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. 

  • 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: 

  • 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. 

Sample Research Questions

The following are some bad and good research question examples 

  • Example 1 
  • Example 2 


  • 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, 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, 6 tips for post-doc researchers to take their..., presenting research data effectively through tables and figures.


Extended Essay: Step 5. Draft a Research Question

  • Extended Essay- The Basics
  • Step 1. Choose a Subject
  • Step 2. Educate yourself!
  • Using Brainstorming and Mind Maps
  • Identify Keywords
  • Do Background Reading
  • Define Your Topic
  • Conduct Research in a Specific Discipline
  • Step 5. Draft a Research Question
  • Step 6. Create a Timeline
  • Find Articles
  • Find Primary Sources
  • Get Help from Experts
  • Search Engines, Repositories, & Directories
  • Databases and Websites by Subject Area
  • Create an Annotated Bibliography
  • Advice (and Warnings) from the IB
  • Chicago Citation Syle
  • MLA Works Cited & In-Text Citations
  • Step 9. Set Deadlines for Yourself
  • Step 10. Plan a structure for your essay
  • Evaluate & Select: the CRAAP Test
  • Conducting Secondary Research
  • Conducting Primary Research
  • Formal vs. Informal Writing
  • Presentation Requirements
  • Evaluating Your Work

RQ Resources

On this page you can find help with developing your preliminary research question.  See: 

Steps to Developing a Research Question

Sample research questions.

Practice Exercise:  Formulating Well-Focused Research Questions

IB Command Terms and Glossaries

  • Research Question Formats for History Extended Essays

You've chosen a subject and topic that interests you, and carried out some preliminary reading.  What are the next steps ?

Question mark sign - Britannica ImageQuest

Evaluate the question.   Once you have posed possible research questions you should evaluate them.  This evaluation should be based on whether the question is clear , focused , and arguable .

  • Clear  - Will the reader understand the nature of my research?  Will it direct the research being undertaken?
  • Focused - Will the research question be specific enough to allow for exploration within the scope of the task (that is, the number of words and time available)?
  • Arguable - Does the research question allow for analysis, evaluation and the development of a reasoned argument?

Consider research outcomes.   Once you have decided on a provisional research question you should start thinking about the direction your research might take.  You could do this by:

  • suggesting possible outcomes of your research
  • outlining the kind of argument you might make and how your research might support this
  • considering options if the research available is not sufficient to support a sustained argument

The table below gives some examples showing the difference between unclear and unfocused research questions and those that are appropriately clear and focused, lending themselves to in-depth research.  

Practice exercise: Formulating well-focused research questions

Twelve-step plan for researching the extended essay - step 5.

5.  Formulate a preliminary research question.  Try to incorporate an IB command term in the research question if possible.

research question in an essay example

IB Command Terms & Glossaries

Command terms are the key terms and phrases used in examination questions for IB classes.  The lists below give the terms, and definitions, for specific IB subjects.

research question in an essay example

  These lists are glossaries of terms used in film and dance.

Students writing History Extended Essays can use these formats to help write research questions on their topics.

  • << Previous: Conduct Research in a Specific Discipline
  • Next: Step 6. Create a Timeline >>
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2024 3:48 PM
  • URL:

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?”


“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: (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.

  • How it works

researchprospect post subheader

How to Write the Research Questions – Tips & Examples

Published by Owen Ingram at August 13th, 2021 , Revised On October 3, 2023

Conducting research and writing an academic paper requires a clear direction and focus.

A good research question provides purpose to your research and clarifies the direction. It further helps your readers to understand what issue your research aims to explore and address.

If you are unsure about how to write research questions, here is a list of the attributes of a good research question;

  • The research question should contain only a single problem
  • You should be able to find the answer to it using  primary and secondary data sources
  • You should be able to address it within the time limit and other constraints
  • Can attain in-depth and detailed results
  • Relevant and applicable
  • Should relate to your chosen field of research

Whenever you want to discover something new about a  topic , you will ask a question about it. Therefore, the research question is important in the overall research process  and provides the author with the reading and writing guidelines.

In a research paper or an essay, you will need to create a single research question that highlights just one problem or issue. The thesis statement should include the specific problem you aim to investigate to establish your argument’s central position or claim.

A larger project such as a  dissertation or thesis , on the other hand, can have multiple research questions, but every question should focus on your main  research problem .  Different types of research will help you answer different research questions, but they should all be relevant to the research scope.

How to Write a Research Question

Steps to develop your research question.

  • Choose a topic  with a wide range of published literature
  • Read and skim relevant articles to find out different problems and issues
  • Specify a theoretical or practical  research problem  that your research question will address
  • Narrow down the focus of your selected core niche

research questions

Example Research Question (s)

Here are examples of research problems and research questions to help you understand how to create a research question for a given research problem.

Types of Research Questions

There are two main types of research;  quantitative and qualitative research . Both types of research require research questions. What research question you will answer is dependent on the type of research you wish to employ.

The first part of  designing research  is to find a gap and create a fully focused research question.

The following table shows common research questions for a dissertation project. However, it is important to note that these examples of dissertation research questions are straightforward, and the actual research questions may be more complicated than these examples.

What data collection method best suits your research?

  • Find out by hiring an expert from ResearchProspect today!
  • Despite how challenging the subject may be, we are here to help you.

data collection method best suits your research

Steps to Write Research Questions

The research question provides you with a path and focuses on the real problem and the research gap you aim to fill. These are steps you need to take if you are unsure about how to write a research question:

Choose an Interesting Topic

Choose a topic  of research according to your interest. The selected topic should be neither too broad nor too narrow.

