Developing a research question thesis

Example: Intellectual disability IQ. Ask yourself when? Is this current? In the past? Related to a specific event? Looking to the future? Example: Last 3 years. Ask yourself where?

Developing a Testable Research Question

Countries, regions, states, places workplace, schools, virtually? Example: Flint, Michigan. A pilot study involves preliminary data collection, using your planned methods, but with a very small sample. It aims to test out your approach, and identify any details that need to be addressed before the main data collection goes ahead. For example, you could get a small group to fill in your questionnaire, perform a single experiment, or analyse a single novel or document.

When you complete your pilot study you should be cautious about reading too much into the results that you have generated although these can sometimes be interesting. The real value of your pilot study is what it tells you about your method. Spend time reflecting on the implications that your pilot study might have for your research project, and make the necessary adjustment to your plan.

Developing strong research questions

Even if you do not have the time or opportunity to run a formal pilot study, you should try and reflect on your methods after you have started to generate some data. Once you start to generate data you may find that the research project is not developing as you had hoped. Do not be upset that you have encountered a problem. Research is, by its nature, unpredictable. Analyse the situation. Think about what the problem is and how it arose. Is it possible that going back a few steps may resolve it? Or is it something more fundamental?

If so, estimate how significant the problem is to answering your research question, and try to calculate what it will take to resolve the situation. Changing the title is not normally the answer, although modification of some kind may be useful. If a problem is intractable you should arrange to meet your supervisor as soon as possible.

Give him or her a detailed analysis of the problem, and always value their recommendations. The chances are they have been through a similar experience and can give you valuable advice. Never try to ignore a problem, or hope that it will go away. Finally, it is worth remembering that every problem you encounter, and successfully solve, is potentially useful information in writing up your research.

Rather, flag up these problems and show your examiners how you overcame them.

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As you conduct research, you are likely to realise that the topic that you have focused on is more complex than you realised when you first defined your research question. The research is still valid even though you are now aware of the greater size and complexity of the problem.

A crucial skill of the researcher is to define clearly the boundaries of their research and to stick to them. You may need to refer to wider concerns; to a related field of literature; or to alternative methodology; but you must not be diverted into spending too much time investigating relevant, related, but distinctly separate fields. Starting to write up your research can be intimidating, but it is essential that you ensure that you have enough time not only to write up your research, but also to review it critically, then spend time editing and improving it.

The following tips should help you to make the transition from research to writing:. Remember that you can not achieve everything in your dissertation. The companion study guide Writing a Dissertation focuses on the process of writing up the research from your research project. Email: studyhelp if you are a University of Leicester student please use your University email address Keep in touch via:. Personal tools Web Editor Log in. Search Site only in current section. Advanced Search….

Search Site. What is a dissertation? Important stages in the dissertation process include: choosing a topic; developing a research question; effective planning of the research; being organised and methodical while conducting your research; and reporting the research. Choosing a topic While some students come to their research project with a clear research question to address, many others arrive at this point with several ideas, but with no specific research question.

Does this spark an interest? Look at other writing: set aside some time to spend in the library, skimming through the titles of research papers in your field over the past five years, and reading the abstracts of those you find most interesting. Look through the dissertations of previous students in your department: the topics may give you inspiration, and they may have useful suggestions for further research.

Think about your own interests: which topic have you found most interesting, and is there an element that could be developed into a research project? Is there a related topic of interest to you that has not been covered in the syllabus, but would fit with the theory or methodology you have been working with?

What is a research question?

Be extra critical: is there something in your course so far that you have been sceptical about, or which you think needs further study? This could include your research plan, early results of your data collection or draft chapters;. Do not assume that your supervisor is available at all times to see you;. In your research plan you need to specify a time when you are going to stop researching and start writing. You should aim to stick to this plan unless you have a very clear reason why you need to continue your research longer.

Take a break from your project. To what extent …. Is your supervisor able to understand the nature of your research? Is it clear to your supervisor how and why your topic is relevant in your subject area? Formulate a preliminary research question. Try to incorporate an IB command term in the research question if possible.

The lists below give the terms, and definitions, for specific IB subjects. These lists are glossaries of terms used in film and dance. Students writing History Extended Essays can use these formats to help write research questions on their topics. Extended Essay: Step 5. Extended Essay- The Basics Step 1. Choose a Subject Step 2.

Formulation of Research Question – Stepwise Approach

Educate yourself! Step 3. Draft a Research Question Step 6. Create a Timeline Step 7. Set Deadlines for Yourself Step Plan a structure for your essay Step Read, Read, Read! RQ Resources On this page you can find help with developing your preliminary research question. Will it direct the research being undertaken?

RQ Resources

Focused - Will the research question be specific enough to allow for exploration within the scope of the task that is, the number of words and time available? Arguable - Does the research question allow for analysis, evaluation and the development of a reasoned argument? You could do this by: suggesting possible outcomes of your research outlining the kind of argument you might make and how your research might support this considering options if the research available is not sufficient to support a sustained argument.

Research Basics: Developing a Research Question

Sample Research Questions The table below gives some examples showing the difference between unclear and unfocused research questions and those that are appropriately clear and focused, lending themselves to in-depth research. Unclear, unfocused, and unarguable research questions.

Clear, focused, narrow research questions lending themselves to in-depth research. An important note:. A question that is unclear or too broad will result in a narrative overview of the issue or event being discussed and provide little scope for analysis and reasoned argument. The result of this is that IB examiners will not be able to apply the range of marks available in the assessment criteria, particularly in relation to criterion C critical thinking.