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Selecting a Research
Question
The Goldie
Locks
Theory
Where to begin?
Literature review
What are you doing
already at work?
What are your
interests?
What are public
issues?
Who should help?
Professors
Colleagues
Fellow students
Educational journals
Librarians
Parents
Politicians ;)
Two methods
Find something you
are passionate
about and live to
research about it
Find something
doable and get it
over with
Methods: Pros & Cons
Passion will sustain you
You may still be sick of
it when you are finished
You will do a better job
You will naturally gather
information as you go
You may wander until
you find your passion
You will get started
more quickly
You may struggle to
finish if you get sick of it
You will be less likely to
have solid background
information
You will be less likely to
become a “true expert”
Methodologies
Some choose the
methodology and
then find a research
question that fits
that methodology
I do not recommend
this approach. It
requires too large of
a hammer on
occasion
The Best Place to Look
Chapter five of
dissertations
Each department at NIU
retains copies of the
dissertations completed
in their area
Many other research
studies will also provide
similar information
Start Small
It is generally easier
to widen a study
Few of you will start
small enough
Inherently, you will
narrow
Small bites! Do not
pick a topic which
will take eight years
General Idea
The influence of technology on
instruction
Research Question
Does technology influence
instruction?
Focused Research
Question
Do web based tutorials have a
positive impact on secondary
school honors biology students?
The Hypothesis
Based upon sound rationale
Clear and concise statement of
relationship between variables and
used measurable terms
Must be testable (quantitative)
Some examples
Redheaded girls will excel in math
Boys are more likely to struggle in first
grade reading than girls
Students with a last name at the front of
the alphabet are more likely to be on
the honor roll
Teachers over 6’ tall are more effective
Types of Hypotheses
Inductive –generalization from observations
Deductive – derived from theory and then
tested
Research (working) hypothesis – drives
your research proposal
 Directional (relationship with a positive or
negative impact)
 Non-directional (relationship but not the impact)
 Null - no relationship
Smoking
There is a
relationship between
smoking and cancer
 What is it?
There is no
relationship between
smoking and cancer
Proposal
1. Introduction and setting of the context of the
proposed research
a. Problem statement
b. Significance of the problem
2. Purpose
a. Purpose of the study
b. Significance of the proposed study
c. Feasibility of the study
d. Research questions
e. Definition of terms
The Format
Chapter 1: Introduction and problem
statement
Chapter 2: Review of the literature
Chapter 3: Methodology
Chapter 4: Results
Chapter 5: Conclusions and suggestions for
further research
Proposal – cont.
3. Background and Review of the Literature
a. Theoretical basis of study
b. Review of literature
4. Methodology
a. Hypothesis
b. Research method
c. Data Source/population
d. Sampling technique(s)
e. Human subjects compliance
f. Variables
g. Data collection
h. Data analysis techniques
i. Limitations
Proposal – cont.
5. Implications
6. References and appendices
Bibliography is the key item here

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Intro to Education Research Course - Selecting a Research Question

  • 3. Where to begin? Literature review What are you doing already at work? What are your interests? What are public issues?
  • 4. Who should help? Professors Colleagues Fellow students Educational journals Librarians Parents Politicians ;)
  • 5. Two methods Find something you are passionate about and live to research about it Find something doable and get it over with
  • 6. Methods: Pros & Cons Passion will sustain you You may still be sick of it when you are finished You will do a better job You will naturally gather information as you go You may wander until you find your passion You will get started more quickly You may struggle to finish if you get sick of it You will be less likely to have solid background information You will be less likely to become a “true expert”
  • 7. Methodologies Some choose the methodology and then find a research question that fits that methodology I do not recommend this approach. It requires too large of a hammer on occasion
  • 8. The Best Place to Look Chapter five of dissertations Each department at NIU retains copies of the dissertations completed in their area Many other research studies will also provide similar information
  • 9. Start Small It is generally easier to widen a study Few of you will start small enough Inherently, you will narrow Small bites! Do not pick a topic which will take eight years
  • 10. General Idea The influence of technology on instruction
  • 11. Research Question Does technology influence instruction?
  • 12. Focused Research Question Do web based tutorials have a positive impact on secondary school honors biology students?
  • 13. The Hypothesis Based upon sound rationale Clear and concise statement of relationship between variables and used measurable terms Must be testable (quantitative)
  • 14. Some examples Redheaded girls will excel in math Boys are more likely to struggle in first grade reading than girls Students with a last name at the front of the alphabet are more likely to be on the honor roll Teachers over 6’ tall are more effective
  • 15. Types of Hypotheses Inductive –generalization from observations Deductive – derived from theory and then tested Research (working) hypothesis – drives your research proposal  Directional (relationship with a positive or negative impact)  Non-directional (relationship but not the impact)  Null - no relationship
  • 16. Smoking There is a relationship between smoking and cancer  What is it? There is no relationship between smoking and cancer
  • 17. Proposal 1. Introduction and setting of the context of the proposed research a. Problem statement b. Significance of the problem 2. Purpose a. Purpose of the study b. Significance of the proposed study c. Feasibility of the study d. Research questions e. Definition of terms
  • 18. The Format Chapter 1: Introduction and problem statement Chapter 2: Review of the literature Chapter 3: Methodology Chapter 4: Results Chapter 5: Conclusions and suggestions for further research
  • 19. Proposal – cont. 3. Background and Review of the Literature a. Theoretical basis of study b. Review of literature 4. Methodology a. Hypothesis b. Research method c. Data Source/population d. Sampling technique(s) e. Human subjects compliance f. Variables g. Data collection h. Data analysis techniques i. Limitations
  • 20. Proposal – cont. 5. Implications 6. References and appendices Bibliography is the key item here