Developing A Research Question – Studio Day

The aim of today’s studio day was to develop a research question and to outline aims and objectives. Working in pairs we each had the opportunity to explain to our partner the theme of our research, what we had achieved so far, key findings and to write a working question with aims and objectives. We repeated this process multiple times and each time the question became more focused. Before, we carried out the task it was important to first understand the ask. What is a research question and what does it embody? What is the difference between the aims and the objectives?

Research Question

It is important that my chosen research question is something that interests me and gives me a platform enabling me to explore and create original ideas. It is vital that the research question is clear, complex, concise, focused and arguably asks questions around chosen problem space. 

The what, how, why method makes it clear as to why the research question is important within my creative process.

What? – Provides the foundation, and is essential part of allowing the designer to focus on what the creative design exploration is.

How? – This process provides the designer a pathway through the research and creative process. It will aid the designer and help to develop the project further.

Why? – It is important to have a well-developed and defined question as this will help the designer understand why its important and what your contribution to knowledge might be.

Aims & Objectives

Pat Thompson (2014) clearly and simply explains the difference between aims and objectives, stating “…the aim is the what of the research, and the objective is the how.”

The aims of the research question enables the designer to identify their intentions, what they want to know. It’s the concept and overall point behind conducting the research. More often than not the aims appears to be ambitious and broad but are not impossible. It’s best to aim for one or two aims.

The objectives follow on from the aims and outline how the designer will achieve the aims. They need to be achievable and practical and need to be fairly precise, making it clear what the research boundaries are. Often researchers aim for three or four objectives.

The Task

In pairs discuss your projects using the worksheet provided. It’s better to pair up with someone who doesn’t know your project very well or at all. In our pairs we are required to make notes and interpret our partner’s project using the worksheet as a guide. Finally, write a working question for their MA Project along with the related aims and objectives.  We have 30 minutes to complete this activity, 15 minutes each. One we have done this it is essential to spend time to complete the worksheet yourself, of course you can continue to repeat the process.

Round one – notes from first discussion.

 The first attempt of this activity was fairly successful. I found it beneficial as I was able to get help making my own ideas much more clear and concise. Sometimes, it is difficult to express your own thoughts and ideas, and it is useful to talk to someone else as often they can put into words what your trying tot say.

developing question.jpg
Round two: refining my research question, aims and objects. Beginning to focus more in depth.

The second attempt I completed myself. Although the research aims and objectives are fairly similar to the previous attempts, there is more focus on the way I’ll create empathy. I think it’s important that I declare that I want to explore how immersive experiences can be used to raise awareness and build empathy. Furthermore, I think its vital I consider my target audience, who do I want to reach out to and why?

I’ve found this exercise to be very valuable. It is a good way to help simplify what you’re doing and by talking to other students it gave me a platform to expand on my own thoughts and ideas. At this stage I have only done two rounds of this exercise as I feel it will be more beneficial if I do this further down the line – at the moment I am still exploring research avenues and concepts for this current project.


Thompson, P. (2014). aims and objectives – what’s the difference? Retrieved from

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: