Research questions are the first step before starting to study something that intrigues us. In science, knowing how to specify the objective of an investigation is necessary to know in which direction the investigation must be designed and with what kind of methodologies can be counted on. List of research question examples
In Psychology and other similar disciplines, such as Biology or Sociology, there are still many research questions that have not been answered. Below we will see some of them and how it is possible to propose new studies thanks to which we increase our level of knowledge about the subject in question.
Research questions: the starting point of any study
The function of the research questions is to specify the unknown to be revealed (or partially reveal, in most cases). Knowing how to identify the problem well is as important as specifying what is not part of it, to avoid confusing similar concepts.
For example, if we want to know what influence has on the development of a person’s intelligence the fact of having lived in the same home with their biological father and mother during childhood, we cannot ask the following research question:
In this case the concept “family” is too ambiguous , and the fact of working with it can completely distort the results of the investigation. In addition, “the first years of life” is not an enlightening concept, it is much more convenient to specify by proposing, for example, a period of 11 years from birth to puberty , approximately. List of research question examples
The operationalization of the initial doubt
Given that scientific research always has a necessarily reductionist point (we are interested in knowing a very specific part of reality, and not others), the research questions give way to other sub-questions that specify even more what we want to answer. Thus, one goes from a general question to other more specific ones that, together, help to answer the first one.
In the present case, these research questions of a hierarchy lower than the initial one could be:
Examples of research questions to be developed
Given the logic and purpose of the research questions, let’s look at some examples of scientific mysteries that may surprise us in the future.
Of course, these are unknowns raised in a general and abstract way, so that each person who wants to investigate must specify them more so that they adapt to what arouses the most interest.
1. Are memory mechanisms based on synapses or on the storage of molecules in neurons?
Although the first theory is the most accepted, some researchers believe that our memories are not patterns of joint activation of neurons , but are individual elements that can be found in each nerve cell separately. List of research question examples
2. Is there a single intelligence, or several?
This is a doubt that lasts for decades, or even centuries, if we take into account the work of philosophers. There are several proposals according to which there is no single biological element that determines who is more intelligent than another, but rather a set of these that work in a relatively independent way. An example is found in Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences proposal or in Sternberg’s theory .
3. What causes gender dysphoria?
Many transgender people suffer greatly from the perception that their gender identity does not match the observable characteristics of their body. It is not known whether the root of this problem is biological or cultural , or to what extent both components are combined.
4. Does decision making occur unconsciously?
Although we often link the decision-making process to rationality and careful reflection of the expected consequences, there is evidence that we make many important decisions unconsciously, and then we justify that decision through rationality. List of research question examples
5. Is male aggressiveness something cultural?
Around the world, men are more prone to acts of physical violence . This seems to suggest that it is a differentiated fact based on genes, but it is also possible that a universal characteristic is cultural.
6. How do human pheromones influence our behavior?
What we perceive through smell usually has a powerful impact on our mind, but in the case of pheromones it is not very well known how they act on us.
7. What causes autism?
The disorders of the autistic spectrum are partly a mystery, and little is known about its cause. Of course, it is ruled out that they are produced by vaccines, as is sometimes still defended today.
8. How do great apes think?
The group of primates consisting of chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans are the most intelligent non-human animals in existence today, and much remains to be learned about their way of thinking. List of research question examples
9. Can psychopathy be eliminated?
There are people for whom psychopathy is not a problem, but in some cases it can be a psychological factor that predisposes them to harm others. In these cases, how to eliminate this psychological attribute?
- Related article: ” Psychopathy: what happens in the psychopath’s mind? “
10. What causes falling in love?
It has been said that falling in love with someone is something that depends on the contexts that they live together, and not on the personality and stable characteristics of the people. Which of the two explanations prevails?