Presentation on theme: "Research Getting Started. Formulation of Research Question Find an interest in a broad subject area Narrow the subject Question the topic from several."— Presentation transcript:
Formulation of Research Question Find an interest in a broad subject area Narrow the subject Question the topic from several points of view Define a rationale for your project
Find an Interest in a Broad Subject Too broad Example: Teaching English Too narrow Example: Mainstreaming of orphaned Serbian children into the U.S. educational system Just right Example: Teaching English to immigrant children
Narrow the Subject From: Teaching English to immigrant children To: The process of mainstreaming immigrant children into the U.S. educational system
Activity Narrow each of these broader topics: Global warming Cigarette smoking The Financial Crisis The Cost of Higher Education World War II AIDS
Question the topic from several points of view What are the parts of your topic and what larger whole is it a part of? Mainstreaming: part of U.S. educational system What is its history and what larger history is it a part of? No Child Left Behind, Bilingual Education What kind of categories can you find in it, and to what larger category of things does it belong? Successes and Failures, Economics, Long-term Effects What good is it? What can you use it for? Reduce dropout rate, reduce crime, reduce welfare costs
Activity What is your topic? Write down questions about your topic: What are the parts of your topic and what larger whole is it a part of? What is its history and what larger history is it a part of? What kind of categories can you find in it, and to what larger category of things does it belong? What good is it? What can you use it for?
Define a Rationale for your Project Name your topic: I am studying ________________________, Imply your question: Because I want to find out who/how/why ___________________, State the rationale for the question and the project: In order to understand how/why/what _____________________. Ask yourself: So what? Does this problem have enough significance to solve?
Rationale Example Name your topic: I am studying the process of mainstreaming immigrant children, Imply your question: Because I want to find out why so many of them are dropping out of high school, State the rationale for the question and the project: In order to understand how we can improve the current system. Ask yourself: So what? Is this an important problem to solve?
From Questions to Problems Practical problem Motivates Research question Defines Research Problem Finds Research Answer to Solve
Practical vs. Research Problems Conditions: research problems are defined by a narrow range of concepts while practical problems tend to be broader Practical: immigrant dropouts Research: the effect of mainstreaming on immigrant children Cost: research problems don’t usually solve a problem but identify a lack of knowledge or misunderstandings that are even more significant Practical: welfare costs, high rate of crime Research: misunderstandings about the significance of cultural assimilation (losing one’s identity)
Finding a Research Problem Talk to people Look for problems in what you read Where are there gaps or inconsistencies Look for problems in what you write Critiquing your own drafts
Using Sources Evaluate your sources Take full notes Get complete bibliographical data Copy the title page of journals Call number Photocopy quotations Record page numbers (quotes and paraphrases) Organize and summarize in writing as you go
Example: Full Notes Sharman, Swearing, p. 133HISTORY/ECONOMICS Says swearing became economic issue in 18 th c. Cites Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1751 (no page reference) woman sentenced to ten day’s hard labor because couldn’t pay one shilling fine for profanity. “---one rigid economist practically entertained the notion of adding to the national resources by preaching a crusade against the opulent class of swearers.”
Speed Reading How is the source organized? Read first few sentences of each paragraph in the abstract Look at the Table of Contents Skim the index for topics with most page references Skim the bibliography Flip through the chapters/sections/summaries Locate the point of the argument Read the introduction and conclusion Identify sub-points and key themes
Homework Narrow topic Identify questions Define problem statement Select 4 articles from current sources Make notes of key points that are relevant to your problem statement Write an annotated bibliography summarizing each source Summary should show relevance to the research problem