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A Reflection: What Makes a Good Research

Question?

A research is an important aspect of education. It answers queries of students and

professionals. Research has been a very big help in different fields such as in education, science

and technology, business, culture, language, and etc. Research has been defined in many ways

but to cite a few, Godwin Colibao gave a broad definition of research in which it includes any

gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge. Another definition

would be, a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our

understanding of a topic or issue. It consists of three steps: Pose a question, collect data to

answer the question, and present an answer to the question as stated by Creswell. In addition, it is

the pursuit of truth with the help of study, observation, comparison and experiment; the search

for knowledge through objective and systematic method of finding solutions to a problem

(Kothari, 2006). These are some of the definitions given by authors.

On the other hand, educational research has been a tool for educational inquiry and

advancement. It helps professionals in the field of education and gives them the chance to

identify problems in the field for them to be able to give possible solutions, lessen or even to

obliterate fully these problems. Educational research has been defined as the scientific field of

study that examines education and learning processes and the human attributes, interactions,

organizations, and institutions that shape educational outcomes. Scholarship in the field seeks to

describe, understand, and explain how learning takes place throughout a person’s life and how

formal and informal contexts of education affect all forms of learning. Educational research

embraces the full spectrum of rigorous methods appropriate to the questions being asked and also

drives the development of new tools and methods (American Educational Research Association).
Examining the broad sense of research and educational research both have the same

denominators in which the two requires a good research question. A research question when

appropriately written, will guide the research project and assist in the construction of a logical

argument. The research question should be a clear, focused question that summarizes the issue

that the researchers will investigate. The researchers should begin by identifying a broader

subject of interest that lends itself to investigation. The next step is to do preliminary research on

the general topic to find out what research has already been done and what literature already

exists. He/she must be able to consider these following questions: How much research has been

done on the topic? What types of studies? Is there a unique area that yet to be investigated or is

there a particular question that may be worth replicating? Then begin to narrow the topic by

asking open-ended "how" and "why" questions. He/she must be able to create a list of potential

questions for consideration and choose one that interests him/her and must provide an

opportunity for exploration. Finally, evaluate the question by using the following list of

guidelines: Is the research question one that is of interest to him/her and potentially to others? Is

it a new issue or problem that needs to be solved or is it attempting to shed light on previously

researched topic? Is the research question researchable? Is the methodology to conduct the

research feasible? Is the research question measureable and will the process produce data that

can be supported or contradicted? And, is the research question too broad or too narrow? There

are a lot of things to consider when conceptualizing a research and the researcher should be

ready for those challenges.

It is important to start thinking about the research paper with a question rather than

simply a topic heading. The question sets out what we hope to learn about the topic. This

question, together with the approach we’ve decided, will guide and structure the choice of data to
be collected and analyzed. Some research questions focus our attention onto the relationship of

particular theories and concepts. Some research questions aim to open an area to let possible new

theories emerge. Creating a research question is a task. Good research questions are formed and

worked on, and are rarely simply found. We can start with what interests us, and we refine it

until it is workable. There is no recipe for the perfect research question but the important thing

that we should always remember is to make sure that we have a real, grounded interest in the

research question we’ve chosen, and that we can explore this and back it up by academic and

intellectual debate. It is our interest that will motivate us to keep working and to produce a good

research paper or output.