Recently, we delved into 9 reasons you MUST answer your research questions. After reading that newsletter, you hopefully felt a new significance for both your research questions and their answers. At the same time, you may have been wondering: HOW do I make sure I answer my research questions??
Never fear! We are here with three tips to help you answer your research questions clearly, every time.
1. Answer them more than once.
To be absolutely sure you are answering your research questions, repeat the answer more than once in the paper. Readers should get an idea for your answer before the end of the paper, and the answers should be restated in the conclusion. This is especially true for theses or dissertations, which contain multiple chapters. But don’t use repetition for repetition’s sake; rather, restate the answers when it is appropriate for linking the ideas throughout the paper to the RQs.
2. Link the answers to each main idea of your paper.
If your paper has multiple sections, your reader should understand the purpose of each section. If you have research questions, the purpose of your paper/project is answering those questions. Therefore, each section of your paper plays a role in answering the RQs. Make it clear how each section contributes to answering these questions.
3. State the question in the answer.
To make sure that the reader knows you answered your research question, use similar wording in your answers. If your RQ asks, “How much ice cream does the Average American eat in a year?,” answer with “The average American eats ____ amount of ice cream a year.”
Ultimately, your research questions framed your project. They should also frame your writing. The reader should walk away with a clear picture of what you were investigating, how you arrived at your conclusions, and what your conclusions are.
In May, we will continue our Writing with Clarity series; stay tuned!