatistics Consulting
  • Regulatory Support
  • Pilot Funding
  • Informatics Program
  • Community Engagement
  • Diversity Inclusion
  • Research Enrollment and Diversity
  • Harvard Catalyst Profiles

Harvard Catalyst Logo

Creating a Good Research Question

  • Advice & Growth
  • Process in Practice

Successful translation of research begins with a strong question. How do you get started? How do good research questions evolve? And where do you find inspiration to generate good questions in the first place?  It’s helpful to understand existing frameworks, guidelines, and standards, as well as hear from researchers who utilize these strategies in their own work.

In the fall and winter of 2020, Naomi Fisher, MD, conducted 10 interviews with clinical and translational researchers at Harvard University and affiliated academic healthcare centers, with the purpose of capturing their experiences developing good research questions. The researchers featured in this project represent various specialties, drawn from every stage of their careers. Below you will find clips from their interviews and additional resources that highlight how to get started, as well as helpful frameworks and factors to consider. Additionally, visit the Advice & Growth section to hear candid advice and explore the Process in Practice section to hear how researchers have applied these recommendations to their published research.

  • Naomi Fisher, MD , is associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and clinical staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Fisher is founder and director of Hypertension Services and the Hypertension Specialty Clinic at the BWH, where she is a renowned endocrinologist. She serves as a faculty director for communication-related Boundary-Crossing Skills for Research Careers webinar sessions and the Writing and Communication Center .
  • Christopher Gibbons, MD , is associate professor of neurology at HMS, and clinical staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Joslin Diabetes Center. Gibbons’ research focus is on peripheral and autonomic neuropathies.
  • Clare Tempany-Afdhal, MD , is professor of radiology at HMS and the Ferenc Jolesz Chair of Research, Radiology at BWH. Her major areas of research are MR imaging of the pelvis and image- guided therapy.
  • David Sykes, MD, PhD , is assistant professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), he is also principal investigator at the Sykes Lab at MGH. His special interest area is rare hematologic conditions.
  • Elliot Israel, MD , is professor of medicine at HMS, director of the Respiratory Therapy Department, the director of clinical research in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medical Division and associate physician at BWH. Israel’s research interests include therapeutic interventions to alter asthmatic airway hyperactivity and the role of arachidonic acid metabolites in airway narrowing.
  • Jonathan Williams, MD, MMSc , is assistant professor of medicine at HMS, and associate physician at BWH. He focuses on endocrinology, specifically unravelling the intricate relationship between genetics and environment with respect to susceptibility to cardiometabolic disease.
  • Junichi Tokuda, PhD , is associate professor of radiology at HMS, and is a research scientist at the Department of Radiology, BWH. Tokuda is particularly interested in technologies to support image-guided “closed-loop” interventions. He also serves as a principal investigator leading several projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and industry.
  • Osama Rahma, MD , is assistant professor of medicine at HMS and clinical staff member in medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). Rhama is currently a principal investigator at the Center for Immuno-Oncology and Gastroenterology Cancer Center at DFCI. His research focus is on drug development of combinational immune therapeutics.
  • Sharmila Dorbala, MD, MPH , is professor of radiology at HMS and clinical staff at BWH in cardiovascular medicine and radiology. She is also the president of the American Society of Nuclear Medicine. Dorbala’s specialty is using nuclear medicine for cardiovascular discoveries.
  • Subha Ramani, PhD, MBBS, MMed , is associate professor of medicine at HMS, as well as associate physician in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care at BWH. Ramani’s scholarly interests focus on innovative approaches to teaching, learning and assessment of clinical trainees, faculty development in teaching, and qualitative research methods in medical education.
  • Ursula Kaiser, MD , is professor at HMS and chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, and senior physician at BWH. Kaiser’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone regulates the expression of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone genes.

Insights on Creating a Good Research Question

Junichi Tokuda, PhD

Play Junichi Tokuda video

Ursula Kaiser, MD

Play Ursula Kaiser video

Start Successfully: Build the Foundation of a Good Research Question

Jonathan Williams, MD, MMSc

Start Successfully Resources

Ideation in Device Development: Finding Clinical Need Josh Tolkoff, MS A lecture explaining the critical importance of identifying a compelling clinical need before embarking on a research project. Play Ideation in Device Development video .

Radical Innovation Jeff Karp, PhD This ThinkResearch podcast episode focuses on one researcher’s approach using radical simplicity to break down big problems and questions. Play Radical Innovation .

Using Healthcare Data: How can Researchers Come up with Interesting Questions? Anupam Jena, MD, PhD Another ThinkResearch podcast episode addresses how to discover good research questions by using a backward design approach which involves analyzing big data and allowing the research question to unfold from findings. Play Using Healthcare Data .

Important Factors: Consider Feasibility and Novelty

Sharmila Dorbala, MD, MPH

Refining Your Research Question 

Play video of Clare Tempany-Afdhal

Elliot Israel, MD

Play Elliott Israel video

Frameworks and Structure: Evaluate Research Questions Using Tools and Techniques

Frameworks and Structure Resources

Designing Clinical Research Hulley et al. A comprehensive and practical guide to clinical research, including the FINER framework for evaluating research questions. Learn more about the book .

Translational Medicine Library Guide Queens University Library An introduction to popular frameworks for research questions, including FINER and PICO. Review translational medicine guide .

Asking a Good T3/T4 Question  Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD This video explains the PICO framework in practice as participants in a workshop propose research questions that compare interventions. Play Asking a Good T3/T4 Question video

Introduction to Designing & Conducting Mixed Methods Research An online course that provides a deeper dive into mixed methods’ research questions and methodologies. Learn more about the course

Network and Support: Find the Collaborators and Stakeholders to Help Evaluate Research Questions

Chris Gibbons, MD,

Network & Support Resource

Bench-to-bedside, Bedside-to-bench Christopher Gibbons, MD In this lecture, Gibbons shares his experience of bringing research from bench to bedside, and from bedside to bench. His talk highlights the formation and evolution of research questions based on clinical need. Play Bench-to-bedside. 

Enago Academy

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

' src=

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

' src=

A tad helpful

Had trouble coming up with a good research question for my MSc proposal. This is very much helpful.

This is a well elaborated writing on research questions development. I found it very helpful.

Rate this article Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

how to find a good research question

Enago Academy's Most Popular Articles

retractions and research integrity

  • Publishing Research
  • Trending Now
  • Understanding Ethics

Understanding the Impact of Retractions on Research Integrity – A global study

As we reach the midway point of 2024, ‘Research Integrity’ remains one of the hot…

What is Academic Integrity and How to Uphold it [FREE CHECKLIST]

Ensuring Academic Integrity and Transparency in Academic Research: A comprehensive checklist for researchers

Academic integrity is the foundation upon which the credibility and value of scientific findings are…

7 Step Guide for Optimizing Impactful Research Process

  • Reporting Research

How to Optimize Your Research Process: A step-by-step guide

For researchers across disciplines, the path to uncovering novel findings and insights is often filled…

Launch of "Sony Women in Technology Award with Nature"

  • Industry News

Breaking Barriers: Sony and Nature unveil “Women in Technology Award”

Sony Group Corporation and the prestigious scientific journal Nature have collaborated to launch the inaugural…

Guide to Adhere Good Research Practice (FREE CHECKLIST)

Achieving Research Excellence: Checklist for good research practices

Academia is built on the foundation of trustworthy and high-quality research, supported by the pillars…

Setting Rationale in Research: Cracking the code for excelling at research

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

how to find a good research question

Sign-up to read more

Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:

  • 2000+ blog articles
  • 50+ Webinars
  • 10+ Expert podcasts
  • 50+ Infographics
  • 10+ Checklists
  • Research Guides

We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:

how to find a good research question

What would be most effective in reducing research misconduct?

how to find a good research question

Get science-backed answers as you write with Paperpal's Research feature

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. 

 
Descriptive research questions These measure the responses of a study’s population toward a particular question or variable. Common descriptive research questions will begin with “How much?”, “How regularly?”, “What percentage?”, “What time?”, “What is?”   Research question example: How often do you buy mobile apps for learning purposes? 
Comparative research questions These investigate differences between two or more groups for an outcome variable. For instance, the researcher may compare groups with and without a certain variable.   Research question example: What are the differences in attitudes towards online learning between visual and Kinaesthetic learners? 
Relationship research questions These explore and define trends and interactions between two or more variables. These investigate relationships between dependent and independent variables and use words such as “association” or “trends.  Research question example: What is the relationship between disposable income and job satisfaction amongst US residents? 
  • 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: 

   
Exploratory Questions These question looks to understand something without influencing the results. The aim is to learn more about a topic without attributing bias or preconceived notions.   Research question example: What are people’s thoughts on the new government? 
Experiential questions These questions focus on understanding individuals’ experiences, perspectives, and subjective meanings related to a particular phenomenon. They aim to capture personal experiences and emotions.   Research question example: What are the challenges students face during their transition from school to college? 
Interpretive Questions These questions investigate people in their natural settings to help understand how a group makes sense of shared experiences of a phenomenon.   Research question example: How do you feel about ChatGPT assisting student learning? 
  • 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. 

Topic selection Choose a broad topic, such as “learner support” or “social media influence” for your study. Select topics of interest to make research more enjoyable and stay motivated.  
Preliminary research The goal is to refine and focus your research question. The following strategies can help: Skim various scholarly articles. List subtopics under the main topic. List possible research questions for each subtopic. Consider the scope of research for each of the research questions. Select research questions that are answerable within a specific time and with available resources. If the scope is too large, repeat looking for sub-subtopics.  
Audience When choosing what to base your research on, consider your readers. For college papers, the audience is academic. Ask yourself if your audience may be interested in the topic you are thinking about pursuing. Determining your audience can also help refine the importance of your research question and focus on items related to your defined group.  
Generate potential questions Ask open-ended “how?” and “why?” questions to find a more specific research question. Gap-spotting to identify research limitations, problematization to challenge assumptions made by others, or using personal experiences to draw on issues in your industry can be used to generate questions.  
Review brainstormed questions Evaluate each question to check their effectiveness. Use the FINER model to see if the question meets all the research question criteria.  
Construct the research question Multiple frameworks, such as PICOT and PEA, are available to help structure your research question. The frameworks listed below can help you with the necessary information for generating your research question.  
Framework Attributes of each framework
FINER Feasible 
Interesting 
Novel 
Ethical 
Relevant 
PICOT Population or problem 
Intervention or indicator being studied 
Comparison group 
Outcome of interest 
Time frame of the study  
PEO Population being studied 
Exposure to preexisting conditions 
Outcome of interest  

Sample Research Questions

The following are some bad and good research question examples 

  • Example 1 
Unclear: How does social media affect student growth? 
Clear: What effect does the daily use of Twitter and Facebook have on the career development goals of students? 
Explanation: The first research question is unclear because of the vagueness of “social media” as a concept and the lack of specificity. The second question is specific and focused, and its answer can be discovered through data collection and analysis.  
  • Example 2 
Simple: Has there been an increase in the number of gifted children identified? 
Complex: What practical techniques can teachers use to identify and guide gifted children better? 
Explanation: A simple “yes” or “no” statement easily answers the first research question. The second research question is more complicated and requires the researcher to collect data, perform in-depth data analysis, and form an argument that leads to further discussion. 

