The Key Characteristics of Opening Questions in a Questionnaire

on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The characteristics of opening in a questionnaire are:
Evocative - Evocative questions are ones that catch the interest of the reviewer and draw her/him into the proposal. Equally important, they easily adhere in the reviewers’ memory after reading the proposal. Questions tend to be evocative because of the ways they engage with challenging topics: they pose innovative approaches to the exploration of problems, and because of this the answers found are far from obvious. There is no single way to form a conceptually innovative question. However, some of the following qualities are common to successful proposals.

Frame your question around a provocative paradox. There are many potential answers to these questions, and your research may ultimately challenge your own expected explanation—but this in itself is a relevant discovery. These types of paradoxes pull the reader into the proposal and set up a situation whereby the research will fill in a provocative piece of the puzzle and make clear a much-needed broader understanding.

The research question should be clear. Clear questions tend to be short, conceptually straightforward, and jargon-free. This does not mean they have to be overly simplistic; but save your theoretical gymnastics and abstract disciplinary language for the analysis. Work to keep your questions as lucid and simple as possible.
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