Structure of Research

Structure of Research - Tuesday, August 13, 2002 Structure...

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Tuesday, August 13, 2002 Structure of Research Page: 1 http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/kb/strucres.htm [ Home ] [ Structure of Research ] [ ] [ ] [ Introduction to Validity ] Most research projects share the same general structure. You might think of this structure as following the shape of an hourglass. The research process usually starts with a broad area of interest, the initial problem that the researcher wishes to study. For instance, the researcher could be interested in how to use computers to improve the performance of students in mathematics. But this initial interest is far to broad to study in any single research project (it might not even be addressable in a lifetime of research). The researcher has to narrow the question down to one that can reasonably be studied in a research project. This might involve formulating a hypothesis or a focus question. For instance, the researcher might hypothesize that a particular method of computer instruction in math will improve the ability of elementary school students in a specific district. At the narrowest point of the research hourglass, the researcher is engaged in direct measurement or observation of the question of interest.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2002 Structure of Research Page: 2 http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/kb/strucres.htm Once the basic data is collected, the researcher begins to try to understand it, usually by analyzing it in a variety of ways. Even for a single hypothesis there are a number of analyses a researcher might typically conduct. At this point, the researcher begins to formulate some initial conclusions about what happened as a result of the computerized math program. Finally, the researcher often will attempt to address the original broad question of interest by generalizing from the results of this specific study to other related situations. For instance, on the basis of strong results indicating that the math program had a positive effect on student
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Structure of Research - Tuesday, August 13, 2002 Structure...

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