Designing the research

choose a research topic | decide on a research question and define key terms | design a robust research project | choose which research method(s) to use

How to decide your research question and define key terms

Once you have decided on your research topic, the group needs to agree a specific research question. You could repeat the activity described in the previous section to help them to generate ideas and then agree the final research question.

One note of caution: it is common to want to choose a very broad research question. Help your team to resist this temptation by refining any broad question into a series of smaller, manageable ones. You may find it helpful to discuss these questions with the young researchers:

It is also worth thinking about what the answers to the question might be – will they be useful and have an impact or could there be negative consequences to investigating a particular issue?

It is best to define any key terms in your research project or question upfront, so that everyone has a shared understanding. You will be able to find ideas for definitions by reading around the topic. You can find helpful literature on almost any subject imaginable by consulting a library catalogue or internet searching (for example on Google Scholar).