Simple and complex questions
You can be confronted with different types of questions, varying from simple look-up questions to complex research questions. Roughly speaking, you can distinguish between three types of questions.
Factual (research) question
It is a targeted, simple question: you are looking for an unambiguous factual answer. Simple does not always mean that the answer is easy to find. It is important that the facts are correct. The choice of a reliable source of information is therefore essential.
Example: “What were Heineken’s sales figures in 2015?”
When asking a question for orientation on your subject, you are not searching very specifically. You explore your subject in context to get a better understanding of what you really want to investigate. You want to get a general idea; the question is of a general nature. In practice, you will also explore some sub-aspects.
You want to investigate the effect of nutrition on sports’ performance. You feel that the subject is very broad. Your questions for orientation will be, for example:
- What is known about sport and nutrition?
- What is known about nutrition and performance?
As your context becomes clearer, your orientation questions will also become more specific.
A research question is more complex. You do more in-depth research and the question is more specific. To be able to answer the question properly, you will have to formulate sub-questions. When asking a research question, use a step-by-step plan; a structured approach is important to achieve good results.