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Research Question 101 📖

Everything you need to know to write a high-quality research question

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | October 2023

If you’ve landed on this page, you’re probably asking yourself, “ What is a research question? ”. Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll explain what a research question is , how it’s differen t from a research aim, and how to craft a high-quality research question that sets you up for success.

Research Question 101

What is a research question.

  • Research questions vs research aims
  • The 4 types of research questions
  • How to write a research question
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Examples of research questions

As the name suggests, the research question is the core question (or set of questions) that your study will (attempt to) answer .

In many ways, a research question is akin to a target in archery . Without a clear target, you won’t know where to concentrate your efforts and focus. Essentially, your research question acts as the guiding light throughout your project and informs every choice you make along the way.

Let’s look at some examples:

What impact does social media usage have on the mental health of teenagers in New York?
How does the introduction of a minimum wage affect employment levels in small businesses in outer London?
How does the portrayal of women in 19th-century American literature reflect the societal attitudes of the time?
What are the long-term effects of intermittent fasting on heart health in adults?

As you can see in these examples, research questions are clear, specific questions that can be feasibly answered within a study. These are important attributes and we’ll discuss each of them in more detail a little later . If you’d like to see more examples of research questions, you can find our RQ mega-list here .

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Research Questions vs Research Aims

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “ How is a research question different from a research aim? ”. Within any given study, the research aim and research question (or questions) are tightly intertwined , but they are separate things . Let’s unpack that a little.

A research aim is typically broader in nature and outlines what you hope to achieve with your research. It doesn’t ask a specific question but rather gives a summary of what you intend to explore.

The research question, on the other hand, is much more focused . It’s the specific query you’re setting out to answer. It narrows down the research aim into a detailed, researchable question that will guide your study’s methods and analysis.

Let’s look at an example:

Research Aim: To explore the effects of climate change on marine life in Southern Africa.
Research Question: How does ocean acidification caused by climate change affect the reproduction rates of coral reefs?

As you can see, the research aim gives you a general focus , while the research question details exactly what you want to find out.

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what is research question and objectives

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 phenomena or situation . An example of a descriptive research question could be something like “What types of exercise do high-performing UK executives engage in?”. This would likely be a bit too basic to form an interesting study, but as you can see, the research question is just focused on the what – in other words, it just describes the situation.

Comparative research questions , on the other hand, look to understand the way in which two or more things differ , or how they’re similar. An example of a comparative research question might be something like “How do exercise preferences vary between middle-aged men across three American cities?”. As you can see, this question seeks to compare the differences (or similarities) in behaviour between different groups.

Next up, we’ve got exploratory research questions , which ask why or how is something happening. While the other types of questions we looked at focused on the what, exploratory research questions are interested in the why and how . As an example, an exploratory research question might ask something like “Why have bee populations declined in Germany over the last 5 years?”. As you can, this question is aimed squarely at the why, rather than the what.

Last but not least, we have relational research questions . As the name suggests, these types of research questions seek to explore the relationships between variables . Here, an example could be something like “What is the relationship between X and Y” or “Does A have an impact on B”. As you can see, these types of research questions are interested in understanding how constructs or variables are connected , and perhaps, whether one thing causes another.

Of course, depending on how fine-grained you want to get, you can argue that there are many more types of research questions , but these four categories give you a broad idea of the different flavours that exist out there. It’s also worth pointing out that a research question doesn’t need to fit perfectly into one category – in many cases, a research question might overlap into more than just one category and that’s okay.

The key takeaway here is that research questions can take many different forms , and it’s useful to understand the nature of your research question so that you can align your research methodology accordingly.

Free Webinar: Research Methodology 101

How To Write A Research Question

As we alluded earlier, a well-crafted research question needs to possess very specific attributes, including focus , clarity and feasibility . But that’s not all – a rock-solid research question also needs to be rooted and aligned . Let’s look at each of these.

A strong research question typically has a single focus. So, don’t try to cram multiple questions into one research question; rather split them up into separate questions (or even subquestions), each with their own specific focus. As a rule of thumb, narrow beats broad when it comes to research questions.

Clear and specific

A good research question is clear and specific, not vague and broad. State clearly exactly what you want to find out so that any reader can quickly understand what you’re looking to achieve with your study. Along the same vein, try to avoid using bulky language and jargon – aim for clarity.

Unfortunately, even a super tantalising and thought-provoking research question has little value if you cannot feasibly answer it. So, think about the methodological implications of your research question while you’re crafting it. Most importantly, make sure that you know exactly what data you’ll need (primary or secondary) and how you’ll analyse that data.

A good research question (and a research topic, more broadly) should be rooted in a clear research gap and research problem . Without a well-defined research gap, you risk wasting your effort pursuing a question that’s already been adequately answered (and agreed upon) by the research community. A well-argued research gap lays at the heart of a valuable study, so make sure you have your gap clearly articulated and that your research question directly links to it.

As we mentioned earlier, your research aim and research question are (or at least, should be) tightly linked. So, make sure that your research question (or set of questions) aligns with your research aim . If not, you’ll need to revise one of the two to achieve this.

FAQ: Research Questions

Research question faqs, how many research questions should i have, what should i avoid when writing a research question, can a research question be a statement.

Typically, a research question is phrased as a question, not a statement. A question clearly indicates what you’re setting out to discover.

Can a research question be too broad or too narrow?

Yes. A question that’s too broad makes your research unfocused, while a question that’s too narrow limits the scope of your study.

Here’s an example of a research question that’s too broad:

“Why is mental health important?”

Conversely, here’s an example of a research question that’s likely too narrow:

“What is the impact of sleep deprivation on the exam scores of 19-year-old males in London studying maths at The Open University?”

Can I change my research question during the research process?

How do i know if my research question is good.

A good research question is focused, specific, practical, rooted in a research gap, and aligned with the research aim. If your question meets these criteria, it’s likely a strong question.

Is a research question similar to a hypothesis?

Not quite. A hypothesis is a testable statement that predicts an outcome, while a research question is a query that you’re trying to answer through your study. Naturally, there can be linkages between a study’s research questions and hypothesis, but they serve different functions.

How are research questions and research objectives related?

The research question is a focused and specific query that your study aims to answer. It’s the central issue you’re investigating. The research objective, on the other hand, outlines the steps you’ll take to answer your research question. Research objectives are often more action-oriented and can be broken down into smaller tasks that guide your research process. In a sense, they’re something of a roadmap that helps you answer your research question.

Need some inspiration?

If you’d like to see more examples of research questions, check out our research question mega list here .  Alternatively, if you’d like 1-on-1 help developing a high-quality research question, consider our private coaching service .

what is research question and objectives

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This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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Research Tips

Understanding the Difference between Research Questions and Objectives

January 13, 2023

When conducting research, clearly understanding the difference between research questions and objectives is important. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to two distinct aspects of the research process.

Research questions are broad statements that guide the overall direction of the research. They identify the main problem or area of inquiry that the research will address. For example, a research question might be, "What is the impact of social media on teenage mental health?" This question sets the stage for the research and helps to define the scope of the study.

what is research question and objectives

  • Research questions are more general and open-ended, while objectives are specific and measurable.
  • Research questions identify the main problem or area of inquiry, while objectives define the specific outcomes that the researcher is looking to achieve.
  • Research questions help define the study's scope, while objectives help guide the research process.
  • Research questions are often used to generate hypotheses or identify gaps in existing knowledge, while objectives are used to establish clear and achievable targets for the research.
  • Research questions and objectives are not mutually exclusive, but well-defined research questions should lead to specific objectives necessary to answer the question.

