TASK: Writing Effective Research Questions

Developing good research ideas is both a science and an art (Bradley 2001:569)


1. Read the following short paper entitled Qualitative Studies: Developing Good Research Questions (Bufkin, M.)

2. Create three research questions that could guide field research on a particular setting or social group of interest to you (from Bailey ch. 3, exercise 1).

3. If you dont mind sharing your craft, please respond to this post with your attempt at an effective research question.

4. Then, respond to one or two others questions, or give them a star if you think its a well written question.

22 thoughts on “TASK: Writing Effective Research Questions

  1. What factors contribute to the disproportionate suspension rate of African American males in Fresno Unified School District High Schools?

  2. 1. What job skills / abilities do engineering managers require of entry level product development engineers?

    2. What methods can be used show that a applicant has the skills and abilities required of an entry level product development engineer?

  3. Do the perceptions of administrators/educators of at-risk youth increase the rates of suspensions/expulsions?
    Does the incluiosn of a social/emotional curriculum or behaivor intervention program alter the mental models of at-risk students?
    Does the inclusion of a social/emotional curriculum or behaivor intervention program reduce the rate of suspension/expulsions?

    • Would it be more open ended and exploratory to ask how have mothers adapted their communication style? “To what extent” made me think of a “yes” “no” response or a scale of 1-10 rather than an exploration of the many different ways they may have adapted. Some may be functional and many may be dysfunctional but all are still are adaptations.

      • If the question is asked as “how have mothers…”, then we may be assuming that they have. I prefer “to what extent”. Thoughts?

      • I thought of this question based on the example from the Bailey reading. It would be a broad question that could be answered from data collected from several other questions. I was thinking of this question as a prompt to collect qualitative data.

      • Good point Lori. Also, you might want to consider the type of mothers you involve in the research to further delineate your question: hearing mothers or attempt to learn sign language, deaf mothers who are oral, deaf mothers who are fluent ASL signers, etc..

    • I think there will be more differences than similarities among our local community. Comments from students about what their mothers tell them make me think most families have some combination of spoken language and gestural systems that is unique to their family.

  4. 1. What are the college expectations of incoming college freshman at the community college level?
    2. Do student perceptions of college expectations differ from faculty expectations of college students?

    • The perception of self-esteem and perhaps to investigate students’ self-perception regarding their belief to improve academic skills in both intervention settings.

  5. What are the shared experiences of second year students at the CSU that voluntarily “stop out,” and choose to leave school for reasons other than academic disqualification?

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