Brian C. Ventura

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Soc. Sci. 199.1 Lecture Notes (July 8 and 12 Lecture)

Posted by Brian C. Ventura on July 9, 2010

IV. Formulating a Research Problem

A. Research Problem and its importance to the field and society

-all research problem starts with a perceived difficulty

-recognition of some discordance

-lack of sufficient understanding or explanation

-insufficient empirical observation

–a research problem exist when there are several possible and plausible reasons for the problem situation

-one or more of these reasons might be correct.

Problem statement vs research question

Problem statement is not a research question-it is an expression of dilemma, of situation that needs to be answered.

Defining the problem

-occurrence, intensity, distribution, and other characteristics that can be supported by data and statistics, (data and stat, this is very important)

-review relevant literature, examine statistics, seek educated opinion, and obtain probable reasons

Determine the ff;

1. incidence and prevalence of the incidence, problem or phenomenon (widespread or not?)

2. geographic areas affected. (rural urban, coastal, highland)

3. characteristics of population/groups-general or special population

4. probable reason from the literature

-current thinking or answers, conflicting views

5. unanswered questions-what aspect of the question needs further research?

B. Limiting the research problem (ended here)

Some common mistakes in formulating research problem.

1. avoid collecting data without well defined research problem

2. fitting question to data

3. defining objectives in general and ambiguous terms that interpretations and conclusions will be invalid

4. pursuing a topic without reviewing the existing professional literature on the subject

5. doing adhoc research that has no contribution to existing research because it cannot help in generalization

Formulating a research question

-start with what , how and why?

1.what is it that you want to find out about a given topic or research problem?

2. the nature of research inquiry or purpose of the study

3. data that you need, the methodological and analytical approaches to answer or solve the problem


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