A research question is defined as the fundamental question inherent in the research under investigation. Its purpose is to guide the research study, for the goal is to be able to answer the research question at the end of the study.
Source: Mertler, C. A. 2017. Action research (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage
They are many types of questions you can ask about your topic.
Adapted from The Craft of Research, by W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, and J. M. Williams
The following steps can help you transition from a topic to a research question:
1. Define the topic area. In a sentence or two, describe your broad topic or area of research.
2. Describe the problem. In a sentence or two, describe a problem that could be addressed in your topic or area of research.
3. Specify the gap and justify the investigation. What is unknown or unresolved? Why should we bother investigating it?
4. Create the research question.
a. Brainstorm as many questions as you can think of that relate to your research topic/problem/gap. Try starting questions with what, why, when, where, who, and how; in general, avoid questions that will result in only “yes” or “no” answers.
b. Draft a primary question: Do you see one main question emerging from the list above? If not, try doing some additional reading or thinking, or talk to your professor.
c. Draft secondary research questions: What information do you need to gather to answer your primary question?
Adapted from the University of Guelph Libraries through