Q: What is the difference between a research topic and a research question?

Detailed Question -

My research topic is ‘Predictors of insecticide-treated bed net (ITN) utilization as a means of malaria prevention among households in X district: an unmatched community-based case-control study.’

1 Answer to this question

A research topic is a specific part of study in a broader area of study. For instance, for your research topic, the broader research area is malaria prevention in households.

A research question aims to further narrow down the scope of the study. It is a possibility you explore through your study aiming to solve the problem of your study and is expressed in the form of a question. Note that you may need to come up with several potential questions before deciding on a final question. For these, you will first need to do a literature search for your topic. In your topic, to come up with research questions, you will need to inspect aspects such as extent of ITN utilization among the study groups, factors among the groups (both exposed and unexposed, as this is a case-control study) enabling ITN utilization, and so on.

The final question becomes the hypothesis of the study. It is a tentative answer to the problem of the study that you will seek to address in your study. The hypothesis is expressed in the form of a statement rather than a question.

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