Research question examples

The research question is one of the most important parts of your research project, thesis or dissertation. It’s important to spend some time assessing and refining your question before you get started.

The exact form of your question will depend on on the length of your project, the type of research, the topic, and the research problem. But all research questions should be focused, specific, appropriately complex, and relevant to a social or scholarly issue.

Once you’ve read our guide on how to write a research question, use these examples to work out if your question is strong enough.

 

Research question Explanation
  • What effect does social media have on people’s minds?
  • What effect does daily use of Twitter have on the attention span of under-16s?
The first question is not specific enough: what type of social media? Which people? What kind of effects? The second question defines its concepts more clearly. It is researchable through qualitative and quantitative data collection.
  • Why is there a housing crisis in the Netherlands?
  • What impact have university internationalisation policies had on the availability and affordability of housing in the Netherlands?
Starting with “why” often means that your question is not focused enough: there are too many possible answers and no clear starting point for research. By targeting just one aspect of the problem and using more specific terms, the second question offers a clear path to finding an answer.
  • Does the US or the UK have a better healthcare system?
  • How do the US and the UK compare in health outcomes and patient satisfaction among low-income people with chronic illnesses?
The first question is too broad and overly subjective: there’s no clear criteria for what counts as “better”. The second question is much more researchable. It uses clearly defined terms and narrows its focus to a specific population.
  • What should political parties do about low voter turnout in region X?
  • What are the most effective communication strategies for increasing voter turnout among under-30s in region X?
It is generally not feasible for academic research to answer broad questions about “what should be done”. The second question is more specific, and aims to gain an understanding of possible solutions in order to make informed recommendations.
  • Has there been an increase in homelessness in San Francisco in the past ten years?
  • How have economic, political and social factors affected patterns of homelessness in San Francisco over the past ten years?
The first question is too simple: it can be answered with a simple yes or no. The second question is more complex, requiring in-depth investigation and the development of an original argument.
  • What factors led to women gaining the right to vote in the UK in 1918?
  • How did Irish women perceive and relate to the British women’s suffrage movement?
The first question is too broad and not very original. It has been extensively researched by historians, and it would be very difficult to contribute new knowledge. The second question identifies an underexplored aspect of the topic that requires investigation and discussion of various primary and secondary sources to answer.
  • How can sexual health services and LGBT support services in district X be improved?
  • How can sexual health clinics in district X develop their services and communications to be more LGBT-inclusive?
The first question is not focused enough: it tries to address two different practical problems (the quality of sexual health services and LGBT support services). Even though the two issues are related, it’s not clear how the research will bring them together. The second integrates the two problems into one focused, specific question.
  • Where do the majority of immigrants to Germany come from?
  • What are the similarities and differences in the experiences of recent Turkish, Polish and Syrian immigrants in Berlin?
The first question is too simple, asking for a straightforward fact that can be easily found online. The second is a more complex comparative question that requires data collection and detailed discussion to answer.
  • How is race represented in Shakespeare’s Othello?
  • How have modern adaptations of Shakespeare’s Othello dealt with the theme of racism through casting, staging and allusion to contemporary events?
The first question is not original or relevant — it has been answered so many times that it would be very difficult to contribute anything new. The second question takes a specific angle with scope to make an original argument, and has more relevance to current social concerns and debates.
  • How can drunk driving be prevented?
  • What effect do different legal approaches have on the number of people who drive after drinking in European countries?
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.
Is this article helpful?
Shona McCombes

Shona has a bachelor's and two master's degrees, so she's an expert at writing a great thesis. She has also worked as an editor and teacher, working with students at all different levels to improve their academic writing.

59 comments

Mokete
October 26, 2020 at 5:07 PM

Hi Shona
Thank you for this helpful article.
I have a research question which goes like”Does studying abroad improve graduates’ long term employability among the youth in Lesotho?” And I could really ise your expertise if this topic is good enough or I can alter it or ditch it totally. Please help

Thanks

Reply

Dolores S. Villapando
October 25, 2020 at 8:35 AM

Hello and good afternoon
Please help me formulate research questions about the title CHALLENGES ON IMPLEMENTING SCHOOL-BASED FEEDING PROGRAM IN SELECTED SCHOOLS IN SAN ANTONIO DISTRICT.
Thank you for your response in advance.
Your help is much appreciated.

