1.2 Developing Questions

A statistical question is one that can be answered by collecting data where there are single, double and multiple sets of data that contains multiple categories.


  • Single sets of data: working with different test scores categorised into mark categories for an entire class; test and exam results; height and weight of data of learners in a class; number of learners in each grade; data on telephone call time and duration
  • Double sets of data: working with different test scores categorised into mark categories and organised according to gender; vehicle statistics of shoppers at a shopping centre; sport
    results statistics for provincial and national sport events; data on housing; water and electricity facilities for a small community
  • Multiple sets of data: national and provincial (health, education, road accident, population) statistics; complex values that is always expressed in millions or large data values containing decimal values

Before we start the research process, we need to make sure that we state the aim of the research clearly, in a way that can be measured. The aim of the research is then written as a research question. This will guide us to formulate the tool to be used to collect the data. Data may be collected from a population.

Open-ended and closed questions may be used. In an open-ended question, the answer is usually the opinion of the respondent and the respondent can answer in their own words. In this way you can gain insightful data and avoid receiving answers that are biased. A disadvantage of this type of question is that respondents might leave it out if it takes too long to answer.

Closed questions could give options for the respondent to choose from, which is convenient because they can simply tick the right box. A disadvantage of this type is that, when an option provided does not accommodate all respondents, this may lead to a situation where some of the questions are not answered.