“Did X have a positive or a negative impact on Y?

 “What impact did X have on Y?” may seem like a question of judgment, but it rarely is. It is often transformed into “Did X have a positive or a negative impact on Y?”, which is a better question, but usually remains problematic as there is usually no real debate to these questions. People will usually agree that X has have both positive and negative impacts on Y. Therefore, this type of question usually remains very close to a question of facts. To avoid this pitfall, spend time thinking about the significance of your question. Why should people know about this? What do you hope people will do or think if they read your paper? This is likely to help you move your work toward a stronger question of judgment. )