Of Theses and Marriage: How to    Choose Mr./Mrs. Right       Roberto Criollo, MA.
Writing a ThesisWriting a thesis and defending it is an academic ritual whereby novices are introduced into the profession...
Steps in Topic Selection          Define your Interests         Think of a Possible Topic          Review the Literature
Identify SpecificResearchable ProblemsDecide on One of Them   and Focus on It
Defining Your Interests/Possible Topic•   The students themselves select a topic.•   The general selection is made on the ...
Reviewing the Literature• The student gets information about  his/her „marriageable topic‟ by:• Going to the library and s...
Reviewing the Literature As a further step, the student may  brainstorm (helped by his chaperon) at  least 10 important c...
Identifying Specific ResearchableProblems In this stage, the most important step  will be getting knowledge about  resear...
What is a Thesis?Simply stated, a thesis is a piece ofresearch that is required by auniversity in order to award anacademi...
What is Research?   “Research is the study of an event,    situation, problem or phenomenon    using systematic and objec...
Research Methods1.4.1.1 Descriptive Research1.4.1.1.1 Survey Research1.4.1.1.2 Observational Research1.4.1.1.3 Ethnographi...
Research Methods1.4.1.3 Experimental Research1.4.1.4 Other Research Types1.4.1.4.1 Historical Research1.4.14.2 Causal-Comp...
Methodological Questions What? How? (Instruments) Qualitative or Quantitative? Advantages and disadvantages?
Descriptive Research   Collecting data in order to answer    research    questions     or   test    hypotheses
Survey Research What? Opinions, attitudes, beliefs How? Questionnaires / Interviews         Quantitative    Qualitative...
 Advantages (Interviews): Opinions  are explored in depth. Opportunity  to interact with subjects. Disadvantages:       ...
Observational (Participant) What: Direct observation of a  phenomenon       or     behavior    as  participant. How: Obs...
Observational (Non-Participant) What: Direct observation of a  phenomenon or behavior where one  is an outsider. How: Ob...
Correlational What: Evidence for a linear relationship  between two variables. How: Quantitative data about variables,  ...
Experimental Research What: Evidence for a cause-and-effect  relationship between two variables. How:     Experimental d...
Narrowing Down the Topic Difficulties of Academic Writing-Context Descriptive:       Collect a sample of  advanced learn...
Observational   (Participant-ethnographic): Work with your class,record data from observation of Ss‟writing process, diar...
 Observational        (Non-participant):  Observing academic writing classes  and focus on the type of content and  activ...
   Experimental: Design objectives and    activities using a particular writing    approach (i.e. Genre-based), get pilot...
Evaluating the Topic: Is it Good?       Is the topic directly related to the        field? Or is it cross-disciplinary?  ...
 Are there enough bibliographic  resources available? Do you know any professors in the  staff who can guide you? Do yo...
  Will you have free access to subjects   and institutions targeted? Will your resarch be extensive enough   to comply w...
Epilogue Congratulations! Now you have a  thesis topic. As in marriage, this is  not the end, but the beginning. Be pati...
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How to select a research project

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How to select a research project

