COLL300 Forum 2 Research Questions

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2. Sometimes looking at poor examples of a piece of writing can help us build better examples. In this part of the forum, we are going to look at some research questions that are not particularly well-designed. We’ll see why these are problematic and look at improved versions.

To see them go to the Sample Research Questions in the APUS Library’s Writing@APUS section. You will see a table showing questions that are identified as being problematic and then revised to be well-designed. The problems identified in these questions are shown here:

  • Too narrow
  • Unfocused/too broad
  • Too objective
  • Too simple

After you have looked at the well-designed version of the questions and read the rationale for the changes, post your views on why the problematic research questions should be revised. For example, explain why a research question that is too narrow is a problem and, at the other end of the spectrum, why a research question that is too broad is not a good idea. Explain why being too objective could be an issue and why a question that is too simple is less than desirable.

As you address these undesirable traits, try drafting poorly designed questions from your field of study. For instance, if your field is environmental management, a research question that is too broad might be something like this: What are the effects of climate change? A question that is too simple might be: How are cities addressing issues of climate change? Although you may not come up with examples of problematic research questions from your field for all 4 traits, do your best. Try to share at least 2 examples.

(Please note that the table used in the APUS Library’s Sample Research Questions page is based on the work done at the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching of Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ. The page has a link to this center where you’ll find more info about research questions, including a list of additional resources.)

The URL for APUS Library Sample Research Questions is:

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