On the other hand, research objectives are specific, measurable goals that the research aims to achieve. They are used to guide the research process and help to define the specific outcomes that the researcher is looking to achieve. For example, an objective for the above research question might be "To determine the correlation between social media usage and rates of depression in teenagers." This objective is more specific and measurable than the research question and helps define the specific outcomes that the researcher is looking to achieve.

It is important to note that research questions and objectives are not mutually exclusive; a study can have one or several questions and objectives. A well-defined research question should lead to specific objectives necessary to answer the question.

In summary, research questions and objectives are two distinct aspects of the research process. Research questions are broad statements that guide the overall direction of the research, while research objectives are specific, measurable goals that the research aims to achieve. Understanding these two terms' differences is essential for conducting effective and meaningful research.

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Home » Research Objectives – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Objectives – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Objectives

Research Objectives

Research objectives refer to the specific goals or aims of a research study. They provide a clear and concise description of what the researcher hopes to achieve by conducting the research . The objectives are typically based on the research questions and hypotheses formulated at the beginning of the study and are used to guide the research process.

Types of Research Objectives

Here are the different types of research objectives in research:

  • Exploratory Objectives: These objectives are used to explore a topic, issue, or phenomenon that has not been studied in-depth before. The aim of exploratory research is to gain a better understanding of the subject matter and generate new ideas and hypotheses .
  • Descriptive Objectives: These objectives aim to describe the characteristics, features, or attributes of a particular population, group, or phenomenon. Descriptive research answers the “what” questions and provides a snapshot of the subject matter.
  • Explanatory Objectives : These objectives aim to explain the relationships between variables or factors. Explanatory research seeks to identify the cause-and-effect relationships between different phenomena.
  • Predictive Objectives: These objectives aim to predict future events or outcomes based on existing data or trends. Predictive research uses statistical models to forecast future trends or outcomes.
  • Evaluative Objectives : These objectives aim to evaluate the effectiveness or impact of a program, intervention, or policy. Evaluative research seeks to assess the outcomes or results of a particular intervention or program.
  • Prescriptive Objectives: These objectives aim to provide recommendations or solutions to a particular problem or issue. Prescriptive research identifies the best course of action based on the results of the study.
  • Diagnostic Objectives : These objectives aim to identify the causes or factors contributing to a particular problem or issue. Diagnostic research seeks to uncover the underlying reasons for a particular phenomenon.
  • Comparative Objectives: These objectives aim to compare two or more groups, populations, or phenomena to identify similarities and differences. Comparative research is used to determine which group or approach is more effective or has better outcomes.
  • Historical Objectives: These objectives aim to examine past events, trends, or phenomena to gain a better understanding of their significance and impact. Historical research uses archival data, documents, and records to study past events.
  • Ethnographic Objectives : These objectives aim to understand the culture, beliefs, and practices of a particular group or community. Ethnographic research involves immersive fieldwork and observation to gain an insider’s perspective of the group being studied.
  • Action-oriented Objectives: These objectives aim to bring about social or organizational change. Action-oriented research seeks to identify practical solutions to social problems and to promote positive change in society.
  • Conceptual Objectives: These objectives aim to develop new theories, models, or frameworks to explain a particular phenomenon or set of phenomena. Conceptual research seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the subject matter by developing new theoretical perspectives.
  • Methodological Objectives: These objectives aim to develop and improve research methods and techniques. Methodological research seeks to advance the field of research by improving the validity, reliability, and accuracy of research methods and tools.
  • Theoretical Objectives : These objectives aim to test and refine existing theories or to develop new theoretical perspectives. Theoretical research seeks to advance the field of knowledge by testing and refining existing theories or by developing new theoretical frameworks.
  • Measurement Objectives : These objectives aim to develop and validate measurement instruments, such as surveys, questionnaires, and tests. Measurement research seeks to improve the quality and reliability of data collection and analysis by developing and testing new measurement tools.
  • Design Objectives : These objectives aim to develop and refine research designs, such as experimental, quasi-experimental, and observational designs. Design research seeks to improve the quality and validity of research by developing and testing new research designs.
  • Sampling Objectives: These objectives aim to develop and refine sampling techniques, such as probability and non-probability sampling methods. Sampling research seeks to improve the representativeness and generalizability of research findings by developing and testing new sampling techniques.