References:  

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

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster.  

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

Experience the future of academic writing – Sign up to Paperpal and start writing for free!  

Related Reads:

  • Scientific Writing Style Guides Explained
  • Ethical Research Practices For Research with Human Subjects
  • 8 Most Effective Ways to Increase Motivation for Thesis Writing 
  • 6 Tips for Post-Doc Researchers to Take Their Career to the Next Level

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in the World of Research

Language and grammar rules for academic writing, you may also like, how to write the first draft of a..., mla works cited page: format, template & examples, academic editing: how to self-edit academic text with..., measuring academic success: definition & strategies for excellence, phd qualifying exam: tips for success , quillbot review: features, pricing, and free alternatives, what is an academic paper types and elements , 9 steps to publish a research paper, what are the different types of research papers, how to make translating academic papers less challenging.

Writing Studio

Formulating your research question (rq).

In an effort to make our handouts more accessible, we have begun converting our PDF handouts to web pages. Download this page as a PDF: Formulating Your Research Question Return to Writing Studio Handouts

In a research paper, the emphasis is on generating a unique question and then synthesizing diverse sources into a coherent essay that supports your argument about the topic. In other words, you integrate information from publications with your own thoughts in order to formulate an argument. Your topic is your starting place: from here, you will develop an engaging research question. Merely presenting a topic in the form of a question does not transform it into a good research question.

Research Topic Versus Research Question Examples

1. broad topic versus narrow question, 1a. broad topic.

“What forces affect race relations in America?”

1b. NARROWER QUESTION

“How do corporate hiring practices affect race relations in Nashville?”

The question “What is the percentage of racial minorities holding management positions in corporate offices in Nashville?” is much too specific and would yield, at best, a statistic that could become part of a larger argument.

2. Neutral Topic Versus Argumentative Question

2a. neutral topic.

“How does KFC market its low-fat food offerings?”

2b. Argumentative question

“Does KFC put more money into marketing its high-fat food offerings than its lower-fat ones?”

The latter question is somewhat better, since it may lead you to take a stance or formulate an argument about consumer awareness or benefit.

3. Objective Topic Versus Subjective Question

Objective subjects are factual and do not have sides to be argued. Subjective subjects are those about which you can take a side.

3a. Objective topic

“How much time do youth between the ages of 10 and 15 spend playing video games?”

3b. Subjective Question

“What are the effects of video-gaming on the attention spans of youth between the ages of 10 and 15?”

The first question is likely to lead to some data, though not necessarily to an argument or issue. The second question is somewhat better, since it might lead you to formulate an argument for or against time spent playing video games.

4. Open-Ended Topic Versus Direct Question

4a. open-ended topic.

“Does the author of this text use allusion?”

4b. Direct question (gives direction to research)

“Does the ironic use of allusion in this text reveal anything about the author’s unwillingness to divulge his political commitments?”

The second question gives focus by putting the use of allusion into the specific context of a question about the author’s political commitments and perhaps also about the circumstances under which the text was produced.

Research Question (RQ) Checklist

  • Is my RQ something that I am curious about and that others might care about? Does it present an issue on which I can take a stand?
  • Does my RQ put a new spin on an old issue, or does it try to solve a problem?
  • Is my RQ too broad, too narrow, or OK?
  • within the time frame of the assignment?
  • given the resources available at my location?
  • Is my RQ measurable? What type of information do I need? Can I find actual data to support or contradict a position?
  • What sources will have the type of information that I need to answer my RQ (journals, books, internet resources, government documents, interviews with people)?

Final Thoughts

The answer to a good research question will often be the THESIS of your research paper! And the results of your research may not always be what you expected them to be. Not only is this ok, it can be an indication that you are doing careful work!

Adapted from an online tutorial at Empire State College: http://www.esc.edu/htmlpages/writerold/menus.htm#develop (broken link)

Last revised: November 2022 | Adapted for web delivery: November 2022

In order to access certain content on this page, you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader or an equivalent PDF viewer software.

  • Privacy Policy

Research Method

Home » Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Questions

Research Questions

Definition:

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

Types of Research Questions

Types of Research Questions are as follows:

Descriptive Research Questions

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

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

Exploratory Research Questions

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

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

Explanatory Research Questions

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

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

Predictive Research Questions

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

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

Evaluative Research Questions

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

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

How to Choose Research Questions

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

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

How to Write Research Questions

Guide for Writing Research Questions:

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

Examples of Research Questions

Some Examples of Research Questions with Research Titles:

Research Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

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

Research Title: Factors Influencing Academic Success in High School

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

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

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

Research Title: Understanding the Factors that Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

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

Research Title: The Impact of Technology on Communication

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

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

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

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

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

Research Title: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

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

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

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

Research Title: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

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

Applications of Research Questions

Here are some of the key applications of research questions:

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

Characteristics of Research Questions

Characteristics of Research Questions are as follows:

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

Purpose of Research Questions

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

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

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

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

Advantages of Research Questions

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

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

Limitations of Research Questions

Limitations of Research Questions are as follows:

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

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

Problem statement

Problem Statement – Writing Guide, Examples and...

Research Process

Research Process – Steps, Examples and Tips

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Institutional Review Board – Application Sample...

Delimitations

Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...

Research Techniques

Research Techniques – Methods, Types and Examples

Research Recommendations

Research Recommendations – Examples and Writing...

  • SpringerLink shop

Identifying your research question

Making informed decisions about what to study, and defining your research question, even within a predetermined field, is critical to a successful research career, and can be one of the hardest challenges for a scientist.

Being knowledgeable about the state of your field and up-to-date with recent developments can help you:

  • Make decisions about  what to study within niche research areas
  • Identify  top researchers  in your field whose work you can follow and potentially collaborate with
  • Find  important journals to read regularly and publish in
  • Explain to others  why your work is important by being able to recount the bigger picture

How can you identify a research question?

Reading regularly is the most common way of identifying a good research question. This enables you to keep up to date with recent advancements and identify certain issues or unsolved problems that keep appearing.

Begin by searching for and reading literature in your field. Start with  general interest  journals, but don’t limit yourself to journal publications only; you can also look for clues in the news or on research blogs. Once you have identified a few interesting topics, you should be reading the table of contents of journals and the abstracts of most articles in that subject area. Papers that are directly related to your research you should read in their entirety.

TIP Keep an eye out for  Review papers and special issues in your chosen subject area as they are very helpful in discovering new areas and hot topics.

TIP: you can sign up to receive table of contents or notifications when articles are published in your field from most journals or publishers.

TIP: Joining a journal club is a great way to read and dissect published papers in and around your subject area. Usually consisting of 5-10 people from the same research group or institute they meet to evaluate the good and bad points of the research presented in the paper. This not only helps you keep up to date with the field but helps you become familiar with what is necessary for a good paper which can help when you come to write your own.

If possible, communicate with some of the authors of these manuscripts via email or in person. Going to conferences if possible is a great way to meet some of these authors. Often,  talking with the author  of an important work in your research area will give you more ideas than just reading the manuscript would.

Back │ Next

  • Link to facebook
  • Link to linkedin
  • Link to twitter
  • Link to youtube
  • Writing Tips

5 Steps to Creating Better Research Questions

5 Steps to Creating Better Research Questions

  • 5-minute read
  • 14th December 2021

Research questions are central to scientific inquiry . Well-formulated research questions identify the specific issues your study will address and help you plan your investigation.

In this post, we’ll show you how to formulate strong research questions in five steps:

  • Start with a broad topic that you’re interested in.
  • Familiarize yourself with current work in your chosen area.
  • Identify the specific issue you want to focus on.
  • Develop a suitably complex question.
  • Refine your question by examining each word.

Read on to learn more about each of these points.

1. Choose a Subject That You Are Genuinely Curious About

You’ll spend a lot of time researching your chosen topic. That’s why you should choose a topic that interests you and that you’d like to learn about. Also, you should choose a topic that’s exciting and relevant to your audience, especially if you hope to have your work published .

Instead of choosing a completely new area of study, choose a topic that you already know a little bit about. If you’ve read even just a few articles about something, that’s better than tackling something completely new.

Your topic should be broad but not too broad. For example, if you choose “mental health,” you need to narrow it down right away so that step 2 is doable. A more realistic broad topic would be “mental health in teenagers.” You won’t have to complete as much research, but you’ll still have plenty of room to find a niche topic within the larger area. 

2. Carry Out Preliminary Research

The next step is to research your chosen topic. By looking at recent journal articles and review papers , you can find out what other researchers are exploring and what questions arise from existing studies.

The aim here is to identify possible subtopics and/or find gaps in current research. So, as you read, jot down questions you’d like to answer and areas you’d like to explore further.

3. Focus on a Precise Issue Within the Broader Topic

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the current state of research on your chosen topic, you can focus on a niche area.

In our example above, “mental health in teenagers,” this could mean focusing on a specific group (e.g., 7th–9 th -grade students). We could look at a single area of mental health (e.g., anxiety) or a specific time or place.

Maybe in your initial reading, you discovered a gap in existing research that could form the basis of your research question, or you may be interested in exploring the relationship between different variables (e.g., gender and anxiety level).

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

Another idea is to consider how current events might affect the broader topic. For example, you might choose to study the impact of the pandemic on the mental wellbeing of 11–16-year-old children.

4. Create an Interesting, Researchable Question

The next step is to turn your idea into a well-balanced question. The best research questions will tick all the boxes below:

●  Original: This simply means that your question shouldn’t have already been answered. It doesn’t mean you must have an idea that nobody has come up with yet, but your approach should bring new insight. This could mean that you focus on a specific age group or geographic area.

●  Focused: Your question should identify a single problem that you want your research to address.

●  Complex: If someone could answer your question by searching the Internet for five minutes, it’s not complex enough. Research questions should ask “how” and “why” rather than “is” or “does.” In other words, they shouldn’t be easily answered with “yes” or “no.” Rather, answering the question means bringing together ideas and data from different sources.

