Chapter 3: Developing a Research Question

Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate between normative and empirical knowledge.
  • Explain the differences between exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory research.
  • Describe the characteristics of a researchable question.
  • Describe a hypothesis.
  • Identify the difference between qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.
  • Explain the concept of triangulation.

It is important to ensure that you choose a research topic that interests you, because this will make it much easier for you to develop an effective and researchable research question. In the first part of this chapter we will consider aspects you must consider as you think about the research topic you would like to explore. We will also examine the characteristics and components of an effective research question. The chapter concludes by introducing you to the three main methodological approaches to conducting research: quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods.