Friday, March 30, 2012

How many (good) research questions are there?

In the past few months, I have been thinking a lot about the question I should investigate in my PhD-project. It put me thinking about how many good research questions are there? How many of these questions I'm interested in?
Right now I'm following the steps of a great Brazilian rock/ska band to figure it out. Once, a journalist asked the band what was their secret to have so many hits. They said something like "We write down hundreds of songs a month. At the end of the year, we can keep a few good ones."

So, that's exectally what I have been doing in the last few weeks. I writing down every research question I can think of, considering my research interests (no matter how stupid, obvious, naive or ambitous they sound).

After saying all this, this TED talk here may sound a bit self-help. But it's worth seven minutes of your time.

"The simplest questions can carry you out to the edge of human knowledge"  (via Flowing Data

ps. Of course most of the posed questions will be discarded. The next step should be to select the few good ones (if there's any left). But first things first...


Anonymous said...


I have been doing exactly the same thing. About to enter a Phd program and am generally interested in social demography, but have been recording all of my potential research questions, many seem naive, but it keeps me thinking.


Urban Demographics said...

It's always good to know there are other people in the same boat as us. Perhaps you should now discard the impractical ideas as well as the megalomaniac ones. And it is a good idea to make a search for published that tackles those questions you have raised (preferably refereed journal). So, start paddling !