The first step in research is to have an area of interest. This will guide your research topic and help you to identify a research question. A research question is what you are aiming to answer by conducting your research. Your research question may change over the course of your research, and is informed by both published literature (empirical studies and theoretical discussions and concepts) and other background experience-based knowledge. In developing their research questions:
- Nabreesa spoke about her interest in women’s reproductive health. This particular interest and past experience which guided her research area and question.
- Cameron spoke about his background in medical education.
- Leonie spoke about her past experiences as a veterinarian.
Your research topic may stem from your professional background or prior studies or both. Sometimes, your research topic may be embedded within a larger study, and this may inform your research question. The rationale for your research is the reason that you identify for why it is worth doing; what type of problem it is going to address and how it will contribute to understanding and knowledge about an issue.
- Agee, J. (2009). Developing qualitative research questions: a reflective process. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(4), 431-447.
- Bricki, N., & Green, J. (2007). A guide to using qualitative research methodology. Retrieved from http://fieldresearch.msf.org/msf/bitstream/10144/84230/1/Qualitative+research+methodology.pdf
- Curry, L. [Yale University]. (2018, May 29). Fundamentals of Qualitative Research Methods: What is Qualitative Research (Module 1) [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbdN_sLWl88
- Curry, L. [Yale University]. (2018, May 29). Fundamentals of Qualitative Research Methods: Developing a Qualitative Research Question (Module 2). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0HxMpJsm0I
- Punch, K.F. (2014) Research Questions. In Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches (pp. 57-72), London: SAGE