●  Achievable: Even if your question is complex enough to turn into a research paper, you still need to keep in mind constraints like word count, time frame, availability of resources, and your ability to complete the necessary research.

●  Debatable: When answering your research question, keep in mind that you don’t want to reach a definitive conclusion. A strong question leaves room for further discussion.

5. Make Every Word Count

The final step is to formulate the precise wording of your question. You may need to follow a defined format (e.g., PICO or PEO ), or you can phrase the question in your own way.

In either case, your research question must clearly state what the paper is about. It should be as concise as possible but not open to misinterpretation. This includes defining ambiguous terms (e.g., “young people”) and detailing how you’ll evaluate any relevant variables.

Hopefully, you can now formulate effective research questions. Don’t forget to have your paper proofread by an expert when you’re done. At Proofed, we’ll check your writing for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation and give you feedback on clarity and conciseness. You can even try our proofreading service for free .

Share this article:

Post A New Comment

Got content that needs a quick turnaround? Let us polish your work. Explore our editorial business services.

9-minute read

How to Use Infographics to Boost Your Presentation

Is your content getting noticed? Capturing and maintaining an audience’s attention is a challenge when...

8-minute read

Why Interactive PDFs Are Better for Engagement

Are you looking to enhance engagement and captivate your audience through your professional documents? Interactive...

7-minute read

Seven Key Strategies for Voice Search Optimization

Voice search optimization is rapidly shaping the digital landscape, requiring content professionals to adapt their...

4-minute read

Five Creative Ways to Showcase Your Digital Portfolio

Are you a creative freelancer looking to make a lasting impression on potential clients or...

How to Ace Slack Messaging for Contractors and Freelancers

Effective professional communication is an important skill for contractors and freelancers navigating remote work environments....

3-minute read

How to Insert a Text Box in a Google Doc

Google Docs is a powerful collaborative tool, and mastering its features can significantly enhance your...

Logo Harvard University

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.

Illustration

  • Research Paper Guides
  • Basics of Research Paper Writing
  • How to Write a Research Question: Types & Examples
  • Speech Topics
  • Basics of Essay Writing
  • Essay Topics
  • Other Essays
  • Main Academic Essays
  • Research Paper Topics
  • Miscellaneous
  • Chicago/ Turabian
  • Data & Statistics
  • Methodology
  • Admission Writing Tips
  • Admission Advice
  • Other Guides
  • Student Life
  • Studying Tips
  • Understanding Plagiarism
  • Academic Writing Tips
  • Basics of Dissertation & Thesis Writing

Illustration

  • Essay Guides
  • Formatting Guides
  • Basics of Research Process
  • Admission Guides
  • Dissertation & Thesis Guides

How to Write a Research Question: Types & Examples

Research questions

Table of contents

Illustration

Use our free Readability checker

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.

Illustration

Feel free to check out essay writing services. We have experienced writers who can help you compose your paper in time. They will absolutely ensure the high quality of your text.

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: 

What kinds of animals live in the USA?

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:

How do you analyze the development of telehealth?

How to evaluate critical care nursing?

What are some cardiovascular issues?

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.

Joe_Eckel_1_ab59a03630.jpg

Joe Eckel is an expert on Dissertations writing. He makes sure that each student gets precious insights on composing A-grade academic writing.

You may also like

thumbnail@2x.png

How to Write a Research Problem? Tips and Examples

Learn how to write an effective research problem statement. Discover key components, avoid common mistakes, and set the foundation for impactful academic research.

How to Write a Research Problem? Tips and Examples

Glice Martineau

Jun 24, 2024

How to Write a Research Problem? Tips and Examples

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Are you struggling to write a compelling problem statement for your research paper ?

Understanding how to articulate a research problem is crucial for any academic endeavor.

This article will help you learn how to write a well-structured problem statement, providing valuable insights and practical tips.

mobile mockup listening.com

What is a Research Problem Statement?

A research problem statement is a concise description of an issue or problem that your research aims to address.

It's similar to a thesis statement but focuses specifically on the problem at hand rather than the entire argument of your paper.

It serves as the foundation for your entire research project, guiding your methodology and framing your research questions. 

But what makes a good research problem, and how can you craft one effectively?

Why is a Well-Defined Research Problem Crucial?

A well-written statement does not make sweeping generalizations but focuses on a specific problem or issue.

It provides clarity and direction for your research , helping you stay focused throughout the research process.

Moreover, a good problem statement can:

1. Help you define the scope of your research

2. Guide the development of your research questions or hypotheses

3. Justify the relevance of your research to your field of study, keeping in mind your type of research as well

How to Identify a Research Problem?

Identifying a relevant and researchable problem is the first step as you write a research paper.

But how do you go about finding a suitable research topic ?

Here are some strategies:

1. Review existing literature in your field

2. Identify gaps in current knowledge

3. Consider real-world issues related to your area of study

4. Consult with experts or practitioners in your field

Remember, choosing a research problem offers an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to your field of study and potentially inspire future research.

how to find a good research question

Photo by Freepik

What Are the Key Components of a Research Problem?

It should include the following elements:

1. Background information: Provide context for your research problem

2. Statement of the problem: Clearly articulate the issue you're addressing

3. Significance of the problem: Explain why the problem is worth investigating

4. Purpose of your research: Outline what you hope to achieve through your study. The ultimate goal is to solve the problem.

How to Write an Effective Research Problem?

Writing an effective problem statement requires careful thought and planning.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you craft a compelling research problem:

1. Introduce the general area in which your research is situated

2. Narrow down to the specific issue or problem you're addressing

3. Explain why this problem is significant and worth researching

4. Outline the potential implications of addressing this problem

5. State your research objectives or questions

Remember, a good research problem begins by introducing the broader context of your research and then narrows down to the specific issue at hand.

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid?

When writing a problem statement, be wary of these common pitfalls:

1. Being too vague or broad in your problem definition

2. Failing to explain the significance of the problem 3. Including personal opinions or biases

4. Proposing solutions before fully exploring the problem

5. Neglecting to consider the feasibility of researching the problem

How Does a Problem Statement Differ from a Research Question?

how to find a good research question

Image by yanalya on Freepik

While closely related, a problem statement and a research question serve different purposes.

A research problem describes the issue you're addressing, while a research question refers to a specific query you aim to answer through your study. 

Your research problem surviving the relevancy test should naturally lead to the formulation of clear research questions or hypotheses.

Can You Provide a Problem Statement Example?

Here's a problem statement example to illustrate the concepts we've discussed:

"Despite increased awareness of the importance of mental health , access to mental health services remains limited in rural communities. This lack of access contributes to higher rates of untreated mental health issues, substance abuse, and suicide in these areas. This research aims to identify the primary barriers to mental health service provision in rural settings and explore potential solutions to improve access and outcomes."

How to Evaluate Your Research Problem?

Once you've drafted your problem statement, it's essential to evaluate its effectiveness.

Consider the following questions:

1. Is the problem clearly defined and specific?

2. Is the significance of the problem well-explained?

3. Does the statement provide a clear direction for your research?

4. Is the problem researchable within your constraints (time, resources, etc.)?

5. Does the statement align with the overall purpose of your research study?

What's Next After Formulating Your Problem Statement?

After crafting your research problem, you can move forward with:

1. Developing your research questions or hypotheses

2. Designing your research methodology, which may include qualitative research techniques

3. Writing your research proposal

4. Conducting a thorough review of pertinent research associated with your overall area of study

Remember, your problem statement will guide these subsequent steps, so it's worth investing time to get it right.

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, mastering the art of writing a problem statement is crucial for conducting meaningful academic research .

By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you'll be well-equipped to craft a compelling problem statement that sets the stage for impactful research, whether it's  theoretical research or applied studies.

Key takeaways to remember:

  • A good research problem should be specific, significant, and searchable
  • Your research problem should provide context, clearly articulate the issue, and explain its importance
  • Avoid common pitfalls like being too vague or proposing solutions prematurely
  • Regularly evaluate and refine your problem statement throughout the research process
  • Use your research problem as a guide for developing research questions and designing your study

By applying these principles, you'll be well on your way to conducting research that makes a meaningful contribution to your field of study and helps define the problem in a way that facilitates effective investigation.

Easily pronounces technical words in any field

Problem Satement

Research Problem

Research Paper

Recent articles

how to find a good research question

9 Free AI Tools for Research

how to find a good research question

Derek Pankaew

Jun 26, 2024

Academic research

Research papers

AI-powered research

Free AI tools

how to find a good research question

5 Best Reading Programs for Dyslexia: A Parent's Guide

how to find a good research question

Orton-Gillingham

how to find a good research question

How to Choose and Develop a Research Topic: Ideas and Examples

how to find a good research question

Kate Windsor

Thesis Development

Literature Review

Academic Writing

Research Methodology

Research Idea Generation

Research Topic Selection

how to find a good research question

Quick Guide to Getting a College Financial Aid

how to find a good research question

Jun 27, 2024

Student Loans

College Funding

Financial Aid

Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences

  • Defining the Research Question(s)
  • Reference Resources
  • Evidence Summaries & Clinical Guidelines
  • Health Data & Statistics
  • Patient & Consumer Facing Materials
  • Images/Streaming Video
  • Database Tutorials
  • Crafting a Search
  • Narrowing / Filtering a Search
  • Expanding a Search
  • Cited Reference Searching
  • Find Grey Literature
  • Save Your Searches
  • Cite and Manage Sources
  • Critical Appraisal
  • Different Types of Literature Reviews
  • Conducting & Reporting Systematic Reviews
  • Finding Systematic Reviews
  • Tutorials & Tools for Literature Reviews
  • Mobile Apps for Health

Defining the Question: Background and Foreground Questions

Background questions  can help you develop foundational knowledge about whatever topic interests you..

Topic example:  mindfulness training and chronic pain management in patients with fibromyalgia

Here are some examples of background questions related to the topic:

  • What populations of people are most impacted by fibromyalgia?
  • What types of therapies are most commonly used to treat pain in fibromyalgia patients?
  • How is mindfulness defined? Are there different types of mindfulness training? If so, what are they?
  • What are the core principles underlying mindfulness and mindfulness training?
  • How does one measure chronic pain?

The Find Background Information section of this guide lists useful sources for answering background questions.

Foreground questions are specific. They often deal with a particular therapy or intervention of interest.

A research question framework can help you organize the concepts in your foreground question. There are a number of different frameworks. The one you choose should correspond to the type of question you are asking.

