As we have discussed before, scientific research is built upon questions. These asking or investigating questions form the foundation of science. Science comes down to testing hypotheses and theories about how things work.
Hypotheses are statements that claim something to be true. A hypothesis is not proof of anything, but it does set up more investigation into what was said before.
The theory part comes after the hypothesis. A theory is like a guess at why things happen. It is never proven wrong as a theory, only disproven by new evidence.
A theory which is contradicted by newer, stronger evidence is changed or replaced with the new theory. This process of changing theories is called revision. Yours may be done many times during your academic career!
Examples of theories in the field of psychology include psychological autorship, psychodynamic theory, cognitive theory, behavioral theory, social-cognitive theory, humanistic theory, and systems theory. All these theories explain different aspects of mental processes and behaviors.
Scientific experiments are conducted using experimentation, which includes controlled exposures to conditions (like dropping a ball twice) under defined settings (like outside). Results are analyzed and conclusions drawn from those results.
In this article, we will discuss how to formulate a scientific question.
Examples of scientific research questions
A good scientific research question is one that can be clearly stated, informed by existing knowledge, and with sufficient detail to ensure successful execution.
Questions like these are known as broad or open-ended questions because they do not give much context about what the reader should know before asking the main question. The asker of the question does not need to have all the information needed for you to answer the question, which makes this type of question more practical and applicable to situations where people do not know everything.
Good open ended questions often start with the word why or what, so we will use those as examples here!
Why should I exercise?
What is the best way to eat healthy?
How can I save money through the different strategies in this article?
What are the most effective ways to learn new skills?
These types of questions emphasize reasons or explanations instead of answers, making them better suited to gain understanding from others’ points of view. They also increase the likelihood of getting response due to their open nature.
Consider the following examples of scientific research questions
Productive ways to formulate SRQs include being clear, concise, relevant, and focused. The first two qualities depend on your word-of-mouth marketing goal, which is to create awareness about your product or service. Being precise and defining your question clearly will help you achieve that!
The third quality — relevance – comes into play once you have your AHP determined. By asking a good SRQ, you can draw some strong conclusions based on the answer.
Your audience may also add additional context to the question by answering it, so think about potential responses and base your answers on those.
That brings us to our final tip: be careful not to ask too broad of a question.
What is the best way to formulate a scientific research question?
The first important step in doing any kind of systematic studying or investigation is to establish what your goal is. You should be very clear about what you want to know before you start looking for answers.
This may sound obvious, but it’s something many people don’t do properly. They might spend hours searching through books and articles online, exploring all sorts of different strategies, techniques and concepts, but they never actually apply the ideas to solving their problem.
They could just be wasting time and energy without ever really getting anywhere.
It’s like being in a restaurant and ordering chicken parmesan when you’re hungry for pizza. Even though the pretzel bread looks good, you’ve got to go where with your hunger.
How can I improve my scientific research question skills?
The next step in developing your questioning skills is asking better, more relevant questions. You will probably start by trying to answer this question, but you’ll quickly realize that you don’t know the answer!
If you’re like most students, you might try looking up the answers to that question online or talking it over with someone who knows the field well. However, unless you are very careful about how you ask your question, these resources may not be helpful!
We’ve discussed some of the things that could go wrong when posing a question here before, so let’s look at some other ways to form good questions.
Topic and bullet point introductions and conclusions
Start your topic and conclusion using the same word or phrase to make your content easy to find. Use their exact spelling too if they include any special characters.
Your bullet point should clearly tell people what the question is. If possible, use actionable steps or statements to help readers take action.
The second part of your bullet point should match the body of the article closely. It should describe or include the key term in the question.
And lastly, your topic and conclusion should both be clear and descriptive. Try to use natural language instead of jargon.
How to Ask Great Questions
So now that you have done some pre-question work, it’s time to learn how to ask great questions.
Types of scientific research questions
The second fundamental question in any topic is what kind of research you want to do with it. There are three main types of research questions that stem from this one!
They are called qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research. Each type addresses a different aspect of the topic being studied, so which one is best for you depends on what you’re looking to learn about your field.
A good way to determine which one makes the most sense is to think about how you typically approach studies. If you tend to use only numerical data or statistics in your research, then a quantitative study may be better for you.
If you usually have a few theories that you test against empirical evidence, then a qualitative methodology like interview or focus group testing is more appropriate for you.
And if you combine both quantifiable and qualitatively designed tests, then a mixed method design is needed! These are common in social science fields, such as psychology or sociology.
Here at The Refinery, we lean towards using a mix of both quantitative and qualitative methods because we believe no single style of research can tell the whole story.
Sample scientific research questions
An important part of doing science is asking good, relevant questions. Asking bad questions can sometimes be fun, but will not help you gain any knowledge!
Question types include investigative, factual, theoretical, and persuasive. The first two are used for experiments or studies, while the others are use for reasoning topics or arguments.
The quality of each question type depends on how well you have prepared your experiment or study. When asked, what kind of question would you like to see here?
You should always start with an introductory sentence that asks a meaningful question. Then, a body that follows logically from the introduction. And finally, a conclusion that reiterates the initial idea and adds detail.
This article will go into more depth about how to formulate an appropriate scientific research question. But first, let us look at some examples!
Example 1: What is the effect of exercise on weight loss?
In this example, the topic is “What is the effect of exercise on weight loss?” and the bullet point is “Exercise aids in weight loss by increasing metabolic rate.
Compile a list of your own scientific research questions
The second way to formulate a scientific research question is to compile a list of all of the existing questions that have been asked about the topic under study.
By this, we mean asking yourself what other people have asked about the topic, not just in general, but also according to specific criteria (such as how they conducted their studies or who was involved).
This process can be tricky because you will want to make sure that you do not distort the results by including irrelevant factors in your search. For example, if someone else has studied the same concept but focused only on college students, then that would not be relevant information for studying the effectiveness of introducing new technology.
That would simply give you an inaccurate picture of whether or not it works with adults! So, make sure that you clearly define your terms before gathering material.
How to ask a scientific research question
The second step in conducting any kind of systematic study is asking an appropriate, logical scientific research question. Ask yourself what you want to know and then craft your questions so that they make sense!
This article will talk about how to formulate a scientific research question into three parts: statement of problem, hypothesis, and conclusion.