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Developing Research Questions: Guidelines And Examples


When you are in your final year of study in your university degree course, you would most definitely be assigned a dissertation to work on (considering you are doing an Honours degree). That might be one of your most difficult assignments of all time and you must get a good grade if you want to graduate with a strong degree! However, to achieve that, your dissertation must have a clear and concise research question that shows your reader that you fully understand the topic. Here are some guidelines and examples of what is expected from you and what you need to do:

Be clear and concise


As I have stated above, the most important thing when you are developing your research question is to make it as clear as possible. Let your reader know that you know the topic inside out and you have a specific objective that you are trying to achieve for your dissertation. If you are still writing your first dissertation, then it might be a bit difficult to do that – you should certainly go look for examples online and see how others have developed their research questions.

Have a direction


No researches would be good if you don’t have a clear direction of what you are trying to achieve. If you were trying to find out how many people participate in sport in a country (it’s a huge study and may not be feasible for a dissertation!), then you must clearly state how you are going to do it. For example, you could say that you are taking 5,000 people as a sample and just use that to extrapolate the results. This is just an EXAMPLE, so your research question and direction should definitely be different to this. It’s just a guideline for you on how to develop your research question.

Get help from your lecturer


Since your lecturer should be your first maker for your dissertation (there will be an external marker), you should remain in close contact with him or her. Ask for help and see if they can guide you – any discussion sessions with him or her would be great because it stimulates some more ideas for you. It’s not great for you if you just work alone all the time! If possible, you could even ask whether the lecturer could provide you with some of his or her previous work so that you can have a read. It would be beneficial to you in terms of developing your dissertation!