Development of Research Question and Literature Review


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Research Question and Literature Review

The development of a research question is the initial step, which constitutes of the formulation of an answerable question into a certain specific concern. The knowledge of the topic of concern may be developed from reading different literature materials and identifying the information gap in the studies already conducted. Another way of developing a research question is the observation of a problem from the practical point of view in the field. In a research project, it is important to develop a research question in order to guide the methodology of collecting data that shall be analyzed to arrive on congruent and reliable answers to the problem. On the other hand, carrying out a literature review is extensively reading various research results from previous studies and other scientific information about the topic (Agee, 2009).

In the case of Eboni Logan, the most appropriate step to do in determining the effectiveness of the abstinence-only education as a method of controlling pregnancies in teenagers will be to carry out thorough literature review. Literature review on abstinence-only education will help identify the various definitions and elements that make the subject. For instance carrying out a thorough literature review about abstinence-only education, the researcher will understand the principles of the program like abstinence from sexual activities until marriage and family values that are focused on in the program. This will enable the researcher identify the gaps that are present in the program which need to be studied and its use and effectiveness determined. For instance, literature reveals that abstinence-only sexual education has not been effective in controlling both pregnancies and transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). It reveals that the program has misleading medical information and does not teach on the potential sexual risk life saving information. The other advantage of carrying out thorough literature review is to understand the status research status of the topic under study. Literature review will reveal whether the topic has been exhaustively or scantly researched on, thus creating a better ground for research topic. According to me, literature review will also help identify experts on the topic under research and therefore a potential avenue for informed decision on the specific aspect to study about the topic. Literature review will also help in identifying the key research questions that need further studies. Again, literature review is important in understanding the most appropriate methodology to use in the study. This will help develop more the research topic and research questions thus determining a new angle of the research on the topic under study. Literature review helps the researcher build a strong foundation of knowledge on the topic under study. The researcher will also be in full perspective of the study and a new direction it takes from the previous studies (Agee, 2009).

However, developing research questions without carrying out thorough literature review has a number of potential quandaries. In this study, the researcher will is likely to formulate a very broad topic which might be very difficulty to achieve and thus not able to generate information about the causes of ineffectiveness of abstinence-only sexual education in schools. A broad objective is usually very unattainable in terms of financial demands, methodology choosing and extent of the sample population. Developing research questions without conducting extensive literature review will also result into collection of data without considering appropriate study data collection methods and tools thus result into collection of irrelevant and unreliable information (Robson & McCartan, 2016). The collected data will therefore be scanty or not meeting the study objectives and therefore fail to appropriately answer the research questions of concern. The other potential is that the researcher is likely to research on a topic that has been exhaustively researcher on and therefore yield obvious results. If the researcher chooses on an aspect that has not been really researcher on, formulation of the research methodology might be in jeopardy because of not consulting other researchers through literature review (Agee, 2009).


Agee, J. (2009). Developing qualitative research questions: a reflective process. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education22(4), 431-447.

Robson, C., & McCartan, K. (2016). Real world research. John Wiley & Sons.