Research Methods: Developing your research design

Eira Patterson | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Visual approaches to help develop research questions

Using visual representation to develop research questions: Conceptual Frameworks

You may find it helpful to develop a two dimensional representation, or conceptual framework, of the key ideas and research findings within the area you aim to research. The ideas in a conceptual framework are organised around the central focus and key themes are then arranged in a mind map format around this central focus. Here is an example exploring factors that may be significant in the development of children’s motivation for reading.

Example Conceptual Framework

Using a linear approach to develop research questions

If you prefer a more linear approach to help you generate research questions you could use a checklist:

  1. What is your research area?

  2. In what context will your research take place? e.g. primary school, early years setting etc

  3. What is the nature of your research? e.g. to describe, to explore, to explain etc.

  4. What type of question is your central question? i.e. what, where, how, when, why etc.

  5. Do you want to explore any relationships? e.g. look for correlations / explore cause and effect.

(adapted from O’Leary, 2010)