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Research can start with a specific question. What is the name of that specific question? Is it "the fundamental question", or is there another name for it that's used as standard?

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The hypothesis? But that is the assumed answer to the underlying question. However, if I am not mistaken, research is done to test an hypothesis. –  oerkelens Feb 4 at 12:21
    
What's the name for this in your native language? And did you try to do a translation? What did you find? (Otherwise, perhaps this should be migrated to Academia.) –  J.R. Feb 4 at 13:59
    
In Persian it is پرسش آغازی which can be translated to the initiative question or the question at start. Actually I have already been there and they said it is off-topic to them. I think the word research question would be good. –  Juya Feb 4 at 14:20
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According to this wiki page : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_question research question is the right term. –  Zzyrk Feb 4 at 14:26
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@Zzyrk - "research question" is entirely correct, at least in American English. Write an answer! –  abby hairboat Feb 4 at 14:49

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The correct term for the point of departure of a research document is the research question. For more details, read this wiki page : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_question

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That is one correct term. As Jay points out, it is not the only option. –  nxx Feb 5 at 1:34

I've always heard the starting point of a thesis or research paper to be a statement rather than a question, which is then called the "thesis statement" in academia, or in science the "theory" or "hypothesis".

That is, when I was in college, we didn't start a paper by saying, "I set out to investigate the question, 'Is there life on other planets?'" Rather, we begin, "My thesis is: There is life on other planets." And then the rest of the paper explains how we came to that conclusion. Or in a scientific paper: "My theory is that there is life on other planets." Etc. (These wordings are just examples. I'm not saying that there's a rigid wording.)

I don't doubt that this is a matter of style and that other schools, departments, etc might phrase it as a question rather than a statement.

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