How to Write Research Objectives

Writing clear and concise research objectives is an important part of any research project, as it helps to guide the study and ensure that it is focused and relevant. Here are some steps to follow when writing research objectives:

  • Identify the research problem : Before you can write research objectives, you need to identify the research problem you are trying to address. This should be a clear and specific problem that can be addressed through research.
  • Define the research questions : Based on the research problem, define the research questions you want to answer. These questions should be specific and should guide the research process.
  • Identify the variables : Identify the key variables that you will be studying in your research. These are the factors that you will be measuring, manipulating, or analyzing to answer your research questions.
  • Write specific objectives: Write specific, measurable objectives that will help you answer your research questions. These objectives should be clear and concise and should indicate what you hope to achieve through your research.
  • Use the SMART criteria: To ensure that your research objectives are well-defined and achievable, use the SMART criteria. This means that your objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  • Revise and refine: Once you have written your research objectives, revise and refine them to ensure that they are clear, concise, and achievable. Make sure that they align with your research questions and variables, and that they will help you answer your research problem.

Example of Research Objectives

Examples of research objectives Could be:

Research Objectives for the topic of “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Employment”:

  • To investigate the effects of the adoption of AI on employment trends across various industries and occupations.
  • To explore the potential for AI to create new job opportunities and transform existing roles in the workforce.
  • To examine the social and economic implications of the widespread use of AI for employment, including issues such as income inequality and access to education and training.
  • To identify the skills and competencies that will be required for individuals to thrive in an AI-driven workplace, and to explore the role of education and training in developing these skills.
  • To evaluate the ethical and legal considerations surrounding the use of AI for employment, including issues such as bias, privacy, and the responsibility of employers and policymakers to protect workers’ rights.

When to Write Research Objectives

  • At the beginning of a research project : Research objectives should be identified and written down before starting a research project. This helps to ensure that the project is focused and that data collection and analysis efforts are aligned with the intended purpose of the research.
  • When refining research questions: Writing research objectives can help to clarify and refine research questions. Objectives provide a more concrete and specific framework for addressing research questions, which can improve the overall quality and direction of a research project.
  • After conducting a literature review : Conducting a literature review can help to identify gaps in knowledge and areas that require further research. Writing research objectives can help to define and focus the research effort in these areas.
  • When developing a research proposal: Research objectives are an important component of a research proposal. They help to articulate the purpose and scope of the research, and provide a clear and concise summary of the expected outcomes and contributions of the research.
  • When seeking funding for research: Funding agencies often require a detailed description of research objectives as part of a funding proposal. Writing clear and specific research objectives can help to demonstrate the significance and potential impact of a research project, and increase the chances of securing funding.
  • When designing a research study : Research objectives guide the design and implementation of a research study. They help to identify the appropriate research methods, sampling strategies, data collection and analysis techniques, and other relevant aspects of the study design.
  • When communicating research findings: Research objectives provide a clear and concise summary of the main research questions and outcomes. They are often included in research reports and publications, and can help to ensure that the research findings are communicated effectively and accurately to a wide range of audiences.
  • When evaluating research outcomes : Research objectives provide a basis for evaluating the success of a research project. They help to measure the degree to which research questions have been answered and the extent to which research outcomes have been achieved.
  • When conducting research in a team : Writing research objectives can facilitate communication and collaboration within a research team. Objectives provide a shared understanding of the research purpose and goals, and can help to ensure that team members are working towards a common objective.

