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Psychology 201

This guide has been created to provide assistance for students in PSYC 201 who are working on their research assignment

Ask a Research Question

The research question states the specific issue or problem that your assignment will focus on. It also outlines the task that you will need to complete.

There is no universal set of criteria for a good research question. In general, however, a good research question should be:

  • Clear and focused. In other words, the question should clearly state what the writer needs to do.
  • Not too broad and not too narrow. The question should have an appropriate scope. If the question is too broad it will not be possible to answer it thoroughly within the word limit. If it is too narrow you will not have enough to write about and you will struggle to develop a strong argument (see the activity below for examples).
  • Not too easy to answer. For example, the question should require more than a simple yes or no answer.
  • Not too difficult to answer. You must be able to answer the question thoroughly within the given timeframe and word limit.
  • Researchable. You must have access to a suitable amount of quality research materials, such as academic books and refereed journal articles.
  • Analytical rather than descriptive. In other words, your research question should allow you to produce an analysis of an issue or problem rather than a simple description of it

The PICO is a technique used by researchers to help craft and revise research questions. 

Question frame: Amongst P (population) does I (intervention) lead to O (outcome), as compared to C (comparison)?

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