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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 

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Home » Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Questions

Research Questions


Research questions are the specific questions that guide a research study or inquiry. These questions help to define the scope of the research and provide a clear focus for the study. Research questions are usually developed at the beginning of a research project and are designed to address a particular research problem or objective.

Types of Research Questions

Types of Research Questions are as follows:

Descriptive Research Questions

These aim to describe a particular phenomenon, group, or situation. For example:

  • What are the characteristics of the target population?
  • What is the prevalence of a particular disease in a specific region?

Exploratory Research Questions

These aim to explore a new area of research or generate new ideas or hypotheses. For example:

  • What are the potential causes of a particular phenomenon?
  • What are the possible outcomes of a specific intervention?

Explanatory Research Questions

These aim to understand the relationship between two or more variables or to explain why a particular phenomenon occurs. For example:

  • What is the effect of a specific drug on the symptoms of a particular disease?
  • What are the factors that contribute to employee turnover in a particular industry?

Predictive Research Questions

These aim to predict a future outcome or trend based on existing data or trends. For example :

  • What will be the future demand for a particular product or service?
  • What will be the future prevalence of a particular disease?

Evaluative Research Questions

These aim to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular intervention or program. For example:

  • What is the impact of a specific educational program on student learning outcomes?
  • What is the effectiveness of a particular policy or program in achieving its intended goals?

How to Choose Research Questions

Choosing research questions is an essential part of the research process and involves careful consideration of the research problem, objectives, and design. Here are some steps to consider when choosing research questions:

  • Identify the research problem: Start by identifying the problem or issue that you want to study. This could be a gap in the literature, a social or economic issue, or a practical problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Conduct a literature review: Conducting a literature review can help you identify existing research in your area of interest and can help you formulate research questions that address gaps or limitations in the existing literature.
  • Define the research objectives : Clearly define the objectives of your research. What do you want to achieve with your study? What specific questions do you want to answer?
  • Consider the research design : Consider the research design that you plan to use. This will help you determine the appropriate types of research questions to ask. For example, if you plan to use a qualitative approach, you may want to focus on exploratory or descriptive research questions.
  • Ensure that the research questions are clear and answerable: Your research questions should be clear and specific, and should be answerable with the data that you plan to collect. Avoid asking questions that are too broad or vague.
  • Get feedback : Get feedback from your supervisor, colleagues, or peers to ensure that your research questions are relevant, feasible, and meaningful.

How to Write Research Questions

Guide for Writing Research Questions:

  • Start with a clear statement of the research problem: Begin by stating the problem or issue that your research aims to address. This will help you to formulate focused research questions.
  • Use clear language : Write your research questions in clear and concise language that is easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to your readers.
  • Be specific: Your research questions should be specific and focused. Avoid broad questions that are difficult to answer. For example, instead of asking “What is the impact of climate change on the environment?” ask “What are the effects of rising sea levels on coastal ecosystems?”
  • Use appropriate question types: Choose the appropriate question types based on the research design and objectives. For example, if you are conducting a qualitative study, you may want to use open-ended questions that allow participants to provide detailed responses.
  • Consider the feasibility of your questions : Ensure that your research questions are feasible and can be answered with the resources available. Consider the data sources and methods of data collection when writing your questions.
  • Seek feedback: Get feedback from your supervisor, colleagues, or peers to ensure that your research questions are relevant, appropriate, and meaningful.

Examples of Research Questions

Some Examples of Research Questions with Research Titles:

Research Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

  • Research Question : What is the relationship between social media use and mental health, and how does this impact individuals’ well-being?

Research Title: Factors Influencing Academic Success in High School

  • Research Question: What are the primary factors that influence academic success in high school, and how do they contribute to student achievement?

Research Title: The Effects of Exercise on Physical and Mental Health

  • Research Question: What is the relationship between exercise and physical and mental health, and how can exercise be used as a tool to improve overall well-being?

Research Title: Understanding the Factors that Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

  • Research Question : What are the key factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions, and how do these factors vary across different demographics and products?

Research Title: The Impact of Technology on Communication

  • Research Question : How has technology impacted communication patterns, and what are the effects of these changes on interpersonal relationships and society as a whole?

Research Title: Investigating the Relationship between Parenting Styles and Child Development

  • Research Question: What is the relationship between different parenting styles and child development outcomes, and how do these outcomes vary across different ages and developmental stages?

Research Title: The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Treating Anxiety Disorders

  • Research Question: How effective is cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating anxiety disorders, and what factors contribute to its success or failure in different patients?

Research Title: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

  • Research Question : How is climate change affecting global biodiversity, and what can be done to mitigate the negative effects on natural ecosystems?

Research Title: Exploring the Relationship between Cultural Diversity and Workplace Productivity

  • Research Question : How does cultural diversity impact workplace productivity, and what strategies can be employed to maximize the benefits of a diverse workforce?

Research Title: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

  • Research Question: How can artificial intelligence be leveraged to improve healthcare outcomes, and what are the potential risks and ethical concerns associated with its use?

Applications of Research Questions

Here are some of the key applications of research questions:

  • Defining the scope of the study : Research questions help researchers to narrow down the scope of their study and identify the specific issues they want to investigate.
  • Developing hypotheses: Research questions often lead to the development of hypotheses, which are testable predictions about the relationship between variables. Hypotheses provide a clear and focused direction for the study.
  • Designing the study : Research questions guide the design of the study, including the selection of participants, the collection of data, and the analysis of results.
  • Collecting data : Research questions inform the selection of appropriate methods for collecting data, such as surveys, interviews, or experiments.
  • Analyzing data : Research questions guide the analysis of data, including the selection of appropriate statistical tests and the interpretation of results.
  • Communicating results : Research questions help researchers to communicate the results of their study in a clear and concise manner. The research questions provide a framework for discussing the findings and drawing conclusions.

Characteristics of Research Questions

Characteristics of Research Questions are as follows:

  • Clear and Specific : A good research question should be clear and specific. It should clearly state what the research is trying to investigate and what kind of data is required.
  • Relevant : The research question should be relevant to the study and should address a current issue or problem in the field of research.
  • Testable : The research question should be testable through empirical evidence. It should be possible to collect data to answer the research question.
  • Concise : The research question should be concise and focused. It should not be too broad or too narrow.
  • Feasible : The research question should be feasible to answer within the constraints of the research design, time frame, and available resources.
  • Original : The research question should be original and should contribute to the existing knowledge in the field of research.
  • Significant : The research question should have significance and importance to the field of research. It should have the potential to provide new insights and knowledge to the field.
  • Ethical : The research question should be ethical and should not cause harm to any individuals or groups involved in the study.

Purpose of Research Questions

Research questions are the foundation of any research study as they guide the research process and provide a clear direction to the researcher. The purpose of research questions is to identify the scope and boundaries of the study, and to establish the goals and objectives of the research.

The main purpose of research questions is to help the researcher to focus on the specific area or problem that needs to be investigated. They enable the researcher to develop a research design, select the appropriate methods and tools for data collection and analysis, and to organize the results in a meaningful way.

Research questions also help to establish the relevance and significance of the study. They define the research problem, and determine the research methodology that will be used to address the problem. Research questions also help to determine the type of data that will be collected, and how it will be analyzed and interpreted.

Finally, research questions provide a framework for evaluating the results of the research. They help to establish the validity and reliability of the data, and provide a basis for drawing conclusions and making recommendations based on the findings of the study.

Advantages of Research Questions

There are several advantages of research questions in the research process, including:

  • Focus : Research questions help to focus the research by providing a clear direction for the study. They define the specific area of investigation and provide a framework for the research design.
  • Clarity : Research questions help to clarify the purpose and objectives of the study, which can make it easier for the researcher to communicate the research aims to others.
  • Relevance : Research questions help to ensure that the study is relevant and meaningful. By asking relevant and important questions, the researcher can ensure that the study will contribute to the existing body of knowledge and address important issues.
  • Consistency : Research questions help to ensure consistency in the research process by providing a framework for the development of the research design, data collection, and analysis.
  • Measurability : Research questions help to ensure that the study is measurable by defining the specific variables and outcomes that will be measured.
  • Replication : Research questions help to ensure that the study can be replicated by providing a clear and detailed description of the research aims, methods, and outcomes. This makes it easier for other researchers to replicate the study and verify the results.

Limitations of Research Questions

Limitations of Research Questions are as follows:

  • Subjectivity : Research questions are often subjective and can be influenced by personal biases and perspectives of the researcher. This can lead to a limited understanding of the research problem and may affect the validity and reliability of the study.
  • Inadequate scope : Research questions that are too narrow in scope may limit the breadth of the study, while questions that are too broad may make it difficult to focus on specific research objectives.
  • Unanswerable questions : Some research questions may not be answerable due to the lack of available data or limitations in research methods. In such cases, the research question may need to be rephrased or modified to make it more answerable.
  • Lack of clarity : Research questions that are poorly worded or ambiguous can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. This can result in incomplete or inaccurate data, which may compromise the validity of the study.
  • Difficulty in measuring variables : Some research questions may involve variables that are difficult to measure or quantify, making it challenging to draw meaningful conclusions from the data.
  • Lack of generalizability: Research questions that are too specific or limited in scope may not be generalizable to other contexts or populations. This can limit the applicability of the study’s findings and restrict its broader implications.

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Research Aims, Objectives & Questions

The “Golden Thread” Explained Simply (+ Examples)

By: David Phair (PhD) and Alexandra Shaeffer (PhD) | June 2022

The research aims , objectives and research questions (collectively called the “golden thread”) are arguably the most important thing you need to get right when you’re crafting a research proposal , dissertation or thesis . We receive questions almost every day about this “holy trinity” of research and there’s certainly a lot of confusion out there, so we’ve crafted this post to help you navigate your way through the fog.

Overview: The Golden Thread

  • What is the golden thread
  • What are research aims ( examples )
  • What are research objectives ( examples )
  • What are research questions ( examples )
  • The importance of alignment in the golden thread

What is the “golden thread”?  

The golden thread simply refers to the collective research aims , research objectives , and research questions for any given project (i.e., a dissertation, thesis, or research paper ). These three elements are bundled together because it’s extremely important that they align with each other, and that the entire research project aligns with them.

Importantly, the golden thread needs to weave its way through the entirety of any research project , from start to end. In other words, it needs to be very clearly defined right at the beginning of the project (the topic ideation and proposal stage) and it needs to inform almost every decision throughout the rest of the project. For example, your research design and methodology will be heavily influenced by the golden thread (we’ll explain this in more detail later), as well as your literature review.

The research aims, objectives and research questions (the golden thread) define the focus and scope ( the delimitations ) of your research project. In other words, they help ringfence your dissertation or thesis to a relatively narrow domain, so that you can “go deep” and really dig into a specific problem or opportunity. They also help keep you on track , as they act as a litmus test for relevance. In other words, if you’re ever unsure whether to include something in your document, simply ask yourself the question, “does this contribute toward my research aims, objectives or questions?”. If it doesn’t, chances are you can drop it.

Alright, enough of the fluffy, conceptual stuff. Let’s get down to business and look at what exactly the research aims, objectives and questions are and outline a few examples to bring these concepts to life.

Free Webinar: How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic

Research Aims: What are they?

Simply put, the research aim(s) is a statement that reflects the broad overarching goal (s) of the research project. Research aims are fairly high-level (low resolution) as they outline the general direction of the research and what it’s trying to achieve .

Research Aims: Examples  

True to the name, research aims usually start with the wording “this research aims to…”, “this research seeks to…”, and so on. For example:

“This research aims to explore employee experiences of digital transformation in retail HR.”   “This study sets out to assess the interaction between student support and self-care on well-being in engineering graduate students”  

As you can see, these research aims provide a high-level description of what the study is about and what it seeks to achieve. They’re not hyper-specific or action-oriented, but they’re clear about what the study’s focus is and what is being investigated.

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Research Objectives: What are they?

The research objectives take the research aims and make them more practical and actionable . In other words, the research objectives showcase the steps that the researcher will take to achieve the research aims.

The research objectives need to be far more specific (higher resolution) and actionable than the research aims. In fact, it’s always a good idea to craft your research objectives using the “SMART” criteria. In other words, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound”.

Research Objectives: Examples  

Let’s look at two examples of research objectives. We’ll stick with the topic and research aims we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic:

To observe the retail HR employees throughout the digital transformation. To assess employee perceptions of digital transformation in retail HR. To identify the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR.

And for the student wellness topic:

To determine whether student self-care predicts the well-being score of engineering graduate students. To determine whether student support predicts the well-being score of engineering students. To assess the interaction between student self-care and student support when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students.

  As you can see, these research objectives clearly align with the previously mentioned research aims and effectively translate the low-resolution aims into (comparatively) higher-resolution objectives and action points . They give the research project a clear focus and present something that resembles a research-based “to-do” list.

The research objectives detail the specific steps that you, as the researcher, will take to achieve the research aims you laid out.

Research Questions: What are they?

