1-Research Questions

4. Regular vs. Research Questions

Most of us look for information to answer questions every day, and we often act on the answers to those questions. Are research questions any different from most of the questions for which we seek information? Yes.

See how they’re different by looking over the examples of both kinds below and answering questions about them in the next activity.

Examples: Regular vs. Research Questions

Regular Question: What time is my movie showing at Lennox on Friday?
Research Question: How do “sleeper” films end up having outstanding attendance figures?

Regular Question: What can I do about my insomnia?
Research Question: How do flights more than 16 hours long affect the reflexes of commercial jet pilots?

Regular Question: How many children in the U.S. have allergies?
Research Question: How does his or her country of birth affect a child’s chances of developing asthma?

Regular Question: What year was metformin approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration?
Research Question: Why are nanomedicines, such as doxorubicin, worth developing?

Regular Question: Could citizens register to vote at branches of the Columbus Public Library in 2016?
Research Question: How do public libraries in the United States support democracy?

Regular Question: What is the Whorfian Hypothesis?
Research Question: Why have linguists cared about the Whorfian hypothesis?

Regular Question: Where is the Apple, Inc. home office?
Research Question: Why are Apple’s marketing efforts so successful?

Regular Question: What is MERS?
Research Question: How could decision-making about whether to declare a pandemic be improved?

Regular Question: Does MLA style recommend the use of generic male pronouns intended to refer to both males and females?
Research Question: How do age, gender, IQ, and socioeconomic status affect whether students interpret generic male pronouns as referring to both males and females?


Activity: Regular or Research Question?

Consider these examples of regular questions and research questions so you can answer the questions below about the differences between them.

Examples of Regular Questions Examples of Research Questions
Which colors have been designated by House Beautiful as trends for this year? Why do many people want to have good taste?
What is the congruity principle used by designers of multimedia instruction? How are some young children influenced to commit more violent acts after watching violent television shows and playing violent games?
What causes sepsis? How is a person’s health threatened by working the night shift?
What are OSU’s rules against plagiarism? Why do some college professors avoid reporting students for plagiarism?
What are the most-read peer-reviewed journals in aerospace engineering? How could journal reading be increased among aerospace engineering majors?
Is there still time to register to vote in Ohio in November this year? How do U.S. citizens who are registered to vote decide which candidate to support in presidential elections?

Activity: Label the Questions


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Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research Copyright © 2015 by Teaching & Learning, Ohio State University Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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