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  • Writer's pictureallisonjolester

Brewing the Perfect Research Question: A Sip-and-Chat with Your Inner Researcher

Hello, educators! Today, I'm going to have a tête-à-tête about the most significant, the most potent, and the most exciting part of any research venture: conjuring up that all-important research question. Yes, I'm talking about the magic question that will guide your noble quest for knowledge!

Research questions are like the skeleton of your study, giving it structure and direction. But how to sculpt this skeleton without ending up with a bone-rattling headache? Grab your favorite cup of beverage, put on your comfiest thinking cap, and let's dive in!

1. Find Your 'Research Rhythm'

Research is a dance, and your research question is the rhythm that guides your steps. To find your groove, ask yourself:

  • What sparks my curiosity?

  • What's an area in education I'm passionate about exploring?

  • What educational challenges keep me awake at night?

Your answers will serve as the compass that guides your research journey.

2. Scout the Territory

Before you delve deeper, check out what's already out there. A quick literature review can shed light on gaps in the field and offer you a glimpse of uncharted territories waiting to be explored. Ask yourself:

  • What topics have been overdone, and which ones are still fresh?

  • Are there any recent developments or trends in education that pique my interest?

  • What findings from previous research could be expanded or challenged?

3. Get Up Close and Personal

A little introspection can go a long way in creating meaningful research questions. Probe into your teaching practice and classroom interactions. Reflect and ask yourself:

  • What are some real-world problems in my classroom I'd love to solve?

  • What aspects of my teaching practice do I want to improve?

  • How can I better cater to my students' diverse learning needs?

4. Draft, Reflect, Redraft

The initial research question you conjure up doesn't have to be perfect. It's okay, encouraged even, to draft a question, sit with it, turn it around, upside-down, inside-out, and then redraft it. During this process, ponder over:

  • Is my research question clear, focused, and researchable?

  • Does it capture the essence of what I want to explore?

  • Does it have the potential to contribute to the field of education?

5. Seek Feedback

Two (or more) brains are often better than one! Discuss your research question with colleagues, mentors, or peers. Their insights can help refine your question and identify any blind spots. During these discussions, consider:

  • Do they understand the purpose of my research based on the question?

  • Do they have any suggestions for making the question more concise or focused?

  • Have they pointed out any potential pitfalls or challenges?

Remember, darlings, a well-crafted research question is the backbone of your research project. It's the guiding light that illuminates your path in the labyrinth of academic investigation.

But, dear educators, don't fret if your research question is worded perfectly to your liking. Having a strong core of what you seek to inquire is most important. Read here for what to do when you feel stuck in writing your question.

So, as you embark on this exciting journey, remember to have fun, stay curious, and most importantly, never stop questioning!

Until our next academic tête-à-tête, happy questioning!


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