The foremost task is to find out a research area that is promising and looks like a worthy area of research. Your own interest in it is very important. Never forget that!! Cathy, in her attempt to quickly finalise the topic, chose a closed area of research , clinical psychology for a consumer behaviour research. It was not her interest area and could not sustain her focus for a long time. It is often difficult to anticipate, like how Cathy could not, that during the long tenure of the doctoral research, one has to be passionate about the topic. Then only is there some fun. To move further, after taking a well thought over decision, the next crucial task at hand is to identify those research questions that still are not resolved so that there is sufficient scope created for you to contribute in the chosen area. In the language of research, we also call it as finding out the gap in the existing literature that is available so that the researcher can take a call whether the research is worth focusing upon or no.
With a lot of research students being novice in research, lack any prior experience or exposure in the field. They end up making a mistake of not formulating the research question before moving ahead with the methodology of research. First go in detail of the research problem and then think about deciding the method of research that is there.
The research questions can be formulated by finding out the gap that is existing between the existing researches that have been conducted. The way to identify the gap is to find those questions that have not been answered, irrespective of whether they have been catered to.
Only knowing about the existing gap does not suffice the relevance and worth of a research. It is also important to go one step forward and justify this to self and others r that spending effort, time and resources on this research will reap results that would be worthy and give out a lucrative outcome.. Try to give a more accurate and precise answer to each research question, at the nascent stage itself so that the future endeavours in your research have their foundation based on some strong preliminary work.