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What are research questions?

Research questions are defined as fundamental questions that facilitate a research project, a research study, a dissertation, a thesis, or a review. It allows researchers to collect relevant information to narrow down the study's purpose and ultimately solve the research problem.

Asking appropriate research questions is the most crucial step in market research projects. You can use the insights from your research questions to determine the path of the study. These insights also play an essential role in conducting a survey, analyzing obtained data, and reporting the analyzed information.

Choosing the right research questions helps you decide if it's best to use qualitative and quantitative research methods. The main objective of your research and the research theme defines the type of questions you use. The target audience and kind of research you're conducting also play significant roles. Below are a few research question ideas and good research question examples.

27 Research questions examples

Before you can start writing research questions for your academic study or marketing study, you need to understand what types of questions are available. Let's look at examples of research questions and sample research questions in general. Use these research question examples to build beautiful surveys.

1. Open-ended research question
Open-ended questions are widely used in qualitative research and are common most examples of research questions. This type of question forms the foundation of online qualitative research conducted using surveys and questionnaires. Open-ended questions capture open responses from a research audience and open the door for text-based analysis on the data you receive.
Below is an example of an open-ended research question:


2. Multiple choice research question
Researchers use multiple-choice research questions to capture single or multiple responses from your research audience. They typically use these market research questions when conducting poll-based research, where the audience needs to select multiple responses to one problem. It can also be used with single-select answers to limit the number of answers a respondent can choose.
Below is an example of a multiple-choice research question with a single-select answer option:


3. Rank order scaling research question
This is a ranking type question which offers multiple answer options. The participant selects answers in order of preference. Researchers usually use these research questions to understand a respondent's opinion on preferred brands or products. You can use data from rank order questions to determine which product a respondent prefers, even if they enjoy multiple products. For example, someone may like chocolates, cakes, and candy, but which do they like the most? Rank order scaling questions are the right research questions to determine which dessert is most loved by the respondent.
Below is a typical example of rank order:


4. Rating scale research question
Rating scale research questions are used to capture responses based on a continuous scale, rather than individual points. This is often used in medical research visual analog scales or a pain scale, where patients need to rate their pain level. Another example would be a typical experience based rating scale, like the example below.


5. Net promoter score question
Brands typically use a Net Promoter Score question to evaluate customer loyalty and brand recommendations. This question type is prevalent in consumer research, where this single question can provide numeric insights into the customer experience. The data collected from Net Promoter Score questions allows you to see how many of your brand's followers are actively promoting your brand. You also get insight into how many are actively not recommending your products. For example, respondents answer this question on a scale of 0-10:


As per their rankings, respondents are classified under either of the three groups: Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8), and Promoters (9-10).

6. Likert scale research question
The Likert scale question presents a psychometric scale with different answer options such as agree/disagree, very frequently/not very often, important/unimportant, and other similar polarizing nature questions. Generally divided into even and odd Likert scale questions, they are highly popular with researchers due to the accuracy of results that they offer.


7. Semantic differential scale research question
A semantic differential scale question quantifies the feelings and opinions of a respondent. This question type uses a multiple-point rating scale to understand better the respondent's feelings on a particular service, brand, organization, or product. The scale features polarized opinions on either end, with a neutral option in the middle.


8. Stapel scale research question
This is a unipolar research question with a +5 to -5 rating scale for the respondents to rate a single factor. These questions often involve offering the respondent an adjective or trait in conjunction with a brand or product. The respondent uses the scale to determine whether the attribute accurately or inaccurately describes the brand, product, or organization in question.


9. Constant sum research question
A numeric answer question allows a researcher to collect ratio data about the answer options' factors. Respondents can assign a particular value to an entity, and the other entities can be comparatively rated.


10. Demographic research question
Demographic questions are based on a person's age, gender, family income, race, ethnicity, education, and other defining factors. Research about whether a specific product will be effective with a particular age or gender group can be carried out using demographic research questions.


11. Matrix table research question
This is a multiple-choice, close-ended question where multiple parameters are rated by considering the same set of column answer options. Matrix questions work similar to any other scale questions, but allow for more efficient use of space. Instead of using five questions to ask about the quality of different customer experiences, you can use just one question to capture the data.


