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Criteria for a Good Research Question What makes a good research question?

It addresses a need or a problem that you encounter as a practitioner. It doesnt need to be unique, but it must be important to you and your practice. It challenges you to question your own assumptions about teaching, learning, literacy, and change; i.e., it challenges you to learn. It is researchable, meaning you are able to collect evidence that would answer the question. It is doable given your time and material constraints. It inspires you and has the potential to hold your interest over several months. It is not too general; that would result in a multitude of sub-questions. It is not too narrow; that would rule out the emergence of other possibilities. It cannot be answered yes or no Most good questions for practitioner research are one of two types: Questions that ask, What happens when?

This kind of question is appropriate when you are trying out a new strategy or approach to something. Questions that ask, Whats going on here?

This kind of question is appropriate when you need to understand something more deeply and before you can get to the point of trying out a new strategy or approach. What type of research question is problematic? It starts with How can I It suggests a yes or no answer. It is rhetorical. It relates to issues of design rather than to the underlying issue or problem. It includes vague or ambiguous language.

What are the Criteria of a good research problem? Answer: A good research problem must support multiple perspectives. The problem most be phrased in a way that avoids dichotomies and instead supports the generation and exploration of multiple perspectives. A general rule of thumb is that a good problem is one that would generate a variety of viewpoints from a composite audience made up of reasonable people. A good research problem must be researchable. It seems a bit obvious, but more than one instructor has found herself or himself in the midst of a complex collaborative research project and realized that students don't have much to draw on for research, nor opportunities to conduct sufficient primary research. Choose research problems that can be supported by the resources available to your students. Umbrella topics must be sufficiently complex. If you are using an umbrella topic for a large class of students who will be working on related, more manageable problems in their learning teams, make sure that there is sufficient complexity in the research problems that the umbrella topic includes. These research topics must relate strongly to one another in such a way that there will be a strong sense of coherence in the overall class effort.


A. All scientific research, including social science research, involves observation and/or measurement of the empirical world. B. In sociology, quantitative researchers systematically observe the social world, either directly or indirectly, and attempt to assign precise numeric scores to those observations. That is, they attempt to measure the empirical social world quantitatively. C. Qualitative researchers also systematically observe the social world, but typically do not seek to measure social phenomena numerically. Rather, they make direct first-hand observations that are recorded as written, verbal texts or they collect and analyze texts produced by the people they are studying. Qualitative researchers typically do not describe what they do as measurement. II .The importance of validity and reliability. 1. It is important that measurements in the social sciences be as valid and reliable as possible. a. A measure is valid if it actually measures what it is supposed to be measuring.

b. A measure is reliable if it yields consistent and predictable results each time it is taken. 2. If researchers cannot be certain that they are measuring what they think they are measuring or that their measurements are consistent and reliable, they cannot place any confidence in their findings. Hence, they put a great deal of time and effort into the development of measurement instruments that are both valid and reliable.

what it means to be a researcher within your field.* For example, engineers, who

focus on applying scientific knowledge to develop designs, processes, and objects, conduct research using simulations, mathematical models, and a variety of tests to see how well their designs work. Research is not limited to what has already been written or found at the library. Although the application of the scientific method varies from field to field, the general principles of the scientific method allow researchers to learn more about the world and observable phenomena. Using the scientific method, researchers develop research questions or hypotheses and collect data on events, objects, or people that is measurable, observable, and replicable. In Evaluating Scientific Research: Separating Fact from Fiction, research is useful for questions that can be answered through asking others and direct observation.

Observations have lead to some of the most important scientific discoveries in human history. Charles Darwin used observations of the animal and marine life at the Galapagos Islands to help him formulate his theory of evolution that he describes in On the Origin of Species. Today, social scientists, natural scientists, engineers, computer scientists, educational researchers, and many others use observations as a primary research method. Observations can be conducted on nearly any subject matter, and the kinds of observations you will do depend on your research question. You might observe traffic or parking patterns on campus to get a sense of what improvements could be made. You might observe clouds, plants,

or other natural phenomena. If you choose to observe people, you will have several additional considerations including the manner in which you will observe them and gain their consent.