Do Preliminary Research on the Topic

Find articles, books, journals, and theses relevant to your chosen topic. Understand what research problem each scholar addressed as part of their research project.

Consider your Audience

It is necessary to know your audience to develop focused research questions for your essay or dissertation. You can find aspects of your topic that could be interesting to your audience when narrowing your topic.

Start Asking Questions

What, why, when, how, and other open-ended questions will provide in-depth knowledge about the topic.

Evaluate your Question

After formulating a research question, evaluate to check its effectiveness and how it can serve the purpose. Revise and refine the dissertation research question.

  • Do you have a clear research question? 

It would help if you formed the research question after finding a research gap. This approach will enable the research to solve part of the problem.

  • Do you have a focused research question?

It is necessary that the research question is specific and relating to the central aim of your research.

  • Do you have a complex research question? 

The research question cannot be answered by yes or no but requires in-depth analysis. It often begins with “How” or “Why.”

Begin your Research

After you have prepared dissertation research questions, you should research the existing literature on similar topics to find various perspectives.

Also See: Formulation of Research Question

If you have been struggling to devise research questions for your dissertation or are unsure about which topic would be suitable for your needs, then you might be interested in taking advantage of our dissertation topic and outline service, which includes several topic ideas in your preferred area of study and a 500/1000 words plan on your chosen topic. Our topic and outline service will help you jump-start your dissertation project.

Find out How Our Topics & Outline Service Can Help You!

Tips on How to Write a Strong Research Question

A research question is the foundation of the entire research. Therefore, you should spend as much time as required to refine the research question.

If you have good research questions for the dissertation, research paper , or essay, you can perform the research and analyse your results more effectively. You can evaluate the strength of the research question with the help of the following criteria. Your research question should be;

Intensive and Researchable

  • It should cover a single issue
  • The question shouldn’t include a subjective judgment
  • It can be answerable with the data analysis or research=

Practical and Specific

  • It should not include a course of action, policy, or solution
  • It should be well-defined
  • Answerable within research limits

Complicated and Arguable

  • It should not be simple to answer
  • Need in-depth knowledge to find facts
  • Provides scope for debate and deliberation

Unique and Relevant

  • It should lie in your field of study
  • Its results should be contributable
  • It should be unique

Conclusion – How to Write Research Questions

A research question provides a clear direction for research work. A bigger project, such as a dissertation, may have more than one research question, but every question should focus on one issue only.

Your research questions should be researchable, feasible to answer, specific to find results, complex (for Masters and PhD projects), and relevant to your field of study. Dissertation research questions depend upon the research type you are basing your paper on.

Start creating a research question by choosing an interesting topic, do some preliminary research, consider your audience, start asking questions, evaluating your question, and begin your research.

At ResearchProspect, we have dissertation experts for all academic subjects. Whether you need help with the individual chapters or the whole dissertation paper, you can be confident that your paper competed to the highest academic standard. There is a reason why our clients keep returning to us over and over. You can also look at our essay services if you are struggling to draft a first-class academic paper.

At ResearchProspect, we have dissertation experts for all academic subjects. Whether you need help with the  individual chapters  or the  whole dissertation paper,  you can be confident that your paper competed to the highest academic standard. There is a reason why our clients keep returning to us over and over.

You can also look at our  essay services  if you are struggling to draft a first-class academic paper.

Place Order

Frequently Asked Questions

How are research questions written.

Research questions are written by:

  • Identifying your topic.
  • Considering what you want to explore.
  • Making questions clear and concise.
  • Ensuring they’re researchable.
  • Avoiding bias or leading language.
  • Focusing on one main idea per question.

What are examples of research questions?

  • Does regular exercise improve mental well-being in adults over 50?
  • How do online courses impact student engagement compared to traditional classes?
  • What are the economic effects of prolonged pandemic lockdowns?
  • How does early childhood nutrition influence academic performance in later life?
  • Does urban green space reduce stress levels?

How to write a research question?

  • Identify a specific topic or issue of interest.
  • Conduct preliminary research to understand existing knowledge.
  • Narrow the focus to address gaps or unresolved issues.
  • Phrase the question to be clear, concise, and researchable.
  • Ensure it is specific enough for systematic investigation.

How to formulate my research questions for my geography dissertation?

  • Identify a geographical topic or phenomenon of interest.
  • Review existing literature to find gaps.
  • Consider spatial, temporal, environmental, or societal aspects.
  • Ensure questions are specific, feasible, and significant.
  • Frame questions to guide methodology: quantitative, qualitative, or mixed.
  • Seek feedback from peers/advisors.

You May Also Like

Penning your dissertation proposal can be a rather daunting task. Here are comprehensive guidelines on how to write a dissertation proposal.

Repository of ten perfect research question examples will provide you a better perspective about how to create research questions.

Not sure how to approach a company for your primary research study? Don’t worry. Here we have some tips for you to successfully gather primary study.






  • How It Works


  • 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


  • 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


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.


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: 

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:

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 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


Grad Coach

How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

research question in an essay example

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications . If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

You Might Also Like:

Referencing in Word

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

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, automatically generate references for free.

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

Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples

Published on 30 October 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 12 December 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, research questions quiz, frequently asked 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.

Using your research problem to develop your research question

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

Feasible and specific, complex and arguable, relevant and original.

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

An essay isn’t just a loose collection of facts and ideas. Instead, it should be centered on an overarching argument (summarised in your thesis statement ) that every part of the essay relates to.

The way you structure your essay is crucial to presenting your argument coherently. A well-structured essay helps your reader follow the logic of your ideas and understand your overall point.

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.

