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Developing a Research Question

Uncomplicated Reviews of Educational Research Methods

❶This question is more complex and requires both investigation and evaluation which will lead the research to form an argument that may be discussed. The following article is divided into 3 sections:

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Draft a purpose statement. Notice that the above research question suggested an association or a relationship. When composing your own, it is helpful to determine which variables you would like to understand, and then word your question in such a way as to suggest how you will test your question.

This is called operationalizing, referring to the actions, processes, or operations used to measure or identify variables. Finally, you will want to be specific about whom you are studying.

You can expand your question by introducing additional variables or characteristics. We call these connecting, mediating, or moderating variables.

How many high school seniors enlisted in the military prior to graduation? When a relationship is expected among a certain type of subject, reference the population. Among young children, there is a positive relationship between level of psychomotor coordination and degree of self-esteem.

Make RQs and Hs as specific and succinct as possible. Administrators who provide wellness programs for their employees project positive effectiveness.

Administrators who provide wellness programs for their employees receive higher employee ratings on selected leadership qualities than administrators who do not provide wellness programs. Often, one of the trickiest parts of designing and writing up any research paper is writing the hypothesis.

The entire experiment revolves around the research hypothesis H 1 and the null hypothesis H 0 , so making a mistake here could ruin the whole design. Needless to say, it can all be a little intimidating, and many students find this to be the most difficult stage of the scientific method.

In fact, it is not as difficult as it looks, and if you have followed the steps of the scientific process and found an area of research and potential research problem , then you may already have a few ideas.

It is just about making sure that you are asking the right questions and wording your hypothesis statements correctly. Once you have nailed down a promising hypothesis , the rest of the process will flow a lot more easily. It can quite difficult to isolate a testable hypothesis after all of the research and study.

The best way is to adopt a three-step hypothesis; this will help you to narrow things down, and is the most foolproof guide to how to write a hypothesis. Step one is to think of a general hypothesis, including everything that you have observed and reviewed during the information gathering stage of any research design. This stage is often called developing the research problem.

A worker on a fish-farm notices that his trout seem to have more fish lice in the summer, when the water levels are low, and wants to find out why. His research leads him to believe that the amount of oxygen is the reason - fish that are oxygen stressed tend to be more susceptible to disease and parasites.

He proposes a general hypothesis. This is a good general hypothesis, but it gives no guide to how to design the research or experiment. The hypothesis must be refined to give a little direction. The hypothesis is generated via a number of means, but is usually the result of a process of inductive reasoning where observations lead to the formation of a theory. Scientists then use a large battery of deductive methods to arrive at a hypothesis that is testable , falsifiable and realistic. The precursor to a hypothesis is a research problem , usually framed as a question.

It might ask what, or why, something is happening. For example, we might wonder why the stocks of cod in the North Atlantic are declining. This is too broad as a statement and is not testable by any reasonable scientific means.

It is merely a tentative question arising from literature reviews and intuition. The research hypothesis is a paring down of the problem into something testable and falsifiable. Scientists must generate a realistic and testable hypothesis around which they can build the experiment.

Some examples could be:. Over-fishing affects the stocks of cod. If over-fishing is causing a decline in the numbers of Cod, reducing the amount of trawlers will increase cod stocks.

These are acceptable statements and they all give the researcher a focus for constructing a research experiment. Though the other one is perfectly acceptable, an ideal research hypothesis should contain a prediction, which is why the more formal ones are favored. A scientist who becomes fixated on proving a research hypothesis loses their impartiality and credibility. Statistical tests often uncover trends, but rarely give a clear-cut answer, with other factors often affecting the outcome and influencing the results.

Whilst gut instinct and logic tells us that fish stocks are affected by over fishing, it is not necessarily true and the researcher must consider that outcome. Perhaps environmental factors or pollution are causal effects influencing fish stocks.

A hypothesis must be testable , taking into account current knowledge and techniques, and be realistic. If the researcher does not have a multi-million dollar budget then there is no point in generating complicated hypotheses.

A hypothesis must be verifiable by statistical and analytical means, to allow a verification or falsification. This means that the research showed that the evidence supported the hypothesis and further research is built upon that. Be written in clear, concise language. Have both an independent and dependent variable. Be falsifiable — is it possible to prove or disprove the statement?

Make a prediction or speculate on an outcome.

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In this article, we discuss important considerations in the development of a research question and hypothesis and in defining objectives for research. By the end of this article, the reader will be able to appreciate the significance of constructing a good research question and developing hypotheses.

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RESEARCH QUESTIONS Nature of Hypothesis The hypothesis is a clear statement of what is intended to be investigated. It should be specified before research is conducted and openly stated in reporting the results. This allows to: Identify the research objectives.

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The following video, Hypotheses vs. Research Questions, discusses how to choose whether to use a hypothesis or a question when creating a research project. It provides a definitions, a comparison of the two, and examples of each. CHAPTER SEVEN Research Questions and Hypotheses I nvestigators place signposts to carry the reader through a plan for a study. The first signpost is the purpose statement, which establishes the.

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2 Research Questions, Hypotheses, and Clinical Questions Judith Haber KEY TERMS clinical question complex hypothesis dependent variable directional hypothesis. Experimental Questions and Hypotheses. One of hypothesis: I predict that arousal and test performance will be significantly related. question We can actually think of these aspects of research questions and hypotheses as three variables, each with two levels, as we discussed in the variables tutorials.