lec3 - Chapter 3 Problem Identification and Hypothesis...

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Chapter 3 Problem Identification and Hypothesis Formation The purpose of Chapter Three is to help you to learn how to come up with a research topic, refine it, and develop a research proposal. Sources of Research Ideas Research ideas and research problems originate from many sources. We discuss four of these sources in the text: everyday life, practical issues, past research, and theory. Regardless of the source of your idea, a key point is that you must develop a questioning and inquisitive approach to life when you are trying to come up with research ideas. Everyday life is one common source of research ideas. Based on a questioning and inquisitive approach, you can draw from your experiences and come up with many research topics. For example, think about what educational techniques or practices you believe work well, or do not work well. Would you be interested in doing a research study on one or more of those techniques or practices? Practical issues can be a source of research ideas. What are some current problems facing education (e.g., facing administrators, teachers, students, parents). What research topics do you think can address some of these current problems? Past research can be an excellent source of research ideas. In my opinion (BJ), past research is probably the most important source of research ideas . That’s because a great deal of educational research has already been conducted on a multitude of topics, and, importantly, research usually generates more questions than it answers. This is also the best way to come up with a specific idea that will fit into and extend the research literature. For students planning on writing a thesis or dissertation, the use of past research is extremely helpful, and remember to not just look at the variables and the results, but also carefully examine how they conducted the study (i.e., examine the methods). When you read a research article, it will be helpful for you to think about the ideas shown in Table 3.1.
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Theory (i.e., explanations of phenomena) can be a source of research ideas. o Can you summarize and integrate a set of past studies into a theory? o Are there any theoretical predictions needing empirical testing? o Do you have any "theories" that you believe have merit? Test them! o If there is little or no theory in the area of interest to you, then think about collecting data to help you generate a theory using the grounded theory technique.
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Ideas that Can't Be Researched Empirically The point in this section is that empirical research (i.e., research that is based on the collection of observable data) cannot provide answers to “ultimate,” “metaphysical,” or “ethical” questions. If a question is asking which value is true or correct, empirical research can’t offer the solution. For example, is school prayer good?, Should homosexuals be allowed to legally marry?, Should the teaching of Christianity (and no other religion) be provided in public schools? These are moral and legal issues which
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lec3 - Chapter 3 Problem Identification and Hypothesis...

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