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 Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, December 12). Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 14 May 2024, from

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a research proposal | examples & templates, how to write a results section | tips & examples, what is a research methodology | steps & tips.

  • Affiliate Program


  • 台灣 (TAIWAN)
  • 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

Where to Put the Research Question in a Paper

research question in an essay example

Silke Haidekker has a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Hannover. She is a Clinical Research Associate in multiple pharmaceutical companies in Germany and the USA. She now works as a full-time medical translator and writer in a small town in Georgia.

Of Rats and Panic Attacks: A Doctoral Student’s Tale

You would probably agree that the time spent writing your PhD dissertation or thesis is not only a time of taking pride or even joy in what you do, but also a time riddled with panic attacks of different varieties and lengths. When I worked on my PhD thesis in pharmacology in Germany many years back, I had  my  first panic attack as I first learned how to kill rats for my experiments with a very ugly tool called a guillotine! After that part of the procedure, I was to remove and mash their livers, spike them with Ciclosporin A (an immunosuppressive agent), and then present the metabolites by high-pressure liquid chromatography.

Many rats later, I had another serious panic attack. It occurred at the moment my doctoral adviser told me to write my first research paper on the Ciclosporin A metabolites I had detected in hundreds of slimy mashes of rat liver. Sadly, this second panic attack led to a third one that was caused by living in the pre-internet era, when it was not as easy to access information about  how to write research papers .

How I got over writing my first research paper is now ancient history. But it was only years later, living in the USA and finally being immersed in the language of most scientific research papers, that my interest in the art of writing “good” research papers was sparked during conferences held by the  American Medical Writers Association , as well as by getting involved in different writing programs and academic self-study courses.

How to State the Research Question in the Introduction Section

Good writing begins with clearly stating your research question (or hypothesis) in the Introduction section —the focal point on which your entire paper builds and unfolds in the subsequent Methods, Results, and Discussion sections . This research question or hypothesis that goes into the first section of your research manuscript, the Introduction, explains at least three major elements:

a) What is  known  or believed about the research topic?

B) what is still  unknown  (or problematic), c) what is the  question or hypothesis  of your investigation.

Some medical writers refer to this organizational structure of the Introduction as a “funnel shape” because it starts broadly, with the bigger picture, and then follows one scientifically logical step after the other until finally narrowing down the story to the focal point of your research at the end of the funnel.

Let’s now look in greater detail at a research question example and how you can logically embed it into the Introduction to make it a powerful focal point and ignite the reader’s interest about the importance of your research:

a) The Known

You should start by giving your reader a brief overview of knowledge or previous studies already performed in the context of your research topic.

The topic of one of my research papers was “investigating the value of diabetes as an independent predictor of death in people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).” So in the Introduction, I first presented the basic knowledge that diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and thus made the reader better understand our interest in this specific study population. I then presented previous studies already showing that diabetes indeed seems to represent an independent risk factor for death in the general population. However, very few studies had been performed in the ESRD population and those only yielded controversial results.

Example :  “It seems well established that there is a link between diabetic nephropathy and hypertensive nephropathy and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in Western countries. In 2014, 73% of patients in US hospitals had comorbid ESRD and type 2 diabetes (1, 2, 3)…”

b) The Unknown

In our example, this “controversy” flags the “unknown” or “problematic” and therefore provides strong reasons for why further research is justified. The unknown should be clearly stated or implied by using phrases such as “were controversial” (as in our example), “…has not been determined,” or “…is unclear.” By clearly stating what is “unknown,” you indicate that your research is new. This creates a smooth transition into your research question.

Example :  “However, previous studies have failed to isolate diabetes as an independent factor, and thus much remains unknown about specific risk factors associated with both diabetes and ESRD .”

c) The Research Question (Hypothesis)

Your research question is the question that inevitably evolves from the deficits or problems revealed in the “Unknown” and clearly states the goal of your research. It is important to describe your research question in just one or two short sentences, but very precisely and including all variables studied, if applicable. A transition should be used to mark the transition from the unknown to the research question using one word such as “therefore” or “accordingly,” or short phrases like “for this reason” or “considering this lack of crucial information.”

In our example, we stated the research question as follows:

Example :  “Therefore, the primary goal of our study was to perform a Kaplan-Meier survival study and to investigate, by means of the Cox proportional hazard model, the value of diabetes as an independent predictor of death in diabetic patients with ESRD.”

Note that the research question may include the  experimental approach  of the study used to answer the research question.

Another powerful way to introduce the research question is to  state the research question as a hypothesis  so that the reader can more easily anticipate the answer. In our case, the question could be put as follows:

Example :  “To test the hypothesis that diabetes is an independent predictor of death in people with ESRD, we performed a Kaplan-Survival study and investigated the value of diabetes by means of the Cox proportional hazard model.”

Note that this sentence leads with an introductory clause that indicates the hypothesis itself, transitioning well into a synopsis of the approach in the second half of the sentence.

The generic framework of the Introduction can be modified to include, for example,  two  research questions instead of just one. In such a case, both questions must follow inevitably from the previous statements, meaning that the background information leading to the second question cannot be omitted. Otherwise, the Introduction will get confusing, with the reader not knowing where that question comes from.

Begin with your research purpose in mind

To conclude, here is my simple but most important advice for you as a researcher preparing to write a scientific paper (or just the Introduction of a research paper) for the first time: Think your research question through precisely before trying to write it down; have in mind the reasons for exactly why you wanted to do this specific research, what exactly you wanted to find out, and how (by which methods) you did your investigation. If you have the answers to these questions in mind (or even better, create a comprehensive outline ) before starting the paper, the actual writing process will be a piece of cake and you will finish it “like a rat up a drainpipe”! And hopefully with no panic attacks.

