Research begins with questions. In fact, research is about asking questions. In many ways, research is more about asking questions than answering them. If research is about questions, then it’s important to recognize what a good research question is.
A good research question does three things:
- It identifies the general goals of the project
- It sends the boundaries of what it is that will be studied
- It identifies a problem or puzzle that needs to be solved or better understood
Research is an ongoing process that involves asking, narrowing, and clarifying questions. Finding the “right” questions involves many steps and is shaped by reading, thinking, data collection, and data analysis. The question you develop in the end may look quite different from the question with which you start. The research cycle looks like this:
What you should notice about this is that the process doesn’t really ever stop. Brainstorming leads to ideas and as one goes through the process, data collection and analysis leads to more questions.