There are many considerations in selection of topic. These considerations may be classified as academic/intellectual and applied . An intelligent selection of the topic is necessary as potential topics are many but topics which can be practically studied and on which we can actually proceed research are very rare.
SELECTION OF TOPICS
The selection of topic may arise from concern with.
Some social problem or
From an interest in some general theme or area of behaviour or
From some body of theory.
Students usually face three types of situations in which their selection varies according to the situation.
Field study topics. it includes internship report, Other field study topics may be selected from
Text book—contents, preface, and indexes.
Own interest in some phenomena.
Free choice topics.
Consideration in selecting topics.
Ability to grasp and time to deal, with broad implication of the topic.
Resources to carry the study forward.
Applicability of research techniques.
The degree of accuracy or approximation
Factors influencing the researcher to conduct research.
Researcher interest- inclination, experience,
Reward from the study.
Availability of funds.
Better facilities for research.
Better job and salaries.
Economic benefits to organization.
Legal pressure- top secrets, classified documents.
Freedom of choice in selecting topic is limited.
Guidelines for selecting easy topic for research paper.
That topic be selected for which ample reference material is available.
That topic be selected which has been examined and appraised by critics, experts and authorities in the field. (Which are not new).
That topic be selected which are familiar to you. (of your region, field etc)
That topic be selected which should be objective in tone (No bias)
That topic be selected which should be neither too broad nor too narrow.
That topic be selected which will permit you to form judgment and opinion. And will be supported by authorities.
That topic be selected which should be not highly technical.
That topic be selected for which should be not vague.
That topic be selected which are not distasteful.
That topic be selected which are non controversial.
FORMULATION OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The first step in formulation of the problem is the discovery of the problem in need of solution. Unfortunately every topic cannot be transformed to feasible research project but more frequently, it is possible to identify some aspect of topic, which can be formulated into specific research question. In this regard the first step then is to select a topic that would yield a task of manageable size. Thus after narrowing the problem to one that could reasonably be handed within in a single study we can proceed to several interrelated steps.
Formulation of hypothesis.
Clarification and definition of concepts.
Establishing working definition.
Relating the findings to other knowledge.
FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESIS
Hypothesis is a propositions, conditions or principle which is assumed perhaps without belief, in order to draw out its logical consequences and by this method to test its accord with facts which are known or may be determined (Webster’s New international dictionary of English language)
A hypothesis is derived from the Greek word “Hypo” that means “under” and “Tithenai” which means “To place” and mean any thing under consideration.In research it is used in the meaning of “Tentative solution to the problem being evaluated”.
Campbell defines hypothesis as “A proposition which is put forward for consideration and concerning the truth, or falsity, nothing asserted until the consideration is complete.
Goode and Hath defines hypothesis as “a proposition which is tested to establish validity.
It is suggested problem solution which is expressed as generalization.
Importance of Hypothesis.
It pinpoints the solution.
It determines the kind of data to be collected.
Indicate the type of research design.
Suggest explanation- helps in interpretation.
Provide framework for results.
Stimulate future research.
Types of Hypothesis.
Main types of hypothesis are.
1. Research hypothesis/ Working hypothesis /exploratory hypothesis- is that hypothesis which is derived form the researcher theory about social phenomena.
Examples of research hypotheses are.
Drugs adversely effect the personality, family and society.
Drugs addicted people have negative approach to life.
2. Null hypothesis. Null hypothesis are the opposite of research hypothesis. These are the statements which refute or deny what is explicitly indicated in a given research hypothesis. The above hypothesis will be.
Drugs have no adversely effect on the personality, family an society.
Drugs addicted people have positive approach to life.
Why null hypothesis is used.
1. The researcher is detached.
2. It seems easier to prove some thing false than to prove it true.
3. It is conventional.
4. It performs specific functions in relation to probability theory and test to research hypothesis.
3. Statistical Hypothesis . It is the suggested solution in statistical terms, or statistical relation deduced from the relations of research.
Sources of Hypothesis.
Based simply on hunch.
From findings of others.
CHARACTERITICS OF USABLE HYPOTHESIS
Conceptually clear. Clear definition of concept, clear operational definition, wording of definition be clear, vague hypothesis cannot be tested.
