A “What, Why, and How” Framework for Crafting Research

A “What, Why, and How” Framework for Crafting Research


Hi guys, below are some simple questions you can ask yourself to get started when you do not have a clear idea about what to do with your thesis. I tried this when I did my M.A. dissertation, and I found it useful.

You can start with the WHAT questions to get your research questions (which are the basis for the subsequent parts of your thesis) and make decisions about what to investigate.When you find the topics that you are interested to conduct your research, ask the WHY questions to makes sure it’s not just a personal interest and it will make some academic contribution. The HOW questions will give you an idea for the literature review and research methodology sections in your thesis.

I do hope you are all keeping well and all the best to your thesis!!!



  • What puzzles/intrigues me?
  • What do I want to know more about/understand better?
  • What are my key research questions?
  • What has not been focused on in previous researches?


  • Why will this be of enough interest to others to be published as a thesis, book, paper, and guide to practitioners or policy makers?
  • Can the research be justified as a “contribution to knowledge”? (Can the research make a contribution in this area?)

How (conceptually)?

  • What models, concepts and theories can I draw on/develop to answer my research questions?
  • How can these be brought together into a basic conceptual framework to guide my investigation?

How (practically)?

  • What investigative styles and techniques shall I use to apply my conceptual framework (both to gather material and analyse it)?
  • How can I make the research different from the previous?
  • How shall I gain and maintain access to information sources?







Source: Watson T. “Managing, crafting and researching: words, skill and imagination in shaping management research” British Journal of Management Vol.5, Special issue, June 1994. P80

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