Reply

Md. Mohibbullah Bill Wahid
October 21, 2020 at 9:43 AM

Hi
I need the answer of this question. please help me

"Convert the following hypotheses into statistical hypotheses: “People who earn an A+ in Programming are more likely to get a high salary job than those who do not earn an A+”.

Thank you.

Reply

Gladys
October 20, 2020 at 2:53 PM

Good day

Can you please help with research questions for the topic: Impact of digital footprint on one's life?

Regards
Gladys

Reply

Marta
October 16, 2020 at 9:03 PM

Can you help me pls on writing a research question on influences of cesarean delivery on breastfeeding practices and Duration

Reply

Lori
October 15, 2020 at 10:51 PM

Hi i was wondering if I can get some help on how to fix my research question?
My question is “ what benefits dose crossfit training have to paramedics ability to preform their duties?” Is this good or is there something I need to fix. Thank you.

Reply

Dairy
September 30, 2020 at 7:36 AM

Hello, ma'am. Our title of our quantitative research is Student's perception and their academic performance: A correlational study. We're having a hard time on making research questions, can we ask your suggestions?

Reply

REMY PINE
September 28, 2020 at 11:12 PM

Hi there, any suggestion on how to better shape my research question? I am making my topic on Allegiant air and researching negative and positive reviews on social medial outlets.

For Allegiant Air, does being a low-cost airline interfere with keeping consumers happy?

Reply

Bing Aparra
September 25, 2020 at 9:43 AM

Hi ma'am Shona

I would like to ask your permission to use your sample research questions for me to use at least three research questions as part of my students' activity. I find it helpful material for my students. Thank you very much in advance.

Reply

Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr-team)
September 25, 2020 at 5:39 PM

Hi Bing,

Of course, you're welcome to use these examples! We only ask that you credit Scribbr if you use our articles in any teaching materials :)

Reply

Chinedu Udeh
September 25, 2020 at 12:43 AM

I will appreciate if you could help to form a Research topic on Black Live Matters

Reply

Dairy
September 30, 2020 at 7:29 AM

Hello, Ma'am our title of our quantitative research is Student's perception on modular learning and their academic performance: A correlational study. And we're having a hard time on making research questions, can we have your suggestions? Thank you.

Reply

Polly Kone
September 16, 2020 at 9:24 AM

How to write a research question surrounding foster care with hypothesis?

Reply

Ip Daisy
September 14, 2020 at 12:22 PM

This helps me to know more abt research question.
May I have ur opinion on the research in student perceptions in clinical mentoring.….

Reply

Sankar Chandra Debnath
September 12, 2020 at 8:37 AM

Hello
I want to conduct research for my master program. I need some information. What is guided questioning in research? is it open-ended and structured? Thank you

Reply

Maciej
September 8, 2020 at 4:11 PM

Hey there,
I am struggling with coming up with the most suitable question for my master's dissertation. My topic is "Detecting and Tracking structural defects in video footage" and it is a topic related to Deep Learning and Computer Vision. My ideas of how the research question would be are as follow:
1. To what extent video analytics can reduce structural defects in road damages?
2. What impact does video analytics has on structural defect detection and tracking?
3. What improvements video analytics has brought in to structural defect detection and tracking over the last decade?

These are my initial ideas on that research question, however, I am not going to lie that I got a little bit lost :/ I will really appreciate your help!
Cheers!

Reply

RA
October 1, 2020 at 8:19 AM

what is that you are trying to do here?? Begging for free online feedback???
Or are you sharing your research so that someone else can steal its idea?
Delete what you posted and if you want professional advice at least contact Scribbr via email !!

Reply

Destiny Repetto
September 7, 2020 at 2:50 AM

Hello, can anyone help me simplify my research question? Also, help me determine what research design will be most appropriate for my study? (Experimental design, correlational design, or groups design).

Thank you so much,
Destiny

Reply

Tankiso Sents'o
September 1, 2020 at 8:22 AM

Very helpful

Reply

Carrie Mercer
August 31, 2020 at 8:04 PM

I am getting ready to start my Thesis and I want to do the topic on Domestic Violence. Does this sound like a good Thesis Topic?