Empirical referents. Value judgment or moral procurement is not usable hypothesis. The usable hypotheses must have ultimate empirical referent.
Concise and specific . “Good, poor, more” like words are not used.
Testable . (Plausibility), Testable and verifiable statements. Is there relevant and logical possibility? Variables are associated variable.
Relevance to available techniques .
Relevance to a body of theory .
Suitability for intended purpose .
Simplicity of explanation
FUNCTIONS OF HYPOTHESIS.
A hypothesis states what we are looking for. Theory is an elaborate hypothesis, which deals with more types of facts than does the simple hypothesis.
Hypothesis looks forward. It is a proposition, which can be put to a test to determine its validity. It may seem contrary, or in accord with common sense. It leads to an empirical test.
Hypothesis directs our search for the order among facts.
I. A hypothesis may assert that some thing is the case in a given instance, that a particular, object, person, situation or event has certain character.
II. Hypothesis may have to do some thing with the frequency of occurrences or of association among variables. Or some thing tends to be accompanied by some thing else.
III. Or it may assert that a particular characteristic or occurrence is one of the factors, which determine another characteristics or occurrence (child experience effect personality.
For organizing data there is a need to perceive relationship among them. For this purpose the use of concept is very necessary. It is said that science without concepts is love story without love.
Seltiz etc . “Concept is an abstraction from observed events”.
McClelland. Concept is the short hand representation of variety of facts. The purpose of concept is to simplify thinking by sub summing a number of events under one general heading.
David Nachmias and chave Nachmias. An abstract symbol representing an object of certain phenomenon. For example student, tea, classroom etc.
CATEGORIES OF CONCEPTS .
1. Some concepts are very close to object or event they represent. For example “Dog” is abstraction of directly observable and measurable common characteristic of the dog.
2. Some concepts are not closely related to phenomenon they represent like attitude, role, learning, and motivation. They are inference at high level of abstraction from concrete events and there meanings are conveyable to, by pointing specific object, individual or event. Some times they are called “Constructs” as they are constructed from the concept at lower level.
Both of these categories carry the ability to transfer information in the form of images about experiences in the empirical world
Functions of concepts
Mainly there are three functions of concepts.
1. Abstraction from reality.
3. Theory building.
Importance of concepts defination
For researcher concepts definition is very important because.
The same concepts may refer to different realities and the different concepts may represent the same reality.
In science concepts communicates special communication. In common language some concepts carries different meaning from its special meaning. Thus all concepts must be clearly defined because the greater the distance between the concept and empirical fact to which they are intended to refer, the greater the possibility of misunderstanding. Thus greater care is required in defining concepts.
Concepts may be defined in the following two ways.
In abstract term. Giving the general meaning they are intended to convey. This is necessary to link the study with the body of knowledge using similar concepts.
In operational term. By which they will be represented in the particular study.
ESTABLISHING WORKING DEFINITION /OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS.
By working or operational definition we means “definition that assigns meaning to a concept by specifying the activities or “operations necessary to measure the concepts”. It is specification of the activities of the researcher in measuring a variable or manipulating it. It is a sort of manual of instruction to the investigator. In short it gives meaning to a variable (concept) by spelling out what the investigator must do to measure the variable (concept).
In such definitions we define concept by telling what actions or behaviours the concept expresses or implies. Such definitions make the observational basis by specifying the empirical referent of the terms.
They are of two types.
1. Experimental. It spells out the details of the investigators manipulation of the concepts.
2. Measured. Which describe how concept will be measured.
RELATING THE FINDINGS TO OTHER KNOWLEDGE.
Every research has relation to the old and new knowledge. There are two major ways of relating a given study to the larger body of knowledge.
1. To examine the research and thinking that has already been done on the given research problem or problems related to it and to plan the study so that it ties in with this existing knowledge.
2. To formulate the research problem at the level sufficiently abstract, so that finding from the study may be related to the finding from other studies concerned with the same concepts. The studies that take their inputs from scientific question. It is usually not difficult to formulate research problem at useful level of abstraction. Thus they can be likely stated in general terms. But the studies that arise from the need to answer practical questions may remain at such specific level that they make no real contribution to the knowledge unless the investigator takes pain to transpose the question to the higher level of abstraction.