Choosing a Dissertation Research Question
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     Once you've chosen a dissertation topic, you are ready to move on the second step-developing a dissertation research question. The development of your dissertation question is important, as it will have a direct impact on other areas and phases of your dissertation. Your dissertation research question will help you decide what theoretical framework to rely on in your dissertation. Your dissertation research question will also help you articulate the research problem or research gap your dissertation will address. Other components of your dissertation including the proposal, literature review and methodology will extend from your research question. If your dissertation research question is unclear, your proposal will also be unclear and will probably not be accepted by your dissertation committee. Your dissertation research question could make or break you, so make sure your research question is a good one!. 
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How to develop a Strong Dissertation Research Question
     Given the impact of your dissertation research question, it's important to develop a clear dissertation research question. There are several strategies you may want to try when developing your dissertation research question. If possible you should allow your own interests to drive your dissertation research question. If your dissertation topic is not interesting you will find it extremely difficult to write about and complete your dissertation research. It's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to complete a dissertation that you are not even interested in. 


     When you think you are close to solidifying your dissertation research question, take a few days to do a little research on your dissertation question. Find out what has been written about your dissertation question in the literature. There is a gap in the research if nothing has been written about your specific dissertation question-this means your dissertation research question will be filling a research gap. Also, find out what methods have been used to study your dissertation question. Doing this preliminary research will set the stage for you to complete the other steps of your dissertation including writing the dissertation literature review and choosing a methodology to use in your dissertation. 
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     You should also share your dissertation research question idea with your dissertation chair or dissertation consultant. Sharing the dissertation research question with others will help you refine it-- others will give you their perspective on the clarity and significance of your dissertation research question. After taking these steps, you should have a version of a dissertation research question you feel comfortable with. The next step will be to refine your dissertation research question so that is clear and strong enough to base an entire dissertation study on. 


     Make sure you are vigilant and ask for advice and guidance from your dissertation advisor or a dissertation consultant about conceptualizing and concretizing your dissertation research question.  

Characteristics of a Strong and Innovative Dissertation Research Question
     A strong dissertation research question has several characteristics. These characteristics include innovation, clarity and feasibility. A dissertation research question is innovative if it suggests or utilizes an innovative approach to the exploration of the dissertation topic and dissertation idea. An innovative dissertation research question is novel and contributes to a gap in knowledge or a gap in the field. It should also be timely-in other words your dissertation research question should not be the same as that proposed by major theorists 20 years ago. An innovative dissertation research question contributes something new and is with or ahead of the zeitgeist!. 
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What are the Characteristics of Clear and Concise Dissertation Research Question?
     A dissertation research question that is clear and concise is easily understood by anyone who reads it. To help promote clarity in your dissertation research question make sure your question/s is short, conceptually straightforward, and jargon-free. In order to make your dissertation research question as conceptually clear as possible do not use too many variables. If your dissertation research question is examining more than four variables you may need more than one dissertation research question. 

Characteristics of a "Doable" Dissertation Research Question
     Your dissertation research questions should be "doable." If your research question is not doable as a dissertation, your dissertation committee will most definitely reject it. Save yourself this trouble by working closely with your dissertation chair or dissertation consultant to ensure that your dissertation research question is not beyond the scope of a dissertation. To ensure that your dissertation research question is doable you may want to ask yourself several questions: 
1) How long will it take to address the dissertation research question?
2) Do you have the appropriate skill set and knowledge to address the dissertation research question?

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