The Craft of Research

This paper is designed to be a very basic introduction to research. With that in mind, there are 7 basic steps in the process:

1. Literature Review While it doesnt necessarily have to be first, it needs to be one of the first steps. It is important to know
what questions other researchers have addressed. It can certainly be a frustrating experience to go through your own research process only to find out that someone else had already answered your question years ago. Beyond avoiding reinventing the wheel, literature reviews are also useful as a guide to how to conduct your own research. They may provide theories, conceptual definitions or even data sources that you had not considered.

2. Question Development The first task in your specific research is to develop a research question the why question.
This step will identify what is being investigated and will point the research project in the direction of providing an explanation for that phenomenon. Without this step, the research process can become confused and muddled.

3. Conceptual Definitions- it is important to specify exactly how you are defining your concepts. In particular, your definition
should link your concept to observable and measurable phenomena.

4. Proposed Hypothesis Hypotheses are essentially guesses. Now, that being said, they are educated guesses. In a more
formal sense, they are defined as explicit statements that indicate how a researcher thinks the phenomena of interest are related. Again, if you have defined your concepts into specific indicators, it makes validating or disproving your hypothesis much easier.

5. Data Collection You have to have information on the subject if you are going to analyze the subject. Your
research design will specify exactly how you will gather the information in the most practical and efficient manner. It is essentially your plan as to how you will collect your data. Documentation Written records of previously gathered information. This can be particularly useful when trying to analyze phenomena that are distant in terms of either distance or time. Observation Either directly or indirectly, you personally observe some activity personally. For instance, in Home Style, Richard Fenno observed the relationship that congressmen have with their constituents by actually going with them to their home districts and watching their activities. Interviewing and Surveys This method of data collection is particularly useful to social scientists since we are often interested in preferences, motivations, etc. Surveys and interviews allow you to ask what people are thinking as a way to understanding what they are doing.

6. Analysis After gathering your information, you must tell the reader what you have discovered. Does the evidence support
you hypothesis? This can take the form of a statistical analysis where you will use quantitative data to illustrate your relationship. It can also be more contextually oriented such as a case study (or multiple case study). Both are valid and useful approaches to analyzing phenomena. Indeed, the most compelling research usually utilizes a combination of the two.

7. Findings and Conclusion This section is where you get to report on what you have uncovered, what its significance is, and
where the future research projects in this area should focus In this section, it is also acceptable to talk about the normative implications to your findings. For instance, if I find that incumbents win elections more often because they always raise more money, I might speculate that the process is less democratic than it could be and advocate the cause of campaign finance reform.

Engineering research is a chaotic, nonlinear, unreasonable process that requires creativity, persistence, and the ability to innovate. Everyone is born with varying degrees of these necessary characteristics, but it is possible to encourage and further develop these characteristics in new researchers by: 1. Helping them learn to critically evaluate others work.

Dont believe everything you read. 2. Teaching them the fundamental measurement tools and techniques of their field. Know your tools. 3. Providing many opportunities to do real research. Practice, practice, practice. 4. Encouraging focused activity relevant to their field of research. Inspiration requires perspiration. 5. Instilling in them a good sense of engineering judgement. Dont forget to think. 6. Respecting and encouraging all forms of diversity. Dont rush to judgement. Good PhD is about becoming a world class (or near world class) Expert in an area (Refer the attachment). An 'Expert' in a field is someone who demonstrates consistently inspiring and excellent performance. An expert generally knows what to do, base upon mature and practical understanding. Performance standards are well beyond those of most practitioners. Extensive experience with large systems, appreciate subtle and indirect design issues and customer concerns, leads well. High productivity. Learns through apprenticeship to masters, advanced coaching, and development of breadth. Years/decades of experience. A 'Master' in a field is someone who demonstrates the capacity for long range strategic thinking and action. Sees historical drifts and shifting clearings. Has developed a distinctive style. Has produced innovations, altered the course of history in the field. Teaches others to be experts and masters. Develops new methods, admired for long. Learning by working with other masters. Creates and leads professional networks.