The research question
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The research question

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    The research question The research question Presentation Transcript

    • The Research Question RWJF | GRC | CAPS
    • The Research QuestionThe first thing to know is what is and is not aresearch question.
    • The Research QuestionA research question isnot data.
    • The Research QuestionA research question is not statistical analysis.
    • The Research Question A research question is not knowing theliterature of your field.
    • The Research Question Data, analysis, and literature are allimportant things.But only so far as they support the argumentyou want to make.
    • The Research QuestionThe argument is the answer you willpromote for the research question.
    • The Research QuestionThe research question comes before theargument, before the data, and beforeanalysis.For example:
    • Dinosaurs!For decades, there was lively debate aboutwhat killed the dinosaurs.
    • Dinosaurs!Some argued that cold blooded dinosaurscouldn’t compete with warm bloodedmammals.
    • Dinosaurs!Others argued that a gradual release ofgasses from the Deccan traps polluted theatmosphere.
    • Dinosaurs!Others argued thata Maastrischtiansea level regressiondestroyed manyhabitable areas.
    • Dinosaurs!But there was a thin black layer of sedimentthat appeared world-wide, known as the K-Tboundary.
    • Dinosaurs!The K-T boundary, by itself, doesn’t doanything without an argument.
    • Dinosaurs!A specific type of element, iridium, wasfound in high concentrations in this layer.Iridium is commonly found on asteroids.
    • Dinosaurs!Then, this massive crater was found in theYucatan Peninsula.
    • DinosaursThen a better argument came into play thatcombined these types of analysis.
    • Dinosaurs!Break down the research question “What killedthe dinosaurs?” Time - is it an event or a process? Why just the dinosaurs?
    • The Research QuestionBy breaking down the implications andassumptions of your research question, you canbetter understand it’s most significant parts.
    • Dinosaurs!So the research question “what killed thedinosaurs” is answered by the argument “anasteroid!” with data collected from theYucatan peninsula and from the K-Tboundary.
    • The Research QuestionA good argument should ask more questionsthan it answers. For example:
    • Dinosaurs!“Why didn’t dinosaurs evolve after theasteroid?”“Why did mammals survive?”“Why did crocodiles and turtles survive?”“Birds descended from dinosaurs, why werethey different?”
    • The Research QuestionIn other words, the research question shouldpass the “so what?” test without the need forelaboration.
    • The Research QuestionA key element, and a word that should beused: is the question compelling?
    • The Research Question What about yourquestion is compelling?What makes itinteresting?
    • The Research QuestionParts of a #winning research question: Does it address outstanding theoretical issues in your field? Does it have significance? Can it be solved?
    • The Research QuestionTo get at these broader issues, you need to dothese things:
    • The Research QuestionSurvey the top papers inyour field First, look at the 20 most cited papers Then, look at the 20 most recent papers
    • The Research QuestionAfter reading the literature in your field, askyourself: Is there an aspect to your subject of interest that hasn’t been explored yet? Is there something in your data that could address multiple questions?
    • The Research QuestionSignificance Why does your research matter? Who does it matter to? (audience)
    • The Research QuestionCan it be solved? Can you address the research question? What kind of data do you need to gather? What kind of analysis do you need?
    • The Research QuestionIMPORTANT Can you frame your research question in a way that you can test before you have data?
    • The Research QuestionResearchQuestionH1: There is a H0: It’s RandomRelationship Data Collection Data Validatio Analysis n
    • Important PointsIs your question too broad? Too narrow? A question that is too broad will not be answerable. A question that is too narrow will not be compelling or generalizable.
    • Important PointsCan the topic be researched? Can your research question be answered by you? Otherwise it will be very hard to form an argument.
    • Important PointsIs the question timely? Is your question implied in current literature? Does it engage contemporary researchers in your field?
    • Important PointsIs the research question reasonable? Does your research question have a clear answer? Can you be the one to answer it?
    • Too Broad?Let’s try to narrow it. Can you focus on a specific region? Can you focus on a specific population?
    • Too Narrow?Let’s broaden it. Are their implications to your study that extend past the sample you are looking at?
    • The Research QuestionGood research questions strike a balancebetween broad implications that are attractiveto general audiences, and specific studies thatbuild confidence and significance by using amanageable population.
    • The Research QuestionIn other words... A good researcher thinks globally, acts locally.