  • PICO ( P roblem/Population, I ntervention, C omparison, O utcome): The most common clinical question framework. Useful for clinical questions addressing the effect of an intervention, therapy, or treatment. 
  • ECLIPSe (E xpectation, C lient Group, L ocation, I mpact, P rofessionals, Se rvice) : Useful for questions about policy and services.
  • PCC ( P opulation/Problem, C oncept, C ontext): Useful for broad scoping questions.
  • PEO ( P opulation, E xposure, O utcome): Useful for describing association between exposures/risk factors and outcomes.
  • SPICE ( S etting, P erspective, I ntervention/phenomenon of Interest, C omparison, E valuation): Useful for evaluating the outcomes of a service, project, or intervention.
  • SPIDER (S ample, P henomenon of I nterest, D esign, E valuation, R esearch Type): Useful for questions of experience or perspectives (questions that may be addressed by qualitative or mixed methods research).

PICO Framework Example

P (Population/Problem of Interest) = People with fibromyalgia

I (Intervention) = Mindfulness training

C (Comparison Intervention) = Cognitive behavioral therapy

O (Outcome) = Chronic pain management

ECLIPSe Framework Example

E (Expectation) = To increase access to occupational therapy services

C (Client Group) = People with chronic pain living in rural communities

L (Location of service or policy) = Hospitals

I (Impact of service or policy) = Increased utilization of occupational therapy services by people with chronic pain living in rural areas

P (Professionals involved in offering the service or policy) = Occupational therapists, Hospital administrators

Se (Service) = Occupational therapy services

PCC Framework Example

P (Population characteristics or Problem focus) = Graduate students

C (Concept being examined) = Technological literacy

C (Context for the question - could include geographic location, setting of interest, etc.) = Occupational therapy programs

PEO Example

P (Population) = Novice occupational therapists

E (Exposure) = Mentoring programs

O (Outcome) = Professional confidence

SPICE Example

S (Setting) = Occupational therapy graduate programs

P (Perspective) = New occupational therapy graduate students

I (Intervention/Interest/Exposure) = Mindfulness training

C (Comparison) = No mindfulness training

E (Evaluation) = Reduced stress levels

SPIDER Example

S (Sample, i.e. the group being studied) = Occupational therapists

PI (Phenomenon of Interest, i.e., the reason for the behavior or decisions) = Clinical placements in rural communities

D (Design, i.e. how the research was collected) = Surveys and interviews

E (Evaluation, i.e. the outcome being impacted) = Attitudes and experiences

R (Research type) = Qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods

  • << Previous: Home
  • Next: Find Background Information >>
  • Last Updated: Jun 27, 2024 4:09 PM
  • URL: https://guides.nyu.edu/ot
  • Teaching & Learning

Want to apply research effectively? Question your idols

Christian Bokhove

There are a few educational books and articles that have been popular over the past decade among those involved in the evidence-informed “revolution”. In many cases, such books and articles are a great contribution to the translation of research into practice. However, sometimes the situation is less clear cut.

In the past I have written about Rosenshine in this column and how some of his ideas transformed into misconceptions and how some perhaps weren’t as robust as commentators thought. Some people take such comments as a sign that I don’t think his ideas are useful, but that is not the case. I just think that if we want to call ourselves truly evidence-informed, we sometimes need to query our idols.

One popular book is The Hidden Lives of Learners by Graham Nuthall. This book is based on Nuthall’s seminal work and is mostly focused on very detailed exploration of a small number of students’ experiences in the classroom. Firstly, I should first underline that it is an extremely insightful work that will resonate, especially, with every classroom teacher.

Treating education research with caution

Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with enormously detailed qualitative work with small samples. It does become a problem, however, if claims become stronger than the data analysis actually warrants.

But this only comes to light if you dive deeper into Nuthall’s work, looking beyond just what is reported in this popular book. It was really difficult to follow up some of his claims; referencing could absolutely be better in the book, especially at points when he makes strong claims. Let me lift out two statements.

Read more from Christian Bokhove:

  • Why education research needs to be more open
  • Can education research really be useful in classrooms?
  • How to get the most out of education conferences

One popular statement in the book concerns the three-times rule: that the equivalent of three complete definitions or descriptions of a concept are needed to construct it in students’ long-term memory. This has been brought up to argue for spaced practice, and that, of course, is reasonable.

It is easy to take findings like these as absolute and generalisable. I have also seen these results reported as replicated, which means that the findings are confirmed in a separate, new study. But, in fact, Nuthall uses the term within his large overarching study in which every study only looked at three or four students. As I said, it’s insightful work, but this is not a firm basis to argue the three-times rule from, in my opinion.

Another widely reported and blogged finding from the book is often used to criticise peer feedback: that 80 per cent of the feedback that students receive daily is from peers and 80 per cent of the time the feedback is inaccurate. I have not been able to confirm this statement.

Now, I’d like to think that I’m pretty experienced in deciphering research, following up references and more, but in this case it was an absolute nightmare. From my current explorations, the percentage seems much lower. But even then, the number of students involved hardly makes it reasonable to make absolute statements on this.

Unfortunately, my observation is that the caveats are seldom added to rather robust statements that peer feedback isn’t a good thing. Furthermore, such statements seem to routinely to ignore other literature on the topic.

Sure, like most pedagogical approaches, peer feedback in the classroom has to be organised well, because if you don’t do that, it might actually backfire and create misconceptions. I even understand that in deciding what approaches to use in the classroom, you might favour other approaches. That’s all perfectly fine.

But if you say you support evidence-informed teaching, and then contort evidence like this or downplay limitations or strengths because this better fits with your diatribe against peer feedback, I would say that’s evidence- un informed.

Christian Bokhove is professor of mathematics education at the University of Southampton and a specialist in research methodologies

For the latest research, pedagogy and practical classroom advice delivered directly to your inbox every week, sign up to our Teaching Essentials newsletter

Want to keep reading for free?

Register with Tes and you can read two free articles every month plus you'll have access to our range of award-winning newsletters.

Keep reading for just £1 per month

You've reached your limit of free articles this month. Subscribe for £1 per month for three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only stories
  • Award-winning email newsletters

topics in this article

Could your approach to praise be negative for your students?

Scientists just got closer to solving a major Antarctic puzzle

Two new papers find threats that climate models haven't accounted for, including a tipping point under the ice..

how to find a good research question

Three million years ago, the atmosphere’s carbon-dioxide levels weren’t so different from those of today, but sea levels were dozens of meters higher. Looking that far back presents a foreboding peek into the future, as satellite records show that melting Antarctic ice sheets are on their way to bulking up this epoch’s oceans, too. The puzzle for scientists is that the climate models they create can’t seem to match what they see with their own eyes.  “Lots of people have been scratching their heads trying to figure out what is missing from our ice sheet models,” said Alex Bradley, an ice dynamics researcher at the British Antarctic Survey, part of the United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council. This week, two new papers in the journal Nature added to the growing pile of evidence that scientists’ models aren’t capturing a complete picture of Antarctica’s rapid deterioration. One study, published on Thursday , found that more than twice as much meltwater could be weighing on the surface of ice shelves, extensions of glaciers that float on the sea, than scientists previously thought. The study published on Tuesday identified a new potential tipping point: Where the land-anchored ice meets the sea, warming ice is creeping underneath, melting it from the belly up. 

From above and below, Antarctica’s vault of ice, holding back almost 60 meters of potential sea level rise , seems more imperiled than ever. But neither of the dynamics detailed by these recent studies are used in climate models — potentially leading to an underestimation of how high seas might rise in coming decades. The tipping point identified by Bradley and his colleagues focuses on one of the most tender areas of the Antarctic ice sheet: the grounding line. Here, the ice flows off the land and begins to float on the sea. As the oceans become warmer, they melt a gap between the ice and the ground and push the grounding line back. “So the ice is sliding on top of a rock that acts as a brake on the flow of the ice,” Bradley said. “ And if you start to remove some of that brake, then the ice essentially flows faster.” The water erodes a cavity under the ice, which invites more water to encroach even further. And as the melting begins to penetrate kilometers beneath the ice sheet, the tipping point emerges: a self-perpetuating cycle of increasingly rapid melt. “This process is actually much more sensitive than we understood before,” Bradley said. He thinks it might be the “missing piece” that has prevented climate models from capturing the amount of melting scientists have observed. 

Melting isn’t the only way that sea water works its way under a glacier. For years, scientists have known that the pulsing of tides causes the shelf to lift up and down like a lever, pumping kilometers-long channels of water beneath the surface. While both the tides and melting warmth work in tandem against all Antarctic glaciers, some are more vulnerable to one than the other. According to Bradley, Thwaites Glacier, the so-called “Doomsday” glacier which guards the rim of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, could be retreating more quickly due to this tidal pumping than from the melting mechanism his paper identified.

The ‘Doomsday Glacier’ is melting faster than scientists thought

In addition to guarding the grounding line, the ice shelves attached to these glaciers act as plugs holding the ice sheet’s spillage back. But the risks to these bastions aren’t completely captured by models, either. “When you remove that plug, it just allows all the ice that’s being held back by it to flow into the ocean faster,” said Rebecca Dell, a researcher at University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute. “Effectively the ice flow speeds increase when the ice shelf collapses.” 

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one .

To support our nonprofit environmental journalism, please consider disabling your ad-blocker to allow ads on Grist. Here's How

One of the forces that could cause such a collapse is meltwater, which is what Dell studies. As the sun beats down on the glacial surface, the heat melts the ice into ponds. These pools weigh on the ice sheet, trickling down through cracks until the pressure of the water cleaves it open . Much of this melt — the shallow slush that hasn’t yet formed a deep pool — is harder to track by simply looking at satellite imagery; it can be mistaken for clouds or shadows.

Dell and her colleagues’ study mapped out meltwater across 57 Antarctic ice shelves by applying a machine learning method to existing satellite records that could sniff out tell-tale wavelengths of light. They found that including this slush in their models meant that at least 2.5 times more meltwater could be pooling on ice sheets than previously accounted for. And because the meltwater isn’t as white as ice, it reflects less of the sun’s energy and absorbs more of its heat — compromising ice shelves even more than scientists realized.

Though there are few key questions to answer — like how much water it takes to fracture ice — Dell said recent research, including studies like hers and Bradley’s, have brought scientists closer to being able to completely model Antarctica’s ice dynamics and remove some uncertainty from predictions of sea level rise. 

“Some scientists are looking at the melting underneath the ice shelf because of the ocean, I look at it melting on top because of the atmosphere,” Dell said, who sees modeling Antarctica’s changes as a big jigsaw puzzle. “We just need to put all those components together.”