  1. 1. Of Theses and Marriage: How to Choose Mr./Mrs. Right Roberto Criollo, MA.
  2. 2. Writing a ThesisWriting a thesis and defending it is an academic ritual whereby novices are introduced into the professional field (Swales 1990).
  3. 3. Steps in Topic Selection Define your Interests Think of a Possible Topic Review the Literature
  4. 4. Identify SpecificResearchable ProblemsDecide on One of Them and Focus on It
  5. 5. Defining Your Interests/Possible Topic• The students themselves select a topic.• The general selection is made on the basis of the interests and preferences.• What is selected is not a thesis title or a specific problem statement. Just a general field, area, or discipline• Example:Difficulties of Academic Writing
  6. 6. Reviewing the Literature• The student gets information about his/her „marriageable topic‟ by:• Going to the library and see if this topic has been previously married. Look at the thesis list in the institution & copy the titles.• Going to the library and finding out if the marriageable topic has references.
  7. 7. Reviewing the Literature As a further step, the student may brainstorm (helped by his chaperon) at least 10 important concepts to be defined. The student will go to the relevant references and get information. This search will guide the bachelor(ette) to spot important specific helpful details.
  8. 8. Identifying Specific ResearchableProblems In this stage, the most important step will be getting knowledge about research methodology to narrow down the topic. Finding out the „legal procedures‟.
  9. 9. What is a Thesis?Simply stated, a thesis is a piece ofresearch that is required by auniversity in order to award anacademic degree.
  10. 10. What is Research? “Research is the study of an event, situation, problem or phenomenon using systematic and objective methods in order to understand it better and develop theories or principles about it” (Richards, Platt, & Platt 1992; Vogt 1999).
  11. 11. Research Methods1.4.1.1 Descriptive Research1.4.1.1.1 Survey Research1.4.1.1.2 Observational Research1.4.1.1.3 Ethnographic Research1.4.1.2 Correlational Research1.4.1.2.1 Relationship Studies1.4.1.2.2 Prediction Studies
  12. 12. Research Methods1.4.1.3 Experimental Research1.4.1.4 Other Research Types1.4.1.4.1 Historical Research1.4.14.2 Causal-Comparative Research1.4.1.4.3 Methodological Research
  13. 13. Methodological Questions What? How? (Instruments) Qualitative or Quantitative? Advantages and disadvantages?
  14. 14. Descriptive Research Collecting data in order to answer research questions or test hypotheses
  15. 15. Survey Research What? Opinions, attitudes, beliefs How? Questionnaires / Interviews Quantitative Qualitative Advantages: (Questionnaires) Practical, easy to administer and analyze, a large sample can be obtained. Disadvantages: Essential information may be overlooked, superficial analysis
  16. 16.  Advantages (Interviews): Opinions are explored in depth. Opportunity to interact with subjects. Disadvantages: Time-consuming, samples are usually smaller, data are difficult to analyze.
  17. 17. Observational (Participant) What: Direct observation of a phenomenon or behavior as participant. How: Observation forms, recordings. Advantages: Easier interpretation, possibility of manipulating variables, subjects act „natural‟. Disadvantages: More subjective.
  18. 18. Observational (Non-Participant) What: Direct observation of a phenomenon or behavior where one is an outsider. How: Observation forms, recordings. Advantages: More objective. Disadvantages: Observer may affect subjects‟ behavior, lack of context information may affect results, observation is limited.
  19. 19. Correlational What: Evidence for a linear relationship between two variables. How: Quantitative data about variables, statistics (software). Advantages: Fairly straightforward, numerical reliability. Disadvantages: Requires knowledge of statistics and computers. Nature of the relationship between variables is unknown.
  20. 20. Experimental Research What: Evidence for a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables. How: Experimental design: two groups, two tests. Advantages: Strong evidences due to extraneous variable control. Disadvantages: Artificial environment, ethical problems.
  21. 21. Narrowing Down the Topic Difficulties of Academic Writing-Context Descriptive: Collect a sample of advanced learners‟ texts. Adopt or develop a scoring rubric for organization, grammar, etc. Evaluate Ss‟ papers and determine problematic areas. Descriptive (Survey): Administer an interview/questionnaire to find out students‟ and/or teachers‟ points of view.
  22. 22. Observational (Participant-ethnographic): Work with your class,record data from observation of Ss‟writing process, diaries, journals,samples of students‟ work, in-depthinterviews, etc.
  23. 23.  Observational (Non-participant): Observing academic writing classes and focus on the type of content and activities. Correlational: Obtain from your group sample academic texts written in L1 and L2. Devise/adopt an evaluation rubric to assess papers. Correlate scores for L1 and L1. Are writing skills potentially transferable?
  24. 24.  Experimental: Design objectives and activities using a particular writing approach (i.e. Genre-based), get pilot and control groups, get academic texts, apply techniques, determine if students who got treated perform better in the writing of a final text.
  25. 25. Evaluating the Topic: Is it Good?  Is the topic directly related to the field? Or is it cross-disciplinary?  Do you have a sound knowledge of its main concepts/theories?  Is the topic relevant and applicable to the field?  Is it interesting?  Original?  Feasible?
  26. 26.  Are there enough bibliographic resources available? Do you know any professors in the staff who can guide you? Do you have a clear idea of the methodological procedures you will use for the collection and analysis of the data?
  27. 27.  Will you have free access to subjects and institutions targeted? Will your resarch be extensive enough to comply with the institution thesis requirements? Or will it be too short or long?If most of your answers are „yes‟, you got yourself a good topic. If not, you need to consider adjusting some details
  28. 28. Epilogue Congratulations! Now you have a thesis topic. As in marriage, this is not the end, but the beginning. Be patient and rekindle your love affair with your topic. Be faithful, share yourself, keep communication open, be ready to sacrifice. Your love will give birth to the most beautiful baby of them all, a college degree.

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