Finally, we arrive at the all-important research questions. The research questions are, as the name suggests, the key questions that your study will seek to answer . Simply put, they are the core purpose of your dissertation, thesis, or research project. You’ll present them at the beginning of your document (either in the introduction chapter or literature review chapter) and you’ll answer them at the end of your document (typically in the discussion and conclusion chapters).  

The research questions will be the driving force throughout the research process. For example, in the literature review chapter, you’ll assess the relevance of any given resource based on whether it helps you move towards answering your research questions. Similarly, your methodology and research design will be heavily influenced by the nature of your research questions. For instance, research questions that are exploratory in nature will usually make use of a qualitative approach, whereas questions that relate to measurement or relationship testing will make use of a quantitative approach.  

Let’s look at some examples of research questions to make this more tangible.

Research Questions: Examples  

Again, we’ll stick with the research aims and research objectives we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic (which would be qualitative in nature):

How do employees perceive digital transformation in retail HR? What are the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR?  

And for the student wellness topic (which would be quantitative in nature):

Does student self-care predict the well-being scores of engineering graduate students? Does student support predict the well-being scores of engineering students? Do student self-care and student support interact when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students?  

You’ll probably notice that there’s quite a formulaic approach to this. In other words, the research questions are basically the research objectives “converted” into question format. While that is true most of the time, it’s not always the case. For example, the first research objective for the digital transformation topic was more or less a step on the path toward the other objectives, and as such, it didn’t warrant its own research question.  

So, don’t rush your research questions and sloppily reword your objectives as questions. Carefully think about what exactly you’re trying to achieve (i.e. your research aim) and the objectives you’ve set out, then craft a set of well-aligned research questions . Also, keep in mind that this can be a somewhat iterative process , where you go back and tweak research objectives and aims to ensure tight alignment throughout the golden thread.

The importance of strong alignment 

Alignment is the keyword here and we have to stress its importance . Simply put, you need to make sure that there is a very tight alignment between all three pieces of the golden thread. If your research aims and research questions don’t align, for example, your project will be pulling in different directions and will lack focus . This is a common problem students face and can cause many headaches (and tears), so be warned.

Take the time to carefully craft your research aims, objectives and research questions before you run off down the research path. Ideally, get your research supervisor/advisor to review and comment on your golden thread before you invest significant time into your project, and certainly before you start collecting data .  

Recap: The golden thread

In this post, we unpacked the golden thread of research, consisting of the research aims , research objectives and research questions . You can jump back to any section using the links below.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below – we always love to hear from you. Also, if you’re interested in 1-on-1 support, take a look at our private coaching service here.

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Isaac Levi

Thank you very much for your great effort put. As an Undergraduate taking Demographic Research & Methodology, I’ve been trying so hard to understand clearly what is a Research Question, Research Aim and the Objectives in a research and the relationship between them etc. But as for now I’m thankful that you’ve solved my problem.

Hatimu Bah

Well appreciated. This has helped me greatly in doing my dissertation.

Dr. Abdallah Kheri

An so delighted with this wonderful information thank you a lot.

so impressive i have benefited a lot looking forward to learn more on research.

Ekwunife, Chukwunonso Onyeka Steve

I am very happy to have carefully gone through this well researched article.

Infact,I used to be phobia about anything research, because of my poor understanding of the concepts.

Now,I get to know that my research question is the same as my research objective(s) rephrased in question format.

I please I would need a follow up on the subject,as I intends to join the team of researchers. Thanks once again.


Thanks so much. This was really helpful.


I know you pepole have tried to break things into more understandable and easy format. And God bless you. Keep it up


i found this document so useful towards my study in research methods. thanks so much.

Michael L. Andrion

This is my 2nd read topic in your course and I should commend the simplified explanations of each part. I’m beginning to understand and absorb the use of each part of a dissertation/thesis. I’ll keep on reading your free course and might be able to avail the training course! Kudos!


Thank you! Better put that my lecture and helped to easily understand the basics which I feel often get brushed over when beginning dissertation work.

Enoch Tindiwegi

This is quite helpful. I like how the Golden thread has been explained and the needed alignment.

Sora Dido Boru

This is quite helpful. I really appreciate!


The article made it simple for researcher students to differentiate between three concepts.

Afowosire Wasiu Adekunle

Very innovative and educational in approach to conducting research.

Sàlihu Abubakar Dayyabu

I am very impressed with all these terminology, as I am a fresh student for post graduate, I am highly guided and I promised to continue making consultation when the need arise. Thanks a lot.

Mohammed Shamsudeen

A very helpful piece. thanks, I really appreciate it .

Sonam Jyrwa

Very well explained, and it might be helpful to many people like me.


Wish i had found this (and other) resource(s) at the beginning of my PhD journey… not in my writing up year… 😩 Anyways… just a quick question as i’m having some issues ordering my “golden thread”…. does it matter in what order you mention them? i.e., is it always first aims, then objectives, and finally the questions? or can you first mention the research questions and then the aims and objectives?


Thank you for a very simple explanation that builds upon the concepts in a very logical manner. Just prior to this, I read the research hypothesis article, which was equally very good. This met my primary objective.

My secondary objective was to understand the difference between research questions and research hypothesis, and in which context to use which one. However, I am still not clear on this. Can you kindly please guide?

Derek Jansen

In research, a research question is a clear and specific inquiry that the researcher wants to answer, while a research hypothesis is a tentative statement or prediction about the relationship between variables or the expected outcome of the study. Research questions are broader and guide the overall study, while hypotheses are specific and testable statements used in quantitative research. Research questions identify the problem, while hypotheses provide a focus for testing in the study.

Saen Fanai

Exactly what I need in this research journey, I look forward to more of your coaching videos.

Abubakar Rofiat Opeyemi

This helped a lot. Thanks so much for the effort put into explaining it.

Lamin Tarawally

What data source in writing dissertation/Thesis requires?

What is data source covers when writing dessertation/thesis

Latifat Muhammed

This is quite useful thanks


I’m excited and thankful. I got so much value which will help me progress in my thesis.

Amer Al-Rashid

where are the locations of the reserch statement, research objective and research question in a reserach paper? Can you write an ouline that defines their places in the researh paper?


Very helpful and important tips on Aims, Objectives and Questions.

Refiloe Raselane

Thank you so much for making research aim, research objectives and research question so clear. This will be helpful to me as i continue with my thesis.

Annabelle Roda-Dafielmoto

Thanks much for this content. I learned a lot. And I am inspired to learn more. I am still struggling with my preparation for dissertation outline/proposal. But I consistently follow contents and tutorials and the new FB of GRAD Coach. Hope to really become confident in writing my dissertation and successfully defend it.


As a researcher and lecturer, I find splitting research goals into research aims, objectives, and questions is unnecessarily bureaucratic and confusing for students. For most biomedical research projects, including ‘real research’, 1-3 research questions will suffice (numbers may differ by discipline).


Awesome! Very important resources and presented in an informative way to easily understand the golden thread. Indeed, thank you so much.


Well explained

New Growth Care Group

The blog article on research aims, objectives, and questions by Grad Coach is a clear and insightful guide that aligns with my experiences in academic research. The article effectively breaks down the often complex concepts of research aims and objectives, providing a straightforward and accessible explanation. Drawing from my own research endeavors, I appreciate the practical tips offered, such as the need for specificity and clarity when formulating research questions. The article serves as a valuable resource for students and researchers, offering a concise roadmap for crafting well-defined research goals and objectives. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced researcher, this article provides practical insights that contribute to the foundational aspects of a successful research endeavor.


A great thanks for you. it is really amazing explanation. I grasp a lot and one step up to research knowledge.


I really found these tips helpful. Thank you very much Grad Coach.

Rahma D.

I found this article helpful. Thanks for sharing this.


thank you so much, the explanation and examples are really helpful

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Make sure that your selected topic is intriguing, manageable, and relevant. Here are some guidelines to help understand how to find a good dissertation topic.

To help students organise their dissertation proposal paper correctly, we have put together detailed guidelines on how to structure a dissertation proposal.

Struggling to find relevant and up-to-date topics for your dissertation? Here is all you need to know if unsure about how to choose dissertation topic.






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What is a research question?

A research question is an essential tool to help guide your research paper, project, or thesis. It poses a specific question that you are seeking to answer in your paper. Research questions can be broad or narrow, and can change throughout the research process.

A good research question should be:

  • Focused on a single issue
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly in your paper
  • Feasible to answer within the length of your paper
  • Researchable using the resources available to you
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or to society at large

The length of your paper and the research you're able to locate will help to shape your research question. A longer paper, like a thesis or dissertation, may require multiple research questions.

The answer to your research question develops into your thesis statement .

Writing Your Research Question

Chose a Topic

You should choose a research topic that is interesting to you. This will make the research and writing process much more bearable.

A good way to begin brainstorming research questions is to list all the questions you would like to see answered, or topics you would like to learn more about. You may have been provided a list of potential topics by your professor, if none are interesting to you ask if you can develop your own.

It is better to start broad and narrow down your focus as you go.

Do Preliminary Research

graphic depicting an upside down triangle showing the process of narrowing a research subject

Reference materials like encyclopedias can also be good for this purpose.

Narrow Your Topic

Now that you have a basic idea of what research exists on your topic, you can begin to narrow your focus.

Make sure that your question is specific enough that it can be answered thoroughly in the length of your paper.

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Research Questions: Types and Research Question Examples

The complete guide to research questions, including examples and sample research questions.

Research questions are critical components of any scientific investigation, guiding researchers toward focused preliminary research and assisting them in producing significant results. They provide a clear direction and purpose for the research paper and serve as the cornerstone.

In this article, we will discuss the significance of research questions and present 27 examples from diverse fields to demonstrate their variety and application.

What are the research questions?

Research questions are defined as fundamental questions that facilitate a research project, a research study, a dissertation, a thesis, or a review. It allows researchers to collect relevant information to narrow the study's purpose and solve the research problem.

Asking appropriate research questions is the most crucial step in market research projects. You can use the insights from your own research questions to determine the path of the study. These insights also play an essential role in conducting a survey, analyzing obtained data, and reporting the analyzed information.

Choosing the right research questions helps you decide whether qualitative and quantitative research methods are best. The main objective of your research and the research theme define the type of qualitative or quantitative research questions you use.

The target audience and kind of research you're conducting also play significant roles. Below are a few research question ideas and good research question examples.

27 Research questions examples

To develop research questions for your academic research or marketing study, you must understand the types of questions available. Let's look at examples of research questions and sample research questions in general. Use these existing methods or research question examples to build beautiful surveys.

01. Open-ended research question

Open-ended questions are widely used in qualitative research and are common examples of qualitative research questions. Open-ended questions capture open responses from a research audience and open the door for text-based analysis of the data you receive.

This type of question forms the foundation of online qualitative research conducted using surveys and questionnaires.

Below is an example of an open-ended research question:


02. Multiple choice research question

Researchers use multiple-choice research questions to capture single or multiple responses from your research audience. They typically use these market research questions when conducting poll-based research, where the audience needs to select multiple responses to one problem. It can also be used with single-select answers to limit the number of answers a respondent can choose.

Below is an example of a multiple-choice research question with a single-select answer option:


03. Rank order scaling research question

This is a ranking-type question that offers multiple answer options. The participant selects answers in order of preference. Researchers usually use these research questions to understand respondents' opinions on preferred brands or products.

You can use data from rank order questions to determine which product a respondent prefers, even if they enjoy multiple products. For example, someone may like chocolates, cakes, and candy, but which do they like the most?

Rank-order scaling questions are the right research questions to determine which dessert is most loved by the respondent.

Below is a typical example of rank order:


04. Rating scale research question

Rating scale research questions capture responses based on a continuous scale rather than individual points. It is often used in medical research visual analog scales or pain scales, where patients need to rate their pain level. Another example would be a typical experience-based rating scale, like the example below.


05. Net promoter score question

Brands typically use a Net Promoter Score question to evaluate customer loyalty and brand recommendations. This question type is prevalent in consumer research, where this single question can provide numeric insights into the customer experience.

The data collected from Net Promoter Score questions allows you to see how many of your brand's followers are actively promoting your brand. You also get insight into how many are actively not recommending your products. For example, respondents answer this question on a scale of 0-10:


As per their rankings, respondents are classified under either of the three groups: Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8), and Promoters (9-10).

06. Likert scale research question

The Likert scale question presents a psychometric scale with different answer options such as agree/disagree, very frequently/not very often, important/unimportant, and other similar polarizing nature questions. Generally divided into even and odd Likert scale questions, they are highly popular with researchers due to the accuracy of their results.


07. Semantic differential scale research question

A semantic differential scale question quantifies the feelings and opinions of a respondent. This question type uses a multiple-point rating scale to understand better the respondent's feelings on a particular service, brand, organization, or product. The scale features polarized opinions on either end, with a neutral option in the middle.


08. Stapel scale research question

It is a unipolar research question with a +5 to -5 rating scale for the respondents to rate a single factor. These questions often involve offering the respondent an adjective or trait in conjunction with a brand or product. The respondent uses the scale to determine whether the attribute accurately or inaccurately describes the brand, product, or organization.