Wordvice Resources

Before submitting your master’s thesis or PhD dissertation to academic journals for publication, be sure to receive proofreading services (including research paper editing , manuscript editing , thesis editing , and dissertation editing ) to ensure that your research writing is error-free. Impress your journal editor and get into the academic journal of your choice.    

Article type icon

Examples of Good and Bad Research Questions


Written by  Scribendi

So, you've got a research grant in your sights or you've been admitted to your school of choice, and you now have to write up a proposal for the work you want to perform. You know your topic, have done some reading, and you've got a nice quiet place where nobody will bother you while you try to decide where you'll go from here. The question looms:     

What Is a Research Question?

Your research question will be your focus, the sentence you refer to when you need to remember why you're researching. It will encapsulate what drives you and be something your field needs an answer for but doesn't have yet. 

Whether it seeks to describe a phenomenon, compare things, or show how one variable influences another, a research question always does the same thing: it guides research that will be judged based on how well it addresses the question.

So, what makes a research question good or bad? This article will provide examples of good and bad research questions and use them to illustrate both of their common characteristics so that you can evaluate your research question and improve it to suit your needs.

How to Choose a Research Question

At the start of your research paper, you might be wondering, "What is a good research question?"

A good research question focuses on one researchable problem relevant to your subject area.

To write a research paper , first make sure you have a strong, relevant topic. Then, conduct some preliminary research around that topic. It's important to complete these two initial steps because your research question will be formulated based on this research.

With this in mind, let's review the steps that help us write good research questions.

1. Select a Relevant Topic

When selecting a topic to form a good research question, it helps to start broad. What topics interest you most? It helps when you care about the topic you're researching!

Have you seen a movie recently that you enjoyed? How about a news story? If you can't think of anything, research different topics on Google to see which ones intrigue you the most and can apply to your assignment.

Also, before settling on a research topic, make sure it's relevant to your subject area or to society as a whole. This is an important aspect of developing your research question, because, in general, your research should add value to existing knowledge .

2. Thoroughly Research the Topic

Now that you've chosen a broad but relevant topic for your paper, research it thoroughly to see which avenues you might want to explore further.

For example, let's say you decide on the broad topic of search engines. During this research phase, try skimming through sources that are unbiased, current, and relevant, such as academic journals or sources in your university library.

Check out: 21 Legit Research Databases for Free Articles in 2022

Pay close attention to the subtopics that come up during research, such as the following: Which search engines are the most commonly used? Why do some search engines dominate specific regions? How do they really work or affect the research of scientists and scholars?

Be on the lookout for any gaps or limitations in the research. Identifying the groups or demographics that are most affected by your topic is also helpful, in case that's relevant to your work.

3. Narrow Your Topic to a Single Point

Now that you've spent some time researching your broad topic, it's time to narrow it down to one specific subject. A topic like search engines is much too broad to develop a research paper around. What specifically about search engines could you explore?

When refining your topic, be careful not to be either too narrow or too broad. You can ask yourself the following questions during this phase:

Can I cover this topic within the scope of my paper, or would it require longer, heavier research? (In this case, you'd need to be more specific.)

Conversely, is there not enough research about my topic to write a paper? (In this case, you'd need to be broader.)

Keep these things in mind as you narrow down your topic. You can always expand your topic later if you have the time and research materials.

4. Identify a Problem Related to Your Topic

When narrowing down your topic, it helps to identify a single issue or problem on which to base your research. Ask open-ended questions, such as why is this topic important to you or others? Essentially, have you identified the answer to "so what"?

For example, after asking these questions about our search engine topic, we might focus only on the issue of how search engines affect research in a specific field. Or, more specifically, how search engine algorithms manipulate search results and prevent us from finding the critical research we need.

Asking these "so what" questions will help us brainstorm examples of research questions we can ask in our field of study.

5. Turn Your Problem into a Question

Now that you have your main issue or problem, it's time to write your research question. Do this by reviewing your topic's big problem and formulating a question that your research will answer.

For example, ask, "so what?" about your search engine topic. You might realize that the bigger issue is that you, as a researcher, aren't getting the relevant information you need from search engines.

How can we use this information to develop a research question? We might phrase the research question as follows:

"What effect does the Google search engine algorithm have on online research conducted in the field of neuroscience?"

Note how specific we were with the type of search engine, the field of study, and the research method. It's also important to remember that your research question should not have an easy yes or no answer. It should be a question with a complex answer that can be discovered through research and analysis.

Perfect Your Paper

Hire an expert academic editor , or get a free sample, how to find good research topics for your research.

It can be fun to browse a myriad of research topics for your paper, but there are a few important things to keep in mind.

First, make sure you've understood your assignment. You don't want to pick a topic that's not relevant to the assignment goal. Your instructor can offer good topic suggestions as well, so if you get stuck, ask them!

Next, try to search for a broad topic that interests you. Starting broad gives you more options to work with. Some research topic examples include infectious diseases, European history, and smartphones .

Then, after some research, narrow your topic to something specific by extracting a single element from that subject. This could be a current issue on that topic, a major question circulating around that topic, or a specific region or group of people affected by that topic.

It's important that your research topic is focused. Focus lets you clearly demonstrate your understanding of the topic with enough details and examples to fit the scope of your project.

For example, if Jane Austen is your research topic, that might be too broad for a five-page paper! However, you could narrow it down to a single book by Austen or a specific perspective.

To keep your research topic focused, try creating a mind map. This is where you put your broad topic in a circle and create a few circles around it with similar ideas that you uncovered during your research. 

