A research question is a tool that allows formulating the objectives of the upcoming research work and determines the focus of the methodology, for instance, qualitative or quantitative. According to Fandino (2019), a good research question is the outcome of properly aligned objectives that, combined with a relevant topic and environment, help set the best exploratory course. Thus, an effective research question may be viewed as such if it is not only well-formulated and meets the stated goals but also involves important aspects to be identified through an appropriate methodology.
An interview question, or survey question, is a data collection tool that allows obtaining information from the respondents involved by ascertaining their individual attitudes towards a particular problem or phenomenon. Hartwell et al. (2019) distinguish different types of interview questions and note that their quality largely depends on the relevance of the application to the research task. As the authors state, there is a direct correlation between the type of research and what form of survey is optimal since, in some cases, situational questions are more appropriate than, for example, structured ones (Hartwell et al., 2019). In other words, the context determines the effectiveness of such a data collection tool.
Both research questions and interview questions are utilized in different studies and are often necessary components of research activities. However, when considering the conditions for their application, one can note that they have significantly more differences than similarities. A research question is a specific methodological form that allows formulating a research idea and directing further work along the appropriate course, whether it be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed research. An interview question, in turn, is a research tool that, as a rule, is only relevant to qualitative research types where participants’ personal positions and views are assessed and analyzed. As an example, one can review the study by Smith et al. (2019), who examine religion and its role in the entrepreneurial field. According to the authors, a specific list of research questions they formulate allows them to identify the key topics to touch on and explore in-depth to address their agenda (Smith et al., 2019). In such work, interview questions can only be used as data-gathering tools, but they do not allow formulating the main research framework.
To develop a robust set of research questions, a researcher should choose an optimal methodology and, if possible, a suitable framework. Fandino (2019) mentions PICOT and FINER frameworks as relevant and useful tools. For successful interview/survey questions, a specific topic should be defined with a focus on participants’ experiences (Hartwell et al., 2019). These conditions may help develop both types of questions efficiently and rationally.
Setting the right questions is an essential aspect of any research. The value of a clear and unambiguous perspective is emphasized in biblical texts and reflects the all-seeing nature of divine knowledge. In Jeremiah’s letter to the Exiles, he writes as follows: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (“Jeremiah 29,” n.d., para. 1). This quote shows how far God sees the future and has specific plans, and in relation to the topic in question, the statement conveys the significance of specific issues that determine the course of human history.
Fandino, W. (2019). Formulating a good research question: Pearls and pitfalls. Indian Journal of Anaesthesia, 63(8), 611-616. Web/
Hartwell, C. J., Johnson, C. D., & Posthuma, R. A. (2019). Are we asking the right questions? Predictive validity comparison of four structured interview question types. Journal of Business Research, 100, 122-129. Web.
Jeremiah 29. (n.d.). English Standard Version Bible. Web.
Smith, B. R., Conger, M. J., McMullen, J. S., & Neubert, M. J. (2019). Why believe? The promise of research on the role of religion in entrepreneurial action. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 11, e00119.Web.