09. Constant sum research question

A numeric answer question allows a researcher to collect ratio data about the answer options' factors. Respondents can assign a particular value to an entity, and the other entities can be comparatively rated.


10. Demographic research question

Demographic questions are based on a person's age, gender, family income, race, ethnicity, education, and other defining factors. Research about whether a specific product will be effective with a particular age or gender group can be carried out using demographic research questions.


11. Matrix table research question

It is a multiple-choice, close-ended question where multiple parameters are rated using the same column answer options. Matrix questions work similarly to any other scale questions but allow for more efficient use of space. Instead of asking five questions about the quality of different customer experiences, you can use just one question to capture the data.


12. Side-by-side matrix research question

Side-by-side matrix research questions allow the respondent to rate multiple variables at once. Like a single matrix, these research questions will enable you to compact your survey. However, you mustn't overload respondents with too many matrix questions, as they require more thought to answer. It can lead to high dropout rates.


13. Static content question

This question is an option for the researchers to include descriptive research questions such as presentation text, heading, or subheading. Static content isn't technically a question, as it is used for display purposes only. Instead, your static content can provide participants with important information about a section or your survey.


14. Miscellaneous question

Miscellaneous questions allow you to ask questions that don't fit into another category. Some types of demographic or categorizing questions are best used as miscellaneous questions.


15. Visual analog scale question

A visual analog scale is used to analyze pain levels among patients and generally evaluate characteristics across a constant range of values. It gives a picture or graphic that depicts various feelings on a scale. The respondent uses the images to help determine where they fall on the scale.


16. Image chooser-type question

Images are perfect tools to enhance user experience and, in turn, increase response rates for research. Image research questions help make your survey more visually appealing while decreasing the time a respondent needs to answer a question. Using select one, select many, or image rating matrix question options prompts several respondents to reply to the research survey.


17. Data reference question

Reference data research questions are used to accumulate or approve zip code data against standardized data.


18. Upload data question

Respondents can upload images, digital signatures, or videos with their research responses. Upload data questions are the right research questions for collecting signatures or accepting submissions.


19. Choice model question

Conjoint analysis and Maximum Difference questions fall under the category of choice model research questions. Conjoint analysis is used to understand respondent preferences about two or more entities. Maximum Difference is used to rate up to 30 factors such as features, interests, the scope of improvement, or the potential positioning of an upcoming product.


20. Dichotomous research question

These question types have Yes/No/Maybe, True/False, and Agree/Disagree answer options. Using them extensively in research is not advised due to the limited insights received.


21. Leading research question

A leading question is a market research question that pushes respondents to answer a particular question in a specific manner based on how they are framed. Leading questions often already contain information that the survey creator wants to confirm rather than try to get a correct and unbiased answer to that question.

22. Text slider research question

A text slider research question is a rating scale question type that uses an interactive slider to select the most appropriate option. Rating scales are often used to measure the direction and intensity of attitudes. The scale is well-defined and increases at an equal rate.


23. Push to the social research question

Push to social research questions allows respondents to share positive reviews or feedback on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This question creates a positive feeling about your brand on social media. Alternatively, this can be effectively used to collect and address negative feedback before it goes out on social media.


24. Max diff research question

Max Diff is a question type where respondents are given a set of attributes and asked to indicate the best and worst. In this research question type, there is only one of each option in the final response. For example, if a bank wants to understand payment merchants' preferences, the question can be asked in the following format.


25. Van Westendorp-price sensitivity research Question

The Van Westendorp-Price Sensitivity is a technique for market researchers to gauge consumer perceptions of products or services' value. It helps in understanding the need to tweak the price and offering. For example, if a software product manufacturer wants to know how to price a product, the following question could be asked:


26. Date/time research question

The date/Time research question type allows for collecting date/time information filled in by a respondent. For example, the following question can answer questions about the date of birth.


27. CAPTCHA research question

This research question type limits the number of phony responses in a survey or data collection by automated computer programs.


Importance of using the right research questions

When a research program is initiated, it requires a channel to accurately collect data for the study. Research questions form this channel and help a researcher to kick-start the research.

As the research continues, these questions are molded according to the original insights, which shape a practical study. Your first research questions may not be the final step in the research process, but they are the first to build your research hypothesis.

The importance of research questions can be highly subjective. For some researchers, formulating research questions might be necessary because they provide insights into essential decision-making factors.

Or example, a focused research question could give you vital data about funding needs or how to find the right resources to reach business goals.

How to write a research question to capture accurate information

What are the good research questions? Specific research questions are much more useful than template questions. Follow these six steps to learn how to write questions for research:

  • Select a broad research topic that interests the target audience: You must choose an intriguing topic to target respondents. Interesting research topics encourage respondents to complete the survey on time. The problem should be vague enough that you can create plenty of the right research questions. You don't want your topic to be so specific that you can't produce enough questions to gather the needed data.
  • Conduct rough research on your topic: Conduct primary research to analyze what information is available and what can be explored. This way, you can decide which case is most likely to achieve the best results based on what data is not currently available.
  • Keep the target audience in mind: You must keep your target audience in mind and slowly narrow your research to a topic that caters to a particular set of people. It will help gather precise research information to make products and services customer-centric and boost your business.
  • Frame appropriate questions: Draft a research questionnaire with open-ended and closed-ended questions to help you get the necessary information. You can use question framing to help you get the most information out of a respondent. For example, offer an open-ended and closed-ended questions about one particular product next to one another in your survey.
  • Analyze these research questions: Once the questions are framed and ready to be sent out, you must analyze the questions' effectiveness. If there is room for improvement, these questions need to be revisited and reframed.
  • Brainstorm the possible outcomes: After creating appropriate questions, you can map out your questions' potential responses. What types of answers are you expecting? Will they support your current plan? If not, what changes can you make to serve customers better based on their responses? This step helps prepare everyone involved in the survey and data analysis of a potential plan of action based on the study's top possible outcomes.

Three points to remember while writing research questions: Ordering your questions is vital to give a sense of flow to the survey. Always rank your items from simple concepts to more complex ones. Here are tips on how to write a research question.

  • Right research questions start with a problem that needs to be solved.
  • Research questions must be engaging enough for customers or employees to invest their time. At the same time, your questions need to provide data that can actually be used to better your brand or organization.
  • Your questions should be straightforward to understand. It helps keep respondents engaged while also collecting the most accurate answers. If a respondent doesn't understand a problem, they may back out of the survey or choose an answer randomly.

What are examples of good research questions?

Clear, specific, pertinent, and capable of producing new knowledge with existing knowledge or insights are all characteristics of good research questions. Here are a few examples of good research questions from many disciplines:

  • Question: What specifications would you like us to launch with our next mobile phone? The reason why it is a good research question: The question asks about a specific product. It will give respondents room to explain what they expect from an upcoming product.
  • Question: What steps do you suggest to tackle the current situation of world poverty? The reason why it is a good research question: This question is simply put in practical terms so that the respondents can reply honestly to this open-ended question.
  • Question: Among all our products, which one do you think is the most successful? The reason why it is a good research question: By asking respondents which product they think is most successful, you gain valuable insight into the perception of your various products.
  • Question: How can online users deal with trolls on social networking websites? The reason why it is a broad research question: These are focused research questions that are well-constructed and understandable.
  • Question: As a customer, what qualities in an organization appeal to you, and what can be done to make you stay loyal? The reason why it is a broad research question: The reason why it is a good research question: This question is complicated yet conveys the message.

It is important to ensure that research questions are specific, relevant, and attainable. Researchers can then begin with relevant questions that have the potential to make significant improvements to their respective professions.


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Capstone and PICO Project Toolkit

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Defining the Question: Foreground & Background Questions

In order to most appropriately choose an information resource and craft a search strategy, it is necessary to consider what  kind  of question you are asking: a specific, narrow "foreground" question, or a broader background question that will help give context to your research?

Foreground Questions

A "foreground" question in health research is one that is relatively specific, and is usually best addressed by locating primary research evidence. 

Using a structured question framework can help you clearly define the concepts or variables that make up the specific research question. 

 Across most frameworks, you’ll often be considering:

  • a who (who was studied - a population or sample)
  • a what (what was done or examined - an intervention, an exposure, a policy, a program, a phenomenon)
  • a how ([how] did the [what] affect the [who] - an outcome, an effect). 

PICO is the most common framework for developing a clinical research question, but multiple question frameworks exist.

PICO (Problem/Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome)

Appropriate for : clinical questions, often addressing the effect of an intervention/therapy/treatment

Example : For adolescents with type II diabetes (P) does the use of telehealth consultations (I) compared to in-person consultations  (C) improve blood sugar control  (O)?

Framing Different Types of Clinical Questions with PICO

Different types of clinical questions are suited to different syntaxes and phrasings, but all will clearly define the PICO elements.  The definitions and frames below may be helpful for organizing your question:


Questions addressing how a clinical issue, illness, or disability is treated.

"In__________________(P), how does__________________(I) compared to_________________(C) affect______________(O)?"

Questions that address the causes or origin of disease, the factors which produce or predispose toward a certain disease or disorder.

"Are_________________(P), who have_________________(I) compared with those without_________________(C) at_________________risk for/of_________________(O) over_________________(T)?" 

Questions addressing the act or process of identifying or determining the nature and cause of a disease or injury through evaluation.

In_________________(P) are/is_________________(I) compared with_________________(C) more accurate in diagnosing_________________(O)?


Questions addressing the prediction of the course of a disease.

In_________________(P), how does_________________(I) compared to_________________ (C) influence_________________(O)?

Questions addressing how one experiences a phenomenon or why we need to approach practice differently.

"How do_________________(P) with_________________(I) perceive_________________(O)?" 

Adapted from: Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2011). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Beyond PICO: Other Types of Question Frameworks

PICO is a useful framework for clinical research questions, but may not be appropriate for all kinds of reviews.  Also consider:

PEO (Population, Exposure, Outcome)

Appropriate for : describing association between particular exposures/risk factors and outcomes

Example : How do  preparation programs (E) influence the development of teaching competence  (O) among novice nurse educators  (P)?

SPIDER (Sample, Phenomenon of Interest, Design, Evaluation, Research Type)

Appropriate for : questions of experience or perspectives (questions that may be addressed by qualitative or mixed methods research)

Example : What are the experiences and perspectives (E) of  undergraduate nursing students  (S)  in clinical placements within prison healthcare settings (PI)?

SPICE (Setting, Perspective, Intervention/phenomenon of Interest, Comparison, Evaluation)

Appropriate for : evaluating the outcomes of a service, project, or intervention

Example : What are the impacts and best practices for workplace (S) transition support programs (I) for the retention (E) of newly-hired, new graduate nurses (P)?

PCC (Problem/population, Concept, Context)

Appropriate for : broader (scoping) questions

Example : How do nursing schools  (Context) teach, measure, and maintain nursing students ' (P)  technological literacy  (Concept))throughout their educational programs?

Background Questions

To craft a strong and reasonable foreground research question, it is important to have a firm understanding of the concepts of interest.  As such, it is often necessary to ask background questions, which ask for more general, foundational knowledge about a disorder, disease, patient population, policy issue, etc. 

For example, consider the PICO question outlined above:

"For adolescents with type II diabetes does the use of telehealth consultations compared to in-person consultations  improve blood sugar control ?

To best make sense of the literature that might address this PICO question, you would also need a deep understanding of background questions like:

  • What are the unique barriers or challenges related to blood sugar management in adolescents with TII diabetes?
  • What are the measures of effective blood sugar control?
  • What kinds of interventions would fall under the umbrella of 'telehealth'?
  • What are the qualitative differences in patient experience in telehealth versus in-person interactions with healthcare providers?
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  • Research Questions: Definitions, Types + [Examples]


Research questions lie at the core of systematic investigation and this is because recording accurate research outcomes is tied to asking the right questions. Asking the right questions when conducting research can help you collect relevant and insightful information that ultimately influences your work, positively. 

The right research questions are typically easy to understand, straight to the point, and engaging. In this article, we will share tips on how to create the right research questions and also show you how to create and administer an online questionnaire with Formplus . 

What is a Research Question? 

A research question is a specific inquiry which the research seeks to provide a response to. It resides at the core of systematic investigation and it helps you to clearly define a path for the research process. 

A research question is usually the first step in any research project. Basically, it is the primary interrogation point of your research and it sets the pace for your work.  

Typically, a research question focuses on the research, determines the methodology and hypothesis, and guides all stages of inquiry, analysis, and reporting. With the right research questions, you will be able to gather useful information for your investigation. 

Types of Research Questions 

Research questions are broadly categorized into 2; that is, qualitative research questions and quantitative research questions. Qualitative and quantitative research questions can be used independently and co-dependently in line with the overall focus and objectives of your research. 

If your research aims at collecting quantifiable data , you will need to make use of quantitative research questions. On the other hand, qualitative questions help you to gather qualitative data bothering on the perceptions and observations of your research subjects. 