Mind maps can help you visualize the connections between topics and subtopics. This could help you simplify the process of eliminating broad or uninteresting topics or help you identify new relationships between topics that you didn't previously notice. 

Keeping your research topic focused will help you when it comes to writing your research question!

2. Researchable

A researchable question should have enough available sources to fill the scope of your project without being overwhelming. If you find that the research is never-ending, you're going to be very disappointed at the end of your paper—because you won't be able to fit everything in! If you are in this fix, your research question is still too broad.

Search for your research topic's keywords in trusted sources such as journals, research databases , or dissertations in your university library. Then, assess whether the research you're finding is feasible and realistic to use.

If there's too much material out there, narrow down your topic by industry, region, or demographic. Conversely, if you don't find enough research on your topic, you'll need to go broader. Try choosing two works by two different authors instead of one, or try choosing three poems by a single author instead of one.

3. Reasonable

Make sure that the topic for your research question is a reasonable one to pursue. This means it's something that can be completed within your timeframe and offers a new perspective on the research.

Research topics often end up being summaries of a topic, but that's not the goal. You're looking for a way to add something relevant and new to the topic you're exploring. To do so, here are two ways to uncover strong, reasonable research topics as you conduct your preliminary research:

Check the ends of journal articles for sections with questions for further discussion. These make great research topics because they haven't been explored!

Check the sources of articles in your research. What points are they bringing up? Is there anything new worth exploring? Sometimes, you can use sources to expand your research and more effectively narrow your topic.

4. Specific

For your research topic to stand on its own, it should be specific. This means that it shouldn't be easily mistaken for another topic that's already been written about.

If you are writing about a topic that has been written about, such as consumer trust, it should be distinct from everything that's been written about consumer trust so far.

There is already a lot of research done on consumer trust in specific products or services in the US. Your research topic could focus on consumer trust in products and services in a different region, such as a developing country.

If your research feels similar to existing articles, make sure to drive home the differences.

Whether it's developed for a thesis or another assignment, a good research topic question should be complex enough to let you expand on it within the scope of your paper.

For example, let's say you took our advice on researching a topic you were interested in, and that topic was a new Bridezilla reality show. But when you began to research it, you couldn't find enough information on it, or worse, you couldn't find anything scholarly.

In short, Bridezilla reality shows aren't complex enough to build your paper on. Instead of broadening the topic to all reality TV shows, which might be too overwhelming, you might consider choosing a topic about wedding reality TV shows specifically.

This would open you up to more research that could be complex enough to write a paper on without being too overwhelming or narrow.

6. Relevant

Because research papers aim to contribute to existing research that's already been explored, the relevance of your topic within your subject area can't be understated.

Your research topic should be relevant enough to advance understanding in a specific area of study and build on what's already been researched. It shouldn't duplicate research or try to add to it in an irrelevant way.

For example, you wouldn't choose a research topic like malaria transmission in Northern Siberia if the mosquito that transmits malaria lives in Africa. This research topic simply isn't relevant to the typical location where malaria is transmitted, and the research could be considered a waste of resources.

Do Research Questions Differ between the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Hard Sciences?

The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge. 

–Thomas Berger

First, a bit of clarification: While there are constants among research questions, no matter what you're writing about, you will use different standards for the humanities and social sciences than for hard sciences, such as chemistry. The former depends on subjectivity and the perspective of the researcher, while the latter requires answers that must be empirically tested and replicable.

For instance, if you research Charles Dickens' writing influences, you will have to explain your stance and observations to the reader before supporting them with evidence. If you research improvements in superconductivity in room-temperature material, the reader will not only need to understand and believe you but also duplicate your work to confirm that you are correct.

Do Research Questions Differ between the Different Types of Research?

Research questions help you clarify the path your research will take. They are answered in your research paper and usually stated in the introduction.

There are two main types of research—qualitative and quantitative. 

If you're conducting quantitative research, it means you're collecting numerical, quantifiable data that can be measured, such as statistical information.

Qualitative research aims to understand experiences or phenomena, so you're collecting and analyzing non-numerical data, such as case studies or surveys.

The structure and content of your research question will change depending on the type of research you're doing. However, the definition and goal of a research question remains the same: a specific, relevant, and focused inquiry that your research answers.

Below, we'll explore research question examples for different types of research.

Examples of Good and Bad Research Questions

Comparative Research

Comparative research questions are designed to determine whether two or more groups differ based on a dependent variable. These questions allow researchers to uncover similarities and differences between the groups tested.

Because they compare two groups with a dependent variable, comparative research questions usually start with "What is the difference in…"

A strong comparative research question example might be the following:

"What is the difference in the daily caloric intake of American men and women?" ( Source .)

In the above example, the dependent variable is daily caloric intake and the two groups are American men and women.

A poor comparative research example might not aim to explore the differences between two groups or it could be too easily answered, as in the following example:

"Does daily caloric intake affect American men and women?"

Always ensure that your comparative research question is focused on a comparison between two groups based on a dependent variable.

Descriptive Research

Descriptive research questions help you gather data about measurable variables. Typically, researchers asking descriptive research questions aim to explain how, why, or what.

These research questions tend to start with the following:

What percentage?

How likely?

What proportion?

For example, a good descriptive research question might be as follows:

"What percentage of college students have felt depressed in the last year?" ( Source .)

A poor descriptive research question wouldn't be as precise. This might be something similar to the following:

"What percentage of teenagers felt sad in the last year?"

The above question is too vague, and the data would be overwhelming, given the number of teenagers in the world. Keep in mind that specificity is key when it comes to research questions!

Correlational Research

Correlational research measures the statistical relationship between two variables, with no influence from any other variable. The idea is to observe the way these variables interact with one another. If one changes, how is the other affected?