Purpose of Research Objectives

Some of the main purposes of research objectives include:

  • To clarify the research question or problem : Research objectives help to define the specific aspects of the research question or problem that the study aims to address. This makes it easier to design a study that is focused and relevant.
  • To guide the research design: Research objectives help to determine the research design, including the research methods, data collection techniques, and sampling strategy. This ensures that the study is structured and efficient.
  • To measure progress : Research objectives provide a way to measure progress throughout the research process. They help the researcher to evaluate whether they are on track and meeting their goals.
  • To communicate the research goals : Research objectives provide a clear and concise description of the research goals. This helps to communicate the purpose of the study to other researchers, stakeholders, and the general public.

Advantages of Research Objectives

Here are some advantages of having well-defined research objectives:

  • Focus : Research objectives help to focus the research effort on specific areas of inquiry. By identifying clear research questions, the researcher can narrow down the scope of the study and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant information.
  • Clarity : Clearly stated research objectives provide a roadmap for the research study. They provide a clear direction for the research, making it easier for the researcher to stay on track and achieve their goals.
  • Measurability : Well-defined research objectives provide measurable outcomes that can be used to evaluate the success of the research project. This helps to ensure that the research is effective and that the research goals are achieved.
  • Feasibility : Research objectives help to ensure that the research project is feasible. By clearly defining the research goals, the researcher can identify the resources required to achieve those goals and determine whether those resources are available.
  • Relevance : Research objectives help to ensure that the research study is relevant and meaningful. By identifying specific research questions, the researcher can ensure that the study addresses important issues and contributes to the existing body of knowledge.

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  • Research Questions: Definitions, Types + [Examples]

busayo.longe

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?

ethnographic-research-questions

  • 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?

case-study-example

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?

interview-questions

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?

descriptive-research-question

  • 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?

comparative-research-question

  • 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?

relationship-based-research-question

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.

what is research question and objectives

  • 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.

online-research-questionnaire

  • 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.

formplus-research-question

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

what is research question and objectives

Conclusion  

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.  

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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.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

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.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, December 12). Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 6 May 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/the-research-process/research-question/

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1.3 Research Objectives and Research Questions

By Anthony M. Wanjohi

A good research problem is that which generates a number of other research questions or objectives. After stating the research problem, you should go ahead to generated research questions or objectives. You may choose to use either research questions or objectives especially if they are referring to one and the same phenomenon.

Research questions refer to questions, which the researcher would like to be answered by carrying out the proposed study. The only difference between research questions and objectives is that research questions are stated in a question form while objectives are stated in a statement form. For an objective to be good, it should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

The importance of research objectives lies in the fact that they determine:

  • The kind of questions to be asked. In other words, research questions are derived from the objectives.
  • The data collection and analysis procedure to be used. Data collection tools are developed from the research objectives.
  • The design of the proposed study. Various research designs have different research objectives.

Using the study on Teacher and Parental Factors Affecting Students’ Academic Performance in Private Secondary Schools in Embu Municipality, Kenya as an example, you may state your research specific research objectives  as follows:

  • To find out the teacher factors influencing the students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Embu Municipality?
  • To find out the parental factors influencing the students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Embu Municipality?
  • To determine the extent to which teacher/parental factors affect the students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Embu Municipality
  • To find out what measures can be put in place to improve the students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Embu Municipality

Research Questions:

From the aforementioned research objectives, the following research questions can be stated:

  • What are the teachers factors influencing the students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Embu Municipality?
  • What are the parental factors influencing the students’ academic performance in private secondary Schools in Embu Municipality?
  • To what extent do teacher/parental factors affect the students’ academic performance in private secondary Schools in Embu Municipality?
  • What measures can be put in place to improve students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Embu Municipality?

Note that you can choose to use either research objectives or the research questions if they are the same as it is in the given examples. But in the situation where you derive two or more research questions from one objective, you can use both research objectives and research questions in your proposed study. Read more…

Suggested Citation (APA):

Wanjohi, A.M. (2012).   Research objectives and research questions. Retrieved online from at www.kenpro.org/research-objectives-and-research-questions

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