A message from   

Your support matters

Grist is the only award-winning newsroom focused on exploring equitable solutions to climate change. It’s vital reporting made entirely possible by loyal readers like you. At Grist, we don’t believe in paywalls. Instead, we rely on our readers to pitch in what they can so that we can continue bringing you our solution-based climate news.

Grist is the only award-winning newsroom focused on exploring equitable solutions to climate change. It’s vital reporting made entirely possible by loyal readers like you. At Grist, we don’t believe in paywalls. Instead, we rely on our readers to pitch in what they can so that we can continue bringing you our solution-based climate news.  

A rare celebration of Indigenous Pacific cultures underscores the cost of climate change

The secret to decarbonizing buildings might be right beneath your feet, when west nile virus turns deadly, how this summer’s brutal hurricanes might one day save lives, what your gut has in common with arctic permafrost, and why it’s a troubling sign for climate change, the tule river tribe of california recruits an old ally in its fight against wildfires: beavers, how to survive a heat wave on a fixed income, climate change got a question in the presidential debate. it didn’t get much of an answer., supreme court blocks an epa plan to curb ozone air pollution, modal gallery.

Presidential debate fact check: What Trump, Biden got right (and wrong)

how to find a good research question

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump both strayed repeatedly from the truth as they squared off in the first presidential debate of the 2024 election season.

Here are the claims the USA TODAY Fact Check Team dug into.

Biden claim: We lowered the cost of an insulin shot from $400 to $15

“We brought down the price of prescription drugs, which is a major issue for many people, to $15 for – for an insulin shot, as opposed to $400.”

This is false. The Inflation Reduction Act that Biden signed into law in August 2022 capped the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month for all seniors on Medicare, according to the White House . Several pharmaceutical companies , including Eli Lilly , followed suit and limited the monthly cost of the drug to $35 per month as well. But there is no evidence Biden limited the cost of insulin beyond this.

The price of insulin was also never set at $400, though many paid about this much. The price a person pays for insulin depends on a variety of factors, including what type of insulin they are using, insurance status and whether they're eligible for a rebate from the drugmaker, according to NBC News . While estimates vary, one government study published in December 2022 reported that in 2019 , the average insulin user with private insurance spent $456 on insulin annually, while those with Medicare spent $449 a year and those without health insurance paid $996, comparatively. 

-Brad Sylvester

Biden claim: He is endorsed by Border Patrol agents

“The border patrolmen endorsed me, endorsed my position.”

This is partly false.

The National Border Patrol Council – the labor union that represents more than 18,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents – posted to X, formerly Twitter , minutes after Biden made the claim and said, “To be clear, we never have and never will endorse Biden.”

But the union, which endorsed Trump in 2020, supported the proposed bipartisan border agreement that Biden backed and Trump opposed, NBC News reported in February.

– Joedy McCreary

Biden claim: Illegal border crossings dropped 40% after his June directive

“I've changed (the law) in a way that now you're in a situation where there are 40% fewer people coming across the border illegally.”

Biden took executive action on June 4 that authorized the U.S. to turn away migrants who enter the country illegally when crossing levels are high. The policy is triggered anytime unlawful crossings hit an average of 2,500 people a day in a given week.

In remarks posted on June 26 , Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said Border Patrol encounters along the U.S.-Mexico border had dropped by over 40% since Biden took action.

However, immigration experts have cautioned that it’s difficult to point to any one reason for a drop in crossings at the border, PolitiFact noted in its fact check on this claim .

Immigration rights organizations have sued the Biden administration over the new asylum restrictions at the border.

–Andre Byik

Trump claim: Everybody wanted Roe v. Wade overturned

“I put three great Supreme Court justices on the court, and they happened to vote in favor of killing Roe v. Wade and moving it back to the states. This is something that everybody wanted.”

This is not an accurate summary of public opinion on the question. Numerous polls show most Americans were not in favor of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022 . For example, a poll conducted by Pew Research Center in July 2022 found that 57% of respondents said they disapproved of the overturning of the landmark decision. Another PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll conducted in May 2022 (before the case was decided) found that 64% of respondents were opposed to reversing Roe v. Wade.

There is little evidence opinions have changed much since the decision. A Marquette Law School poll conducted in February 2024 found that 67% of adults opposed the ruling, while a Gallup poll from June 2023 found that 60% of respondents said overturning Roe v. Wade was a “bad thing.” 

- Brad Sylvester

Biden claim: Historians voted Trump ‘worst’ president in history

“(Trump) was the worst in all of American history. … He can argue (the historians) are wrong, but that’s what they voted.”

Biden was presumably referring to the 2024 Presidential Greatness Project Expert Survey , which is a joint project from University of Houston professor Brandon Rottinghaus and Coastal Carolina University professor Justin Vaughn .

The survey respondents in late 2023 voted Trump the lowest in “overall presidential greatness,” behind James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Franklin Pierce. Abraham Lincoln was rated highest. Joe Biden ranked at No. 14.

Respondents included scholars who had recently published peer-reviewed academic research in related scholarly journals or academic presses and current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, which the survey described as “the foremost organization of social science experts in presidential politics.”

Out of 525 respondents invited to participate, the survey received 154 usable responses, yielding a 29% response rate.

– Andre Byik

Trump claim: I brought in National Guard during 2020 Minnesota unrest

“If I didn’t bring in the National Guard, that city (Minneapolis) would have been destroyed.”

It was Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, who activated the state’s National Guard to respond to unrest following the death of George Floyd, according to a press release issued by Walz’s office on May 28, 2020.

Walz said at the time that he was responding to “local leaders’ request for Minnesota National Guard assistance to protect peaceful demonstrators, neighbors and small businesses in Minnesota.”

CNN reporter Daniel Dale also looked into the claim back in 2020, detailing the timeline of events provided to the network by Walz’s press secretary, Teddy Tschann. In a statement to CNN, Tschann said Walz activated the National Guard at the request of the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, before the governor spoke with the White House.

“Did President Trump ‘call out’ the Guard? No,” Tschann said in the statement, according to CNN.

On May 30, 2020, the Minnesota National Guard posted on Twitter, now X, that Walz had “ announced the full mobilization ” of the Guard for the first time since World War II.

Biden claim: Trump praised Hitler, saying he did 'some good things'

"This is a guy who says Hitler has done some good things"

Biden's quote of Trump is a reference to comments the former president allegedly made while talking with his White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, in 2018 during a trip to Paris, according to excerpts from an upcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.

“Well, Hitler did a lot of good things,” Trump reportedly told Kelly, according to a CNN report .

Trump later denied that he made the comments and denied that the conversation took place. Liz Harrington, a Trump spokesperson, told CNN the claim is "totally false."

"President Trump never said this," Harrington said. "It is made up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired."

Trump has previously faced criticism for saying immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country” and describing his political opponents as "vermin," reminding many of language used by authoritarian leaders .

- Chris Mueller

Trump claim: Record ‘approval rating’ from VA

“I had the highest approval rating in the history of the VA.”

This is both false and a mischaracterization of what the quarterly customer experience surveys from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs measure.

The Veteran Signals surveys track the proportion of servicemembers who express having trust in the VA. It's not a presidential approval rating.

It has topped 80% twice: It was at 80% in 2020 during Trump’s administration , and it reached a high of 80.4% in May under Biden.

Trump made a similar version of the claim during a May rally in Wisconsin , according to a report from Wisconsin Watch.

Trump claim: More illicit drugs coming into US under Biden

“The number of drugs coming across our border now is the largest we’ve ever had by far.”

This is false. When measured by weight, drug seizures are trending down.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations seized nearly 549,000 pounds of illicit drugs in 2023 , according to federal data. That’s down 16% from 2022, when 656,000 pounds of substances were confiscated. More than 900,000 pounds were seized in 2021, according to federal data.

Most of the drugs involved were marijuana (150,000 pounds) and methamphetamine (140,000 pounds).

Fentanyl seizures were up, however, with the 27,000 pounds in 2023 accounting for nearly twice the 14,700 pounds confiscated in 2022.

Trump claim: Biden indicted me because I’m his political opponent

“He [Biden] indicted me because I'm his opponent.”

This is false. Trump was indicted and convicted in New York for falsifying business records related to a $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. But there is no evidence Biden or his administration had anything to do with these charges. Since the charges were brought by the state of New York , Biden and the federal government are not party to the indictment and have no say in the charges, as USA TODAY previously reported .

“When you’re dealing with state prosecutions, it’s district attorneys elected by the voters of their jurisdiction,” said Allan Lichtman , a professor of history at American University. “That has nothing to do with the federal government.”

The idea of Biden interfering in Trump's prosecution is further weakened by the fact that the agency under his purview declined to file charges. The Justice Department had the authority to pursue a case against Trump over the hush money circumstances but chose not to do so.

In Trump's two federal cases, things are a bit different. The charges he faces cover the  hoarding of hundreds of classified documents  in Florida and a  conspiracy to steal the 2020 election  from Biden in Washington.

There is no law that prohibits a president from involving himself in a federal case, experts acknowledged. But they also said Biden has kept himself separate from the prosecution of Trump .

Additionally, Biden publicly vowed not to speak to Attorney General Merrick Garland about any specific case. And a key reason for the November 2022 appointment of Jack Smith as special counsel for the federal cases against Trump was to add a layer of separation between the investigation and the Biden Administration.

- Brad Sylvester and Joedy McCreary

Trump claim: Food prices have 'doubled and tripled and quadrupled' under Biden

"You look at the cost of food where it's doubled and tripled and quadrupled."

The cost of food has gone up under Biden, but not to the extent Trump claimed. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's all-food consumer price index shows food prices rose by 25% from 2019 to 2023. 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused changes in consumer behavior and led to supply chain disruptions, driving large increases in some foods. In 2022, food costs increased faster than any year since 1979, "partly due to a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak that affected egg and poultry prices," according to the department's report.

But grocery prices have stabilized over the last year , increasing by just 1.2% in the past 12 months, according to the Consumer Price Index report from March 2024.

Trump claim: No sex with porn star

“I didn’t have sex with a porn star.”

This is disputed.

On May 30, a New York state jury found Trump guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records tied to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels testified at trial that she had sex with Trump in July 2006 following a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe.

Trump has denied the sex happened.

The trial focused on a $130,000 payment that was arranged by Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, ahead of the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press reported.

Trump claim: Biden called African Americans ‘super predators’

"He did a crime bill. 1994. Where you called them super predators. African Americans. Super predators. And they've never forgotten it. They've never forgotten it."