Qualitative Research Questions  

A qualitative research question is a type of systematic inquiry that aims at collecting qualitative data from research subjects. The aim of qualitative research questions is to gather non-statistical information pertaining to the experiences, observations, and perceptions of the research subjects in line with the objectives of the investigation. 

Types of Qualitative Research Questions  

  • Ethnographic Research Questions

As the name clearly suggests, ethnographic research questions are inquiries presented in ethnographic research. Ethnographic research is a qualitative research approach that involves observing variables in their natural environments or habitats in order to arrive at objective research outcomes. 

These research questions help the researcher to gather insights into the habits, dispositions, perceptions, and behaviors of research subjects as they interact in specific environments. 

Ethnographic research questions can be used in education, business, medicine, and other fields of study, and they are very useful in contexts aimed at collecting in-depth and specific information that are peculiar to research variables. For instance, asking educational ethnographic research questions can help you understand how pedagogy affects classroom relations and behaviors. 

This type of research question can be administered physically through one-on-one interviews, naturalism (live and work), and participant observation methods. Alternatively, the researcher can ask ethnographic research questions via online surveys and questionnaires created with Formplus.  

Examples of Ethnographic Research Questions

  • Why do you use this product?
  • Have you noticed any side effects since you started using this drug?
  • Does this product meet your needs?


  • Case Studies

A case study is a qualitative research approach that involves carrying out a detailed investigation into a research subject(s) or variable(s). In the course of a case study, the researcher gathers a range of data from multiple sources of information via different data collection methods, and over a period of time. 

The aim of a case study is to analyze specific issues within definite contexts and arrive at detailed research subject analyses by asking the right questions. This research method can be explanatory, descriptive , or exploratory depending on the focus of your systematic investigation or research. 

An explanatory case study is one that seeks to gather information on the causes of real-life occurrences. This type of case study uses “how” and “why” questions in order to gather valid information about the causative factors of an event. 

Descriptive case studies are typically used in business researches, and they aim at analyzing the impact of changing market dynamics on businesses. On the other hand, exploratory case studies aim at providing answers to “who” and “what” questions using data collection tools like interviews and questionnaires. 

Some questions you can include in your case studies are: 

  • Why did you choose our services?
  • How has this policy affected your business output?
  • What benefits have you recorded since you started using our product?


An interview is a qualitative research method that involves asking respondents a series of questions in order to gather information about a research subject. Interview questions can be close-ended or open-ended , and they prompt participants to provide valid information that is useful to the research. 

An interview may also be structured, semi-structured , or unstructured , and this further influences the types of questions they include. Structured interviews are made up of more close-ended questions because they aim at gathering quantitative data while unstructured interviews consist, primarily, of open-ended questions that allow the researcher to collect qualitative information from respondents. 

You can conduct interview research by scheduling a physical meeting with respondents, through a telephone conversation, and via digital media and video conferencing platforms like Skype and Zoom. Alternatively, you can use Formplus surveys and questionnaires for your interview. 

Examples of interview questions include: 

  • What challenges did you face while using our product?
  • What specific needs did our product meet?
  • What would you like us to improve our service delivery?


Quantitative Research Questions

Quantitative research questions are questions that are used to gather quantifiable data from research subjects. These types of research questions are usually more specific and direct because they aim at collecting information that can be measured; that is, statistical information. 

Types of Quantitative Research Questions

  • Descriptive Research Questions

Descriptive research questions are inquiries that researchers use to gather quantifiable data about the attributes and characteristics of research subjects. These types of questions primarily seek responses that reveal existing patterns in the nature of the research subjects. 

It is important to note that descriptive research questions are not concerned with the causative factors of the discovered attributes and characteristics. Rather, they focus on the “what”; that is, describing the subject of the research without paying attention to the reasons for its occurrence. 

Descriptive research questions are typically closed-ended because they aim at gathering definite and specific responses from research participants. Also, they can be used in customer experience surveys and market research to collect information about target markets and consumer behaviors. 

Descriptive Research Question Examples

  • How often do you make use of our fitness application?
  • How much would you be willing to pay for this product?


  • Comparative Research Questions

A comparative research question is a type of quantitative research question that is used to gather information about the differences between two or more research subjects across different variables. These types of questions help the researcher to identify distinct features that mark one research subject from the other while highlighting existing similarities. 

Asking comparative research questions in market research surveys can provide insights on how your product or service matches its competitors. In addition, it can help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your product for a better competitive advantage.  

The 5 steps involved in the framing of comparative research questions are: 

  • Choose your starting phrase
  • Identify and name the dependent variable
  • Identify the groups you are interested in
  • Identify the appropriate adjoining text
  • Write out the comparative research question

Comparative Research Question Samples 

  • What are the differences between a landline telephone and a smartphone?
  • What are the differences between work-from-home and on-site operations?


  • Relationship-based Research Questions  

Just like the name suggests, a relationship-based research question is one that inquires into the nature of the association between two research subjects within the same demographic. These types of research questions help you to gather information pertaining to the nature of the association between two research variables. 

Relationship-based research questions are also known as correlational research questions because they seek to clearly identify the link between 2 variables. 

Read: Correlational Research Designs: Types, Examples & Methods

Examples of relationship-based research questions include: 

  • What is the relationship between purchasing power and the business site?
  • What is the relationship between the work environment and workforce turnover?


Examples of a Good Research Question

Since research questions lie at the core of any systematic investigations, it is important to know how to frame a good research question. The right research questions will help you to gather the most objective responses that are useful to your systematic investigation. 

A good research question is one that requires impartial responses and can be answered via existing sources of information. Also, a good research question seeks answers that actively contribute to a body of knowledge; hence, it is a question that is yet to be answered in your specific research context.

  • Open-Ended Questions

 An open-ended question is a type of research question that does not restrict respondents to a set of premeditated answer options. In other words, it is a question that allows the respondent to freely express his or her perceptions and feelings towards the research subject. 

Examples of Open-ended Questions

  • How do you deal with stress in the workplace?
  • What is a typical day at work like for you?
  • Close-ended Questions

A close-ended question is a type of survey question that restricts respondents to a set of predetermined answers such as multiple-choice questions . Close-ended questions typically require yes or no answers and are commonly used in quantitative research to gather numerical data from research participants. 

Examples of Close-ended Questions

  • Did you enjoy this event?
  • How likely are you to recommend our services?
  • Very Likely
  • Somewhat Likely
  • Likert Scale Questions

A Likert scale question is a type of close-ended question that is structured as a 3-point, 5-point, or 7-point psychometric scale . This type of question is used to measure the survey respondent’s disposition towards multiple variables and it can be unipolar or bipolar in nature. 

Example of Likert Scale Questions

  • How satisfied are you with our service delivery?
  • Very dissatisfied
  • Not satisfied
  • Very satisfied
  • Rating Scale Questions

A rating scale question is a type of close-ended question that seeks to associate a specific qualitative measure (rating) with the different variables in research. It is commonly used in customer experience surveys, market research surveys, employee reviews, and product evaluations. 

Example of Rating Questions

  • How would you rate our service delivery?

  Examples of a Bad Research Question

Knowing what bad research questions are would help you avoid them in the course of your systematic investigation. These types of questions are usually unfocused and often result in research biases that can negatively impact the outcomes of your systematic investigation. 

  • Loaded Questions

A loaded question is a question that subtly presupposes one or more unverified assumptions about the research subject or participant. This type of question typically boxes the respondent in a corner because it suggests implicit and explicit biases that prevent objective responses. 

Example of Loaded Questions

  • Have you stopped smoking?
  • Where did you hide the money?
  • Negative Questions

A negative question is a type of question that is structured with an implicit or explicit negator. Negative questions can be misleading because they upturn the typical yes/no response order by requiring a negative answer for affirmation and an affirmative answer for negation. 

Examples of Negative Questions

  • Would you mind dropping by my office later today?
  • Didn’t you visit last week?
  • Leading Questions  

A l eading question is a type of survey question that nudges the respondent towards an already-determined answer. It is highly suggestive in nature and typically consists of biases and unverified assumptions that point toward its premeditated responses. 

Examples of Leading Questions

  • If you enjoyed this service, would you be willing to try out our other packages?
  • Our product met your needs, didn’t it?
Read More: Leading Questions: Definition, Types, and Examples

How to Use Formplus as Online Research Questionnaire Tool  

With Formplus, you can create and administer your online research questionnaire easily. In the form builder, you can add different form fields to your questionnaire and edit these fields to reflect specific research questions for your systematic investigation. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create an online research questionnaire with Formplus: 

  • Sign in to your Formplus accoun t, then click on the “create new form” button in your dashboard to access the Form builder.

research question for projects

  • In the form builder, add preferred form fields to your online research questionnaire by dragging and dropping them into the form. Add a title to your form in the title block. You can edit form fields by clicking on the “pencil” icon on the right corner of each form field.


  • Save the form to access the customization section of the builder. Here, you can tweak the appearance of your online research questionnaire by adding background images, changing the form font, and adding your organization’s logo.


  • Finally, copy your form link and share it with respondents. You can also use any of the multiple sharing options available.

research question for projects


The success of your research starts with framing the right questions to help you collect the most valid and objective responses. Be sure to avoid bad research questions like loaded and negative questions that can be misleading and adversely affect your research data and outcomes. 

Your research questions should clearly reflect the aims and objectives of your systematic investigation while laying emphasis on specific contexts. To help you seamlessly gather responses for your research questions, you can create an online research questionnaire on Formplus.  


Connect to Formplus, Get Started Now - It's Free!

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Research Skills for Students

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  • The Purpose of a Research Question
  • Narrowing Your Topic
  • Regular Questions VS Research Questions

Both professional researchers and successful student researchers develop research questions. That’s because research questions are more than handy tools; they are essential to the research process. By defining exactly what the researcher is trying to find out, these questions influence most of the rest of the steps taken to conduct the research. That’s true even if the research is not for academic purposes but for other areas of our lives.

For instance, if you’re seeking information about a health problem in order to learn whether you have anything to worry about, research questions will make it possible for you to more effectively decide whether to seek medical help–and how quickly.

Or, if you’re researching a potential employer, having developed and used research questions will mean you’re able to more confidently decide whether to apply for an internship or job there. The confidence you’ll have when making such decisions will come from knowing that the information they’re based on was gathered by conscious thought rather than serendipity and whim.

Red bird indicating self-assessment exercise.

For many students, having to start with a research question is the biggest difference between how they did research in secondary school and how they are required to carry out their college research projects.

It’s a process of working from the outside in: you start with the world of all possible topics (or your assigned topic) and narrow down until you’ve focused your interest enough to be able to tell precisely what you want to find out, instead of only what you want to “write about.”


All Possible Topics  – You’ll need to narrow your topic in order to do research effectively. Without specific areas of focus, it will be hard to even know where to begin.

Assigned Topics  – Ideas about a narrower topic can come from anywhere. Often, a narrower topic boils down to deciding what’s interesting to you. One way to get ideas is to read background information in a source like Wikipedia.

Topic Narrowed by Initial Exploration  – It’s wise to do some more reading about that narrower topic to a) learn more about it and b) learn specialized terms used by professionals and scholars who study it.

Topic Narrowed to Research Question(s)  – A research question defines exactly what you are trying to find out. It will influence most of the steps you take to conduct the research.

  • Narrowing your topic quiz Test your topic narrowing skills!

Are research questions any different from most of the questions for which we seek information?

See how they’re different by looking over the examples of both kinds below.

EXAMPLES:  Regular vs. Research Questions

Regular Question:  What can I do about my insomnia?

Research Question:  How do flights more than 16 hours long affect the reflexes of commercial jet pilots?

Regular Question:  What is Mers?

Research Question:  How could decision making about whether to declare a pandemic be improved?

Regular Question:  Does MLA style recommend the use of generic male pronouns intended to refer to both males and females?

Research Question:  How do age, gender, IQ, and socioeconomic status affect whether students interpret generic male pronouns as referring to both males and females?

Developing a Research Question

The Influence of a Research Question

  • Watch this Video

For academic purposes, you may have to develop research questions to carry out both large and small assignments. A smaller assignment may be to do research for a class discussion or to, say, write a blog post for a class; larger assignments may have you conduct research and then report it in a lab report, poster, term paper, or article. For large projects, the research question (or questions) you develop will define or at least heavily influence:

  • Your  topic , in that research questions effectively narrow the topic you’ve first chosen or been assigned by your instructor.
  • What, if any,  hypotheses  you test.
  • Which  information sources  are relevant to your project.
  • Which  research methods  are appropriate.
  • What  claims  you can make or  conclusions  you can come to as a result of your research, including what  thesis statement  you should write for a term paper or what  results section  you should write about the data you collected in your own science or social science study


Influence on a Thesis

Within an essay, poster, or term paper, the thesis is the researcher’s answer to the research question(s). So as you develop research questions, you are effectively specifying what any thesis in your project will be about. While perhaps many research questions could have come from your original topic, your question states exactly which one(s) your thesis will be answering.

