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How to Develop Research Questions

Developing research questions as a roadmap for your investigation


Research questions serve as a roadmap for the design of your investigation as well as how you might eventually analyze your data. When crafting research questions, ensure they are: (1) created with a purpose in mind, (2) clearly stated and focused, and (3) actually ‘researchable.’

These reflection questions will help you to develop your own research question(s):

1. Are your research questions created with a purpose in mind?

Your research questions should guide your investigation and your analysis. To do this:

  • Identify your topic or focus (e.g., student growth in math during the 2020-21 school year).

  • Specify the context of your investigation (i.e., online learning or hybrid models).

  • Determine what you want to achieve (e.g., discover enabling math systems that improved learning).

  • Note any potential relationships you want to explore increase in math comprehension for students whose teacher received professional learning.

2. Are the research questions clearly stated and focused?

Make sure to avoid ambiguity. Ensure that your research questions address who, what, where, and when.

Unclear and Broad

Clear and Focused

What effect did the pandemic have on student learning?

What effect did the pandemic have on reading comprehension scores for students learning English engaged in remote learning during the 2020-21 school year?

3. Are your research questions actually researchable?

Determine if your questions are answerable through available data sources – both those you have direct access to (i.e., progress reports, standardized assessment data, benchmark scores) as well as other sources that may need additional permission such as surveys or qualitative interviews and focus groups.

Strategy Resources

How to Write a Research Question: Types, Steps, and Examples

This website provides strategies for writing different types of research questions, the steps to creating... Learn More

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