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Research questions

What are we looking for?


At Flourish, we're looking for change-driven work that considers the route to positive impact in every step of the research process, from selecting a research question to writing concluding remarks. This research is challenging, so we’ve compiled some resources to serve as inspiration for research questions.

We think that the most impactful research addresses questions within the most pressing problems/cause areas. Choosing which cause area to focus on will likely significantly influence how impactful your paper will be, and we broadly agree with the Effective Altruist approach of using an evidence-based framework to work out which are the most pressing problems to work on. Whilst the resources listed on this page recommend focusing on certain problems, we also welcome submissions that argue for priorities outside these research areas and challenge our assumptions about existing problems.

Example Questions

See below for some examples of questions we're excited to see answered. 

For the full list, check out the 80,000 hours list of research questions with a high social impact. 

Students Sitting on Staircase

Tips for writing a 
change-driven paper

For guidance and suggestions on impact-oriented research, we like this article by Karolina Sarek. Aimed at professional researchers, it highlights the importance of reaching an accurate, action-relevant and formulated conclusion. Her three main guidelines are to: 

  • Reach conclusions through your research

  • Compare alternatives with equal rigour.

  • Design research questions to affect decision-making.


Specifically, this might look like:

  • Quantifying how big a problem or solution is

  • Comparing your idea to what already exists: what’s the benefit of your idea over others?

  • Considering how your suggestion could be put into practice

  • Highlighting the flaws in existing ideas or methods

  • Looking at the limitations of your suggestion

Flourish is a multidisciplinary journal; within each focus area some of these suggestions will be appropriate, and some will definitely not. Alter these bullet points as you set fit. Discard others. We trust your discretion.

Image by Suad Kamardeen
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