For example

A topic that starts out as “desert symbiosis” could eventually lead to a research question that is “how does the diversity of bacteria in the gut of the Sonoran Desert termite contribute to the termite’s survival?” In turn, the researcher’s thesis will answer that particular research question instead of the numerous other questions that could have come from the desert symbiosis topic. Developing research questions is all part of a process that leads to greater and greater specificity for your project.

TIP: Don’t Make These Mistakes

Sometimes students inexperienced at working with research questions confuse them with the search statements they will type into the search box of a search engine or database when looking for sources for their project. Or, they confuse research questions with the thesis statement they will write when they report their research.

Red bird indicating self-assessment activity.

The steps for developing a research question, listed below, can help you organize your thoughts.

Step 1: Pick a topic (or consider the one assigned to you).

Step 2: Write a narrower/smaller topic that is related to the first.

Step 3: List some potential questions that could logically be asked in relation to the narrow topic.

Step 4: Pick the question that you are most interested in.

Step 5: Change that question you’re interested in so that it is more focused.


MOVIE:  Developing Research Questions

As you view this short video on how to develop research questions, think about the steps. Which step do you think is easiest? Which do you think is hardest?

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Research leap

Developing a research question: The key to a successful research project

If you are embarking on a research project, the first step is to develop a clear and effective research question. A well-crafted research question serves as a guide for your project and ensures its success. In this article, we will discuss the best practices for crafting a research question that will help you develop a successful research project.

Understand the Purpose of a Research Question

Before we dive into the process of developing a research question, it’s important to understand its purpose. A research question is the foundation of your project. It helps you to focus your research, determine your methodology, and evaluate your findings. A good research question should be specific, clear, and answerable.

Brainstorm Ideas

The first step in developing a research question is to brainstorm ideas. Start by identifying the general topic or area of interest for your research project. Write down any questions that come to mind related to your topic. Try to think of questions that are open-ended and can be answered through research.

Narrow Your Focus

Once you have a list of potential research questions, it’s time to narrow your focus. Consider the scope of your project , the available resources, and your research interests. Narrow your list down to one or two questions that are specific enough to guide your research but broad enough to allow for a comprehensive analysis.

Conduct a Literature Review

Before finalizing your research question, it’s important to conduct a literature review . A literature review helps you to identify the existing research in your field and assess the gaps in the research. It also helps you to refine your research question and ensure that it is relevant and answerable.

Refine Your Research Question

Based on your literature review, you may need to refine your research question. Consider the following questions:

Does your research question address a gap in the existing research?

Is your research question specific enough to guide your research?

Can your research question be answered through research?

Make sure your research question is clear, concise, and answerable.

Test Your Research Question

Once you have a refined research question, it’s time to test it. Share your research question with colleagues or peers in your field and ask for feedback. Consider the following questions:

Does your research question make sense?

Is your research question relevant to your field?

Is your research question answerable through research?

Based on the feedback you receive, you may need to refine your research question further.

Use Your Research Question to Guide Your Project

Once you have a clear and effective research question, use it to guide your project. Your research question should serve as a guide for your methodology, data collection, and analysis . It should also be used to evaluate your findings and draw conclusions.

Developing a clear and effective research question is the key to a successful research project. A well-crafted research question helps you to focus your research, determine your methodology, and evaluate your findings. By following these best practices for crafting a research question, you can ensure that your project is relevant, answerable, and successful. So, take the time to develop a clear and effective research question, and use it to guide your project to success.

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EPQs: designing your research question

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an opportunity for you to work independently on a topic that really interests you or that you think is important. It is equivalent to an A-level qualification. These articles are designed to help you if you are enrolled on an EPQ.

Why do research?

Pause for a moment and think about this. You could think about this on your own, or you could talk to friends, colleagues in the same class, or your family.

Perhaps there’s something that you’re already very interested in and you want to take a bit further. It might be that you want to develop skills that will be useful to you at university, such as studying independently, understanding how research works and communicating well. Perhaps it’s as simple as you’d like something to put on your UCAS statement, to show you can be self-motivated and self-managed. It might be that you enjoy finding things out, asking a question no one has asked before and uncovering answers that no one else has found.

All of these are excellent reasons for undertaking an EPQ.

Understanding why you want to do a research project will help you in your first task: designing a research question.

Designing your research question .  

The research process is a cycle (Figure 1): we design a question, we gather some evidence we hope will help us answer that question, we analyse the evidence to find the answer, we communicate with other people about our answer and from that we realise there is probably another question to ask!

An illustration depicting the research process

What makes a good research question ?

Once you have decided on a topic to research, the first step for a dissertation/research review EPQ is to design a good research question.

In other words, how do you move from ‘this is a topic I’m interested in’ to ‘this is the question I want to ask’? 

Alessandra, a Senior Research Fellow in AstrobiologyOU, offers her thoughts on what makes a good research question. As you listen, pick out what you think are her main points.

Alessandra : What makes a good research question? 

Many people would say that it is important to have a research question that deals with the big problems of our time, that impacts on most of the world population, that can provide an answer to some of the big challenges, the big questions. 

Well, I will say that this perspective needs to be reversed. To have a good research question you need to start from what bothers you? What’s your original perspective? 

Where is it that you have an original point of view on the problems? The challenges of our time? It’s only through your voice and your unique point of view that some of the problems, the challenges, can become opportunities.

Doing something  novel  means   asking a question that no one has asked before and finding answers that no one else has found. 

Vague questions are very tricky to answer, especially if your time is limited, so keeping your question  focussed  helps it to be  answerable . 

Leaving  room for development  helps ensure you will stay interested through the process of planning, research, development and review. 

Questions that are open to a  range of perspectives  will give you much more opportunities to develop your skills in presenting arguments and discussing their strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, the question should be  interesting  – for you, of course, but also for those who will read your dissertation or watch your final presentation.

The ‘ten words’ technique and exercise.

Developing a research question is a cycle of refining, considering and re-stating. You will have to go round a few times until you settle on something you’re happy with. One tool you can use to develop a draft research question is ‘ten words’.

EXERCISE: Hold in your mind the thing that you are interested in and, without thinking too much about it, jot down ten words that relate to it.

  • Sevasti’s ten words
  • Ann’s ten words

Sevasti, a microbial ecologist in AstrobiologyOU, wrote down ten words to describe her research interests (Figure 2). A microbial ecologist studies micro-organisms’ relationship with one another and with their environment; in other words, their ecology.

Sevasti cheated a bit – some items on her list are more than a single word – but then she does work on some very complex science!

Photo of Sevasti's ten words in a notepad

Ann is a researcher in science communication and lecturer in astrobiology education. The ten words she chose (Figure 3) look very different to Sevasti’s because they have very different research interests.  

Your ten words will be unique to you and your interests.

To design a draft research question, you could look to how these words could be combined. For example, a question that comes out of Ann’s ten words in Figure 3 might be:  how important were social media to the #blacklivesmatter movement?

Photo of Ann's ten words

Refining your question .

Once you have come up with a draft question, it’s a good idea to share it with others so that you can benefit from their feedback. If you are studying for your EPQ at school, you could ask fellow students or your teacher for feedback; if you’re studying at home, you could ask friends or family.

However, please remember that your EPQ must be your own work and that ideas gathered through conversation must be written from your perspective and cannot be copied from, or written by, another person

Discussing your proposed question can help you be sure it makes sense, and that it really describes what you want to research. Sometimes the comments people make will suggest a different – but still interesting – direction to go in. Sometimes you might disagree with the feedback, or it might prompt you to think so differently about your question that you decide to change it entirely. Remember that this process is a cycle!

The following audio discusses some of the comments Ann received when she asked for feedback. Recall that the first draft of the question was:

How important were social media to the #blacklivesmatter movement?

Having come up with your question, it’s time to start thinking about how we can criticise and improve it to make sure it’s a really good question that meets all the criteria we discussed earlier.

So once you’ve come up with your question, it’s time to discuss the idea with friends, family, teachers. Whoever makes sense to you. It’s about asking if this question makes sense outside your head. 

Can you clearly describe what it is you want to do? What the question is you want to ask? And also think about the questions that people ask you back. There might suggest an interesting different direction or some sub-questions that actually might be more interesting to answer. 

To take a few examples, these are the kinds of questions that colleagues might ask me if I proposed this question. Well OK, which social medium? There are lots of different social media. Is there one that’s more prominent than another and therefore more worth looking at? 

What about the role of the movement? Is this movement different to other campaigns? Are there other social movements I could compare it to, to make the question more interesting? There’s a time element.

Am I thinking about very recent events or events going back a few years? Am I interested in the momentary flowering of a movement? Or the development of a movement? Is there enough evidence for me to be able to answer this question? 

You might say that Black Lives Matter is a relatively recent movement, and therefore there might not be enough material in the research literature. By asking and answering these kinds of questions, you eventually come down and shape your question into a really solid one that’s worth your while answering.

Comments on Ann’s question

Ann received feedback such as:

  • which social medium would you look at?
  • is one social medium more worth looking at; is there one that is more used by young people?
  • is this movement different to other campaigns?
  • are there any other social movements you could compare it to?
  • you haven't mentioned time – are you looking at the last ten months, the last ten years, or what?
  • this is quite a recent social movement – will there be enough evidence?

Thinking about these comments, how would you change the question to meet all the criteria for a good research question? Look back at  ' What makes a good research question '  if you need a reminder.

Ann’s question could be refined to compare different social media-based movements: 

How are young people using social media for activism?: comparing #blacklivesmatter and #FridaysForFuture

This version still covers all of Ann’s interests and is novel, but it’s more answerable because: 

  • it’s more focussed – it considers a specific community (young people) 
  • it contains a range of perspectives (compares two different movements) 

To make it even more answerable, she could make a few more changes; perhaps the question could look at just one kind of social media (say Instagram) and perhaps over just one year (such as 2020). 

How did young people use social media for activism?: comparing the content of Instagram posts on #blacklivesmatter and #FridaysForFuture during 2020 

This version still leaves some room for development. In future, Ann could expand it to look at other social media platforms, other date ranges or other campaigns.

It’s ok to change your mind.

By thinking, discussing and refining, you come to a strong question that you will want to focus on during your EPQ.

But it’s important to remember that questions are never static. As you read more about your topic, gather more evidence and look into the question further, you might change your mind about the topic or want to refine your question even more.

That’s absolutely fine, and it’s a completely normal part of research. As we said earlier, getting to the right question is a cycle of refining, considering and re-stating. Don’t forget to ask for feedback each time – this will help you to reflect on what you are doing and make improvements where needed.

Getting – and giving – feedback .

Although feedback from friends, teachers and colleagues is helpful in improving our work, it can be difficult to deal with. Sometimes it can feel as if people are criticising us personally, rather than commenting on our work.

You will want to receive – and will be asked to give – feedback all the way through the EPQ, from designing your question to writing your dissertation and preparing your presentation, so it’s a good idea to think about how you will cope. 

  • Receiving feedback
  • Giving feedback
  • Start stop continue

Emotional responses to receiving feedback: crying, anger and happiness.

When you  get feedback:

First,  take a breath . Remember all feedback is useful, no matter how it makes you feel the first time you see or hear it.

Read or listen to  all  the feedback before you make any decisions. Good feedback will offer you positive as well as critical comments, but sometimes we have to remind ourselves to look for the positive!

Remember that the people who give feedback aren’t automatically right. Think carefully about what they have said and  weigh their feedback  against what you intended to say or do. If you’re still happy with your decision, it’s your work and you have the final say.

Identify solutions  to the issues people have raised. Could you find more information to back up your points? Could you write from a different point of view to make things clearer? Could you cut out material that is less relevant?

Implement your solutions , then go back to the people who gave you feedback to see if they make sense.

When you’re asked to  give  feedback:

  • focus on the work, not the person
  • be kind, but don’t be afraid to give constructive criticism
  • make specific suggestions about actions the person could take

A delicious-looking sandwich – bacon, lettuce and tomato in toasted bread

  • give one piece of positive feedback. For example:  ‘this is a really clear question … ’
  • give one or more pieces of critical  but constructive  feedback. For example:  ‘but did you mean … here?’  or  ‘it would help me to understand if you talked more about …’
  • give one piece of positive feedback. For example:  ‘I’d like to know more about …’

Another method is the ‘start stop continue’ technique, which is where you suggest one thing they could:

  • start doing
  • continue doing

Speech bubbles showing examples of feedback comments

In this resource, we have looked at the first part of the research cycle – how to design a research question, and how you can refine and improve it through feedback. When you have settled on your research question, you’re ready to move on to the next step: gathering evidence (or data) to help you answer it.  

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Other articles in this series...

EPQs: finding and using evidence

EPQs: finding and using evidence

Finding the evidence that will help you understand a topic or answer a question is an important stage in the research process. And once you have found it, you will need to examine it closely and carefully, to judge how reliable it is and whether it is useful to help you answer your question.

EPQs: writing up your dissertation

EPQs: writing up your dissertation

You have collected and analysed your evidence and considered it in relation to your research question. The next step is to communicate all that you have done. Your dissertation is the element of the EPQ that is read and assessed by others who haven’t been involved in your research.

