SOC234 2018 Lab1 – Batemans Bay

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.

#S234UOW18  #Lab1  #Bbay

Posted in SOC234 - Social Research methods, UOW.

6 Comments on SOC234 2018 Lab1 – Batemans Bay

Michelle Claude said : Guest Report 11 months ago

What makes a good and bad research question? The more knowledge that a researcher has about a topic allows a more sociological specific constructed question. The more knowledge that a researcher has about a topic prior to conducting analysis, allows a greater sociological understanding about the topic itself. Being able to think about the topic sociologically is important before formulating a question within a sociological field. The greater the scope of understanding that the research has, determines the scope of accuracy that the researcher has to formulate a more specific question. Lack of prior knowledge can lead to making generalisation when formulating questions. This is an example of bad research questions. Generalisations can lead to receiving incorrect information from your subject/s. Generalisations within your question can relate to mistrust from your subjects, which may affect the quality of information that you receive from them, as they may not feel comfortable providing you with accurate information. Clarity of the sociological question is important in order to receive accuracy of true information from the subject/s. Knowing when to use qualitative and quantitative questions in relation to the type of data that you are gathering is also very important when gathering information about the topic and formulating the question. Attached is a short clip from Dr Vermette about an 8 step sociological research process. She explains why it is important for the researcher to understand this process when constructing questions for their subject/s in order to gather accurate data.

Thomas Roberts said : Guest Report 12 months ago

To put it simply, a bad research question is a question that makes it very difficult or too easy to come to a logical conclusion. A good research question is one that makes a logical conclusion achievable but not without the needed research or provoking relevant thought. A bad research question would be too vague or too narrow, making it difficult to conduct any form of research on the chosen research topic. An example of bad research question is "What state has the highest population?" (Spiering, 2015) which is both too vague and too narrow. Too vague, as the person posing the question could be for asking about a state in the United States of America but a person could take it as meaning Australia, or the other way around. Too narrow, as almost no research is needed once the country has been determined. A bad research question cannot be answered or can be answered right away. An example of a good research question is "Why does California have the highest population?" (Spiering, 2015). The question is specific without being too narrow, it tells you where and on who to focus your research. A good research question will provoke thought with an achievable goal in sight. To achieve an appropriate research question, that is related to the research topic, create a "mind map" or a "thought chart". The question should become apparent as the topics begin to narrow down, but if the question can be easily answered, the question needs to be reconsidered. Spiering, J 2015, Good vs. Bad Research Questions, Prezi, weblog post, 5 October, viewed 5 March 2018,

Amanda Ghattas said : Guest Report 12 months ago

A good research question will be rooted in in-depth research to determine how the question can be narrowed down to as specific a question as possible; even if there is little research in the area, this itself can be used to narrow the question down to an area the researcher wants to gather data in (Patulny 2018). The question must also fit several further criteria: manageable, substantial/original, and clear. The question must be manageable for the researcher to undertake, such as their access to resources and participants; it must be substantial enough to warrant a research project and original enough that the researcher is not simply answering a question that has already been answered; and it must be clear and specific enough that the researcher will not be hindered by contradictions and attempting to apply a broad range of research to a vague question, according to this source. Another thing that must be taken into account, as mentioned by this source, is ethical issues. The researcher may not be able to access certain resources or populations due to issues with ethics such as privacy or confidentiality. Possible obstacles to answering the research question should also be considered so that the researcher can determine early in the research process whether or not it will be possible to answer the question. Possible methodologies should also be considered, as there may be several ways to answer the research question and the researcher should consider the best methodology to yield the best and most reliable results to answer their hypothesis.

Lachlan Macdonald said : Guest Report 12 months ago

The difference between a good and bad research question can change the quality of the research whether in the researcher failing to get an answer to it wind up completely off topic. A good research question depends on things such as is their question clear and concise so that the person being studied knows what the researcher is talking about. It makes it easier to identify the cause and the effect of the topic at hand so it makes it easier to figure out why the people think or feel about the topic itself. A bad research question can be is the question to big or broad since this can affect how the question is answered because depending on what you are doing it can make the research question too hard to write about since you will be focusing on many different and varied answers. Though that changes when you narrow the question so there is a limited amount of variables since if you do not have the time nor expertise in figuring out what is relevant to the question or not it can cause major issues in your research.

Rhonelle South said : Guest Report 12 months ago

The most important part of conducting social research is developing a good research question. According to Walters (2013, p10) a good research question will ‘outline the major aim of the research, specifying the key idea that the research seeks to investigate or explain’. Alvesson and Sandberg (2013) posit that ‘good questions are innovative, with the potential to generate interesting and influential theories’. A question is considered bad if it is leading or packed with sub-questions (Agee 2009), inevitably the construction of a question is subject to assumption, including perceptions on what exists - ontology, how we know things to be – epistemology, and our value judgements – axiology (Patulny 2018). Shaped through an iterative process of theory and research, a good question evolves. Underpinned by the scientific method, good research questions are specific, focused and topical (Patulny 2018). A research question must be answerable, clearly defining what data is required; as tools for discovery, they should focus on a topic of significance (Agee 2009). Is the question good or bad, academics highlight the following key features of a good question: Considered: well-articulated, indicating literature, theory, and methods. Valid: focused on an issue raised in current academic literature or practice. Achievable: can be answered within the project scope. Targeted: specific, with key ideas and concepts identified. Meaningful: of interest and benefit to others in the field. Good questions shape a study design and analysis (Agee 2009), ultimately the goal of a research question is to draw credible conclusions (O’Leary 2004). Reference List: Agee, J 2009, ‘Developing Qualitative Research Questions: A Reflective Process’, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, vol.22, no.4, pp431-447. Alvesson, M & Sandberg, J 2013, Constructing Research Questions: Doing Interesting Research, SAGE, London. O’Leary, Z 2004, The Essential Guide to Doing Research, SAGE, London. Patulny, R 2018, SOC234 ‘Social Research Methods 2018, Lecture 1: Introduction’, powerpoint slides, accessed 1/03/2018, elearning@UOW, University of Wollongong. Sheffield Hallam University n.d., Formulating the Research Question, accessed 1/03/2018, Walters, M 2013, ‘The Nature of Social Science Research’, in M Walters (ed.), Social Research Methods, South Melbourne, Victoria, pp1-22.

Michael Clark said : Guest Report 12 months ago

My opinion on what makes a good research question is that there is a precise aim to explore the circumstances, characteristics, relationships, etc. surrounding a specific topic. A good question would state the nature of the topic and also assume what the researcher may hope to find. What I think makes a bad research question is a question that seems vague and that could possibly detour to off on random tangents not related to what the aim of the research may be. They are often overly broad and fail to focus on a specific area. They may also be profoundly simple, easy to answer or even have no answer at all, whereas good research questions require further research and investigation. It may also be helpful to chose a question that you are interested in to keep the researcher engaged and precise on the topic as stated in the lecture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked