Presentation on theme: "Chapter 2 Formulating and clarifying the research topic"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 2 Formulating and clarifying the research topic
2 Formulating and clarifying your research topic The important stepsIdentifying the attributes of a good research topicGenerating ideas that help you select a suitable topicTurning ideas into clear research questions and objectivesWriting your research proposal
3 Attributes of a good research topic (1) Capability: is it feasible?Are you fascinated by the topic?Do you have the necessary research skills?Can you complete the project in the time available?Will the research still be current when you finish?Do you have sufficient financial and other resources?Will you be able to gain access to data?
4 Attributes of a good research topic (2) Appropriateness: is it worthwhile?Will the examining institute's standards be met?Does the the topic contain issues with clear links to theory?Are the research questions and objectives clearly stated?Will the proposed research provide fresh insights into the topic?Are the findings likely to be symmetrical?Does the research topic match your career goals?
5 Attributes of a good research topic (3) And (if relevant)Does the topic relate clearly to an ideayou were given -possibly by your organisation ?
6 Generating research ideas Useful TechniquesRational thinking Creative thinkingSearching the literature Scanning the mediaBrainstorming Relevance TreesExploring past projects DiscussionKeeping an ideas notebook
7 Refining research ideas Using the Delphi TechniqueConducting a preliminary studyContinually testing out your ideasIntegrating ideasRefining topics given to you by your organisation
8 Writing research questions Write research questions that areConsistent with expected standardsAble to produce clear conclusionsAt the right level ( not too difficult )Not too descriptiveUse the ‘Goldilocks Test’Clough and Nutbrown (2002)
9 Turning ideas into research projects (1) Examples of research ideasand their derived focus questionsTable 2.2 Examples of research ideas and their derived focus research questions
10 Turning ideas into research projects (2) Useful techniquesStart with a general focus questionUse the ‘Russian Doll’ principle to reach the essence of the questionDiscuss areas of interest with your tutor
11 Turning ideas into research projects (3) Writing clear research objectivesCheck your examining body’s preferences for stated objectivesUse a general focus question to achieve precise objectivesSaunders et al. (2009)
12 Turning ideas into research projects (4) Include SMART Personal objectivesS pecificM easurableA chievableR ealisticT imely
13 The importance of theory Asking for opinions and gathering facts – 'what' questions (descriptive research)Using questions that go beyond description and require analysis – 'why' questionsPhillips and Pugh (2005)In order to:Explain phenomena Analyse relationshipsPredict outcomes Compare and generalise
14 Threefold typology of theories Grand, middle range and substantive theoriesCreswell (2002)Figure 2.1 Grand, middle-range and substantive theories
15 Writing your research proposal Purposes of the research proposalTo organise your ideasTo convince your audienceTo contract with your client (your tutor)To meet ethical requirements
16 Content of your research proposal (1) Title - likely to change during the processBackground - context within the literatureResearch questions and objectives - what you seek to achieve
17 Content of your research proposal (2) Method - can be in two parts: research design and data collectionTimescale and Resources - (finance, data access, equipment)References - include some key literature sources
18 Evaluating research proposals How the components of the proposal fit togetherViability of the proposalAbsence of preconceived ideas
19 The best research topics Summary: Chapter 2The best research topicsFormulate and clarify the topicMeet the requirements of the examining bodyUse a variety of techniques when generating research ideasAre focused on clear questions based on relevant literature
20 The best research topics Summary: Chapter 2The best research topicsAre theory dependentHave a proposal containing organised ideasTell the reader:What will be done and whyHow it will be achieved