SOC234 2017 Lab1 – Mossvale

Dear SOC234 Lab,

Please respond to the following question with a reply-post of no more than 250 words:

‘What makes a good and bad research question?”

Remember that you will need to post your reply before Lab 1, and don’t forget to look at both the instructions for Tweeting and Blogging and the Lab and Lecture Guide, both up on Moodle.

Thanks and good luck, Roger.

#S234UOW17  #Lab1  #Mvale

Posted in Uncategorized.


  1. A good research question begins by finding a topic from personal interests, finding gaps in previous research studies and social theories. A good research question is structured and clear in what it wants to research (gender, age etc).
    A research question needs to be doable, significant and have substance. It needs to identify puzzles and investigate and/or explain social phenomena (Walter, 2013). A good question also determines which research method to use and is key to a successful research process and outcome (Walter,2013).

    A bad research question is one that makes a statement, rather than ask a question. A bad question is too long, vague, has no structure and doesn’t define the purpose of the research. This makes the research and outcome difficult and incorrect (Walter 2013).

  2. What makes a good and bad research question: some points to consider?
    Your research question pushes your study. Having a good research question can allow you to explore new knowledge and theories that can contribute to solving social problems, or it can hinder and frustrate your research. Despite only being a sentence of the research project, it is a vital component when constructing your research design. To facilitate this, the following points should be considered:
    • A good research question should not be a statement, so always ensure it ends with a question mark;
    • Do your research to check that your question hasn’t already been asked, and the research already done;
    • Keep it simple- avoid complicated long winded questions; after all, you want the participants to be able to answer the question;
    • The question needs to be narrow enough so are able to sort the answers, but not too narrow such that it does not prejudice the gathering of important information;
    • Allow for multiple perspectives;
    • The question needs to be open ended: you will struggle to write a report on Yes and No answers;
    Reflect and consider if there is any bias in your question- this can hinder and skew your results.
    Coming up with a good research question can be difficult and time consuming. However it cannot be overlooked as it not only places boundaries on the research project but also gives your project direction. The question will help identify the best methods to use throughout your project, so put the effort in at the start; it could be the difference between having a good research question and a bad one!

  3. A research question can be either good or bad, not both. A good research question is the foundation of all successful research, determining how well the research is answered. The question’s execution is pivotal and decisive in the researcher’s capacity to accomplish their desired result: to ‘gain social understanding’ by ‘investigating social answers to social issues and phenomena’. (Walter)

    What is a ‘good’ question can be answered by what it isn’t: a ‘bad’ or poor question will not have enough of the key elements of Research Design:

    It won’t be a well-defined question. The question won’t outline, state or describe its topic or problem. This will make it difficult to intuit and select the correct methodologies, theory and techniques to embark upon research. This also makes it difficult to draw out the outcomes and meaning of your data analysis.

    It won’t identify its topic. It won’t be clear or specific, but too vague and broad in scope for investigation.

    It won’t be ‘empirically answerable’ because it hasn’t defined/identified the problem well at the onset. If the question is too loose it will be difficult to determine the appropriate methodology, theory and analysis techniques with which to answer the question.

    A good research question therefore is the result of the process of ‘research design’. It will be clear, it will be well-defined, it will identify its topic and problem, and enable an intuitive logical selection of its methods and theories thereafter, in order to interpret the data and answer the question. #S234UOW17 #Lab1 # Wed130 #Mvale

  4. Question is the first form of human reaction to curiosity and the point of a question is to study and research. A good question is a question that provide “layout” for interviewer to give out their opinions in the most truthful and critical way wether the research is quantitative or qualitative. It should be created with a mind to expand our knowledge not to re-define or re-confirm a certain event or issue because those are questions that already have been answered. A string of questions should be clearly constructed in order to break down research samples, find out certain patterns of trends. A bad question is asked when its answer does not contribute to the research or interviewer find it “hard” to present their thoughts. Finally, questions should always take into account of behavioral reaction received of the questioned

  5. What makes a good research question?

    When developing a good research question the researcher needs to specifically frame the main intent of the research. This allows the researcher the opportunity to instigate their subject of interest which precedents for the research process to proceed. The quality of the question is the foundation of good research (Walter, p. 25, 2013).
    It is vital to have a clear understanding of the research you are exploring is. Also examining the fundamental concepts of the research (Walter, p.10, 2013). It is important to have reliable data and peer reviewed literature to draw upon for your specific research topic. It is important for the research question to focus and generate subjective responses by the participants in the research process.
    Also vital areas to include are the ethical considerations and the practical considerations of the research question (Cox, p.3, 2012).
    What makes a bad research question?
    It will not specifically frame the main intention of the research clearly. The question can either be to long, not specifically written or to narrow for investigation (Cox, p.3, 2012). Does the researcher indicate a clear understanding of what the research is exploring? Does the question allow a simplistic answer then try and avoid this as it is to narrow for a quality argument to form(Walter, p.28, 2013). It doesn’t allow the research data to be easily gathered, evaluated and considered. It does not include the ethical procedures and the practical process for the research process to work.

