Friday, October 23, 2020

Research questions

I am getting lots of questions about research questions. This is a really oversimplified explanation for the current readings literature review assignment, so please check with your advisor if you are reading this post for other purposes. In a nutshell, you need a clear, concise, and arguable "how" or "why" question. Here are some I have used before. Feel free to use them as inspiration for creating your own research question. If you will use a "what" question you really need to narrow it down so you so not end up with a vague search. "How" questions are my personal favorite, but you can use any as long as they are clear, concise, and arguable. They also have to be complex (so no yes/no questions). 

  • How do bystanders react to witnessing sexual harassment?
  • What are the personal characteristics that differentiate active v. inactive bystanders in sexual harassment situations?
  • How is sexual violence in sport depicted by the media? 
  • What are the organizational factors that influence the recognition of behaviors that constitute sexual harassment in the workplace? 
  • What are the factors negatively affecting the validation of males as legitimate victims of sexual violence? 
  • How does team cohesion affect the likelihood of bystander intervention during a sexual harassment situation? 
  • What are the most common sexual harassment behaviors experienced by male and female athletes? 
  • What are the most common sexual harassment behaviors experienced by gender and sexual minorities in athletics? 
  • How do bystanders react to the sexual harassment of gender and sexual minorities? 
  • How does a reputation for covering up sexual harassment affect a team's fandom? 
Try to stay away from trending topics (like COVID-19 related topics) as it is unlikely you will have enough literature this year to do a thorough review. 


  1. I can see how "how questions" are a a lot more easier to engage and make the research topic more arguable I will definitely format my question better after the review!

  2. I agree that "how" questions enable the researcher to engage with the research and dive deeper into the topic. Research questions should indeed be clear and concise, but I don't think that means they must be reduced to layman terminology. Great advice!

  3. This is another great resource for developing a research question. I previously used a rubric and it led to my question being too specific. This blog had an emphasis on keeping the question clear, but you need it to be broad enough to find resources to answer your question.

    Latario Boone
    Current Readings- Section 3 Student
    Arkansas State University

  4. Putting how and what allow you to have several different area's to discuss within that topic. The ability to have these on hand and see how a research question is properly done is a tremendous asset for us.

    Aaron Farmer
    CR- Section 2

  5. This post helped me tremendously. The original research question I came up with was a good idea, but I quickly found out their was not much research done in that area. This post help me formulate a new, easier to study, research question.

    Brandon Lovorn(Current Readings Seminar)

  6. I also had to revise my research question due to lack of research I was able to find. Fortunately I was able to adjust my question to fit the same general topic. Very helpfull!
    Keith Thomson (Current Readings)

  7. As I am putting my finishing touches on my paper, I have found that as I researched each week I noticed how I had to alter my research question to a more broad scope! These tips definitely helped me with that!
    Bobbie Piddock (current Readings)

  8. As I missed the mark with my initial question, this post enhanced my understanding of how to construct a research question that was specific, yet broad enough to conduct and analyze the relevant research for the systematic review. I definitely appreciate this blog and post as it really helped me!

    Greg Rahn
    Current Readings Seminar - Section 5 Student

  9. This was extremely helpful in determining how to word my research question. I had gotten the question wrong the first time through and was able to come here to get extra guidance on how it should look.

  10. I was able to write & revise my initial question which I believe is very relevant in sports today: What are the barriers for minorities obtaining athletic director positions?
    There are decades of research on this topic.

    Andrew Henderson - Current Readings Seminar

  11. Thank you for this guidance on how to develop a quality research question. I missed the mark on my first question, but your insight gave the foundation to design one that was more concrete. This will help in other courses as well.
    Sadé Gant, ESPE6643