While Biden once warned of “predators” in 1993 while advocating for a 1994 crime bill he sponsored as a senator, he never referred to African Americans as “super predators.” Rather, it was then-first lady Hillary Clinton who linked that term to the 1994 crime bill, as USA TODAY previously reported

While campaigning for her husband in 1996, Clinton praised the 1994 crime bill for curbing gangs, saying, "We need to take these people on, they are often connected to big drug cartels, they are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators. No conscious, no empathy,"

Notably, she did not connect this comment to Black people. 

Trump claim: Unprecedented numbers of murders by immigrants under Biden

“People are coming in and they’re killing our citizens at a level that we’ve never seen.”

While Trump has made a version of this claim before, there is no data that points to a wave of homicides being led by people living illegally in the U.S.

A review of 2024 crime data by NBC News suggests the opposite might be true. Overall crime levels have fallen in cities where a Texas program has transported migrants from the border, the network reported in February.

Crime is down year over year in Philadelphia , Chicago , Denver , New York and Los Angeles, according to the report. Washington experienced an increase, but officials do not attribute that spike to migrants, NBC News reported.

Trump previously made a version of the claim during a speech in Eagle Pass, Texas .

Research suggests immigrants actually commit fewer crimes than people born in the U.S.

Trump claim: The US southern border is the most dangerous place in the world

“ We have a border that's the most dangerous place anywhere in the world ”

This is false. While deaths, disappearances and violence do occur at the U.S. southern border, there is no evidence to suggest it is the most dangerous place in the world.

Statistics on border deaths vary. Customs and Border Protection data shows 171 people died at the border in fiscal year 2022, some in CBP custody and others while attempting to cross the border. The International Organization for Migration , a U.N.-related organization , documented 686 deaths and disappearances of migrants on the US-Mexico border in 2022.

Places all over the world and even in the U.S. have more frequent deaths. For example, there were more than 700 murders in Chicago in 2022 , according to the Chicago Police Department. Chicago is 228 square miles , while the U.S.-Mexico border is 1,951 miles long.

Trump claim: Corporate tax cut from 39% to 21%

“The corporate tax was cut down to 21% from 39% plus beyond that.”

Trump was off with one of his numbers. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 did lower the corporate tax rate to 21% . But it started at 35%, not the 39% that Trump claimed.

It is unclear exactly what Trump meant with his reference to “plus beyond that.” He promised business leaders that he would lower the corporate tax rate to 20% , The New York Times reported June 13.

Biden claim: Trump told Americans to inject bleach to treat COVID-19

"He said it’s not that serious, just inject a little bleach in your arm, you’ll be all right."

Biden is referring to comments Trump made during a press conference early in the pandemic when he suggested disinfectants might be a possible treatment for COVID-19. But he overstates what Trump said.

Trump's statement came after Bill Bryan, an undersecretary of science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, discussed a new study that found sunlight and household disinfectants effectively killed the virus on surfaces or in the air.

"And then I saw the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way we could do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning," Trump said.

Trump, though, never directly instructed people to inject bleach or any other disinfectant. Some states issued warnings following Trump's comment, as did Lysol, which told people not to inject or ingest its products as a coronavirus treatment.

Biden claim: No American troops died anywhere in the world during his presidency

“The truth is, I’m the only president this century that doesn’t have any - this decade - that doesn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world, like (former President Donald Trump) did.”

Biden’s comment came following a reference to hostilities in Afghanistan during Trump’s term in office.

But the notion that no troops have died in the world during Biden’s time in office is wrong.

Thirteen U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing attack near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in August 2021, when Biden was president, as thousands tried to flee the Taliban’s takeover of the country, USA TODAY previously reported.

Among the deaths were 11 Marines, one Navy hospital corpsman and one Army soldier.

Biden remarked on the deaths at the time, calling them “tragic.”

More recently, three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers were killed in January at a base in Jordan in what was described as a drone attack by Iran-backed militants.

Debate background: Hunter Biden's ongoing legal troubles sure to hang over campaign

In early June, a jury found Hunter Biden – Joe Biden's son – guilty of three federal gun charges, making him the first child of a sitting president to be convicted at trial. The situation has been politically charged as it coincides with the elder Biden's ongoing campaign for reelection. 

Republican lawmakers have investigated Hunter Biden's foreign business deals , repeatedly alleging that Joe Biden was involved in influence peddling during his time as vice president. The White House has denied that allegation , calling it baseless innuendo.

Joe Biden, who earlier said he wouldn't pardon his son , released a statement shortly after the jury's verdict was announced reiterating that position.

“I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal,” he said. “Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that.”

Hunter Biden is expected to stand trial again in September in California, where he faces tax charges.

But even before his legal troubles, the president's son has been a frequent target for misinformation. Here are some of the claims we've already debunked:

  • Fact check roundup: After Hunter Biden's guilty verdict, a look back at viral falsehoods
  • Claim: Video shows Hunter Biden on the day cocaine was discovered in the White House (False)
  • Claim: Hunter Biden’s prison term has been announced (False)
  • Claim: Kodak Black and Hunter Biden faced the same charge, but only Black was sentenced to prison (False)
  • Claim: Hunter Biden was seen nude on hotel surveillance, chasing and dragging woman (False)
  • Claim: Image shows Trump statement on Hunter Biden conviction (Altered)

Debate background: Vast differences between Biden, Trump on gender identity, LGBTQ+ issues

With Pride Month winding down, LGBTQ+ issues – specifically, those related to gender identity – remain pivotal for voters in both parties.

The candidates have taken widely different positions on those issues, with President Joe Biden – hailed as the most LGBTQ-friendly president in U.S. history – marking his first day in office with an executive order on LGBTQ rights .

His administration is challenging Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors, with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case . He also unveiled in April a set of sweeping changes to Title IX rules that protect LGBTQ+ students from discrimination based on their gender identity, but a federal judge blocked their enforcement in four states .

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump vowed in May to roll back transgender student protections “on Day 1” of his presidency by reversing an executive order issued by Biden in 2021. Trump also vowed in February 2023 to punish medical professionals and facilities that provide gender-affirming care to transgender minors and said he would support banning transgender women from women’s sports .

Here are some of the false claims related to LGBTQ+ issues that we’ve debunked:

  • Claim: NFL coach Mike Tomlin directed team not to participate in Pride Month activities (False)
  • Claim: Biden replaced Easter Sunday with Transgender Day of Visibility (False)
  • Claim: Joe Biden said he supports allowing kids to have ‘transgender surgery’ at town hall event (False)
  • Claim: A Michigan bill would make using a person’s wrong gender pronouns a felony (False)
  • Claim: UN chief says Christians who don’t accept pedophilia will be excluded from society (False)
  • Claim: Video shows Disney executive announcing company's new pediatric transgender clinics (False)

Debate background: Israel’s war against Hamas sparks unrest in US as peace deal remains elusive

The Hamas attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, and Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip in response, plunged President Joe Biden into the second major international conflict of his term. He has been forced to balance America’s military support for Israel with calls from the left to broker a ceasefire deal as casualties mount in the Palestinian territory.

Biden said in May that it is “ time for this war to end and for the day after to begin ,” laying out a proposal that called for Israel to cease military operations in the Gaza Strip and Hamas to release hostages in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

But a peace deal has proved elusive , leading to unrest on college campuses across the country after pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up protest camps. Former President Donald Trump cheered police crackdowns on demonstrators, calling them “ a beautiful thing to watch .” But he’s also called on Israel to finish its war, saying the violence is hurting its standing among the international community.

“Israel has to be very careful, because you're losing a lot of the world, you’re losing a lot of support, you have to finish up, you have to get the job done,” Trump told Israeli outlet Israel Hayom in an interview posted in March. "And you have to get on to peace, to get on to a normal life for Israel, and for everybody else.”

These are some claims related to the Israel-Hamas war that we’ve already addressed:

  • Claim: Video shows American actress Candice King condemning Rafah “massacre” (False)
  • Claim: Indonesia announced it will send troops to protect Palestinians from Israel (False)
  • Claim: Image shows ‘mass exodus’ at Ben Gurion Airport amid Israel-Hamas war (False)
  • Claim: Israel defense minister announced Israel has “abolished all the rules of war” (False)
  • Claim: Video shows a child’s injuries being faked in Israel-Hamas conflict (False)

Debate background: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts spotlight on US involvement in foreign wars

Russia’s war against Ukraine entered its third year in February, and the conflict has had political implications in the U.S., where pushes to approve war aid for Ukraine have been met with contentious debate over the extent of American involvement in foreign wars, the Associated Press reported.

President Joe Biden has remained committed to supporting Ukraine and its effort to join NATO, signing a 10-year bilateral security agreement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on June 13.

“Our goal is to strengthen Ukraine’s credible defense and deterrence capabilities for the long term,” Biden said at a press conference about the agreement. “A lasting peace for Ukraine must be underwritten by Ukraine’s own ability to defend itself now and to deter future aggression anytime … in the future.”

Former President Donald Trump has said he could end the war within 24 hours of returning to the Oval Office, but he’s offered few details about his plan. The Washington Post reported Trump’s plan could include pressuring Ukraine to give up territory, which Ukraine has opposed.

Here are some fact-checks about claims related to the war in Ukraine:

  • Fact check roundup: What's true and false two years after Russia's invasion of Ukraine
  • Claim: Video shows Russian military activity 66 miles off Florida coast (False)
  • Claim: Italy's Meloni said Russia will be forced to surrender in Ukraine summit speech (False)
  • Claim: Image shows Ukrainian girls “recruited into the military” (False)

Debate background: Fight over immigration reform plays out during presidential campaign

Immigration has become one of the most heated topics of the 2024 election, as President Joe Biden grapples with high levels of crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border and former President Donald Trump vows to deport millions of migrants if re-elected.

The situation at the Southwest border – where U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded nearly 2.5 million migrant encounters in fiscal 2023 – prompted Biden to take executive action earlier this month to implement new restrictions on asylum access .

The action came after Republican lawmakers in February blocked an immigration bill blocked by Biden that would have revamped the country’s immigration and border policies.

Biden blamed the legislation’s failure to gain traction in Congress on opposition from Trump.

“Now, all indications are this bill won't even move forward to the Senate floor,” Biden said at the time . “Why? A simple reason. Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks it's bad for him politically.”

Meanwhile, Trump has pledged to reinstate policies from his first term in office and limit asylum access if elected in November. He also wants to institute a merit-based immigration system and deputize the National Guard and local law enforcement “to assist with rapidly removing illegal alien gang members and criminals,” according to his campaign website.

