Research Questions and Introduction to the Master’s Project M.Educ. 6000 Session 2
Introduction of a Research Report • Description of a general problem area, including context and significance • Literature Review • Statement of objectives or purpose of the investigation
Introduction: Description of Problem Area • Context and significance • Is this topic important? • Is it signification to society? • Basic research • Applied research • Is it personally relevant? • Is the presentation clear and objective? • Clear and understandable • Free from bias that might influence results Written in an objective tone, “Outsider looking in.”
Introduction: Literature Review • Balanced viewpoint • Every study should not say the exact same thing • Appropriate time frame • Dates of citations – should span a number of years with some older, some new • Coherent theme • How does each cited study add to the purpose of the study? • Primary and secondary sources • Use the original document unless the source is impossible to acquire. Literature review should provide credibility for the research questions addressed in the study.
Introduction: Purpose • Clarity • Can you tell what the researchers were attempting to accomplish with the study? • Does it follow logically from the statement of the problem and the literature review?
Quantitative Approach • More linear • General knowledge about a topic lead the researchers to . . . • More specific knowledge from prior studies related to some part of that topic, with which the researchers developed . . . • Specific hypotheses/research questions, which were then . . . • Tested by gathering data
Quantitative: Hypotheses • Prior belief about the outcome of the study or the relationship between variables in the study. • A statement, not a question. Can be . . . • Directional – belief that the value of one variable will be larger or smaller than another • Nondirectional – belief that the value of one variable will be different than the other, but don’t know if it will be larger or smaller. • Null – belief that there will be no difference between the value of variables.
Quantitative: Hypotheses • The purpose doesn’t have to be stated as a hypothesis, it can simply be research questions. • Does school breakfast increase student achievement? • Does XYZ reading program increase comprehension? • Will SuperImpact intervention decrease the dropout rate?
Qualitative Studies • More holistic • More flexible • Introduction: Provides general information about the problem area but specific questions will often not emerge until after data are gathered. • Evaluate based on • Importance • Clarity • Expect a more researcher-involved description with clear statement of viewpoints
Qualitative: Literature Review • Preliminary review • Weave in more literature as study progresses and evolves. • Still look at comprehensiveness of review, primary sources, dates of citations
Qualitative: Research Questions • Only a preliminary identification of the question to be addressed in the study. • Should be open-ended to facilitate the exploration of themes that emerge during the study.
Master’s Proposal/Project • Nature of the Problem • This is the description of the problem area, it’s context and significance • Literature Review • Like in a research report, this is a thorough discussion of relevant literature, bolstering the statements made in the Nature of the Problem and leading the reader to the Purpose of the study.
Master’s Proposal/Project • Purpose • What is the purpose of the study. Restate the general problem and lead to what you are going to do to investigate/alleviate said problem. Could be listed as a research question or an hypothesis. • Methodology • Subjects – who did you study • Procedure – what did you do • Instrumentation – description of any measuring devices used • Data Analysis Plan (Proposal) • Description of how you will analyze your data. Should match Research Question.
Master’s Proposal/Project • Results or Findings (Project) • How you analyzed the data and what you found. • Discussion (Project) • What do the results mean? What implications do the results have to educational practice and or theory? What should be done next? What are your recommendations based on what you found? • References • Appendices • Anything you used or plan on using for the project. Include letters, IRB forms, tests, lessons, surveys, etc.
Your Literature Review • Written like an academic paper on a topic • Should have introduction, literature review, and conclusion/summary • Use headings for organization • Should analyze and synthesize the research within each heading and in the summary • Remember you are reviewing literature (primarily studies) about a topic, not merely “doing a research paper” on the topic. You are also not writing a “persuasive” essay.
Clarification Research Report • You read these • For this class and others • Seeks to answer a question • Written in an academic style • May use APA format • Read it like a Researcher Master’s Proposal • At the end of your Master’s program • You pick a topic with your chair • Seeks to answer a question • Written in an academic style • Uses APA format • Based on a problem • Similar sections to a Research Report • You are the Researcher Literature Review • For this class • Illuminate a topic • Synthesize and analyze • Written in an academic style • Uses APA format • You pick the educational topic • Not an argument or “trying to prove” something • Cites research reports • Begin to think like a Researcher