Domestic violence the difference between statistics and the real picture.

or

Domestic violence is detrimental for victims and children and should be effectively addressed.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Reply

Rimsha Khan
September 26, 2020 at 4:07 PM

Hello Carrie
Domestic violence the difference between statistics and the real picture sounds more interesting since it will provide the reader with a more in-depth analytical perspective. I would suggest you go with a case study and lead with that.
Regards
https://www.linkedin.com/in/rimshakhan73/

Reply

Stephen Panji
August 31, 2020 at 3:04 AM

My topic is " Correlation between Poverty and Crime" A case study of Twashuka compound. The variables am looking at are Poverty, Unemployment, Household income, and Crime rates. Now I need you to help on how to develop questions.

Reply

Bo
August 28, 2020 at 7:48 PM

That is very helpful. Can anyone please help me here? I am working on a research on how mentors help motivate girls of color to become aware of, interested, and prepared for STEM? Not quite sure how to generate a research question out of it.

Reply

Dr.P.THANGARAJ
August 28, 2020 at 3:44 PM

thanks a lot mam
very nice and briefly explain about the design research questions for thesis

Reply

Angelina Powell-Foster
August 27, 2020 at 6:21 AM

Pleasant Night Ms. McCombes.

My research topic is "The impact of Coronavirus (COVID 19) on fourth form students' academic performance within my community".

Are these research questions ok?
1. What are some problems faced by fourth formers participating in distance or online learning since the closure of schools due to the Coronavirus COVID 19?

2. How does the shortened 2019-2020 school year affect fourth formers' achievement?

3. What are some possible solutions to lessen learning losses during distance or online platforms?

Reply

surbhi Garg
August 17, 2020 at 11:16 AM

Is this research question okay

Are women aged 30-69 years lacto - vegetarian diet at a lower risk of developing breast cancer in South India

Reply

Felicia Shabalala
August 16, 2020 at 5:40 PM

Hi
Please assist with hypothetical statement and variables
Research topic: the effects of psychiatric medication administered to mental health care users.

Reply

Deepika
August 13, 2020 at 12:04 PM

Hi I am Juris Law student. In the context of legal research methodology course, I am going to write a research question. Would you like to give me a feedback whether it is good or need more?
What are the effects of pandemic or influenza on Australian economy and health system?

Reply

John Raymond
August 12, 2020 at 12:52 PM

Is this "how does Mwera wind cause the effect of decreasing the number of species of Ornamental fish caught in Lake Malawi at Senga Bay at Salima district?" a good research question or maybe it is too long?

Reply

RA
October 1, 2020 at 8:30 AM

I suggest : "what impact has Mwera wind on Malawi Ornamental fish?

Reply

Zee
August 11, 2020 at 5:13 PM

Hi, I'm a Visual Communication Design student.

My research topic is "Food Insecurity".

I decided to focus on the lack of nutrition knowledge and awareness that negatively influences students eating habits.

This is a qualitative study and I really need help forming my research question.

Reply

John Mhango
August 8, 2020 at 3:10 PM

I like your research question examples. I believe they will be of much importance to me. However, can you help me if this question is OK " what are the negative effects of rainfall on the health of children in Malawi? "

Reply

Sampson Mike
August 5, 2020 at 6:12 AM

I'm writing a research question for a scientific report. Is this specific?

How does increasing global temperatures affect the population and function of phytoplanktons and what effect may they have on marine biodiversity in the next 10 years?

Reply

Abner P
July 28, 2020 at 1:38 AM

What are the negative effects that social media use has on family relationships?

Is this a good Question?

Reply

wilchen papz
August 23, 2020 at 5:30 AM

Hi Abner,

I like that you are concern with the effect of social media on a family matter. With that, your question should be specific what "social media"? In terms of family relationship, what type of family you want to address is it for nuclear family, extended, or childless family, and other thing of similar type? Do you want to address it to the whole family in the world, regardless of belief, traditions, and ethnicity?
You can have it more specific.

Reply

Nomthie
July 25, 2020 at 12:17 AM

Can you please tell me whether this research question is correctly formulated for qualitative study.