When it comes to writing a correlational research question, remember that it's all about relationships. Your research would encompass the relational effects of one variable on the other.

For example, having an education (variable one) might positively or negatively correlate with the rate of crime (variable two) in a specific city. An example research question for this might be written as follows:

"Is there a significant negative correlation between education level and crime rate in Los Angeles?"

A bad correlational research question might not use relationships at all. In fact, correlational research questions are often confused with causal research questions, which imply cause and effect. For example:

"How does the education level in Los Angeles influence the crime rate?"

The above question wouldn't be a good correlational research question because the relationship between Los Angeles and the crime rate is already inherent in the question—we are already assuming the education level in Los Angeles affects the crime rate in some way.

Be sure to use the right format if you're writing a correlational research question.

How to Avoid a Bad Question

Ask the right questions, and the answers will always reveal themselves. 

–Oprah Winfrey

If finding the right research question was easy, doing research would be much simpler. However, research does not provide useful information if the questions have easy answers (because the questions are too simple, narrow, or general) or answers that cannot be reached at all (because the questions have no possible answer, are too costly to answer, or are too broad in scope).

For a research question to meet scientific standards, its answer cannot consist solely of opinion (even if the opinion is popular or logically reasoned) and cannot simply be a description of known information.

However, an analysis of what currently exists can be valuable, provided that there is enough information to produce a useful analysis. If a scientific research question offers results that cannot be tested, measured, or duplicated, it is ineffective.

Bad Research Question Examples

Here are examples of bad research questions with brief explanations of what makes them ineffective for the purpose of research.

"What's red and bad for your teeth?"

This question has an easy, definitive answer (a brick), is too vague (What shade of red? How bad?), and isn't productive.

"Do violent video games cause players to act violently?"

This question also requires a definitive answer (yes or no), does not invite critical analysis, and allows opinion to influence or provide the answer.

"How many people were playing balalaikas while living in Moscow on July 8, 2019?"

This question cannot be answered without expending excessive amounts of time, money, and resources. It is also far too specific. Finally, it doesn't seek new insight or information, only a number that has no conceivable purpose.

How to Write a Research Question

The quality of a question is not judged by its complexity but by the complexity of thinking it provokes. 

–Joseph O'Connor

What makes a good research question? A good research question topic is clear and focused. If the reader has to waste time wondering what you mean, you haven't phrased it effectively.

It also needs to be interesting and relevant, encouraging the reader to come along with you as you explain how you reached an answer. 

Finally, once you explain your answer, there should be room for astute or interested readers to use your question as a basis to conduct their own research. If there is nothing for you to say in your conclusion beyond "that's the truth," then you're setting up your research to be challenged.

Good Research Question Examples

Here are some examples of good research questions. Take a look at the reasoning behind their effectiveness.

"What are the long-term effects of using activated charcoal in place of generic toothpaste for routine dental care?"

This question is specific enough to prevent digressions, invites measurable results, and concerns information that is both useful and interesting. Testing could be conducted in a reasonable time frame, without excessive cost, and would allow other researchers to follow up, regardless of the outcome.

"Why do North American parents feel that violent video game content has a negative influence on their children?"

While this does carry an assumption, backing up that assumption with observable proof will allow for analysis of the question, provide insight on a significant subject, and give readers something to build on in future research. 

It also discusses a topic that is recognizably relevant. (In 2022, at least. If you are reading this article in the future, there might already be an answer to this question that requires further analysis or testing!)

"To what extent has Alexey Arkhipovsky's 2013 album, Insomnia , influenced gender identification in Russian culture?"

While it's tightly focused, this question also presents an assumption (that the music influenced gender identification) and seeks to prove or disprove it. This allows for the possibilities that the music had no influence at all or had a demonstrable impact.

Answering the question will involve explaining the context and using many sources so that the reader can follow the logic and be convinced of the author's findings. The results (be they positive or negative) will also open the door to countless other studies.

How to Turn a Bad Research Question into a Good One

If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.

–Ernest Hemingway

How do you turn something that won't help your research into something that will? Start by taking a step back and asking what you are expected to produce. While there are any number of fascinating subjects out there, a grant paying you to examine income disparity in Japan is not going to warrant an in-depth discussion of South American farming pollution. 

Use these expectations to frame your initial topic and the subject that your research should be about, and then conduct preliminary research into that subject. If you spot a knowledge gap while researching, make a note of it, and add it to your list of possible questions.

If you already have a question that is relevant to your topic but has flaws, identify the issues and see if they can be addressed. In addition, if your question is too broad, try to narrow it down enough to make your research feasible.

Especially in the sciences, if your research question will not produce results that can be replicated, determine how you can change it so a reader can look at what you've done and go about repeating your actions so they can see that you are right.

Moreover, if you would need 20 years to produce results, consider whether there is a way to tighten things up to produce more immediate results. This could justify future research that will eventually reach that lofty goal.

If all else fails, you can use the flawed question as a subtopic and try to find a better question that fits your goals and expectations.

Parting Advice

When you have your early work edited, don't be surprised if you are told that your research question requires revision. Quite often, results or the lack thereof can force a researcher to shift their focus and examine a less significant topic—or a different facet of a known issue—because testing did not produce the expected result. 

If that happens, take heart. You now have the tools to assess your question, find its flaws, and repair them so that you can complete your research with confidence and publish something you know your audience will read with fascination.

Of course, if you receive affirmation that your research question is strong or are polishing your work before submitting it to a publisher, you might just need a final proofread to ensure that your confidence is well placed. Then, you can start pursuing something new that the world does not yet know (but will know) once you have your research question down.

