Before embarking on any research project, it is essential that you understand the research question(s) to be answered. Research questions define the scope of your project and provide direction for the investigation. Without a clear understanding of your research question(s), knowing what sources to look for or which information is relevant is difficult.
By taking the time to fully comprehend their research question(s), researchers can ensure that they are on the right track and that the information they find is meaningful and valuable.
On this page, we will consider how to deconstruct and understand a research question or assignment brief.
Understanding what you’re being asked to do requires careful reading and analysis of the assignment brief or question.
By understanding the research question in this way, you can ensure that you are approaching your research in a focused and systematic way, helping you to find meaningful and useful results.
Take a look at the example below; we've produced a mindmap to help us understand our example question. On the mindmap, we have:
Creating a mind map similar to this can assist you in delving deeper into the subject, revealing possible points of interest, and emphasizing both your existing knowledge and areas where further exploration may be necessary. This will help you when you start conducting scoping searches.