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23/03/2014

PLG 501 Research Methods in Education

Identifying a Research Topic

Selecting & Defining a


Research Topic

General subject
- related to your
area of expertise
- is of particular
interest to you.

Nor Hashimah Hashim, Prof. Dr.


School of Educational Studies
Universiti Sains Malaysia

Research Topic/
Research Problem/
Problem Statement

Tajuk Penyelidikan/
Masalah Kajian/
Penyataan Masalah

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Sources of Research Topics

1. Theories

2. Personal Experiences
A researchers personal
experiences and concern
often leads to useful and
personally rewarding
studies.

1.
Theories

5.
Electronic
mailing
lists

Sources
of
Research
Topics

Theories are
organized bodies of:

2.
Personal
experiences

Concepts
Generalizations
Principles

4.
Library
searches
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Researchers often study


particular aspects of a
theory to determine its
applicability or
generalizability.

Common questions, such


as Why does that
happen? and What
would happen if? can
be rich topic sources.

3.
Studies
that can be
replicated
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3. Previous Studies
Existing studies
are a common
source of
research topics.

4. Library Searches
Library
searches are
generally not
efficient ways to
identify
research topics.

Replication of a
study usually
involves changing
some features
from the original
study.

Quantitative
research topics
are usually
narrowed quickly
at the start of a
study.

Qualitative
research topics are
not usually
narrowed until the
researcher has
more information
about the
participants and
their setting.

Electronic mailing list services are


designed by organizations to
facilitate communication (usually
via the Internet) among their
members.

Library
resources are
invaluable,
however, after
you have
identified a topic
to study.

Other digital tools such as RSS,


feeds, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs
keep researchers updated on
what others are investigating.
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A Good Topic

Narrowing the Topic

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Handbooks,
encyclopedias
and yearbooks
that cover many
topics briefly
are more useful.

After an initial
topic identified, it
often needs to be
narrowed and
focused into a
manageable
topic of study.

5. Electronic Mailing List

Topic is of interest
to the researcher
and that it is
researchable using
the collection and
analysis of data.
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Topic related to
philosophical and
ethical issues are
not researchable.

A Good Topic
Has theoretical
or practical
significance; its
solution
contributes in
some way to
improving the
educational
process.

One that is
ethical and does
not harm
participants in
any way.

Can be
adequately
investigated
given your
current level of
research skill,
available
resources, time
and other
restrictions.

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A Good Research Topic

Stating the Research Topic

Qualitative
study

State FIVE characteristics of a good research topic.


The topic is the first item in the
introduction to a research plan
and the introduction to the final
research report.

1. Interesting
2. Researchable

Indicates the variables


of interest, the specific
relation among those
variables and the
characteristics of the
participants.

Well-written
topic statement

3. Significant
4. Ethical

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What are the variables of the study?

Developing Research Questions

Secondary teachers attitude toward required afterschool activities.

Developing research questions breathes life into


the research topic statements.

The relation between school entrance age and


reading comprehension skills of primary-level
students.

The research questions add another level of


specificity to the development of the research
topic and provide the researcher with an action
plan for the development and identification of
research instruments.

The effect of creativity module on creative abilities


of Year Five students.
The level of reading comprehension of primary
school pupils.
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Qualitative
study

It provides direction for the


remaining aspects of both.

5. Manageable

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Research topics
usually are stated
in general language
because qualitative
researchers need to
become attuned to
the research
context before
narrowing their
topic.

Research Questions
Obstacles in Parental Involvement in Jordanian
Public School
1. What are the main obstacles of parental
involvement in Jordanian public school from the
parents, teachers, and principals and why they
encounter these problems?
2. What are the parents, teachers, and principals
perspectives on the obstacles in parental
involvement
based
on
different
parents
qualification levels?
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Formulating and Stating a


Hypothesis

Definition & Purpose of Hypotheses


in Quantitative Studies

A hypothesis in
a quantitative
study is
formulated
based on
theory or on
knowledge
gained while
reviewing the
related
literature.

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A hypothesis is
a reasoned
prediction not a
wild guess. It is
a tentative but
rational
explanation for
the predicted
outcome.

Inductive

A generalization
observations.

made

from

number

Derived from the theory and aimed at providing


evidence that supports, expands or contradicts
aspects of a given theory.

Research

States the expected relation or difference between


variables, which the researcher expects to test
through the collection and analysis of data.

Non directional

Predicts only that a relation or difference exists;

Directional

Indicates the direction of the difference as well.

Null

Predicts that there is no significant relation or


difference between variables.

A well-stated and well-defined hypothesis must


be testable.

Stating Hypothesis

of

Deductive

A good hypothesis states clearly and concisely


the expected relations or differences between
variables. Variables should be stated in
measurable terms.

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Types of Hypotheses

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A critical
characteristics
of a good
hypothesis is
that it is based
on a sound
rationale.

Definition & Purpose of Hypotheses in


Quantitative Studies

A general paradigm or model for stating


hypotheses for experimental studies is P
who get X do better on Y than P who do not
get X (or get some other X).

Testing the Hypothesis


The researcher selects the sample, measuring
instruments design and procedures that will
enable him or her to collect the data necessary
to test the hypothesis.
Those data are analyzed to determine whether
or not the hypothesis is supported.

P refers to participants, X refers to the


treatment or independent variable (IV) and
Y refers to the outcome or dependent
variable (DV).
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Definition & Purpose of Hypotheses


in Qualitative Studies

Definition & Purpose of Hypotheses


in Qualitative Studies

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction

Having identified a guiding hypothesis, the


qualitative researcher may operationalize the
hypothesis through the development of research
questions that provide a focus for data collection.

Do not state formal hypotheses prior to


the study.

1.2 Background of the Study

However, guiding hypotheses for the


proposed research may be developed.

1.4 Purpose and Objectives of the Study

1.3 Statement of the Problem

1.5 Research Questions


1.6 Hypotheses of the Study

Qualitative researchers are likely to generate new


hypotheses as a result of their studies.

1.7 Conceptual Framework of the Study


1.8 Definition of Terms/Operational Definition
1.9 Significance of the Study
1.10 Limitation of the Study
1.11 Summary/Conclusion

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BAB 1: PENGENALAN
1.1 Pendahuluan
1.2 Latar Belakang Kajian
1.3 Penyataan Masalah
1.4 Tujuan dan Objektif Kajian
1.5 Soalan Kajian
1.6 Hipotesis Kajian
1.7 Kerangka Konsep Kajian
1.8 Definisi Istilah/ Definisi Operasional
1.9 Kepentingan Kajian
1.10 Batasan Kajian
1.11 Rumusan/Kesimpulan
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