12. Side-by-side matrix research question
Side-by-side matrix research questions allow the respondent to rate multiple variables at once. Like a single matrix, these research questions give you the ability to compact your survey. However, you mustn't overload respondents with too many matrix questions, as they require more thought to answer. This can lead to high dropout rates.


13. Static content question
This question is an option for the researchers to include descriptive text such as presentation text, heading, or subheading. Static content isn't technically a question, as it is used for display purposes only. Instead, your static content can provide participants with important information about a section or your survey.


14. Miscellaneous question
Miscellaneous questions allow you to ask questions that don't fit into another category. Some types of demographic or categorizing questions are best used as miscellaneous questions.


15. Visual analog scale question
A visual analog scale is used to analyze pain levels among patients and generally evaluate characteristics across a constant range of values. It gives a picture or graphic that depicts a variety of feelings on a scale. The respondent uses the images to help determine where they fall on the scale.


16. Image chooser type question
Images are perfect tools to enhance user experience and, in turn, increase response rates for research. Using select one, select many, or image rating matrix question options prompts several respondents to reply to the research survey. Image research questions help make your survey more visually appealing while decreasing the amount of time a respondent needs to answer a question.


17. Data reference question
Reference data research questions are used to accumulate or approve zip code data against standardized data.


18. Upload data question
Respondents can upload images, digital signatures, or videos, along with their research responses. Upload data questions are the right research questions for collecting signatures or accepting submissions.


19. Choice model question
Conjoint analysis and Maximum Difference questions fall under the category of choice model research questions. Conjoint analysis is used to understand respondent preferences about two or more entities. Maximum Difference is used to relatively rate up to 30 different factors such as features, interests, the scope of improvement, or the potential positioning of an upcoming product.


20. Dichotomous research question
These question types have Yes/No/Maybe, True/False, and Agree/Disagree answer options. It is not advised to use them extensively in research due to the limited insights received.


21. Leading research question
A leading question is a type of market research question that pushes respondents to answer a particular question in a specific manner, based on the way they are framed. Leading questions often already contain information that the survey creator wants to confirm rather than try to get a correct and unbiased answer to that question.

22. Text slider research question
A text slider research question is a rating scale question type that uses an interactive slider to select the most appropriate option. The scale is well-defined and increases at an equal rate. Rating scales are often used to measure the direction and intensity of attitudes.


23. Push to social research question
Push to social research questions allows respondents to share positive reviews or feedback on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This question is used to create a positive feeling about your brand on social media. Alternatively, this can be effectively used to collect and address negative feedback before it goes out on social media.


24. Max diff research question
Max Diff is a question type where respondents are given a set of attributes and asked to indicate the best and worst. In this research question type, there is only one of each option in the final response. For example, if a bank wants to understand payment merchant's preference, the question can be asked in the following format.


25. Van Westendorp-price sensitivity research Question
The Van Westendorp-Price Sensitivity is a technique for market researchers to gauge consumer perceptions of products or services' value. This helps in understanding the need to tweak the price and offering. For example, if a software product manufacturer wants to know how to price a product, the following question could be asked:


26. Date/time research question
Date/Time research question type allows collecting date/time information filled in by a respondent. For example, questions related to the date of birth can be answered using the following question.


27. CAPTCHA research question
This research question type is used to limit the number of phony responses in a survey or data collection by automated computer programs.


Importance of using the right research questions

When a research program is initiated, it requires a channel to collect data for the study accurately. Research questions form this channel and help a researcher to kick-start the research. As research continues, these questions keep getting molded according to the original insights, which gives shape to a practical study. Your first research questions may not be the final step to the research process, but they are the first to build your research hypothesis.

The importance of research questions can be highly subjective. For some researchers, the formulation of research questions might be necessary because they provide insights about essential factors in a decision-making process. For example, a research question could give you vital data about funding needs or how to find the right resources to reach business goals.

How to write a research question to capture accurate information

Specific research questions are much more useful than template questions. What are the good research questions? Follow these six steps to learn how to write questions for research:

Three points to remember while writing research questions: Ordering your questions is vital to give a sense of flow to the survey. Always rank your items from simple concepts to more complex ones. Here are tips on how to write a research question.

What are examples of good research questions?