Descriptive research questions are questions that seek to provide answers to type of questions like “How often?” “What changes over varying situations or time?” or “How much?” (Chatburn 51). Descriptive research questions are significant tools in descriptive studies where data collection happens without changing the study environment. In most cases these kinds of studies are known as observational or correlational studies. According to Chatburn (66-67), descriptive research questions are significant for obtaining data regarding the present status of the phenomenon in order to provide a description of “what exists” in reference to conditions in a situation. An example of a descriptive research question is “How often do the university students engage in violent actions in the university compounds.” Therefore, the script for the descriptive research question includes participants, variables under study and the research location.
On the other hand, questions of relationship or questions of comparison have a variable that is dependent. Questions of relationship in research or comparative research questions require five key steps in order to be constructed: (1) selection of the starting phrase; (2) identification and naming of the variable that is dependent; (3) identification of the groups of interest; (4) identification of suitable adjoining texts; and (5) writing out questions of relationship or comparative research questions (Wood 101). It should be clear that relationship research questions are significant in a situation where the design of the study requires addressing the relationships between more than two variables. For instance, “what is the dissimilarity in the weekly calorific intake of women and women” can form a reliable question of relationship in research.
The most common technique, which a researcher can use to determine if the topic has already been researched, is through consulting general references on the internet such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia and many others (Wood 112). This is significant because such references are not credited and are meant to provide an idea of whether the research on the intended topic exists or not. These references are grouped together as “Tertiary” sources, which comprise of wide-ranging explanations summarized from the existing common knowledge on the topic that a researcher intends to explore. Consulting such tertiary sources is significant because it enables the researcher to acquire a shallow overview of what the topic requires including especially in terms of its basic terminologies as well as references required for conducting further research (Kumar 67). It is significant to note that almost all topics that one may intend to research on do have an existing literature, or information that closely relates to them. Therefore, it is prudent for a researcher to conduct a literature search prior to any research in order to know whether the intended research topic has already been explored. Through conducting a comprehensive literature search, the researcher will be able to efficiently and effectively locate sufficient and reliable evidence on the intended subject of research (Kumar 70). Such evidence may be located by researching through the internet, books, government documents and journals.
There are a number of factors that a researcher should consider while gauging the quality of the previous research. One of the most significant factors to consider is the impact factor. This is significant for providing a measure or idea reflecting the number of citations that are present in a published journal (Chatburn 88). It should; however, be clear that journal impact factor has its own limitations, which; therefore, warrants further evaluations to determine its effectiveness in respect to measuring the quality of the journal. However, despite the noted shortcomings, impact factor continues being a valid measure of quality especially for medical journals. The second factor is the accuracy or credibility of the previous research (Chatburn 89). This should help to ascertain if the information provided has any basis on the proven facts. The researcher should also verify if similar information exists in the Peer-reviewed or scholarly publication. The third factor is relevance or coverage. In this case, the researcher should ensure that the information covered in the previous research meets the information needs of the researcher. The fourth factor is currency of the previous research. For instance, if the content of the previous research exists on the internet, then the researcher should check to see when the website was last updated. Other factors include author or authority, sources or documentation, and objectivity or bias (Chatburn 91). These factors are significant because they enable the researcher to understand the credibility, authority, relevance, currency, objectivity, and documentation of the previous research.
It is significant that formulation of research question follows consultation with the scholarly literature. This is essential because it enables the researcher to know where lapses or gaps exist in the previous research. Besides, it enables the researcher to know the kind of information that requires being added on the existing research (Wood 133). Therefore, a well- focused research question should be created after the literature search.
In conclusion, descriptive research questions are questions that seek to provide answers to type of questions like “How often?” “What changes over varying situations or time?” or “How much?” On the other hand, questions of relationship or questions of comparison have a variable that is dependent. Relationship research questions are significant in a situation where the design of the study requires addressing the relationships between more than two variables. The most common technique, which a researcher can use to determine if the topic has already been researched, is through consulting general references on the internet such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia and many others. It is significant that formulation of research question follows consultation with the scholarly literature.