EPQs: why give a presentation?

EPQs: why give a presentation?

What are the guidelines for the presentation?

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  • Originally published: Wednesday, 3 May 2023
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  • Image 'Photo of Ann's ten words' - Copyright: Ann Grand
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80 fascinating psychology research questions for your next project

Last updated

15 February 2024

Reviewed by

Brittany Ferri, PhD, OTR/L

Psychology research is essential for furthering our understanding of human behavior and improving the diagnosis and treatment of psychological conditions.

When psychologists know more about how different social and cultural factors influence how humans act, think, and feel, they can recommend improvements to practices in areas such as education, sport, healthcare, and law enforcement.

Below, you will find 80 research question examples across 16 branches of psychology. First, though, let’s look at some tips to help you select a suitable research topic.

  • How to choose a good psychology research topic

Psychology has many branches that break down further into topics. Choosing a topic for your psychology research paper can be daunting because there are so many to choose from. It’s an important choice, as the topic you select will open up a range of questions to explore.

The tips below can help you find a psychology research topic that suits your skills and interests.

Tip #1: Select a topic that interests you

Passion and interest should fuel every research project. A topic that fascinates you will most likely interest others as well. Think about the questions you and others might have and decide on the issues that matter most. Draw on your own interests, but also keep your research topical and relevant to others.

Don’t limit yourself to a topic that you already know about. Instead, choose one that will make you want to know more and dig deeper. This will keep you motivated and excited about your research.

Tip #2: Choose a topic with a manageable scope

If your topic is too broad, you can get overwhelmed by the amount of information available and have trouble maintaining focus. On the other hand, you may find it difficult to find enough information if you choose a topic that is too narrow.

To determine if the topic is too broad or too narrow, start researching as early as possible. If you find there’s an overwhelming amount of research material, you’ll probably need to narrow the topic down. For example, instead of researching the general population, it might be easier to focus on a specific age group. Ask yourself what area of the general topic interests you most and focus on that.

If your scope is too narrow, try to generalize or focus on a larger related topic. Expand your search criteria or select additional databases for information. Consider if the topic is too new to have much information published on it as well.

Tip #3: Select a topic that will produce useful and relevant insights

Doing some preliminary research will reveal any existing research on the topic. If there is existing research, will you be able to produce new insights? You might need to focus on a different area or see if the existing research has limitations that you can overcome.

Bear in mind that finding new information from which to draw fresh insights may be impossible if your topic has been over-researched.

You’ll also need to consider whether your topic is relevant to current trends and needs. For example, researching psychology topics related to social media use may be highly relevant today.

  • 80 psychology research topics and questions

Psychology is a broad subject with many branches and potential areas of study. Here are some of them:







Controversial topics

Below we offer some suggestions on research topics and questions that can get you started. Keep in mind that these are not all-inclusive but should be personalized to fit the theme of your paper.

Social psychology research topics and questions

Social psychology has roots as far back as the 18th century. In simple terms, it’s the study of how behavior is influenced by the presence and behavior of others. It is the science of finding out who we are, who we think we are, and how our perceptions affect ourselves and others. It looks at personalities, relationships, and group behavior.

Here are some potential research questions and paper titles for this topic:

How does social media use impact perceptions of body image in male adolescents?

2. Is childhood bullying a risk factor for social anxiety in adults?

Is homophobia in individuals caused by genetic or environmental factors?

What is the most important psychological predictor of a person’s willingness to donate to charity?

Does a person’s height impact how other people perceive them? If so, how?

Cognitive psychology research questions

Cognitive psychology is the branch that focuses on the interactions of thinking, emotion, creativity, and problem-solving. It also explores the reasons humans think the way they do.

This topic involves exploring how people think by measuring intelligence, thoughts, and cognition. 

Here are some research question ideas:

6. Is there a link between chronic stress and memory function?

7. Can certain kinds of music trigger memories in people with memory loss?

8. Do remote meetings impact the efficacy of team decision-making?

9. Do word games and puzzles slow cognitive decline in adults over the age of 80?

10. Does watching television impact a child’s reading ability?

Developmental psychology research questions

Developmental psychology is the study of how humans grow and change over their lifespan. It usually focuses on the social, emotional, and physical development of babies and children, though it can apply to people of all ages. Developmental psychology is important for understanding how we learn, mature, and adapt to changes.

Here are some questions that might inspire your research:

11. Does grief accelerate the aging process?

12. How do parent–child attachment patterns influence the development of emotion regulation in teenagers?

13. Does bilingualism affect cognitive decline in adults over the age of 70?

14. How does the transition to adulthood impact decision-making abilities

15. How does early exposure to music impact mental health and well-being in school-aged children?

Personality psychology research questions

Personality psychology studies personalities, how they develop, their structures, and the processes that define them. It looks at intelligence, disposition, moral beliefs, thoughts, and reactions.

The goal of this branch of psychology is to scientifically interpret the way personality patterns manifest into an individual’s behaviors. Here are some example research questions:

16. Nature vs. nurture: Which impacts personality development the most?

17. The role of genetics on personality: Does an adopted child take on their biological parents’ personality traits?

18. How do personality traits influence leadership styles and effectiveness in organizational settings?

19. Is there a relationship between an individual’s personality and mental health?

20. Can a chronic illness affect your personality?

Abnormal psychology research questions

As the name suggests, abnormal psychology is a branch that focuses on abnormal behavior and psychopathology (the scientific study of mental illness or disorders).

Abnormal behavior can be challenging to define. Who decides what is “normal”? As such, psychologists in this area focus on the level of distress that certain behaviors may cause, although this typically involves studying mental health conditions such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and phobias.

Here are some questions to consider:

21. How does technology impact the development of social anxiety disorder?

22. What are the factors behind the rising incidence of eating disorders in adolescents?

23. Are mindfulness-based interventions effective in the treatment of PTSD?

24. Is there a connection between depression and gambling addiction?

25. Can physical trauma cause psychopathy?

Clinical psychology research questions

Clinical psychology deals with assessing and treating mental illness or abnormal or psychiatric behaviors. It differs from abnormal psychology in that it focuses more on treatments and clinical aspects, while abnormal psychology is more behavioral focused.

This is a specialty area that provides care and treatment for complex mental health conditions. This can include treatment, not only for individuals but for couples, families, and other groups. Clinical psychology also supports communities, conducts research, and offers training to promote mental health. This category is very broad, so there are lots of topics to explore.

Below are some example research questions to consider:

26. Do criminals require more specific therapies or interventions?

27. How effective are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in treating mental health disorders?

28. Are there any disadvantages to humanistic therapy?

29. Can group therapy be more beneficial than one-on-one therapy sessions?

30. What are the factors to consider when selecting the right treatment plan for patients with anxiety?

Experimental psychology research questions

Experimental psychology deals with studies that can prove or disprove a hypothesis. Psychologists in this field use scientific methods to collect data on basic psychological processes such as memory, cognition, and learning. They use this data to test the whys and hows of behavior and how outside factors influence its creation.

Areas of interest in this branch relate to perception, memory, emotion, and sensation. The below are example questions that could inspire your own research:

31. Do male or female parents/carers have a more calming influence on children?

32. Will your preference for a genre of music increase the more you listen to it?

33. What are the psychological effects of posting on social media vs. not posting?

34. How is productivity affected by social connection?

35. Is cheating contagious?

Organizational psychology research questions

Organizational psychology studies human behavior in the workplace. It is most frequently used to evaluate an employee, group, or a company’s organizational dynamics. Researchers aim to isolate issues and identify solutions.

This area of study can be beneficial to both employees and employers since the goal is to improve the overall work environment and experience. Researchers apply psychological principles and findings to recommend improvements in performance, communication, job satisfaction, and safety. 

Some potential research questions include the following:

36. How do different leadership styles affect employee morale?

37. Do longer lunch breaks boost employee productivity?

38. Is gender an antecedent to workplace stress?

39. What is the most effective way to promote work–life balance among employees?

40. How do different organizational structures impact the effectiveness of communication, decision-making, and productivity?

Forensic psychology research questions

Some questions to consider exploring in this branch of psychology are:

41. How does incarceration affect mental health?

42. Is childhood trauma a driver for criminal behavior during adulthood?

43. Are people with mental health conditions more likely to be victims of crimes?

44. What are the drivers of false memories, and how do they impact the justice system?

45. Is the media responsible for copycat crimes?

Educational psychology research questions

Educational psychology studies children in an educational setting. It covers topics like teaching methods, aptitude assessment, self-motivation, technology, and parental involvement.

Research in this field of psychology is vital for understanding and optimizing learning processes. It informs educators about cognitive development, learning styles, and effective teaching strategies.

Here are some example research questions:

46. Are different teaching styles more beneficial for children at different times of the day?

47. Can listening to classical music regularly increase a student’s test scores?

48. Is there a connection between sugar consumption and knowledge retention in students?

49. Does sleep duration and quality impact academic performance?

50. Does daily meditation at school influence students’ academic performance and mental health?

Sports psychology research question examples

Sport psychology aims to optimize physical performance and well-being in athletes by using cognitive and behavioral practices and interventions. Some methods include counseling, training, and clinical interventions.

Research in this area is important because it can improve team and individual performance, resilience, motivation, confidence, and overall well-being

Here are some research question ideas for you to consider:

51. How can a famous coach affect a team’s performance?

52. How can athletes control negative emotions in violent or high-contact sports?

53. How does using social media impact an athlete’s performance and well-being?

54. Can psychological interventions help with injury rehabilitation?

55. How can mindfulness practices boost sports performance?

Cultural psychology research question examples

The premise of this branch of psychology is that mind and culture are inseparable. In other words, people are shaped by their cultures, and their cultures are shaped by them. This can be a complex interaction.

Cultural psychology is vital as it explores how cultural context shapes individuals’ thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions. It provides insights into diverse perspectives, promoting cross-cultural understanding and reducing biases.

Here are some ideas that you might consider researching:

56. Are there cultural differences in how people perceive and deal with pain?

57. Are different cultures at increased risk of developing mental health conditions?

58. Are there cultural differences in coping strategies for stress?

59. Do our different cultures shape our personalities?

60. How does multi-generational culture influence family values and structure?

Health psychology research question examples

Health psychology is a crucial field of study. Understanding how psychological factors influence health behaviors, adherence to medical treatments, and overall wellness enables health experts to develop effective interventions and preventive measures, ultimately improving health outcomes.

Health psychology also aids in managing stress, promoting healthy behaviors, and optimizing mental health, fostering a holistic approach to well-being.

Here are five ideas to inspire research in this field:

61. How can health psychology interventions improve lifestyle behaviors to prevent cardiovascular diseases?

62. What role do social norms play in vaping among adolescents?

63. What role do personality traits play in the development and management of chronic pain conditions?

64. How do cultural beliefs and attitudes influence health-seeking behaviors in diverse populations?

65. What are the psychological factors influencing the adherence to preventive health behaviors, such as vaccination and regular screenings?

Neuropsychology research paper question examples

Neuropsychology research explores how a person’s cognition and behavior are related to their brain and nervous system. Researchers aim to advance the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral and cognitive effects of neurological disorders.

Researchers may work with children facing learning or developmental challenges, or with adults with declining cognitive abilities. They may also focus on injuries or illnesses of the brain, such as traumatic brain injuries, to determine the effect on cognitive and behavioral functions.

Neuropsychology informs diagnosis and treatment strategies for conditions such as dementia, traumatic brain injuries, and psychiatric disorders. Understanding the neural basis of behavior enhances our ability to optimize cognitive functioning, rehabilitate people with brain injuries, and improve patient care.

Here are some example research questions to consider:

66. How do neurotransmitter imbalances in specific brain regions contribute to mood disorders such as depression?

67. How can a traumatic brain injury affect memory?

68. What neural processes underlie attention deficits in people with ADHD?

69. Do medications affect the brain differently after a traumatic brain injury?

70. What are the behavioral effects of prolonged brain swelling?

Psychology of religion research question examples

The psychology of religion is a field that studies the interplay between belief systems, spirituality, and mental well-being. It explores the application of the psychological methods and interpretive frameworks of religious traditions and how they relate to both religious and non-religious people.

Psychology of religion research contributes to a holistic understanding of human experiences. It fosters cultural competence and guides therapeutic approaches that respect diverse spiritual beliefs.

Here are some example research questions in this field:

71. What impact does a religious upbringing have on a child’s self-esteem?

72. How do religious beliefs shape decision-making and perceptions of morality?

73. What is the impact of religious indoctrination?

74. Is there correlation between religious and mindfulness practices?

75. How does religious affiliation impact attitudes towards mental health treatment and help-seeking behaviors?

Controversial topics in psychology research question examples

Some psychology topics don’t fit into any of the subcategories above, but they may still be worthwhile topics to consider. These topics are the ones that spark interest, conversation, debate, and disagreement. They are often inspired by current issues and assess the validity of older research.

