O’Leary Chapter Two Creswell Chapter Six

Research Questions

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Problems=opportunities,

potentialities rather than simply obstacles, impediments, dilemmas.  Definition of Problem: A situation where there is a gap between what is real and what is ideal or desired.  Problems suitable for research are problems where you can make a difference.

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Steps

in researching problems
own knowledge and experience analysis and needs identification

 Draw on  Read

 Stakeholder
Identify
1

the scope/extent/# of people/organizations likely to be
adversely affected  2 causal to a problem situation  3 involved in potential problem alleviation

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Stakeholder
 Find

analysis continued

out whether, how, why problem at hand is seen as an issue or priority issue by various stakeholder groups  Recognize that even within various stakeholder groups there can be a diversity of attitudes and opintions

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Unpack

problems: Before any problem is approached through research it is essential for researchers to critically explore the assumptions that underpin the natuer of the problem at hand. They also need to understand how they, as researchers, have come to understand a particular problem situation

O’Leary Chapter two
 Explore

the dominant world view  Explore your own perspectives  Explore range of perspectives held by various stakeholders.
 Box

2.2 example p. 31

O’Leary Chapter Two
 From
A

Problems to Research Questions

well developed research question is an essential starting point for the research journey  Without clear articulation of your research question, you are traveling blind.

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Research
 Define

Questions:

an investigation  Set boundaries  Provide direction  Act as a frame of reference for assessing your work.

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Developing
 Briefly
What

the Question

respond to the following questions

is your topic? What is the context for your research? What do you want to achieve? What is the nature of your question? Are there any potential relationships you want to explore?

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Developing
 Using

the Question continued:

who, what, where, when, why, how and the answers from step one, piece together a question  If you have developed more than one question, decide whether you need to select one or more questions and make that selection

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Developing
 Narrow

the Question continued

and clarify until your question is as concise and well articulated as possible.  Assess the question(s) in relation to the question checklist

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Question
 Is

checklist

the question right for you?  Does the question have significance for an organization, institution, group, field, community,etc.  Can it lead to tangible situation improvement?  Is the question well articulated?  Is the question researchable?  Does the question have a level of political support?

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Hypotheses:

The role of a hypothesis is to take your research question a step further by offering a clear and concise statement of what you think you will find in relation to your variables, and what you are going to test. It is a tentative proposition that is subject to verification through subsequent investigation  A hypothesis is designed to express relationships between variables so not all research questions will have hypotheses.

O’Leary Chapter Two
 Do

not develop hypotheses if:

 You

do not have a hunch or educated guess about a particular situation  You do not have a set of defined variables  Your question aims to explore the experience of some phenomena  Your question centers on developing rich understandings of a group  Your aim is to engage in, and research the process of collaborative change.

Creswell Chapter Six
 Qualitative
 Generally

Research Questions
more broad than quantitative

questions  Utilize a central broad question and more specific subquestions.  Ask one or two central question with five to seven subquestions (no more than a dozen)  Relate the central question to the specific qualitative strategy of inquiry.

Creswell: Chapter Six
 Qualitative
 Begin

Questions continued

research questions with “what” or “how” to convey and open and emerging design  Focus on a single phenomenon or concept  Use exploratory verbs: discover, seek, describe, explore…  Use nondirectional language i.e., avoid terms such as “affect,” “influence,” “cause,”  Questions will evolve throughout study  Use open-ended questions with theory/literature  Specify participants and research site if necessary

Creswell: Chapter Six
 Quantitative
 Includes

Questions

both questions and hypotheses designed to shape and specifically focus the purpose of the study. Interrogative statements and questions that the investigator seeks to answer.  Hypotheses are predictions the researcher holds about the relationship among variables.

Creswell: Chapter Six
 The

use of variables in research questions or hypotheses is typically limited to three basic approaches
 Compare

groups on an independent variable to see its impact on a dependent variable  Relate one or more independent variables to a dependent variable  Describe responses to the independent, mediating, or dependent variables.

Creswell: Chapter Six
 Quantitative
 To

Continued…

Research Questions

add rigor, test a theory and specify research questions and hypotheses that are included in the theory  Independent and dependent variables must be measured separately  To eliminate redundancy, write only research questions or hypotheses, not both, unless the hypotheses build on the research questions

Creswell: Chapter Six
 Quantitative
 If
Null

Research Questions

hypotheses are used: there are two forms
hypothesis: represents the traditional approach to writing hypotheses. It makes a prediction that in the general population, no relationship or difference exists between groups on a variable.
 The

wording is: “There is no difference (or relationship…) between the groups…

Creswell: Chapter Six
 Quantitative

Research Questions continued…
continued…

 Hypotheses
 Alternative

hypothesis: The investigator makes a prediction about the expected outcome for the population of a study
Directional hypothesis: “Scores will be higher for Group A than for Group B” on the dependent variable or “Group A will change more than Group B” on the outcome. In these examples, an expected prediction is made  Nondirectional hypotheses: a prediction is made, but the exact form of differences is not specified because the researcher does not know what can be predicted from past literature. i.e., “there is a difference” between the two groups…

Creswell: Chapter Six
 Quantitative

Research Questions

continued…  Use nondemographic variables (measuring attitudes and behaviors) as independent variables unless the study intentionally employs demographic variables as predictors…  Use the same word pattern

Creswell: Chapter Six
 Descriptive

Questions and inferential

questions
 Write

descriptive questions followed by inferential questions…  What are the differences? See page 113

Creswell: Chapter Six
 Mixed

Methods

 Need

to include both quantitative and qualitative questions  Need to incorporate elements of good questions and hypotheses already addressed  Some attention should be given to whether project is one-phase or multi-phase and then to the order of the questions

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