How to Formulate and Evaluate Your Research Questions


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Process to develop your research question and the elements of a good research question are discussed. Scripts to write it are presented so you can apply them to your own case and criteria to evaluate your work included.

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How to Formulate and Evaluate Your Research Questions

  1. 1. How  to  Formulate  and   Evaluate  Your  Research   Questions  
  2. 2. Three  Related  Concepts   •  Topic  :  It  is  the  general  area  of  knowledge  that  interests  you.   For  example,  reading  learning,  innova>ve  art,  hospital  primary   care,  decision  making,  animal  rights,  differen>al  equa>ons,  etc.   •  Research  Problem:  It  is  what  calls  your  aDen>on  within  the   topic  because  it  seems  not  to  be  working  properly  and   consequently  has  to  be  studied.   •  Research  Ques>on:  :  It  is  what  you  specifically  want  to   answer  or  test  conduc>ng  a  study.  In  other  words,  the  ques>on   that  states  what  you  will  look  for.  
  3. 3. Process  to  Formulate  Your   Research  Questions   List  Topics   Evaluate   Topics   Using   Criteria   Choose   Topic   Iden>fy   Problems   for  the   Topic   Evaluate   Problems   Using   Criteria   Choose   Research   Problem   Iden>fy   What  You   Want  to   Know  or   Test  about   the   Problem   Formulate   the   Research   Ques>on(s)   Evaluate   Research   Ques>on(s)   Using   Criteria  
  4. 4. You  can  read  criteria  for  evaluating  topics  and  problems  at:
  5. 5. What  is  a  Research  Question?   •  It  is  what  you  want  to  answer  or  test  in  order  to   solve  the  iden>fied  problem  or  understand  it   beDer.     •  It  is  the  guiding  element  to  make  decisions  on   deepening  literature  review,  choosing  a  valid   research  method,  and  analyzing  findings.  
  6. 6. Elements  of  a  Good  Research   Question   •  The  what,  who,  when,  where,  how,  and  why  of   the  research  study.  The  first  four  interroga>ves   relate  to  descrip>on  of  elements  of  the  problem,   the  fiQh  to  a  process  of  it,  and  the  last  one  to   causa>on.   •  What  is  intended  to  do  (describe,  explore,   compare,  explain,  or  even  evaluate)  
  7. 7. Examples  of  Scripts  for  Research  Questions   Focus of the research •  What/How  ____(the   question: unknown  element)    __   (central  phenomenon)  ___   Description of the (par>cipants)  ___(research   elements of the site/period  of  >me)?   identified problem 1.  What  are  the  digital  wri>ng  tools  more  used  by  Texan  college  students  to  prepare   essays?   2.  How  oQen  do  Bri>sh  police  recruits  ask  for  mentoring  during  their  first  year  in  the   force?   3.  How  is  domes>c  violence  perceived  by  Mexican  rural  communi>es?  
  8. 8. Examples  of  Scripts  for  Research  Questions   (II)   Focus of the research •  What  _____(unknown   question: element)__(central   phenomenon)   Exploration of the __(par>cipants)__(research   elements of the site/period  of  >me)?   problem 1.  What    differen>ated  strategies  are  used  to  teach  minori>es  at  elementary  public   schools  in  Dade  county?     2.  What  are  the  opinions  of  Italian  community  leaders  about  current  illegal   immigra>on  from  Africa?  
  9. 9. Examples  of  Scripts  for  Research  Questions   (III)   Focus of the research •  What  is/are  the  difference(s)   question: between/among__(central   phenomenon)   Compare elements of _(par>cipants)__(research   the problem site/period  of  >me)?   1.  What  are  the  differences  in  social  network  usage  between  Australian  female   and  male  university  students?   2.  What  is  the  difference  in  percep>on  toward  insurance  among  drivers  of  three   California  coun>es?  
  10. 10. Examples  of  Scripts  for  Research  Questions   (IV)   Focus of the research •  What/Why__(unknown   question: element)__(central   phenomenon)_(par>cipants)_   Explanation of the (research  site/period  of   problem >me)?   1.  What  is  the  rela>onship  between  the  teaching  strategy  and  the  scores  high  school   students  achieve  in  the  math  sub-­‐test  of  the  TAKS?   2.  Why  do  first  year  Bri>sh  policemen  leave  the  force?    
  11. 11. Formulate a research question applying  f   one of the scripts presented
  12. 12. •  Specific (what needs to be answered is clearly and concisely stated) •  Key elements are present (what, who, where, when, how, and/or why) •  Answerable (possible to know what would take to answer it) •  Interesting for you and others •  Feasible (in terms of time, costs, skills, required information, access to it, etc.) •  Meaningful to you, others, and the field of study •  Timely (Is it a hot question these days ? Is it possible to generate new directions to research) •  Ethical (maintain ethical standards in relation to participants, data, and researcher)  Criteria  to  Evaluate  a   Research  Question   Adapted from: Green, N. (2008). Formulating and refining a research question. In Gilbert, N. (Ed.). Researching social life. Guildford, UK: University of Surrey
  13. 13. Apply the criteria to the research question you formulated
  14. 14. Now  you  know  :   1.  What a research question is 2.  Its role in the research process 3.  What elements should be in a research question 4.  How to formulate a research question 5.  How to evaluate its appropriateness
  15. 15. Thanks  for  Reading   Hope you find this conference useful and want to meet us soon