Tutorial: Oscar Diaz and Jeremías P. Contell. Why is coming up with a Research Question difficult?

Information System research rests on the understanding of practical problems and their solution counterparts. Frequently, solutions are not absolute but relative to the context where the problem is observed. This tends to imply that the solution and the problem unveil gradually together, and hence, researchers are not always in the position to state the research question (RQ) at the onset. Like software engineers when facing blurred requirements, researchers might not be familiar enough with the problem in the early phases of a research to properly scope their RQs. Here, the literature may play the role of the stakeholders in Agile methods: keeping the focus on the aspects that are essential (vs. accidental) of the RQ. Informed by Inductive Top-Down Theorizing and the Double Diamond design thinking model, this tutorial introduces RQ scoping as an iterative and incremental process, moving from systematic literature reviewing to agile literature reviewing. Specifically, this tutorial has three main objectives: 

  • Raising awareness about the difficulties of coming up with a well-defined RQ.
  • Providing insights into the operationalization of the RQ scoping process.
  • Exploring the features of the FRAMEndeley extension for conducting RQ scoping in Mendeley.