Master Your Research with Professional Editing

About the author.

Scribendi Editing and Proofreading

Scribendi's in-house editors work with writers from all over the globe to perfect their writing. They know that no piece of writing is complete without a professional edit, and they love to see a good piece of writing transformed into a great one. Scribendi's in-house editors are unrivaled in both experience and education, having collectively edited millions of words and obtained nearly 20 degrees. They love consuming caffeinated beverages, reading books of various genres, and relaxing in quiet, dimly lit spaces.

Have You Read?

"The Complete Beginner's Guide to Academic Writing"

Related Posts

21 Legit Research Databases for Free Journal Articles in 2024

21 Legit Research Databases for Free Journal Articles in 2024

How to Research a Term Paper

How to Research a Term Paper

How to Write a Research Proposal

How to Write a Research Proposal

Upload your file(s) so we can calculate your word count, or enter your word count manually.

We will also recommend a service based on the file(s) you upload.

English is not my first language. I need English editing and proofreading so that I sound like a native speaker.

I need to have my journal article, dissertation, or term paper edited and proofread, or I need help with an admissions essay or proposal.

I have a novel, manuscript, play, or ebook. I need editing, copy editing, proofreading, a critique of my work, or a query package.

I need editing and proofreading for my white papers, reports, manuals, press releases, marketing materials, and other business documents.

I need to have my essay, project, assignment, or term paper edited and proofread.

I want to sound professional and to get hired. I have a resume, letter, email, or personal document that I need to have edited and proofread.

 Prices include your personal % discount.

 Prices include % sales tax ( ).

research question in an essay example

Research Question - Essay Samples And Topic Ideas For Free

A Research Question is a clear, focused, concise, complex, and arguable question around which researchers center their work. Essays on this topic might discuss the importance of formulating a strong research question, strategies for developing and refining research questions, or the role of research questions in guiding a study’s design, methodology, and analysis. Discussions might also explore common challenges researchers face in crafting research questions, the relationship between research questions, hypotheses, and objectives, or the impact of research questions on a study’s significance and contribution to a field. Analyzing examples of effective or ineffective research questions across a range of disciplines could also provide insight into this foundational aspect of research. We’ve gathered an extensive assortment of free essay samples on the topic of Research Question you can find in Papersowl database. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

Police Brutality – Systemic Misuse of Authority and Abuse of Police Powers

Police brutality is the systematic misuse of authority and abuse of police powers through the unwarranted infliction of bodily or psychological pain to civilians by law enforcers during their official duties. The routine enforcement of law using excessive force against unarmed civilians and the correctional misuse of facilities to manipulate, inflict, injure or subject a civilian to torture amounts to police brutality. Militarily prisons and federal penal correctional facilities through the personnel operating the facilities can practice police brutality through […]

Online Shopping Vs Traditional One

According to France philosopher, Jean Baudrillard who believes that “the characteristic of our society is the condition that people consume as if it is the center of their life”. Another characteristic of a consumer society is that people often spend their money and sometimes their time by purchasing goods that not actually cover their needs. Considering the purpose of my research, first, I tried to gather as many as I could culturally data, and secondly, that I should start looking […]

Breast Cancer in African American Women

Summary Despite the fact that Caucasian women in the United States have a higher incidence rate of breast cancer than any other racial group, African-Americans succumb notably worse to the disease and record the highest mortality rate. To comprehend the barriers and challenges that predispose African-American women to these disparities, this research was conducted to get a better understanding from the perspective of oncologists. With diverse ethnicity and gender representation, the participation of seven medical, surgical and radiation oncologists that […]

We will write an essay sample crafted to your needs.

Witness to Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is commonly known as an unspoken situation among individuals around the world. The behaviors are physically, emotionally, and mentally unstable for many individuals. It can sometimes be linked to many theories; one theory being "The Social Learning Theory. If done coercively, the behavior can be viewed as one partner dominant of the other. This Literature Review is a reflection on views around the world as they pertain domestic violence related to women. Trends From 1993-2000 The article by […]

Inquiry Illuminated: Crafting the Research Question

In the intricate kaleidoscope of academic exploration, where the vibrant strands of knowledge intertwine and diverge, the crafting of a research question emerges as a luminous beacon, guiding scholars through the maze of inquiry. This process is akin to the art of synthesis, where intuition blends seamlessly with analysis, and inspiration converges with precision to illuminate the path toward deeper comprehension. At the nucleus of every scholarly pursuit lies a seed of curiosity—a spark that ignites the flames of inquiry. […]

Deciphering the Core: the Significance of Research Questions

In the vast expanse of academia and scientific inquiry, the research question emerges as the beacon illuminating the path of exploration and discovery. It serves as the nucleus around which the entire study orbits, shaping its trajectory, delineating its scope, and defining its ultimate purpose. A meticulously crafted research question not only serves as a compass for navigating the complexities of research but also ignites the flames of curiosity, propelling the pursuit of knowledge forward into uncharted territories. The genesis […]

Analyzing a DBQ Example: the Art of Document-Based Research Question

Document-Based Inquiries (DBIs) serve as a prevalent evaluative method in history and social studies curricula, aimed at assessing students' capacity to scrutinize primary and secondary sources and formulate coherent arguments grounded in evidence. Let's delve into an illustrative DBI to grasp its framework and intent. Let's ponder over a DBI prompt addressing the catalysts of the American Civil War. Learners would be furnished with an array of documents encompassing speeches, correspondences, cartographic depictions, and visual snapshots, each representing diverse standpoints […]

