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    RES500/MOD 1 Case-The Research Question, Literature Review and Research Hypothesis


    Paper Details

    Case Assignment

    Newton, Bower, and Williams (2004) outline the process of “devising and revising” a research question, be it descriptive, relational, or comparative. After reading their paper, write a three-page paper that addresses the following:

    1. How do descriptive research questions differ from questions of relationship? From questions of comparison?
    2. How should a researcher determine if prior research exists on the intended research topic?
    3. What factors should be used to gauge the quality of previous research? Why are these important in making this assessment?
    4. Should formulation of a research question precede or follow consultation with the scholarly literature? Please explain.


Subject Research Methodology Pages 4 Style APA


Descriptive, Relational, and Comparative Research Questions

Description forms the ground of every research phenomena. Description aims at quantifying the variables that one is measuring or interested in and in most cases, focuses on one variable or a single group. Descriptive questions are familiarly known to start with words such as who? How? Where? When? Or what? An example of a descriptive research question, according Newton, Bower, and Williams (2004), would be a study of the factors influencing a dentists’ choice of restorative materials. Based on this study, a descriptive question would be ‘what factors influence a dentists’ choice of restorative materials?’ The variable being measured is influence on choice of restorative materials while the group of interest are dentists.

On the other hand, relationship-based research questions focus on interactions or associations amongst two or more variables on one or more groups. They aim at demonstrating the trend between two or more dependent and independent variables in a given single group or multiple groups. An example would be on a study, according to Newton, Bower, & Williams, (2004) of the relationship between study times and exam scores amongst college students. Based on this study, the question would be what is the relationship between study times and exam score among college students? Therefore, according to the question, the independent variable is study time; the dependent variable is exam scores while college students are the group of interest.

Before a researcher is contented with the research topic of interest, there is need for one to undertake a literature review analysis in relation to the topic (Zitomer & Goodwin 2014). Literature review analysis involves collection of scholarly writings on a topic of interest with the aim of determining if prior research exists on the intended topic. The sources may either be primary such as letters, interviews, photographs, autobiographies and court reports or secondary such as books, articles, conference papers or newspapers. Technology has made it easier to access these sources through internet research of almost any sort of information of interests. Moreover, consulting library books is another option for researchers.

There are several factors that one should consider when gauging the quality of previous reviews. First, time factor in relation to the year of public is a major factor. The recent the review the more quality it gets due to the changing social and environmental aspects. Additionally, the sources applied to obtain the literature review matters as other sources may contain false information about the topic. The best sources would be from books or primary sources.

Further, one needs to consider the number of sources applied in the previous research so as to verify how intense the research was done. A quality previous research is one that incorporates its own literature review in its study. This illustrates that the researcher was conscious of the previous sources available then. Further, a quality research view can be determined by the frequency of its application in related studies over the years. The more it has been used in previous studies for reviews illustrates its quality level. A quality literature review is one that exhibits a high percentage of originality of the information it provides.

The importance of gauging the quality of previous research is mainly because a good research study is based on the work of others. Previous research assist a researcher generate new questions in relation to the topic (Farrugia et al., 2010).  It also helps researchers gain ideas for further considerations to build an impression about vital aspects of the topic as well as help familiarize themselves with methods used in previous research in relation to the topic. Another factor to consider is how close the review is related to your topic of interest. Further, gauging the quality of previous research helps sharpen ones focus on the research of interest and to some extent help avoid any future incidental plagiarism.

A research question is considered good if it is relevant, manageable in relation to one’s academic ability, original with maximum clarity, and interesting (Neuman, 2016). Most research questions ought to follow consultation with scholarly literature, especially in a case of experimental research study, where most of the formulas and procedures are constant. Research questions often become more focused in different directions depending on the extent of literature analysis a researcher conducts. Literature analysis acts as guideline to a researcher in relation to the formation of a research topic and questions.




Farrugia, P., Petrisor, B., Farrokhyar, F., & Bhandari, M. (2010). Research questions, hypothesis and objectives. Canadian Journal of Surgery, 53(4), 352-5.

Neuman, W. L. (2016). Understanding research. Pearson.

Newton, J. T., Bower, E. J., & Williams, A. C. (2004). Research in primary dental care part 2: Developing a research question. British Dental Journal, 196(10), 605-8.

Zitomer, M. R., & Goodwin, D. (2014). Gauging the quality of qualitative research in adapted physical activity. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 31(3), 193-218.



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