How do you formulate a research question?

Expert Answers
mr-mayonnaise eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order to formulate a research question there are a few big qualifiers that should be in place. 

- It should be answerable. Seems pretty basic but it must be a question that you are able to answer. If you create a research question that you cannot readily create or find an answer for then you may need to change or scrap your question in favor of a new one.

- You must be able to show your methods. When answering the question if you cannot show the methods you used to find an answer and instead fall on something like "It works because it does" or some other logical fallacy then your question is not acceptable. Make sure your question is one that you can actually prove an answer for/to. 

- Have a clear end goal in mind. A research question should be specific and unambiguous. Make sure to fine tune your question to limit the amount of wiggle room as it will make the rest of your research that much easier for you to complete and for the reader to understand. It helps to have your end goal in mind when formulating your question. 

- It helps to be interested in your topic. If it is a research question of your choosing and you are not interested in the topic then the entire project will show your lack of interest. This leads to sub-par work and a sub-par experience. 

Here is a general example:

Question: What times do people like to watch movies?

Variable 1: Time of day. 

1. Measurable by general clock time.

2. Question: What time of day did you watch the movie.

3. Responses would be any time (24 hour format would be easier to differentiate morning from night).

Hope that gives you some ideas.

Hope that helps! Good luck.