Crafting Questions that Power Discovery: a Guide to Effective Research

The nucleus of any triumphant research pursuit resides in the formulation of its guiding inquiries. These are not mere interrogations but the structural framework upon which entire investigations are erected. Proficient research questions serve as the compasses steering scholars through the expansive realm of knowledge, ensuring that their exploratory voyages are purposeful and fruitful. This examination delves into the characteristics that differentiate well-constructed research inquiries, rendering them indispensable instruments for eliciting meaningful insights. Foremost, lucidity emerges as an indispensable attribute. […]

A Look at Research Questions Across Disciplines

In the vast landscape of academic research, the formulation of a research question is akin to setting the compass for a voyage of discovery. This essay delves into the art and science of crafting research questions, showcasing examples from a spectrum of disciplines to highlight the diversity and precision required in their development. At the heart of social sciences, a researcher might ask, "How do social media platforms influence voting patterns among millennials in urban areas?" This question is notable […]

Related topic

Additional example essays.

  • Frederick Douglass Biography
  • Reasons Why I Want to Study Abroad
  • Socioautobiography Choices and Experiences Growing up
  • Homeschooling vs Traditional Schooling
  • Different Generations Millennials Vs. Generation Z
  • Moving to a New School
  • Relationship Between Humans and Animals
  • Why Phones Should Not Be Allowed in School
  • College May Not Be Worth It Anymore By Ellen Ruppel Shell
  • Personal Philosophy of Leadership
  • "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes
  • Gender Roles in the Great Gatsby

1. Tell Us Your Requirements

2. Pick your perfect writer

3. Get Your Paper and Pay

Hi! I'm Amy, your personal assistant!

Don't know where to start? Give me your paper requirements and I connect you to an academic expert.

short deadlines

100% Plagiarism-Free

Certified writers

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.

The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives. The Purdue OWL offers global support through online reference materials and services.

A Message From the Assistant Director of Content Development 

The Purdue OWL® is committed to supporting  students, instructors, and writers by offering a wide range of resources that are developed and revised with them in mind. To do this, the OWL team is always exploring possibilties for a better design, allowing accessibility and user experience to guide our process. As the OWL undergoes some changes, we welcome your feedback and suggestions by email at any time.

Please don't hesitate to contact us via our contact page  if you have any questions or comments.

All the best,

Social Media

Facebook twitter.


  1. Research Questions

    research question in an essay example

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

    research question in an essay example

  3. (PDF) How to Write a Research Question

    research question in an essay example

  4. Question 1a Research and Planning Exemplar Essay

    research question in an essay example

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

    research question in an essay example

  6. ⭐ How to do a research paper. 4 Ways to Publish a Research Paper. 2022

    research question in an essay example


  1. 4 Types of Research Questions to Start Your Writing Project Right

  2. Formulating the Research Questions (STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM)

  3. How to Structure your IB Business Management Extended EssayI Free Mentoring Session Read Description

  4. 4 Rules For Answering ANY IELTS Essay

  5. How to write your statement of the problem and research questions, Phenomenological Research

  6. Essay writing/Report/Article in 80-100 words कैसे लिखें? Class 10th English ✅4 March- UP BOARD EXAM


  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. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Extended Essay: Step 5. Draft a Research Question

    Steps to Developing a Research Question. Sample Research Questions. Practice Exercise: Formulating Well-Focused Research Questions. ... Developing a narrow, focused research question is an integral part of your extended essay process. A research question will provide a path to guide you through your research and writing. Step 1.

  6. 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 ...

  7. 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.

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

    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 ...

  9. How to Write the Research Questions

    Example Research Question (s) Here are examples of research problems and research questions to help you understand how to create a research question for a given research problem. Example Research Problem. Example Research Question (s) A small-scale company, 'A' in the UK, cannot allocate a marketing budget for next year due to their poor ...

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

    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.

  11. 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.

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

    The examples of research questions provided in this guide have illustrated what good research questions look like. The key points outlined below should help researchers in the pursuit: The development of a research question is an iterative process that involves continuously updating one's knowledge on the topic and refining ideas at all ...

  13. How To Write A Research Paper (FREE Template

    We've covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are: To choose a research question and review the literature. To plan your paper structure and draft an outline. To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing.

  14. 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.

  15. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    your questions will form the basis of a strong essay. For example, your initial questions about a source may be answered by reading the source more closely. On the other hand, sometimes you will identify a genuine ambiguity or problem in your sources that raises a question that others considering the same sources would also have. In that case, your

  16. 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 ...

  17. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  18. Where to Put the Research Question in a Paper

    Good writing begins with clearly stating your research question (or hypothesis) in the Introduction section —the focal point on which your entire paper builds and unfolds in the subsequent Methods, Results, and Discussion sections. This research question or hypothesis that goes into the first section of your research manuscript, the ...

  19. Examples of Good and Bad Research Questions

    If your research feels similar to existing articles, make sure to drive home the differences. 5. Complex. Whether it's developed for a thesis or another assignment, a good research topic question should be complex enough to let you expand on it within the scope of your paper.

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

    If this is challenging for you, we'll provide you with an algorithm you should follow to make the process easier. Step 1. Start with finding an engaging and relevant topic. Select a research topic that is interesting, complex and relevant. The most popular academic topics are healthcare and medical-related research.

  21. Research Question Free Essay Examples And Topic Ideas

    A Research Question is a clear, focused, concise, complex, and arguable question around which researchers center their work. Essays on this topic might discuss the importance of formulating a strong research question, strategies for developing and refining research questions, or the role of research questions in guiding a study's design, methodology, and analysis.

  22. How to Write a Research Paper

    To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: "I want to know how/what/why…" Develop a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it.

  23. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    Mission. The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.