Here are some immigration-related claims we previously debunked:

  • Claim: Nearly 11,000 “illegals” were processed in Eagle Pass, Texas, in one day in mid-March 2024 (False)
  • Claim: Nikki Haley opposed a wall on the US border (False)
  • Claim: The Texas National Guard has deployed tanks to the border with Mexico (False)
  • Claim: Putin said in Carlson interview that Russians find it ‘amusing’ US protects foreign borders, but not its own (False)
  • Claim: Video shows US trucker convoy traveling to southern border to stop migrant “invasion” (False)

Debate background: Biden and Trump face age-related concerns, though both insist they're fit to serve

At 81 years old, Joe Biden is currently the oldest U.S. president ever elected . His age has been a concern for voters and a frequent target for critics, including Donald Trump, who often suggests Biden's age makes him unfit to be president. 

Trump is 78 years old , three years younger than Biden, but he has also faced criticism related to his age and mental acuity, including when he confused Joe Biden for Barack Obama in multiple campaign speeches. 

Either man would be the oldest person to take the oath of office if sworn in next January.

In February, Justice Department special counsel Robert Hur released a report indicating Biden wouldn't face charges for his handling of classified documents that included multiple comments about Biden's age and memory, describing him as an elderly man with "diminished capacities," including memory loss. However, Biden and his administration pushed back , with Biden saying his "memory is fine" during a televised speech.

While Trump's doctor said multiple times he was healthy during his presidency, there were – and still are –  reports of him slurring words during his speeches. Late in his term, Trump was recorded slowly descending a ramp after a speech at at U.S. Military Academy at West Point, during which he used both hands to drink a glass of water. Trump dismissed concerns raised about his age after that incident, claiming the ramp was long, steep and "very slippery."

Here are a few of the age-related claims we've already addressed:

  • Claim: Image shows Trump needed help to walk across stage (False)
  • Claim: Biden demanded he 'not have to stand' during debate with Trump (False)
  • Claim: Video shows Biden tried to sit in a nonexistent chair at D-Day ceremony in France (False)
  • Claim: Biden agreed to resign if he fails a cognitive test (False)
  • Claim: Joe Biden was declared 'mentally unfit' to stand trial (False)

Debate background: Election integrity remains key issue – even without evidence of widespread voter fraud

Throughout the campaign one question has persisted: Will the candidates and their supporters trust – and abide by – the results of the election?

Most recently, former President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee led by his daughter-in-law said they will mobilize 100,000 people in battleground states to ensure “transparency and fairness.” The move has drawn criticism from opponents who say it has the potential to lead to voter intimidation .

State-level recounts, reviews and audits of the 2022 midterm elections found no indication of systemic problems with voter fraud. That’s significant because baseless allegations from Trump and his allies have penetrated the Republican Party and eroded confidence in the process.

Claims questioning the integrity of the election frequently center around a handful of predictable themes that include assertions of widespread voter fraud and election “hacking .”

USA TODAY has debunked several false claims about the integrity of the elections:

  • Fact check roundup: False claims about election fraud, candidates swirl amid 2022 midterms
  • Claim: 105% of Michigan’s population is registered to vote (False)
  • Claim: A software company's contract allows officials to override election results (False)
  • Claim: Malware, remote access caused printer problems; 200,000 'ejected' ballots in Arizona (False)
  • Claim: A chart shows election fraud in the Michigan AG’s race (False)
  • Claim: Blackout in live stream in Nevada points to election theft (False)
  • Claim: Fraud due to Texas voting machine adding voters as polls close (False)
  • Claim: Photo showing ballots from 2022 midterms in the trash is evidence of fraud (False)
  • Claim: Democrats used 47 million mail-in ballots to steal every election (False)
  • Claim: Joe Biden did not legally win the presidential election (False)

Debate background: Trump’s conviction, pending trials loom over debate, election

The first former U.S. president convicted of a felony will take the debate stage as an ex-president for the first time in an attempt to convince voters to give him his old job back.

Former President Donald Trump’s felony conviction and his three pending criminal trials continue to loom large over both the race and the debate – his first of the presidential election cycle – with President Joe Biden.

Trump was convicted of 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments intended to silence two women , including adult film actress Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 election. Days before the debate, the judge in that case lifted the gag order restrictions that protected the witnesses and jurors. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 11 – days before the start of the Republican National Convention , during which he is expected to formally receive the party’s nomination.

Trump also faces charges for allegedly mishandling classified documents and allegedly conspiring to steal the 2020 presidential election , including his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection . Trump and several allies were indicted in August by a Georgia grand jury that accused them of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, where Trump lost to President Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes.

Trump’s legal problems have been the subject of an array of false or misleading claims on social media:

  • Fact check roundup: Donald Trump guilty verdict spurs false claims
  • Claim: The jury in Trump's hush money trial did not need a unanimous verdict to convict (False)
  • Claim: Trump ‘blew off his post-sentencing probation report ’ (False)
  • Claim: Justice Juan Merchan was ‘fired’ after jury in Trump hush-money trial illegally leaked verdict (False)
  • Claim: Texas Constitution prohibits Trump from running for president (False)
  • Claim: Post implies Biden can pardon Trump (Missing context)

More from the Fact-Check Team: How we pick and research claims | Email newsletter | Facebook page

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or e-newspaper here .

This device is too small

If you're on a Galaxy Fold, consider unfolding your phone or viewing it in full screen to best optimize your experience.

  • Personal Finance

Costco's Gold Bars Keep Selling Out. Should You Buy?

Published on June 19, 2024

Emma Newbery

By: Emma Newbery

  • Costco's gold bars cost around $2,000 and they're stirring up a storm.
  • Gold is a very specific investment that can work as part of a diversified portfolio.
  • Physical gold can be expensive to store and insure.

Check out our pick for the best cash back credit card of 2024

Costco started selling gold bars online last year and they proved a hit with customers. Soon after the retail giant started gold sales, Richard Galanti (then Costco CFO) told investors that the one-ounce gold bars were typically gone within a few hours of posting on the site.

Is gold a good investment?

If you're considering buying gold bars from Costco, think of it as an investment. An investment is an asset like stocks, bonds, real estate, and other commodities that can help you build long-term wealth. Sure, you can't put stocks in your Costco shopping cart. And you can earn Costco credit card rewards if you buy gold ingots, which is rarely possible with stocks. Even so, this is money you're investing for your future.

As such, research how gold might perform in comparison to other assets and consider how it fits in with your investment goals. As an investment, gold can be a way to diversify your portfolio. A lot of people view gold as a good store of value in turbulent times, particularly as it often performs better than stocks during recessions.

Some also see it as a hedge against inflation. It may hold its value even when the money in your bank account is losing spending power. For example, if you lived in a country like Venezuela (which saw inflation of almost 1,000,000% in 2018), gold would almost certainly feel like a safer way to hold your money.

But owning gold is also more complicated than having money in the bank, or stocks in a brokerage account, for that matter. For starters, if you buy physical gold, you'll need somewhere to keep it. You'll probably want to insure it. When you want to spend it, it won't be as easy as making a bank transfer. You'll have to first find somewhere to sell the gold. You'll probably lose money in commissions and spreads.

Finally, that gold won't be sitting in a safe producing little gold babies. Stocks might pay dividends and money in a savings account will earn interest. Your gold will only generate returns if you can sell it at a higher price than you bought it.

On which note, gold prices will go both up and down. Historically, the price of gold has trended upward, but with prices at all-time highs, there are no guarantees. It's also worth mentioning that the S&P 500 has performed better over long periods. Gold prices often go up in periods of economic uncertainty, but if you're a long-term investor, putting money into the stock market will often be a better bet.

What's the best way to buy gold?

If you decide there's a place for gold in your portfolio, think carefully about how you want to buy it. Costco has made gold bars convenient, but spending around $2,000 on a physical ingot is a lot of money. Costco's gold can only be bought online, and only by members.

There's a certain attraction to owning actual gold that you can touch. You might also own gold jewelry or coins, though you need to have a good understanding of the market. Ultimately, unless you're Gollum guarding your precious gold in The Lord of the Rings , holding physical gold as an investment can lose its shine.

If you don't want to worry about storage, insurance, and the hassle of resale, consider instead buying stocks in a gold-mining company. You might also invest in a gold ETF or mutual fund. Some will give you exposure to a mix of gold companies, while others hold physical gold. There will almost certainly be fees involved, but it is much easier to buy and sell stocks than gold bars.

Bottom line

There are many ways to save money by shopping at Costco . However, when viewed as an investment, Costco's gold bars will only make sense for a limited number of people. Even if you want to add gold to your portfolio alongside a mix of other investments, owning physical gold is a difficult way to build wealth.

Alert: our top-rated cash back card now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a lengthy 0% intro APR period, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee! Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Our Research Expert

Emma Newbery

Emma owns the English-language newspaper The Bogota Post. She began her editorial career at a financial website in the U.K. over 20 years ago and has been contributing to The Ascent since 2019.

Share this page

We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent, a Motley Fool service, does not cover all offers on the market. The Ascent has a dedicated team of editors and analysts focused on personal finance, and they follow the same set of publishing standards and editorial integrity while maintaining professional separation from the analysts and editors on other Motley Fool brands.

Related Articles

Cole Tretheway

By: Cole Tretheway | Published on June 7, 2024

Lyle Daly

By: Lyle Daly | Published on June 5, 2024

Christy Bieber

By: Christy Bieber | Published on June 5, 2024

By: Lyle Daly | Published on June 4, 2024

The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.

Copyright © 2018 - 2024 The Ascent. All rights reserved.

Building, Architecture, Outdoors, City, Aerial View, Urban, Office Building, Cityscape

Research Administrator

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING/NUCLEAR ENG & ENG PHYSICS
  • Sponsored Programs, Grants, and Contracts
  • Partially Remote
  • Staff-Full Time
  • Opening at: Jun 27 2024 at 09:45 CDT
  • Closing at: Jul 14 2024 at 23:55 CDT

Job Summary:

The Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics Department (NEEP) is in search of a Research Administrator to co-manage the department's research portfolio. From cancer and heart disease to clean energy and space travel, the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics integrates fundamental physics, mathematics, and engineering principles to solve critical societal problems, all while educating new generations of leaders. Our ultimate goal is to help find solutions for saving people and our planet, while simultaneously exploring technology designed to bring us closer to the rest of the universe. The Research Administrator (RA) position is an integral part of the research mission within the Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics department (NEEP). Being a department Research Administrator includes, but is not limited to: being the Principal Investigator's (PI) first point of contact, preparing and reviewing budgets and other non-technical portions of proposals, reviewing and tracking proposals, completing just-in-time requests, setting up awards and sub-awards, managing effort and commitments, interpreting and advising on complex policies and procedures, ensuring compliance, analyzing fiscal reports, overseeing project closeouts, providing guidance and training, and assisting PI's with strategic planning and forecasting of research programs. NEEP RA's help supports over 70 proposals submissions and financially manages over $15 million in research expenditures annually for faculty and researchers. This position will be deployed from the College of Engineering's Dean's Office Research Administration unit to the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics to work with faculty and staff on grant and research administration functions.

