Formulating A Research Question
The most difficult part of the research project is formulating a good research question. Commonly, you start with a topic (energy policy, or human rights) or with a general problem (something is wrong with political participation, human resource management, or this production process). Most important issue is that you have to be clear about the type of research question you want to answer. There are several types of questions:

  • Normative questions: They are about what is allowed or what is good. In most cases, normative questions implies philosophical (not empirical) research.
  • Conceptual questions: They are about the proper/useful/sufficient meaning of words; 'what is freedom?', 'what is equality?'.
  • Empirical questions: They are about 'truth' and 'observations'. There are several types of empirical questions can be found: 
    • Descriptive questions (what is …) are about describing facts, either at one point in time or over time.
    • Relational questions: Such studies involve examining the relationship between different variables. 
    • Explanatory questions (why is…) are about explaining the causes for something. 
  • Applied questions are asked simply because people want to solve a specific social, political or commercial problem. Researchers aiming to answer applied questions, by apply existing knowledge to solve a real-world problem. The types of applied questions are:
    • Predictive questions (what will happen if …). 
    • Remedy questions (what is the solution to…). 
    • Design questions (how to…).

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