How To Develop Research Questions and Objectives For Your MA/PhD Study

Published by Siboniso Malinga on

Formulating a good research question is essential because it guides your research paper, dissertation, or thesis. A research question pinpoints what your study seeks to find out.

Here are five steps to assist in constructing a research question:

  1. Before you formulate your research question, you need to determine the purpose of the study.
  2. Pick a topic that interests you and would like to explore.
  3. Read about the topic using various relevant sources to establish the main ideas to focus on.
  4. Focus on a specific topic and the issue you aim to address and narrow it down to formulate a research question.
  5. Now, you can put your research question into words. This must be as clear as possible, and the purpose of the study must be kept in mind when formulating it.

Objectives speak directly to your research questions. From your research questions, you can construct your objectives by:

  • Identify the research problem. This will help you to stay focused on the purpose of the study.
  • Identify the research gaps mentioned in your problem statement.
  • Brainstorm the research problem based on the research question and gaps identified.
  • Write what the study will do to achieve its goal of closing the gap. How will it do that?
  • Ensure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART).
  • Integrate the objectives and incorporate them into the study.
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