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Developing Research Question


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Dr. Josepch Stetar, Seton Hall University

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Developing Research Question

  1. 1. Developing your Research Problem / Question
  2. 2. Critics of Education Research • …the inefficient and unscientific methods used by educators in acquiring knowledge and solving their problems. An uncritical acceptance of authority opinion that is not supported by objective evidence and an overdependence upon personal experience have been characteristic of the educator’s problem solving techniques. – Will Borg and many others who echo his perspective
  3. 3. Critics of Education Research • In pairs answer questions: – How would you assess the validity of the Borg position? Accurate? Inaccurate? – What are the reasons behind your position? – Does his criticism apply to your own proposed research?
  4. 4. Identifying Your Research Problem: Criteria • It must sustain your interest • It must be within your range of competence • It must be manageable in size • It must have some basis in theory
  5. 5. Your Research Problem: Criteria • It must have the potential to make an original contribution • It must be based on obtainable data • It must permit you to demonstrate you independent mastery of both subject and research method
  6. 6. Research Question • Look for relationship between two or more variables
  7. 7. Research Question Implies Relationship • Affect • Embed • Approximate • Identical • Associate • Indicate • Cause • Influence • Compare • Parallel • Depend • Influence • Divergent • Relate • Effect • Tension
  8. 8. Techniques to help you define your research topic and question • Read the relevant literature • Challenge assumptions • Search for inconsistencies in literature • Organize material you have read • Talk to specialists • Get the problem down on paper • Read the relevant literature
  9. 9. Guidelines • Research question should grammatically stated as a question • Subsidiary questions must be directly related to research question • Be careful with seeking to establish causality. How are you going to isolate the other variables that may have impact? 9
  10. 10. Guidelines • Why surveying extremely small samples [<30]? Interviews better? • do folks you intend to survey / interview actually have information you need? Can anyone tell you what someone else is thinking? Believing? • Heavy emphasis upon perceptions? Of what value are perceptions? 10
  11. 11. Literature Review / Search • Goal is to present a representative sample of the important findings of relevant studies and theory. • Literature review is not a mere listing of most things written on the topic.
  12. 12. Literature Review Should Answer Such Questions As: • What has been written…? • What is the basis of their evidence (opinion...empirical evidence)? • What are their conclusions…? • What are the gaps in the research; what areas need to be studied?
  13. 13. Assignment: Working In Groups of 2-3 • Share your research and jointly identify the strengths and weaknesses of your proposed research • Please use Patton & Madsen for guidance
  14. 14. Address such areas: • Does your research question meet the criteria suggested above? If not, why not? • Does your research question look for relationship between two or more variables? If not, why not? What are those variables • Does your literature review meet the criteria listed above? If not, why not? • Take 20± minute