Consider some of these research question examples:

76. How does the rise in on-screen violence impact behavior in adolescents.

77. Should access to social media platforms be restricted in children under the age of 12 to improve mental health?

78. Are prescription mental health medications over-prescribed in older adults? If so, what are the effects of this?

79. Cognitive biases in AI: what are the implications for decision-making?

80. What are the psychological and ethical implications of using virtual reality in exposure therapy for treating trauma-related conditions?

  • Inspiration for your next psychology research project

You can choose from a diverse range of research questions that intersect and overlap across various specialties.

From cognitive psychology to clinical studies, each inquiry contributes to a deeper understanding of the human mind and behavior. Importantly, the relevance of these questions transcends individual disciplines, as many findings offer insights applicable across multiple areas of study.

As health trends evolve and societal needs shift, new topics emerge, fueling continual exploration and discovery. Diving into this ever-changing and expanding area of study enables you to navigate the complexities of the human experience and pave the way for innovative solutions to the challenges of tomorrow.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 113 great research paper topics.

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General Education


One of the hardest parts of writing a research paper can be just finding a good topic to write about. Fortunately we've done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of 113 interesting research paper topics. They've been organized into ten categories and cover a wide range of subjects so you can easily find the best topic for you.

In addition to the list of good research topics, we've included advice on what makes a good research paper topic and how you can use your topic to start writing a great paper.

What Makes a Good Research Paper Topic?

Not all research paper topics are created equal, and you want to make sure you choose a great topic before you start writing. Below are the three most important factors to consider to make sure you choose the best research paper topics.

#1: It's Something You're Interested In

A paper is always easier to write if you're interested in the topic, and you'll be more motivated to do in-depth research and write a paper that really covers the entire subject. Even if a certain research paper topic is getting a lot of buzz right now or other people seem interested in writing about it, don't feel tempted to make it your topic unless you genuinely have some sort of interest in it as well.

#2: There's Enough Information to Write a Paper

Even if you come up with the absolute best research paper topic and you're so excited to write about it, you won't be able to produce a good paper if there isn't enough research about the topic. This can happen for very specific or specialized topics, as well as topics that are too new to have enough research done on them at the moment. Easy research paper topics will always be topics with enough information to write a full-length paper.

Trying to write a research paper on a topic that doesn't have much research on it is incredibly hard, so before you decide on a topic, do a bit of preliminary searching and make sure you'll have all the information you need to write your paper.

#3: It Fits Your Teacher's Guidelines

Don't get so carried away looking at lists of research paper topics that you forget any requirements or restrictions your teacher may have put on research topic ideas. If you're writing a research paper on a health-related topic, deciding to write about the impact of rap on the music scene probably won't be allowed, but there may be some sort of leeway. For example, if you're really interested in current events but your teacher wants you to write a research paper on a history topic, you may be able to choose a topic that fits both categories, like exploring the relationship between the US and North Korea. No matter what, always get your research paper topic approved by your teacher first before you begin writing.

113 Good Research Paper Topics

Below are 113 good research topics to help you get you started on your paper. We've organized them into ten categories to make it easier to find the type of research paper topics you're looking for.


  • Discuss the main differences in art from the Italian Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance .
  • Analyze the impact a famous artist had on the world.
  • How is sexism portrayed in different types of media (music, film, video games, etc.)? Has the amount/type of sexism changed over the years?
  • How has the music of slaves brought over from Africa shaped modern American music?
  • How has rap music evolved in the past decade?
  • How has the portrayal of minorities in the media changed?


Current Events

  • What have been the impacts of China's one child policy?
  • How have the goals of feminists changed over the decades?
  • How has the Trump presidency changed international relations?
  • Analyze the history of the relationship between the United States and North Korea.
  • What factors contributed to the current decline in the rate of unemployment?
  • What have been the impacts of states which have increased their minimum wage?
  • How do US immigration laws compare to immigration laws of other countries?
  • How have the US's immigration laws changed in the past few years/decades?
  • How has the Black Lives Matter movement affected discussions and view about racism in the US?
  • What impact has the Affordable Care Act had on healthcare in the US?
  • What factors contributed to the UK deciding to leave the EU (Brexit)?
  • What factors contributed to China becoming an economic power?
  • Discuss the history of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies  (some of which tokenize the S&P 500 Index on the blockchain) .
  • Do students in schools that eliminate grades do better in college and their careers?
  • Do students from wealthier backgrounds score higher on standardized tests?
  • Do students who receive free meals at school get higher grades compared to when they weren't receiving a free meal?
  • Do students who attend charter schools score higher on standardized tests than students in public schools?
  • Do students learn better in same-sex classrooms?
  • How does giving each student access to an iPad or laptop affect their studies?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Montessori Method ?
  • Do children who attend preschool do better in school later on?
  • What was the impact of the No Child Left Behind act?
  • How does the US education system compare to education systems in other countries?
  • What impact does mandatory physical education classes have on students' health?
  • Which methods are most effective at reducing bullying in schools?
  • Do homeschoolers who attend college do as well as students who attended traditional schools?
  • Does offering tenure increase or decrease quality of teaching?
  • How does college debt affect future life choices of students?
  • Should graduate students be able to form unions?


  • What are different ways to lower gun-related deaths in the US?
  • How and why have divorce rates changed over time?
  • Is affirmative action still necessary in education and/or the workplace?
  • Should physician-assisted suicide be legal?
  • How has stem cell research impacted the medical field?
  • How can human trafficking be reduced in the United States/world?
  • Should people be able to donate organs in exchange for money?
  • Which types of juvenile punishment have proven most effective at preventing future crimes?
  • Has the increase in US airport security made passengers safer?
  • Analyze the immigration policies of certain countries and how they are similar and different from one another.
  • Several states have legalized recreational marijuana. What positive and negative impacts have they experienced as a result?
  • Do tariffs increase the number of domestic jobs?
  • Which prison reforms have proven most effective?
  • Should governments be able to censor certain information on the internet?
  • Which methods/programs have been most effective at reducing teen pregnancy?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Keto diet?
  • How effective are different exercise regimes for losing weight and maintaining weight loss?
  • How do the healthcare plans of various countries differ from each other?
  • What are the most effective ways to treat depression ?
  • What are the pros and cons of genetically modified foods?
  • Which methods are most effective for improving memory?
  • What can be done to lower healthcare costs in the US?
  • What factors contributed to the current opioid crisis?
  • Analyze the history and impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic .
  • Are low-carbohydrate or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
  • How much exercise should the average adult be getting each week?
  • Which methods are most effective to get parents to vaccinate their children?
  • What are the pros and cons of clean needle programs?
  • How does stress affect the body?
  • Discuss the history of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • What were the causes and effects of the Salem Witch Trials?
  • Who was responsible for the Iran-Contra situation?
  • How has New Orleans and the government's response to natural disasters changed since Hurricane Katrina?
  • What events led to the fall of the Roman Empire?
  • What were the impacts of British rule in India ?
  • Was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary?
  • What were the successes and failures of the women's suffrage movement in the United States?
  • What were the causes of the Civil War?
  • How did Abraham Lincoln's assassination impact the country and reconstruction after the Civil War?
  • Which factors contributed to the colonies winning the American Revolution?
  • What caused Hitler's rise to power?
  • Discuss how a specific invention impacted history.
  • What led to Cleopatra's fall as ruler of Egypt?
  • How has Japan changed and evolved over the centuries?
  • What were the causes of the Rwandan genocide ?


  • Why did Martin Luther decide to split with the Catholic Church?
  • Analyze the history and impact of a well-known cult (Jonestown, Manson family, etc.)
  • How did the sexual abuse scandal impact how people view the Catholic Church?
  • How has the Catholic church's power changed over the past decades/centuries?
  • What are the causes behind the rise in atheism/ agnosticism in the United States?
  • What were the influences in Siddhartha's life resulted in him becoming the Buddha?
  • How has media portrayal of Islam/Muslims changed since September 11th?


  • How has the earth's climate changed in the past few decades?
  • How has the use and elimination of DDT affected bird populations in the US?
  • Analyze how the number and severity of natural disasters have increased in the past few decades.
  • Analyze deforestation rates in a certain area or globally over a period of time.
  • How have past oil spills changed regulations and cleanup methods?
  • How has the Flint water crisis changed water regulation safety?
  • What are the pros and cons of fracking?
  • What impact has the Paris Climate Agreement had so far?
  • What have NASA's biggest successes and failures been?
  • How can we improve access to clean water around the world?
  • Does ecotourism actually have a positive impact on the environment?
  • Should the US rely on nuclear energy more?
  • What can be done to save amphibian species currently at risk of extinction?
  • What impact has climate change had on coral reefs?
  • How are black holes created?
  • Are teens who spend more time on social media more likely to suffer anxiety and/or depression?
  • How will the loss of net neutrality affect internet users?
  • Analyze the history and progress of self-driving vehicles.
  • How has the use of drones changed surveillance and warfare methods?
  • Has social media made people more or less connected?
  • What progress has currently been made with artificial intelligence ?
  • Do smartphones increase or decrease workplace productivity?
  • What are the most effective ways to use technology in the classroom?
  • How is Google search affecting our intelligence?
  • When is the best age for a child to begin owning a smartphone?
  • Has frequent texting reduced teen literacy rates?


How to Write a Great Research Paper

Even great research paper topics won't give you a great research paper if you don't hone your topic before and during the writing process. Follow these three tips to turn good research paper topics into great papers.

#1: Figure Out Your Thesis Early

Before you start writing a single word of your paper, you first need to know what your thesis will be. Your thesis is a statement that explains what you intend to prove/show in your paper. Every sentence in your research paper will relate back to your thesis, so you don't want to start writing without it!

As some examples, if you're writing a research paper on if students learn better in same-sex classrooms, your thesis might be "Research has shown that elementary-age students in same-sex classrooms score higher on standardized tests and report feeling more comfortable in the classroom."

If you're writing a paper on the causes of the Civil War, your thesis might be "While the dispute between the North and South over slavery is the most well-known cause of the Civil War, other key causes include differences in the economies of the North and South, states' rights, and territorial expansion."

#2: Back Every Statement Up With Research

Remember, this is a research paper you're writing, so you'll need to use lots of research to make your points. Every statement you give must be backed up with research, properly cited the way your teacher requested. You're allowed to include opinions of your own, but they must also be supported by the research you give.

#3: Do Your Research Before You Begin Writing

You don't want to start writing your research paper and then learn that there isn't enough research to back up the points you're making, or, even worse, that the research contradicts the points you're trying to make!

Get most of your research on your good research topics done before you begin writing. Then use the research you've collected to create a rough outline of what your paper will cover and the key points you're going to make. This will help keep your paper clear and organized, and it'll ensure you have enough research to produce a strong paper.

What's Next?

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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Independent research projects – frequently asked questions, what is the independent research project component of the project.

These projects are a chance for you and your students to explore watershed related topics that go beyond the ongoing chemical water testing every three weeks. They are a chance for your students to develop research and scientific method skills, analyze data and problem solve, and explore waterway topics that interest them.

What do the independent research projects have to be about?

They should be about a watershed topic (i.e. water quality, pollutants, water issues, watershed mapping/comparisons, watershed history, hydrogeology, stream morphology, watershed creatures/aquatic life, or stream ecology). Stipend money can be spent on equipment to carry out these projects.

Who designs these research projects?

Ideally, the students; however, if you want to cover a certain topic in your curriculum that you could turn into a class research project, go for it. It should be a goal to have the students feel some ownership of the research design and work.

How many independent research projects do we have to do?

At least one involving the entire class must be completed. Some teachers have one entire class project, some divide students up into groups to each work on a different project. Individual students or small groups can study something on their own. Whatever works best for you in your class setting.

How many students have to conduct independent research projects?

Teachers decide parameters of projects. We encourage involvement of as many students as possible even if they all cannot come to the symposium.

When do we start working on these projects?

As soon as you and your students want. They must be complete by April for the Student Research Symposium. The earlier they are completed, the better, and the results / presentation will be more impressive for the Student Research Symposium. Allegheny can purchase materials for you between the Summer Institute and March 1 or provide assistance at any point during the year.

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Some dissertations and theses are automatically added to the Digital Conservancy, while others are added manually.


Dissertations are automatically added to the Digital Conservancy as part of the submission process, which is administered by The Graduate School.  For information or questions regarding submission policies and procedures, contact Graduate Student Services and Progress office (GSSP) for the most up-to-date information on this process.

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Master’s Plan A theses are automatically added to the Digital Conservancy as part of the submission process, which is administered by The Graduate School.  For information or questions regarding submission policies and procedures, contact Graduate Student Services and Progress office (GSSP) for the most up-to-date information on this process.

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Plan B/C theses, capstones, and other projects may be added to the Digital Conservancy, but deposit is not required. If you are a student and would like to add your Plan B paper, please follow thee email instructions on this page.  In your email, please be sure to include the project type, the name of your degree, and the college/school where your degree is conferred.

Some graduate programs have collections of their master's projects in the Digital Conservancy.  These collections are a wonderful resource for current and former students, and highlight the role of graduate education and research in the school.  If you are a program administrator, or would like to start a collection for a program’s Plan B projects, please contact us to get started.