  6. A research question is the groundwork for a social research project. It establishes the focus of your research and is unambiguous in the results that you want to receive. The first step to creating a good question, is selecting a topic that you are interested in. Your enthusiasm about your subject will drive the project forward and will show through your writing and research. The second step, is to read about that topic, gain a basic understanding and discern areas and questions that are lacking in that area. Then finally narrow down your topic into a question that will do the following.
    • Answer a question or discuss an “empirical phenomenon”(Walter, 2013, p27.), that is something that you have observed in society that has not been illustrated and explained before.
    • Clarify the relevant methods for desired social research results.
    • Place limits on your project when writing and help to create a coherent argument and direction.
    • It will be controlled in scope, to allow for a few concepts to discuss and investigate, although do not get lost in research. If a question is not precise, it can generate results that are obscure and illogical; this is not “coherent social analysis” (Walter, 2013, p27.)
    • Avoid an overly long question. You are aiming something short that can open up alternative research.
    It is important to remember that you cannot state a good question without the relevant research and understanding on a topic first. It will take time, observations and substantial reading to discover a question that will be a good foundation to a social research project.
    #S234UOW17 #Lab1 #Mvale

  7. A research question lies at the very heart of successful research design; one considerably well designed, structured and articulated, will efficiently drive the overall research and data collection process. However, in contrast, a poor research question will not offer the best, most relevant results (Walter 2013, p. 25).
    As Patulny (2017) states in Lecture One, the ‘right’ research question/hypothesis is ‘clear and important’, as well as being ‘exploratory, descriptive or confirmatory’. Furthermore, Boume and Ling (2014, p. 14) imply that the two following properties ensure a ‘good’ research question;
    1. Blogger @monica_mxm892 has too, referenced Boume and Ling’s (2014, p. 14) first specification. This is that a strong question must be specific and ‘limited in scope’. Otherwise, your project will address too many broad dimensions of your topic, which can’t be achieved successfully in one paper.
    2. As appropriate research questions are related to ’empirical phenomenon’, they can be answered through tangible and observational evidence/data. Questions such as ‘What is the meaning of life?’, ‘Is there a heaven?’ or ‘Is terrorism ever justified?’, are too inconclusive, and not typical questions sociologists seek to answer through social research.
    Walter (2013, pp. 27-28) further implies that a ‘good’ research question has;
    – clear research aims,.
    – As blogger ‘zeljka o’malley’ has also specified, is a clear question, not a statement. A statement should otherwise be formulated into a question.
    – takes into consideration previous literature, identifying contradictions or ‘puzzles’, that may further contribute to their own work.

    Furthermore, a relatively ‘poor’ research question will serve as a contrast to the above specifications. In addition (Walter 2013, p. 28);
    – A ‘bad’ research question is normally rushed, ambiguous and misinterprets core concepts of the main literature and/or topic.
    – The question is long, complicated and vague.
    – The question has already been addressed (ie. don’t replicate previous research).
    – The research question is tied to a particular method.

  8. What makes a good and bad research question? When it comes to developing a research question you need to make the question simple yet have enough detail to be able to get a more detailed answer/ response. This will allow for the person who is answering the question to be able to expanded on their answer and for them to be able to answer the question to the best of their ability. A good research question will state the main purpose of the research allowing to get a response that will be helpful to the research. A bad research question will not identify the key concepts of the research and will only allow for simple, generalised, yes/ no answers. By writing a bad research question you will not get enough information or detail that you are looking for to be able to support your research as the answers can be too short or not that the right information you are looking for. Overall good research questions have key words and are more open where as bad research questions are closed questions and have no key words. #S234UOW17 #Lab1 #wed130

  9. A research question is created when someone has interest in a particular subject and wishes to find extra information about the subject. The question is designed to ‘state the aim of the research in question form’ (Walter 2010, p. 13). Depending on the subject or the type of information one wants to find out will depend on whether the question requires quantitative (data) research or a qualitative (meaning and experience) research. In order to make a good question the researcher must already have some knowledge/understanding of the subject or have done some research to find out some information about the subject. Research should always come from a peer reviewed/scholarly source. Uninformed or incorrect information could be the result of non scholarly readings.
    A bad question would be a question that was too long, this creates confusion and the aim becomes unclear); as patulny (2017) discusses in lecture 1 a question should be clear and important, as well as explatory, descriptive and explanatory. Therefore the question should allow for new areas of the same subject to be discussed, it should describe social phenomena. The quality of the question is the foundation of good research (Walter, 2013, p. 25) which means if the research h question is poor, the information received will be just as poor. The question needs to be straight to the point so that when the researcher puts the research to practice the surveys, focus groups, interviews etc are filled with useful and knowledgeable information that can be put towards the final results.

  10. ‘What makes a good and bad research question?’

    A bad research question is a question about a topic that the researcher is not interested in, with the result it is unlikely to hold the interest of the audience. The choice of research needs to be a subject that is contemporary and of interest to the readers so it remains interesting and vital.
    To avoid a bad research question it also requires the question not to answer what is generally already known, or be too broad to answer. Also, the enquiry needs to be able to be resolved, controlled and have a relevant time frame.
    A good research question is one where all these elements are considered. It will recognise the hypothetical concept on the topic to be investigated leading to a logical structure of the answers. The question needs to encourage a multi layered response, leaving a window of opportunity to gather data that is unforeseen and informative.
    It is also helpful to gather information about the recent papers or investigations published on the topic to be researched. Ensure your subject can be analysed through quantitative or qualitative information. #S234UOW17 #Lab1 #Mvale

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