EDUR 7130
Educational Research On-Line

Research Questions

Research Questions (RQs, sometimes called Research Statements)

Unlike hypotheses, RQs do not often specify the type of relationship expected between variables. Rather, RQs simply describe questions the researcher plans to investigate. RQs are most often used in descriptive studies rather than experimental studies. The reason is that with descriptive studies, one often does not know what to expect to find, so it is dificult to formulate hypotheses. Below are some examples of RQs.

Examples of Research Questions (or Research Statements)

(1) "The objectives of this research are (a) to study the salaries paid professors of comparable academic ranks in different fields of learning and if differences are found to exist, [then] (b) to attempt to identify the factors that appear to contribute to the observed differences" (Borg & Gall, Educational Research, 1983, p. 91).

(2) The objectives of this study are to determine if (a) barriers exist to governmental personnel in their use of secret documents, and if so, then (b) to learn of and classify those barriers.

(3) This study will attempt to determine the extent of drug use on campus; what types of students (race, sex, age, etc.) typically use drugs; how they first experienced drug usage; and what types of drugs are most frequently used.

(4) The goals of this study are to determine (a) the proportion of students registered as Democrats; (b) the demographic characteristics of registered Democrats; (c) whether these Democrats support the President’s environmental policies;  (d) and whether they would vote for the President if he ran again.

(5) The objectives of this study are to (a) generate a demographic profile of current MET enrollees using the limited data included on the application form; (b) compare the profile of the MET enrollees with the general population on certain characteristics; and (c) identify any shifts in participant patterns from the first to the second round of enrollment (Lyddon & Prince, Research in Higher Education, 1991, p.95).

(6) This study will address the following questions:

  1. in general, how many students seek financial aid;
  2. of those seeking financial aid, what is the racial composition, the family income level, and estimated need per student;
  3. what proportion seeking aid did not qualify; and
  4. and of those who did not qualify, what was their family income?