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Sources And Kinds Of Problems

  1. Sources and Types of Research Problems
  2. Sources And Kinds Of Problems
  3. Sources And Kinds Of Problems 2
  4. Theories
  5. Applying theories
  6. Theories 2
  7. How To Distinguish A Good Topic From A Bad One
  8. Feasible methodology

There certainly is no shortage of worthy research problems if you know how to hunt. Perhaps the best way to generate problems is to cultivate the habit of critical reading and listening. This means constantly bringing questions to mind while you are poring over books and journals and while you witness lectures and discussions. The sorts of questions you pose identify the kinds of problems to investigate. Beyond critical reading and listening, a further source of topics is that of problems met on the job, either on your own job or someone else's. In order to illustrate how such search strategies work, the following examples demonstrate specific ways of using critical reading/listening and on-the-job problems for discovering suitable topics.

Critical Reading and Listening

Questions you ask about what you read or hear can concern (a) the significance or focus of an author's research topic, (b) the applicability of an author's results to other populations, times, or places, (c) a researcher's methods of collecting information, (d) ways data have been classified, (e) an author's theory of what causes events to occur as they do, (f) applications of theories, or (g) some combination of several of these matters.

Topic significance or focus

An article you read or a lecture you attend may make you wonder: "Isn't that just trivia"Who would ever take that seriously"What's the importance of studying such stuff"" But can you then think of some way the topic could be recast to render it worth investigating"If so, you've generated a potential research topic.

Results applicability

In all research, the information an investigator collects encompasses only a limited number of people, objects, activities, or events. For instance, a case study may focus on a single mentally gifted girl in Bavaria. A questionnaire survey may involve responses from 1,022 Labor Party members in Liverpool, England. An ethnographic investigation may focus on family structure in two Central American Mayan villages. An achievement-testing program may in- volve 37,000 students from schools in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. A historical account may trace the evolution of weaponry in Europe during the period 1700-1900.

Sometimes researchers are content to restrict their summaries and interpretations to only those people, institutions, and events they have directly studied. But authors frequently view such people and events as representatives of a broader class of phenomena, so the conclusions drawn from this sample are cast as generalizations applying to other phenomena that were not directly investigated–to other gifted children, to other Labor Party members, to other Indian villages, to other Asian students, or to other nations' weaponry during other time periods. Consequently, when you read such studies, you may wonder whether conclusions reached in a given context actually hold true for other places and times than those directly investigated. You may, therefore, choose to devise a replication study, adopting the same methods of gathering information that were used in the original investigation but applying those methods to a different sampling of people, institutions, or events. In doing so, you are conducting comparative research, identifying the likenesses and differences between the results of the original study and your own.

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