getting research questions wrong – then right

by worriedteacher

On research design as discovery


It’s the time of year when beginning doctoral researchers start to think about formulating their research proposals. In addition to reading a lot – to locate their study and find useful ideas and approaches – they also have to come up with a research question or research questions.

I’ve just come across a little resource that might help – Paul Trowler’s set of ibooks on researching in higher education. These are self published books and are pretty inexpensive to buy (and share if you know how).

In the text on thesis structure he has a very helpful set of criteria for formulating research questions. I’ve adapted his wording somewhat to suit this blog, but this is basically his formulation. Trowler says that research questions must:

!. be answerable – even if the final answer is not definitive, there must be AN answer
2. be specific – they must establish clear…

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