A research question defines the scope of an area of inquiry. It asks about the causal relationship between x and y.  It is founded on a deep understanding of works in the relevant area(s) of study and informed by both what is known and not yet known in that area.


The research question guides your literature review by establishing its parameters and articulating a researchable question.


To frame a research question

  • Identify an area of study which is of interest 
  • Refine this area of study based on an exploration of the literature
  • Examine research variables (e.g., gender, age, context, etc.)  which influence your question
  • Map the literature to identify relationships. Mapped relationships may highlight issues or connections within the field.
  • Draw on what you have learned to draft your research question

Remember: the literature review is an iterative process!

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