What is a Research Question and How to Write it?

What is a Research Question & Why Is It Important For Your Thesis?

A research question is what it says on the tin, it is a question some research is seeking to answer.

In this post, you will learn

  • What is a research question
  • Why it is important
  • Example of a research question
  • How to write a strong research question
  • Problems in finding research gap and the types of research gaps
  • Do’s and Don’t’s

What is a research question?

It is based on a research problem which requires further investigation. Through analysis, research aims to find the answer to that research question.

Research questions are based on sound research on the topic, also worries those students who stuck in marketing research paper and they really need help from reliable resources. so they are evidence-based questions that need scientific research to answer.

Studies can utilize one research question or more than one, depending on the scope of the study.

Why is it important for your thesis?

Research question is essential for your thesis as it

  • Gives you a concise, narrowed down area of research your thesis is focusing on.
  • Gives your thesis a blueprint which it needs to follow.
  • Provides your thesis with set boundaries and determine its scope.
  • Determine what methods you need to select for your thesis

Example: A thesis about the effects of video games on the behaviour of children can be narrowed down by framing the research question as follows:

What is the effect of cooperative online video gaming on the prosocial behaviour of school going children?

Ingredients To Draft A Perfect Research Question

Good research questions have the following ingredients:

They are clear

By themselves, they are enough to explain the purpose of the research. A good research question, need a good research paper writing help, while being read by the audience, needs to have enough information about the topic that they understand what the research aims to accomplish.

They are narrowed down

Good research questions provide clear boundaries for the research. They identify the parameters of the variables under study. They provide a clear focus for the research.

They are concise

They need to be worded in a short way, avoiding long and vague phrases. The words need to be clear and focused on the topic.

They are argumentative in nature

They can be answered in more than one way and need to be worded so that they are open to scientific debates, rather than aiming to find facts.

They include a complex issue

A good research question is trying to answer an issue that cannot be answered in a simple manner. The issue needs to be solved by scientific analyses.


A badly worded research question:

What is the effect of gaming on children?
Improving it to include a focused area and defining the boundaries of the research:
What is the effect of cooperative online video gaming on the prosocial behaviour of children under 16 years of age?

Hurdles We Face while writing A Research Gap

Research questions need to be based on a gap in literature, or a research gap. This gap defines the area of literature which needs to be studied. Finding a research gap can be a tricky part of a thesis, and the following issues can arise:

Going through a vast number of resources

to find a gap in literature, the first step requires a significant amount of reading on the topic. But the vast resources available on the subject, with hundreds of thousands of books, journals, and articles, make it difficult to locate gaps in the research.

Finding an area which has not been researched

Often it becomes important to go through meta-analysis to find gaps in research. For this, a student needs to be critical and look for information the researchers have missed out in their research questions. This can be an issue in finding a research gap as it requires a lot of effort.

Issues in organizing the search

Students working on thesis often find it difficult to organise the large amounts of research, which is necessary in order to find any gaps. For example, to create mind maps to look for gaps, they need to be critical and organised to look for new areas in the topic they are researching.

Trouble questioning the status quo

To find gaps in research, one needs to be critical of researchers and their work. Some students find it difficult to question the research they feel is an authority on the subject.

What Are The Types Of Research Gap?

There are seven types of research gaps a student can look for

  • Empirical gap: a gap on a topic based on missing empirical work
  • Knowledge gap: a gap based on missing knowledge about a topic
  • Evidence gap: a gap based on missing evidence related to the topic
  • Theoretical gap: a gap based on missing parts of a theory about a topic
  • Population gap: a gap based on missing evidence from a population
  • Methodology gap: a gap based on missing research methods in the literature related to the topic
  • Application gap: a gap based on missing application of a particular topic in a field.

How to Write A Strong Research Question?

Choosing a general topic that is relevant and interesting

The first step in writing a strong research question is choosing a general topic that is and interesting for you. The topic also needs to be important for society and other groups to increase its significance.

Example: Factors of pro-social behaviour in children

Researching the topic to find out the current trends

Search the keywords of the general topic into Google Scholar to find out what trends are being followed in the general research on the topic, and what journals are relevant for the topic

Narrowing the general topic to specific areas, based on research gaps

By looking at the trends, you can get an idea of how to narrow down the topic area to specific concepts and population you want to study. You can do this by looking at the relationships and variables important for that topic.

Example: The effects of video games of school children’s prosocial behaviour

Evaluate the question

Once you have narrowed down the topic, it is important to see how strong the research question is. You can do this by looking at whether it has the ingredients of the perfect research question, which include

  • Clarity
  • Focus
  • Conciseness
  • Argumentative form
  • Complexity

Checklist of research question

  • Is based on a literature gap
  • Is concise
  • Is focused
  • Defines the boundaries of the research

Do’s and Don’ts of writing a research question


The takeaway

  • Research question is a question your research is seeking to answer.
  • It gives your thesis a blueprint which it needs to follow.
  • It needs to be based on a research gap.
  • It needs to be narrow, concise, clear, and focused.
  • It needs to be argumentative and based on a problem requiring scientific investigation to solve.

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