Finding a RESEARCH QUESTION is probably the most important task in the reasearch process because the question becomes the driving force behind the research-from beginning to end.
|A research question is always stated in question form. It may start out being rather general and become focused and refined later on (after you become more familiar with the topic, learn what others have discovered, define your terms more carefully, etc.)|
|The research question you start out with forms the basis for your review of related research literature. This general question also evolves into your hypothesis (or focused research question). When you draw conclusions, they should address this question. In the end, the success of your research depends on how well you answer this question.|
It is important to choose a question that satisfies certain criteria:
You can go to many sources to find topics or issues that can lead to research questions. Here are a few:
- It must not be too broad or general (although you will focus it even more later on in the process).
- It shouldn't have already been answered by previous research (although replication with variation is certainly acceptable).
- It ought to be a question that needs to be answered (i.e., the answer will be useful to people).
- It must be a question that can be answered through empirical means.
- Personal experience
- Professional books
- Articles in professional periodicals
- Professional indexes (LLBA, MLA, ERIC etc.)
- Other teachers and administrators
- Bibliographies of various types
- Unpublished research by others
|It is wise to focus your research so that it is "do-able." Be careful! Don't try to do too much in one study. It is, however, very possible (and quite common) to address several related research questions in one study. This approach is "economical" in that it produces more results with about the same amount of effort.|
Here are a couple of examples:
| ||Will students learn a foreign language better when they are in a relaxed state of mind?|| |
| ||What is the relationship between learners' ages and their accents?|| |