Research question

Under a research question the formulation of the objective of the research project or the project is understood in the context of scientific work. The term comes from the scientific research and the methodology. In formulating the research question is the goal in a relationship with the current state of research, provided the chosen methodology and current paradigms. Depending on what is considered to be known or determined ( in the given context ) inscrutable, the research question can be answered by a project completely or only partially. They may even have to be dismissed as unanswerable, turns out to be a pseudo-problem, or can only be clarified by the project.

Often check research questions a particular hypothesis within a paradigm. In some science subjects of a research question, a distinction between the general concept of a research question and the specific concept.

  • 2.1 Cultural Studies
  • 2.2 Communication Science
  • 2.3 Literature
  • 2.4 Philosophy
  • 2.5 sociology

General aspects

The research question, a containment Help

A research question is used as a key to the issue because they do not last acts of focusing. The topic can be narrowed down with the help of a research question so that it can be examined in the allotted time. To find a suitable research question also means saying goodbye to other possible questions that would not advance this project quickly enough. A focus on a few details of a subject is typical and necessary for scientific work. For example, are answered with each chapter of a work a certain part of a research question.

Depending on the scientific discipline

The importance of the research question as part of academic work varies depending on the specialty or scientific discipline. In some areas of science research questions ranging from, but not in others, in other areas we speak rather of questioning and again in other areas a distinction between different types or aspects is not any object of reflection on the professional doing

Some disciplines are more suitable for the type of project than others. If the complexity of a discipline is very high, this makes the Configuration not necessarily easier, although can be identified more easily research problems in those areas where there are theories, methods and concepts in a consolidated form.

As part of the respective discipline and its possibilities, it may be relevant to a research question to clarify to which science understanding one tends and how would you describe behind the research question, the general direction of motivation. With regard to the scientific understanding can then distinguish whether it should be more of an attempt to relate a supposedly neutral, objective position, or to be judgmental worked with the research question, so that a subjective position is scientifically sound. When motivations behind a research question, there are in the humanities and social sciences, a spectrum between an actual analysis ( description of phenomena ) and a target analysis ( the criticism by calling for change ). In developing a research question, it is best to try to strictly separate these two aspects of one another.

Research question between theory and empirical

A good research question is related on one hand to "the world" and on the other hand, " the subject". It determines to be working with what material from the "world" and on the analytical tool of a " compartment " is selected. Constitutive of a research question are theoretical concepts that structure the view of reality. Only with conceptual Vorstrukturen data for a particular question can not be considered relevant or relevant. Will the results be very drawn to the reproduction of the theoretie -based presumptions out, however, the balance between theory and empiricism is not balanced, there must be the possibility that the empirical disproves a hypothesis. So a research question can not be developed independently of the concepts of the area or the areas within which the solution of a problem to be worked out.

Individual Subjects (Alphabetical)

Cultural Studies

Developing a research question in the field of cultural studies that have marked as a specialist historically and geographically very diverse, often takes by observations in a local context its beginning. There are phenomena specific to the selected analysis and with respect to this situated knowledge is generated, the running with Perspektiviertheit is reflected. The personal relation to an examination object is regarded as an important factor in the development of a research question. Accordingly, in the cultural studies is generally considered the self-reflection of research-based person as an essential resource in the research process, which plays an important role in the process of finding a matching question.

Communication Science

To a research question always heard also in the field of communication science an explanation of why the question is relevant. In communication science will differ between larger and smaller research questions. For the smaller questions are questions that arise when their own observations do not coincide with those results that are reported in the recent research literature. Sometimes also the contradictions between positions throw in the existing research literature on relevant issues that can be worked on a smaller scale. Behind the larger issues usually are classified as the central problems of communication science, namely, acting as media services to individual perceptions, attitudes and behavior patterns, and related how social change and media development. What can be processed with the so-called smaller research questions, is often part of a research project being worked on in the larger issues.

There are four ideal- typical sources of research questions in the context of Communication Science:

A model for developing a major research issue in the communication science could be to proceed in three steps. In a first step can be defined with everyday observations and guesswork so-called material objects. Material objects are examples that a research subject can be studied. Of these, one has in the rules ready some when it comes to choosing a theme for a thesis. In a second step of this material object is a so-called formal object, that is, that is sought in the existing material for a larger context that goes beyond the concrete tangible material object by making it aware of a problem is located behind it. This second step is the hardest, and that, among other reasons, because not every new phenomenon, a study justifies. So it must be worked out the peculiarity of the selected item in order to formulate the research question in Step Three can.

An appropriate research question to it firstly allow the concrete object to explore the material object closer, and the question is, secondly, on the basis of cognitive interest in a more general research context, this material object in its relevance for a research project, so as a suitable formal object that can be identified. The research question is used to outline a research problem; the problem and the question therefore belong together.


In the literature one usually speaks of " question" if the research question is meant. A question is then considered to be fertile if she promises to bring forth new perspectives on an object. On the basis of the chosen question their own position is to be developed, based on the current state of research. Ideally, the question for a scientific contribution, which goes beyond the existing state of research is.


The philosopher Ernst Bloch (1885-1977) looks at a preliminary assumption, ie a vermutbare statement, as part of a research question. With this assumption, a study going methodologically oriented by either the case is simplified or cognition is anticipated to be found by outlining first. Whatever question you ask, should think twice about. First hot research to behave questioning, as Ernst Bloch in the opening section of his essay about fiction and hypothesis (1950).


In sociology, a research question is considered as a special type of research question.

Using a survey question mostly only information about ( social) issues to be procured, for example, in the opinion polls. The information obtained are already the target of the investigation. In contrast, a research question aims to contribute to theory building. Accordingly, only those questions research questions, " designating a knowledge gap in theory building and instruct the closing of this gap in knowledge ."

A research question is intended to have the following structure according to some authors:

Only when all four of these points are laid down in a question, it is a sociological research question. The answer to a research question must be so general that in at least some aspects of other objects of investigation are affected.

In order to verify the following question can be asked: What aspects and conclusions of the response would be under other relevant projects in which there would be no interest in the selected specific cases? Only then will it be within the meaning of glasses / Laudel a genuine research question.