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Student Grant Program Application Process

Student and faculty applicants must identify each other and develop a research proposal together before applying for a research award through Engineering Learning Initiatives.

Once faculty and student have agreed upon a proposal idea, each must separately complete and submit online applications.

You may preview application questions at these links.

Preview Faculty Application Questions

Preview Student Application Questions

Once faculty and student have agreed upon a proposal idea, and a plan for the research term, each must separately complete and submit online applications.  The faculty application must be submitted first.  The student will use the faculty application ID number to link their submissions.  The ID number screen will appear a few seconds after the faculty mentor clicks "Submit" to submit the faculty application. Be sure to write this number down.  The student will need it in order to submit the student application.

We recommend preparing your responses using a separate save-able document, and then pasting your responses into the application system once they are ready.  Student applicants should be sure to ask their faculty mentors to review their drafted application responses prior to submitting.  This will give you the opportunity to receive valuable feedback from your mentor, and to ensure that the mentor and student pieces are in full alignment.

Faculty Application

Student Application

To encourage high quality applications from students, we require all undergraduate applicants to obtain faculty approval for their proposals before submission.  We ask that each faculty mentor review the student’s project proposal and personal statement.  The faculty mentor should give his or her application ID number to the student, to enable submission of the student application, only after the mentor has reviewed and approved the student’s proposal and statement.  Once approval has been secured, the student must then submit the online student application before the application deadline.

Please be aware that undergraduate research funds are available only for undergraduate students currently enrolled in the College of Engineering and Biological or Environmental Engineering (BEE) majors.

Important note:  New word/character count maximums have been imposed on responses to each application question.  Please use your word processing software to check the word/character counts on your responses before pasting them into the application response boxes.  Responses that are too long will be truncated upon submission, such that any words beyond the limit will not appear for reviewers.  Maximums are being enforced in order to keep review times reasonable.  Please answer the questions with clear responses that are brief and to-the-point.

Projects Involving Multiple Students

Projects usually involve one student and one professor, although some projects may involve student teams.

Student Project Team  proposals will not be considered for funding through the Engineering Learning Initiatives Student Undergraduate Research Grants Program.  Teams of students working together with faculty mentors in faculty research programs may still apply as undergraduate research teams.  However, Student Project Teams - largely student-run, competitive design teams - should not apply through this program.  They will have the opportunity to be considered for College funding through a separate process.

If you are a faculty advisor who is considering applying for support for multiple students or your research team, please follow the bulleted guidelines below:

  • If applying for team funding, the faculty advisor should submit one team application, listing the names of all student applicants on the team.  Each team member must submit an individual application.  The team application will be considered as a whole, and, if approved, awarded team funding.  Individual team members will not be considered separately for individual funding.
  • Please note:  Team applications are discouraged during the summer term for cases in which full student wages are required for each team member.  Due to the high costs of summer support, individual applications typically have a greater chance of success.  
  • If applying for individual funding for more than one student, please submit a separate application for each, with a unique project title, reflecting the specific research focus of each student.   A maximum of 2 proposals per faculty member are allowable in any funding term.
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Building, Architecture, Outdoors, City, Aerial View, Urban, Office Building, Cityscape

Administrative Assistant

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Administration
  • Staff-Full Time
  • Opening at: May 13 2024 at 16:00 CDT
  • Closing at: May 29 2024 at 23:55 CDT

Job Summary:

The Administrative Assistant will work under general supervision, reporting to the Client Services Administrative Supervisor. This position will provide administrative support to multiple research projects. The work requires task management, attention to detail, accuracy, the ability to work with a diverse audience including principal investigators, project managers, business office staff, students, partners within the School of Education, and external parties such as state agencies or MMSD school district contacts. This role requires excellent communication skills, the ability to handle a variety of assignments, and the desire to provide excellent customer service to WCER projects and partners.


  • 40% Schedules logistics and secures resources for meetings, conferences, travel, and work unit operations
  • 35% Serves as a primary point of contact for individuals and groups, provides organizational information via phone, in person, and through other communication mediums
  • 15% Prepares and audits complex records, edits documents, and reviews work done by others
  • 5% Develops, sends, receives, copies, and distributes communications to the appropriate entities according to established policies and procedures
  • 5% Develops, implements, and maintains methods and organizational systems directed at the maintenance of electronic/physical records related to work operations according to established policies and procedures

Institutional Statement on Diversity:

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals. The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background - people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world. For more information on diversity and inclusion on campus, please visit: Diversity and Inclusion

Required H.S. Diploma


Required skills/experience: * Skilled in the effective use of Microsoft Office software * Knowledge of various collaborative online platforms, including UW Box, Google suite and MS Teams * Experience with face-to-face and online meeting and event planning * Experience with data entry, management, and tracking * Excellent verbal and written communication skills to effectively engage at all levels of the organization * Excellent attention to detail * Ability to work independently and collaboratively within teams * Highly self-motivated and proactive in problem resolution * Strong prioritization of tasks and time management to meet competing deadlines Preferred knowledge, skills, experience: * Knowledge of UW policies/procedures related to travel * Prior experience with purchasing and procurement cards * Customer service/Hospitality skills

Work Schedule:

Schedule will be determined during the interview process.

Full Time: 100% It is anticipated this position requires work be performed in-person, onsite, at a designated campus work location.

Appointment Type, Duration:


Minimum $24.00 HOURLY Depending on Qualifications Employees in this position can expect to receive benefits such as generous vacation, holidays, and paid time off; competitive insurances and savings accounts; retirement benefits.

Additional Information:

The Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), established in 1964, is one of the first, most productive, and largest university-based education research and development centers in the world. WCER's researchers and staff work to make teaching and learning as effective as possible for all ages and all people. WCER's mission is to improve educational outcomes for diverse student populations, impact education practice positively and foster collaborations among academic disciplines and practitioners. To this end, our center helps scholars and practitioners develop, submit, conduct, and share grant-funded education research. At WCER, all employees share five fundamental organization values to guide the purpose and quality of our work and interactions within ourselves and our outside stakeholders. The values that the work and people of WCER strive to uphold are: - Innovation and Excellence. Continuous improvement is a driver for excellence. We innovate and improve in our work to advance education through leading research and development. - Equitable Education. Equitable education is essential to a healthy society. We aim to reverse imbalances and injustices in education through our work. - Affirming and Increasing Diversity. Individual differences and group diversity inspire creative and equitable outcomes. We actively affirm and seek to increase such diversity in our center. - Healthy Workplace. The well-being of our workplace enhances success for all. We commit to a workplace based on mutual respect and transparency. - Partnering Across Differences. Diverse backgrounds and expertise improve the quality of our work. We collaborate across disciplines, methodologies, organizations, and communities to strengthen our research and development outcomes. If you need to request an accommodation because of a disability during the recruitment process, please email [email protected] and one of our Division Disability Representatives will contact you. More information can also be found at .

How to Apply:

Please click on the "Apply Now" button to start the application process. As part of the application process, you will be required to submit: - A cover letter addressed to Maria Huckleberry describing how your experience and qualifications meet the requirements of this position - A current resume - A list with the contact information of at least three professional references A successful applicant will be responsible for ensuring eligibility for employment in the United States on or before the effective date of the appointment.

Becky Ohan [email protected] 608-262-5158 Relay Access (WTRS): 7-1-1. See RELAY_SERVICE for further information.

Official Title:

Administrative Assistant III(AD003)



Employment Class:

University Staff-Ongoing

Job Number:

The university of wisconsin-madison is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer..

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

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  2. (PDF) How to Write a Research Question

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  3. How to Develop a Strong Research Question

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  5. Research Questionnaire Examples

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  6. 11 Research Proposal Examples to Make a Great Paper

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  1. Academic Writing Workshop

  2. Choosing the Best Research Topic

  3. Overview of a Research Proposal

  4. Research Process Overview

  5. 4 Types of Research Questions to Start Your Writing Project Right

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  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 in 2024: Types, Steps, and Examples

    A research question is a question that a study or research project, through its thesis statement, aims to answer. This question often addresses an issue or a problem, which, through analysis and interpretation of data, is answered in the study's conclusion. ... (Creswell, 2014). Research questions, along with hypotheses, also serve as a ...

  4. How to Write a Research Question: Types and Examples

    Framing the research question is the first step in any research project, and you can learn how to write a research question that is focused, achievable, and answerable! Check this detailed article to know what a research question is, the different types, and a step-by-step process to formulate effective research questions, with examples.

  5. Research Questions

    Definition: Research questions are the specific questions that guide a research study or inquiry. These questions help to define the scope of the research and provide a clear focus for the study. Research questions are usually developed at the beginning of a research project and are designed to address a particular research problem or objective.

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

    A research question is an inquiry that the research attempts to answer. It is the heart of the systematic investigation. Research questions are the most important step in any research project. In essence, it initiates the research project and establishes the pace for the specific research A research question is:

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    Types of research questions. Now that we've defined what a research question is, let's look at the different types of research questions that you might come across. Broadly speaking, there are (at least) four different types of research questions - descriptive, comparative, relational, and explanatory. Descriptive questions ask what is happening. In other words, they seek to describe a ...

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  9. 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.

  10. How to Write the Research Questions

    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

  11. Developing a Research Question

    A research question is an essential tool to help guide your research paper, project, or thesis. It poses a specific question that you are seeking to answer in your paper. Research questions can be broad or narrow, and can change throughout the research process. A good research question should be: The length of your paper and the research you're ...

  12. The Complete Guide to Research Questions

    10. Demographic research question. Demographic questions are based on a person's age, gender, family income, race, ethnicity, education, and other defining factors. Research about whether a specific product will be effective with a particular age or gender group can be carried out using demographic research questions.

  13. Developing a Research Question

    A "foreground" question in health research is one that is relatively specific, and is usually best addressed by locating primary research evidence. Using a structured question framework can help you clearly define the concepts or variables that make up the specific research question. Across most frameworks, you'll often be considering:

  14. A Beginner's Guide to Starting the Research Process

    This describes who the problem affects, why research is needed, and how your research project will contribute to solving it. >>Read more about defining a research problem. Step 3: Formulate research questions. Next, based on the problem statement, you need to write one or more research questions. These target exactly what you want to find out.

  15. Research Questions: Definitions, Types + [Examples]

    A research question is usually the first step in any research project. Basically, it is the primary interrogation point of your research and it sets the pace for your work. Typically, a research question focuses on the research, determines the methodology and hypothesis, and guides all stages of inquiry, analysis, and reporting.

  16. LibGuides: Research Skills for Students: The Research Question

    For large projects, the research question (or questions) you develop will define or at least heavily influence: Your topic, in that research questions effectively narrow the topic you've first chosen or been assigned by your instructor. What, if any, hypotheses you test. Which information sources are relevant to your project.

  17. Developing a research question: The key to a successful research project

    Brainstorm Ideas. The first step in developing a research question is to brainstorm ideas. Start by identifying the general topic or area of interest for your research project. Write down any questions that come to mind related to your topic. Try to think of questions that are open-ended and can be answered through research.

  18. EPQs: designing your research question

    Understanding why you want to do a research project will help you in your first task: designing a research question. Designing your research question. The research process is a cycle (Figure 1): we design a question, we gather some evidence we hope will help us answer that question, we analyse the evidence to find the answer, we communicate ...

  19. Psychology Research Questions: 80 Ideas For Your Next Project

    80 fascinating psychology research questions for your next project. Psychology research is essential for furthering our understanding of human behavior and improving the diagnosis and treatment of psychological conditions. When psychologists know more about how different social and cultural factors influence how humans act, think, and feel ...

  20. 113 Great Research Paper Topics

    113 Great Research Paper Topics. One of the hardest parts of writing a research paper can be just finding a good topic to write about. Fortunately we've done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of 113 interesting research paper topics. They've been organized into ten categories and cover a wide range of subjects so you can easily ...

  21. Independent Research Projects

    Independent Research Projects - Frequently Asked Questions. What is the independent research project component of the project? These projects are a chance for you and your students to explore watershed related topics that go beyond the ongoing chemical water testing every three weeks. They are a chance for your students to develop research ...

  22. Research Guides: Upload to the University Digital Conservancy: Upload

    If you are a student and would like to add your Plan B paper, please follow thee email instructions on this page. In your email, please be sure to include the project type, the name of your degree, and the college/school where your degree is conferred. Some graduate programs have collections of their master's projects in the Digital Conservancy.

  23. Student Grant Program Application Process

    Please answer the questions with clear responses that are brief and to-the-point. Projects Involving Multiple Students. ... Teams of students working together with faculty mentors in faculty research programs may still apply as undergraduate research teams. However, Student Project Teams - largely student-run, competitive design teams - should ...

  24. Administrative Assistant

    Job Summary: The Administrative Assistant will work under general supervision, reporting to the Client ServicesAdministrative Supervisor. This position will provide administrative support to multiple researchprojects. The work requires task management, attention to detail, accuracy, the ability to work with a diverse audience including principal investigators, project managers, business office ...