What Makes a Good Research Question? (Quick Answer)

November 28, 2022

Good Research Question

Want to ace your next research paper? Then make sure you have a good research question. A well-designed research question offers you direction through the research and writing process. If you are having problems coming up with one, here is what makes a good research question to help you choose an appropriate one.

A Good RQ Can Be Answered Objectively

A research paper is an extended essay that presents your argument or interpretation of a problem. It should be based on the in-depth exploration of curriculum books, journals, interviews and legitimate internet sites. What this means is that instead of being value or opinion-based, a good research question is objective. It is based on extensive data and not personal opinion. For instance, questions such as “should euthanasia for the terminally ill be legalized, or should gun laws be implemented?” make good questions for an argumentative essay but not a research paper.

This is essentially because they can be manipulated to align with one’s opinion instead of research. The good news is that you can always reframe value-based questions, so they become objective, and make good research questions. For instance, in the case, if “should euthanasia be legalized” you may reframe the question to “discuss the social and ethical implications of legalizing euthanasia for the terminally ill?”

A Good Research Question has Plenty of Existing Data, or it Can Be Collected

A potential RQ may be objective, but if it cannot be answered using existing data or if data cannot be collected on it, then you should avoid using it. For instance, although the question “does life exist in planet Venus” is objective, it does not make a good research question because there’s no existing information about life in planet Venus yet.

A Good RQ hasn’t been answered, is Partially Answered or is yet to Be Answered in Your Context

If you can answer a research question with little to no research, then it doesn’t make a good question. As mentioned earlier, a research paper is all about interpreting a problem based on comprehensive research. Also, a good research question should contribute or provide new information about the topic.

So, if the answers to your research question are readily available in your curriculum textbooks, internet sites and other easily accessible sources, you should ditch it. For example, answers to a question like “has the world population increased in the past century?” are readily available everywhere, which means there’s no point in working on it again.  

At one time, such a question probably made a viable topic to work on, but now that it has been researched over and over again, there’s no point in doing it again. Make sure the RQ you opt for hasn’t been answered, or if there’s already solutions to it, then they do not address it in your context, so you can provide new information about the topic to the reader.

A Good Research Question is Clear and Focused

Research papers are meant to offer new information to the reader. They should achieve this clearly and concisely that any reader, including non-experts, can understand without needing any additional explanation. It should also be narrow or specific enough, so it gives the reader a detailed, easy to understand answer on the topic. For instance, the question; “Do artificial sweeteners affect one’s health” does not make a good question for research as it’s too generalized. But if it were about a specific sweetener, then the reader would know whether to avoid or not after reading through the research paper.

A Good Research Question is Complex and Arguable

If you can answer a potential research question with a yes or no, then you should also ditch it. A good RQ requires comprehensive researching and an exhaustive analysis of ideas. Also, it should be debatable. The facts and opinions you use to address the RQ should create room for further discussions in future. For example, the question. “Are illegal drugs bad for children?” does not make a good question for a research paper because we all know drugs are bad for kids. However, if the question were something like “ Discuss efficient strategies to prevent drug use among teenagers” it would offer an in-depth scope of review and is also debatable.

A Good Research Question is Interesting to the Author

Last but not least, a good research question is interesting to the author. It may fit all the above criteria, but if the writer does not find it interesting, then they won’t explore it exhaustively. But if the author likes it, then they will have a reason to ensure the reader is well-informed about it by using all facts they know about it, or they can find.

How to Develop a Good Research Question

Writing a research paper without a good research question is like asking a librarian for a book. The library is full of books so without specifying what type of book you want or the topic it’s on they’ll have no idea what you want. Use the following tips to develop a good RQ;

  • Select an interesting general topic
  • Conduct research on it to see what has been done about it, and also so you can narrow it down.
  • Think about your audience to see if they would be interested in what you plan on working on.
  • Evaluate your question to determine whether it is clear, focused and complex.
  • Start your research.

10+ Ideas to develop a good RQ

Here are some good research question examples we selected based on the above parameters;

  1. 1
    ​How does the United States and the United Kingdom compare in health outcomes and patient outcomes?
  2. 2
    ​How have the goals and objectives of feminists changed through the decades
  3. 3
    ​Discuss the effects of the No Child Left Behind policy
  4. 4
    ​Outline common sleep disorders and explain how an individual can resist them
  5. 5
    ​Discuss the social history of American agriculture
  6. 6
    ​Do strength training therapies improve patient activity after a stroke? Explain your answer.
  7. 7
    ​Describe the implications of the daily use of Facebook on the attention span of users under the age of 16.
  8. 8
    ​Explore the similarities and differences in the experiences of Syrian and Turkish immigrants in Germany
  9. 9
    ​Discuss the most effective programs in curbing teenage pregnancies in the US
  10. 10
    ​How has the global climate changed in the past few decades
  11. 11
    ​Discuss the biological roots of sociopathy
  12. 12
    ​Should the bible be viewed as literature?
  13. 13
    ​SMBs and taxation
  14. 14
    ​Describe the impact of racial profiling in the US
  15. 15
    ​What are some of the strategies businesses can employ to hire better staff

Get Professional Help Today

Unable to formulate a good RQ? Can’t write your research paper? If you answered yes to either or both questions, then you are in the right place. The pointers above were created to help you come up with the best for a successful research paper writing process. Also, feel free to get professional research paper writing assistance from help for assessment. We have experts who will not only come up with a good research question but also write your research paper on all topics. Hit the order now button for professional research paper writing assistance.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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