Responsibilities:

  • 20% Executes research administration operational policies and procedures including financial, administrative, staffing, and compliance on behalf of a unit
  • 20% Reviews and approves programmatic transactions spanning the life cycle of sponsored projects to ensure compliance with institutional and/or sponsor policies and procedures
  • 10% Serves as a key resource to leadership and staff in the unit as well as a liaison to partners and stakeholders
  • 30% Executes activities related to proposal submission, contract negotiation, and/or award setup on behalf of a unit
  • 10% Executes activities related to financial compliance, audit, or reporting on behalf of a unit
  • 5% Provides training to faculty, staff, and/or administrators within the unit regarding policy, procedure, and/or execution of sponsored project administration
  • 5% May have authority to submit proposals, agreements, or invoices to a sponsor on behalf of the principal investigator or project director

Institutional Statement on Diversity:

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals. The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background - people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world. For more information on diversity and inclusion on campus, please visit: Diversity and Inclusion

Preferred Bachelor's Degree

Qualifications:

Required Qualifications: 1. At least one year experience in grant management, finance or other related business functions. 2. Proficiency with MS Office Suite and/or Google Suite. 3. Experience developing and utilizing complex spreadsheets. Preferred Qualifications: 1. Quantitative skills related to budget development and/or monitoring. 2. Experience working in a higher education environment, collaborating across multiple units, departments or functional areas. 3. Experience with fiscal and administrative rules, regulations and procedures for administering sponsored projects. 4. Experience with federal funding agencies (e.g. DOE, DOD, NSF), state funding agencies or industry funding. 5. Experience with grant management systems, internal portals, data bases, financial tracking systems (e.g. Huron Research Suites, PeopleSoft, Workday). 6. The ability to meet strict deadlines.

Full Time: 100% This position may require some work to be performed in-person, onsite, at a designated campus work location. Some work may be performed remotely, at an offsite, non-campus work location. The anticipated schedule would be working 3 days on campus with 2 days remote per week.

Appointment Type, Duration:

Ongoing/Renewable

Minimum $72,000 ANNUAL (12 months) Depending on Qualifications Employees in this position can expect to receive benefits such as generous vacation, holidays, and paid time off; competitive insurances and savings accounts; retirement benefits. Benefits information can be found at ( https://hr.wisc.edu/benefits/ )

How to Apply:

Please click on the "Apply Now" button to begin the application process. Please upload a cover letter that summarizes your interest in the position along with your resume highlighting your relevant work experience and interests.

Dina Christenson [email protected] 608-263-5966 Relay Access (WTRS): 7-1-1. See RELAY_SERVICE for further information.

Official Title:

Multi-fun Res Admin Mgr(SC016)

Department(s):

A19-COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING/Nuclear Eng & Eng Physics

Employment Class:

Academic Staff-Renewable

Job Number:

The university of wisconsin-madison is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer..

You will be redirected to the application to launch your career momentarily. Thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Applicant Tutorial

Disability Accommodations

Pay Transparency Policy Statement

Refer a Friend

You've sent this job to a friend!

Website feedback, questions or accessibility issues: [email protected] .

Learn more about accessibility at UW–Madison .

© 2016–2024 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System • Privacy Statement

Before You Go..

Would you like to sign-up for job alerts.

Thank you for subscribing to UW–Madison job alerts!

IMAGES

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

    how to find a good research question

  2. What Is a Research Question? Tips on How to Find Interesting Topics

    how to find a good research question

  3. Research Question: Definition, Types, Examples, Quick Tips

    how to find a good research question

  4. Research Question Maker

    how to find a good research question

  5. How to Develop a Strong Research Question

    how to find a good research question

  6. How to Write a Research Question: Types with Best Examples

    how to find a good research question

VIDEO

  1. MASTERING RESEARCH : NTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODOLOGY & FRAMING A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION

  2. 3 2 What is a research questions and what is not a research question

  3. Research Question with Examples

  4. Research Design: Research Problems, Questions, Hypotheses

  5. Extended Essay

  6. Moving Forward with Theses: Research questions

COMMENTS

  1. 10 Research Question Examples to Guide your Research Project

    The first question asks for a ready-made solution, and is not focused or researchable. The second question is a clearer comparative question, but note that it may not be practically feasible. For a smaller research project or thesis, it could be narrowed down further to focus on the effectiveness of drunk driving laws in just one or two countries.

  2. 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.

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

    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.

  4. Research Question Examples ‍

    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!

  5. How to Write a Research Question in 2024: Types, Steps, and Examples

    Based on the research question definition provided, formulate your query. If you are looking for criteria for a good research question, Stone (2002) says that a good research question should be relevant, decided, and meaningful. Creating a research question can be a tricky process, but there is a specific method you can follow to ease the process.

  6. Research Question 101

    A good research question is clear and specific, not vague and broad. State clearly exactly what you want to find out so that any reader can quickly understand what you're looking to achieve with your study. Along the same vein, try to avoid using bulky language and jargon - aim for clarity.

  7. Developing a Research Question

    Starting with a question allows you to explore your topic while still having it clearly defined. A good research question is specific and focused. Topic: Netflix. Research Question: How has the rise of streaming television changed the nature of advertising during television shows? Topic: the environmental impact of fracking

  8. How to Craft a Strong Research Question (With Research Question

    Assess your chosen research question using the FINER criteria that helps you evaluate whether the research is Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical, and Relevant. 1. Formulate the final research question, while ensuring it is clear, well-written, and addresses all the key elements of a strong research question.

  9. Research Question: Definition, Types, Examples, Quick Tips

    A good research question must have the following characteristics. 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

  10. The Writing Center

    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.

  11. A Step-By-Step Guide on Writing a Good Research Question

    5. Review the questions. Evaluate your list of potential questions to determine which seems most effective. Ensure you consider the finer details of every question and possible outcomes. Doing this helps you determine if the questions meet the requirements of a research question. 6.

  12. Creating a Good Research Question

    Insights on Creating a Good Research Question. Junichi Tokuda, PhD, focuses on how to start successfully, and divulges the unique approach he has as a basic scientist when developing a good research question. Play Junichi Tokuda video. Ursula Kaiser, MD, encourages drawing on an already established interest in your subject matter to showcase ...

  13. How to Develop a Good 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 ...

  14. How to Write a Research Question: Types and Examples

    Choose a broad topic, such as "learner support" or "social media influence" for your study. Select topics of interest to make research more enjoyable and stay motivated. Preliminary research. The goal is to refine and focus your research question. The following strategies can help: Skim various scholarly articles.

  15. Formulating Your Research Question (RQ)

    In a research paper, the emphasis is on generating a unique question and then synthesizing diverse sources into a coherent essay that supports your argument about the topic. In other words, you integrate information from publications with your own thoughts in order to formulate an argument. Your topic is your starting place: from here, you will ...

  16. Research Questions

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

  17. PDF Narrowing a Topic and Developing a Research Question

    - Is your research question clear? - Is your research question focused? (Research questions must be specific enough to be well covered in the space available.) - Is your research question complex? (Questions shouldn't have a simple yes/no answer and should require research and analysis.) • Hypothesize. After you've come up with a question ...

  18. PDF What Makes a Good Research Question?

    In essence, the research question that guides the sciences and social sciences should do the following three things:2. 1) Post a problem. 2) Shape the problem into a testable hypothesis. 3) Report the results of the tested hypothesis. There are two types of data that can help shape research questions in the sciences and social sciences ...

  19. How to Write a Research Question

    How to write a good research question. As you're working through the steps above, you'll need to consider what makes a research question effective. The goal is to write a certain type of question. First, it must focus on a niche within your field of study. A question that's too open-ended can take an entire library's worth of writing to ...

  20. Identifying your research question

    Reading regularly is the most common way of identifying a good research question. This enables you to keep up to date with recent advancements and identify certain issues or unsolved problems that keep appearing. Begin by searching for and reading literature in your field. Start with general interest journals, but don't limit yourself to ...

  21. 5 Steps to Creating Better Research Questions

    By looking at recent journal articles and review papers, you can find out what other researchers are exploring and what questions arise from existing studies. The aim here is to identify possible subtopics and/or find gaps in current research. So, as you read, jot down questions you'd like to answer and areas you'd like to explore further. 3.

  22. Research Questions: Definition, Writing Guide + Examples

    Check for free. 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.

  23. What Is a Research Question? Tips on How to Find Interesting Topics in

    Tip #2: Review state of the art literature. You can only find relevant research topics and questions when you are privy to what the current and relevant research topics and questions are in your field. And, the best way to look for them is through recent and landmark research literature.

  24. How to Write a Research Problem? Tips and Examples

    State your research objectives or questions. Remember, a good research problem begins by introducing the broader context of your research and then narrows down to the specific issue at hand. Listen to this. Listen to unlimited research papers. Upload from mobile or desktop.

  25. Defining the Research Question(s)

    Foreground questions are specific. They often deal with a particular therapy or intervention of interest. A research question framework can help you organize the concepts in your foreground question. There are a number of different frameworks. The one you choose should correspond to the type of question you are asking.

  26. Why teachers need to question education research

    Christian Bokhove is professor of mathematics education at the University of Southampton and a specialist in research methodologies. For the latest research, pedagogy and practical classroom advice delivered directly to your inbox every week, sign up to our Teaching Essentials newsletter

  27. Scientists just got closer to solving a major Antarctic puzzle

    Melting isn't the only way that sea water works its way under a glacier. For years, scientists have known that the pulsing of tides causes the shelf to lift up and down like a lever, pumping ...

  28. Biden-Trump debate fact check: Separating lies from truth

    Trump and Biden strayed from reality on many topics, including the border, drugs, immigrant crime, Roe v. Wade, food prices and Trump indictments

  29. Costco's Gold Bars Keep Selling Out. Should You Buy?

    Costco's gold bars are extremely popular with online customers. Find out how gold works as a way to build wealth and learn about other ways you can buy it.

  30. Research Administrator

    Job Summary: The Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics Department (NEEP) is in search of a Research Administrator to co-manage the department's research portfolio. From cancer and heart disease to clean energy and space travel, the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics integrates fundamental physics, mathematics, and engineering principles to solve critical societal ...