How To Formulate The Perfect Dissertation Research Questions?
At some point during your degree, you will be required to work on a dissertation. Do you know what the most important part of a dissertation is? Yes, it is the development of dissertation research questions. The whole dissertation revolves around the research questions. If you are able to formulate them right, know that half of the work is done. But not every student or researcher is able to develop research questions relevant to his research topics.
So, keeping this in mind, in today’s post, I will unpack the untold guidelines about the formulation of dissertation research questions. Knowing about these guidelines is your key to success. So, pay close to the information coming next in the article. Let’s start today’s article by defining the research questions and giving their importance.
What does it mean by research questions? Explain with importance
A research question is a question around which you center your research. It is a question that your research study sought to answer. A clear and focused research question guides your thesis or dissertation from start to the end and explains to the reader what you are going to find out at the end of your dissertation. Research questions generally address a problem or an issue, and the data analysis results help the researcher answer those questions.
The primary importance of dissertation research questions is that they narrow down a broad topic into a specific one. Research questions also serve as a guide for the researcher, explaining how to carry forward the research in the right direction. Such questions also set the limitations and boundaries of a research study. So, all these things make them an important part of the research study on any subject.
What are the characteristics of good research questions
Now that you know the definition of research questions let’s explore their characteristics. Knowing about the characteristics is necessary because you can only craft good research questions if you know them. Hence, below are the characteristics that every research question must have in it:
- Focused on a single problem or an issue
- Researchable using different means of research
- Feasible to answer within the set time frame
- Specific enough to answer the problem fully
- Complex enough so that it can be expanded over to a length of a thesis
- Relevant to your field of study and research interests
Top strategies to formulate perfect research questions
The process of developing dissertation research questions follows different steps and procedures. As a writer of the dissertation and researcher also, you must equip yourself with all the strategies necessary to develop such questions. However, a brief description of the top strategies that you can follow is as follows:
Start with a broad topic
In order to develop perfect research questions, start the process by choosing a broad topic. A broad topic provides you with lots of avenues to explore in your field. By exploring each subtopic under the broad category, you will be able to develop perfect research questions. Another very important thing is that your topic of interest must pique your interest. There is no point in researching a topic in which you do not have an interest.
Do a preliminary literature research
Strategy no. 2 asks you to do some preliminary research on the chosen field. So, once you have selected a broad topic of your interest after brainstorming, it is time to open up the laptops and find all the relevant literature published in that field. This initial research accomplishes two goals. First, this preliminary research allows you to have an idea of the hot topics in your field. Secondly, it lets identify the research gaps and limitations quickly and efficiently. Hence, perform the preliminary research.
Narrow down your topic of interest
When you have got an idea of what is going on in your research field and what interests you as a researcher, it is almost time to get going towards the actual thing, i.e., formulation of dissertation research questions. First, you need to narrow down your research area from the initially selected one to a newer one. Try to be more focused and to the point this time. The reason is that you just cannot research the whole broad field as it will pose many difficulties.
Develop potential research questions
The 4th step is about the development of the research questions. It asks you to develop analytical, not descriptive, research questions. To develop the potential research questions, you can use the method of problematisation. It aims to scrutinise the assumptions and formulation of perfect dissertation research questions. However, if you do not know how to use this method, consider taking dissertation help from your class fellow or teacher.
Evaluate the soundness of research questions
Lastly, when you have developed the research questions, do not forget to evaluate their soundness. It means they should be according to the research problem. To check their soundness, you can use the FINER criteria, which are also discussed above.
Examples of perfect research questions
After having discussed the definition, characteristics, and formulation strategies of dissertation research questions, let’s now look at some of its examples.
Example no. 1
Not good. How should social networking sites address the effects they cause?
Good. What actions should social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace take to address the harm they cause to the privacy of their users?
Example no. 2
Not good. What is the effect of global warming on our environment?
Good. What is the most significant effect of glacial melting due to global warming on the climate of our sole habitat, i.e., Earth?
Conclusively, the dissertation research questions are the most important element of a dissertation. Without having proper questions, you cannot answer the problem at hand and address the issue. Therefore, it is a must for you to follow the tips mentioned above. Read the characteristics given above and apply the rule of FINER when evaluating the soundness of research questions.