''How do young adults with physical disabilities experience transition to adulthood''?

Reply

Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr-team)
July 29, 2020 at 7:53 PM

Hi Nomthie,

Your research question looks good to me!

Reply

Thembeka
June 29, 2020 at 6:02 PM

Can anyone please help, im writing a research proposal and my main topic is "Analytical study of human trafficking in South Africa"
Do this topic fall under qualitative or Quantitative research

Reply

Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr-team)
July 21, 2020 at 5:04 PM

Hi Thembeka,

You could approach this topic in either a quantitative or a qualitative way.

A quantitative research approach would involve collecting numerical data about trafficking in South Africa (for example, about the numbers, locations, and characteristics of trafficking victims) and statistically analyzing it.

A qualitative research approach would involve collecting textual or audio data (e.g. through interviews) to analyze experiences and perceptions of trafficking.

You can also choose a mixed methods approach that incorporates both aspects.

Hope that helps – good luck with your proposal!

Reply

Very helpful thanks
June 23, 2020 at 10:41 PM

will use it as part of a guideline for students

Reply

Mark Manu
June 21, 2020 at 1:54 PM

Good one

Reply

peter
June 11, 2020 at 3:33 PM

Thanks for your good work, you have sharpened my skills in formulating questions.

Reply

Connor ferguson
June 10, 2020 at 3:44 AM

pretty good!

Reply

mizanur
February 4, 2020 at 6:22 PM

Very helpful

Reply

Mercy
November 27, 2019 at 7:33 PM

This is really amazing. It help the way I now think. I actually thought one can just write and get material I never knew it involve a lot of wisdom. It is not easy though so I will want to suggest that a link should be created whereby people questions can be reframe after being asked. Thanks

Reply

George Chilenga
November 17, 2019 at 6:07 PM

Thanks very much for your help. I have learnt how i can create good research questions with ease. This fits well with what my professor told me during my research proposal.

Reply

Kezia Bentil
October 8, 2019 at 1:09 AM

Very explicit

Reply

Danjuma paul
July 12, 2019 at 2:57 PM

Please I want three each, a list of activities that are researchable and those that are not researchable?

Reply

ntsane
May 12, 2019 at 2:55 PM

would you please help me to write research question on this topic how does bim has effective cost management when it comes to construction

Reply

Selina L Zulu
May 11, 2019 at 1:14 PM

Your work has been very helpful. It has been an eye opener in the world of research

Reply

Genevieve
May 9, 2019 at 6:46 PM

Please, assist me to write 6 research questions for the topic: A comparative study of fluent and stuttered speeches: A case study of French bilinguals. Thanks

Reply

Halcyone Ashford
May 7, 2019 at 9:42 PM

I really need help in constructing my research questions. Your guidelines are really interesting.

Reply

Sakala Shemidah
August 15, 2018 at 3:31 PM

Comment kindly help me with a research question . I'm a students of Business Studies, undergraduate.

Reply

Laura Draws
Laura Draws (Scribbr-team)
August 15, 2018 at 6:55 PM

Dear Sakala,

Thanks for your comment! :)
Unfortunately, I can not help you with your research question with only such few information.
If you contact us via mail or chat we will try to help you out.

Cheers,
Laura

Reply

Farooq
May 17, 2019 at 10:37 AM

Please would like to helping me in writing few research qustions.
My main research topic is : Trust on political institutions would strengthen democratic system.

Reply

Dzade Ruben
August 13, 2018 at 3:35 AM

I want you to help me write a research question as a maths student. I attend Valley view university (techiman campus Ghana).

Reply

Leon Smits
Leon Smits (Scribbr-team)
August 14, 2018 at 9:24 PM

Dear Ruben,

Thanks for your comment! I'm not sure if we can help you with this, but I'd gladly give it a try!
If you contact us via our chat, I or one of my colleagues would be happy to try to help you.

Hope to hear from you!

Cheers,
Leon

Reply

Christie Obey
July 21, 2018 at 4:05 PM

Just helpful.

Reply

Umar sadiq
June 25, 2018 at 5:07 AM

Iam impress

Reply

Still have questions?

Please click the checkbox on the left to verify that you are a not a bot.