This article will guide you on how to generate appropriate research questions for your research project(s) pdf.


Research questions help authors guide their research by providing a path through the research and writing process. The specificity of a well-developed research question helps publishers avoid “all over” projects and work to support a specific line of research.

A research question should be:

Focused: it is narrow enough to be treated in depth in the space left by the writing task.

Concise: it is expressed with the least amount of words possible.

Complex: does not respond with a simple “yes” or “no”, but requires a synthesis and analysis of ideas and sources before composing an answer.

Questionable: your possible answers are more questionable than the accepted facts.

Steps to develop a research question:

  1. Choose an interesting general topic. Most professional researchers focus on subjects they are really interested in studying. Writers should choose a broad topic on which they would like to know more.
  2. Make a preliminary inquiry about your general topic. Conduct quick searches in current journals and journals on your subject to see what has already been done. What questions do you have when reading these articles?
  3. Consider your audience. For most university research papers, your audience will be academic, but always keep it in mind when you limit your topic and expand your question. Ask yourself if the audience would be interested in the question you are developing?
  4. Start asking questions. With all of the above in mind, start asking yourself questions about “how” and “why” about your general topic.
    1. Is your research question clear? It is important that your research questions are as clear as possible so that you can effectively direct his research.
    2. Is your research question targeted?
    3. Is your research question complex? Research questions should not be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” or with easy-to-find facts. They should rather require research and analysis by the author. They often start with “How” or “Why”.
  5. Start your investigation. After asking a question, think about the possible paths your research might take. What sources should you consult when looking for answers to your question? Which search process will allow you to find a variety of perspectives and answers to your question?

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