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Q&A: How can I choose a suitable research question?

I am a Spine Surgery Masters' student. I am preparing an SCI paper, but I am facing problems in selecting a research question. Currently, on my clinical job, I perform surgeries and write patient cases. But I am not sure what I should select. I read many SCI papers, and found that their topics are not always very novel; most of them are pretty normal.

1 Answer

As you know, the first and most basic step to achieving publication success is choosing the right research question. Most researchers find this essential step very stressful.

To start with, think of a research topic that interests you immensely. This will keep up your motivation throughout the process of writing the paper. Alternatively, you can choose a current topic of discussion in your field of research. Keep yourself updated about the latest happenings in your research field, which will help you identify your areas of interest and choose a feasible research question. You may also take help of some specific frameworks developed to help researchers formulate research questions step by step and factor by factor.

You should avoid research questions that are easy but not too interesting, and also questions that are interesting but impractical to work on. An ideal research question is one that is both feasible and of high interest. Although novelty is of importance, it is sometimes overrated by journals. So, find out where your true interest lies, and then frame a research question. You may have to modify it several times, but if you focus on your goal, you will definitely succeed.


This content belongs to the Conducting Research Stage

Conducting research is the first and most exciting step in a researcher's journey. If you are currently in this stage of your publishing journey, subscribe & learn about best practices to sail through this stage and set yourself up for successful publication.