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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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3.2 Identifying your questions

This section will help you to apply your learning about how to create useful research questions for your own needs.

Remember the four different categories are:

  • availability of the work
  • nature of the work
  • types of organisation
  • practicalities of the work.

Activity 6 What do I want to know?

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Remind yourself of the three sources of information you wrote down for Activity 4, and identify three questions you think might be helpful for you to answer. Use the types of question listed above to prompt your thinking. For example, you might have listed ‘National Office of Statistics’ as one of the sources you will consider. If so, your questions could be:

  • What is the trend for software engineering in the UK – are the numbers of employed workers going up or down?
  • In which industry sectors do most software engineers tend to be employed?
  • How up to date are the figures on the current website? Do I need to check elsewhere too?

You will see that the questions here are largely about availability. However, the type of question you ask will be related to the source that you are consulting. So, consider this carefully when constructing your own questions.

Now write down in your notebook the information sources you chose and the questions you think will guide your research. The table below provides an example of how to organise your thoughts.

Table 2
Information source My three questions
Food bank website

Are there any food banks close to my home?

Is it possible to get to them by bus?

What kinds of work do they ask volunteers to do?


Your ideas are refining as you work through this process. At this point you should be feeling pleased with your progress. You already have:

  • an idea of the kind of work you want to find out about
  • three information sources you are going to consult
  • some questions to guide you as you go to the information sources.

Now you have a list of questions you can start to research what you want to know.