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How to write a research question: effective approaches

How to write a research question: a theoretical introduction

Of course, in order to create correct and statistically effective questionnaires, which may be used as useful instruments in various scopes, one has to formulate the main purposes of these papers and methods of their practical application. In other words, a lion’s share of the answer to such a complex and important question as ‘how to write a research question?’ includes recommendations aimed at gaining a profound and all-embracing understanding of the main functions of different modern questionnaires. Surely, the most essential role of the questionnaire is to retrieve all the significant data about some specific issue, event or problem, which is required to enable the researcher to answer the main objectives of some concrete research. With an eye to achieving this goal, perfectly written questionnaires must not only collect the demanded data, but also perform this assignment in the most suitable and accurate possible way. Of course, gathering concrete and informative data means collecting and analyzing the most informative and objective responses. Therefore, a key objective in creating the questionnaires is to assist the respondents to provide these answers, by developing the most suitable and tolerant strategy. However, experienced authors of such papers insist that the questionnaire’s role is much greater. Firstly, collecting all significant information is only the first step, important, but not determinative. Next, a researcher has to analyze all obtained responds, perform a long series of various statistical computations in order to evaluate the scientific and practical significance of these results, synthesize the most accurate and concrete model, which describes the current situation and (if necessary) predicts the further development of the problem. Finally, one should verify all the data obtained during the research, by providing various reliable proves to each concrete point. Nevertheless, we should not forget about the second point of the standard questionnaire’s objective. Thus, all trustworthy and useful questionnaires must be focused on the practical interests of other stakeholders whose interests must also be met.

Doubtlessly, some authors can specify that even the most well-thought-out questionnaire represents only one segment of the survey process, which means that the significance of the question: ‘how to write a research question?’ is greatly exaggerated by redundantly circumspective researchers. Nevertheless, it is an extremely essential segment of the survey process and no one will argue that a poorly written and logically baseless questionnaire just cannot provide all the information needed or, worse, will provide incorrect and distorted data, leading to analogically incorrect and distorted conclusions. To eschew these doubtlessly undesirable situations a researcher should start with the first essential point of each research associated with the use of diverse questionnaires or similar documents. Hence, let us examine the main principles according to which we may write the best samples of these papers.

How to write a research question about the market-associated issues: practical advice

Surely, the first task with any scientific or market-oriented survey is to define all significant objectives that the study is to answer. Obviously, this assignment may be extremely specific and very complex, such as a determination of differences between two alternative product formulations or characteristics of different segments of the market, which may be of interest to different target groups. In this case, an author’s task is much more simplex than where the survey is exploratory in nature because a specific objective usually implies that there is a specific question to be answered and it is the questionnaire writer’s work to indicate the most accurate and informative way of answering that question. In contradistinction to these types of assignments, researches, which are purely exploratory, allow the author to select less predetermined methods of study. In fact, a lion’s share of the task is determining what information need to be obtained and how they are best collected. Therefore, when working with this type of research projects it is strongly recommended to perform supplementary researches to indicate what the issues are within the market, how subjects in the market consider them and what specific opinions prevail. Surely, this preparatory operation is aimed at easing the survey process, by obtaining knowledge about what questions needed to be asked and what strategy has to be selected with an eye to finding the most suitable and effective expert methods. Additionally, it should be noted and doubtlessly emphasized that the author of the market-oriented questionnaire should choose the most appropriate type of language, which must be used in order to carry out the conversation with respondents in a way that they will completely understand and will help them to provide all data that is sought. This part requires a very deep and well-established understanding of inner processes that prevail in the market, transforming its segments and creating new original situations. Hence, those writers who are not familiar with the vocabulary of a market can very quickly become confused. Naturally, this problem is virtually ubiquitous and it may relate to not only various complex business-to-business markets, but also other specific issues. Unfortunately, neither different training programs, nor diverse educational guidelines about this theme just cannot benefit the author with new methods and research techniques, which can be useful during the survey process, if he or she does not realize a quite simple point: questionnaire writing does not exist in a vacuum, but is an integral part of each well-based survey process. In order to avoid it from the very start, the writer should also justify all the previously constructed conclusions, eschewing potential errors and mistakes not only in the conclusive results but also in the intermediate stages of the survey process.

In fact, after all the interviews have been carried out and all the information about the examined topic collected, they will need to be accurately analyzed. Obviously, this stage of the survey process must be prepared from the start. Moreover, the whole structure of a standard questionnaire must be created in accordance with the methods of analysis and classification of the received results. Otherwise, these methods of statistical analysis will inevitably induce serious transformations of the initial materials. For example, a standard screening questionnaire, which is targeted at a small focus group, will not provide as much statistically valuable information about the studied phenomenon, as an analogical screening questionnaire that is aimed at obtaining answers from a considerably large group of people. In addition, the obtained results will undoubtedly differ not only in the quantity of statistically significant indicators, but also in their qualitative characteristics. Hence, the way according to which the screening questionnaire was created, surely affects the further stages of the research, inducing serious changes of the chosen screening strategy.


Different types of inaccuracies and mistakes in results, caused by the initial structure of the questionnaire

Of course, not all the mistakes in the determinate results of the research occur because of the inaccuracies in the original screening questionnaire. In other words, the author’s main objective is to find the most suitable arguments, which may convince the respondents to give exceptionally correct and unbiased answers in accordance with their practical experience and avoiding unintentional mistakes in the demonstrated reactions. Additionally, he or she should create a logical and justified structure of the interview, maintaining the most informative and useful type of dialogue between the interviewer and the respondent. However, during each survey process, especially during those researches that are connected with the market studies, various types of unpredicted troubles may occur, causing diverse errors in the interpretations of the collected data. Therefore, in order to distinguish one type of mistakes from the other and correct the papers before publishing, it is useful to examine the list of these distortions from the very beginning. Here is a concise list of the main reasons that lead to these mistakes in the final interpretations, which may be useful for those writers who prefer to focus on the respondents’ reactions and consider them in their screening questionnaires.

  • The interviewer has asked some questions inaccurately.
  • The respondents has not understood the question.
  • The interviewer has had some troubles with accurate recording of the respondents’ answers.
  • The responder has not paid attention to the interviewer’s questions because of some personal or general reasons that have no connection with the quality of the questionnaire.
  • Different types of inaccuracies in the respondents’ answers because of some specific issues, which are not connected with the quality of the used questionnaire.

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