In order to write a good research paper, you need to come up with a strong research question. This question will guide your research and help you stay on track as you write your paper. In this article, I’ll reveal the key elements of a good research question using the acronym FIRST (feasible, interesting, relevant, specific, and testable).

Research questions should be feasible

One common issue that can trip up researchers is making their research questions too broad or ambitious. It is important to remember that your research question should be something that you can actually answer within the confines of your paper. There is no point in asking a question that you cannot possibly hope to answer. So, when crafting your research question, make sure that it is something that you can actually investigate given the scope of your paper.

Research questions should be interesting

Your research question should be interesting. This means that it should be something that you’re personally interested in. If you’re not interested in your topic, it will be difficult to stay motivated while you’re doing the research and writing the paper. An interesting research question will capture the attention of your reader and make them want to learn more about your topic. 

Research questions should be relevant

When you are formulating a research question, it is important to make sure that the question is relevant. Why should you answer this question? Ultimately, who is going to benefit? You may be asking a good question but it may not be relevant to the needs of the audience you serve. Keep it relevant. Remember you are doing it to make a difference in the lives of the people, community, region, or country you have the privilege of serving.

Research questions should be specific

Your research question should be specific. This means that it should be focused on a particular topic or issue. You’ll need to narrow your focus in order to write a good paper. If your question is too broad, you may find yourself with too much material to cover. Conversely, if your question is too narrowly focused, you may have difficulty finding enough information to support your argument. The best research questions are those that are neither too broad nor too narrow and for which there is a sufficient amount of information available.

Research questions should be testable

When you’re formulating a research question, it’s important to make sure that it is testable. This means that you should be able to answer the question through experimentation or data collection. If your research question isn’t testable, then it’s not a good research question and you’ll need to go back to the drawing board. There are a few things that you can do to make sure that your research question is testable. First, think about what kind of data you would need to collect in order to answer the question. Second, consider what kind of experiments you could conduct in order to answer the question. 

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Courtney Simons
Courtney Simons
Courtney Simons is a food science professor. He holds a BS degree in food science and a Ph.D. in cereal science from North Dakota State University.