Formulating and clarifying the research topic
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Formulating and clarifying the research topic. How to find a question. ...how the process of generating research topic which is waterproof intriguing exiting manageable feasible ...should go? ...what are the parameters of a good question? ...why was Einstein brilliant?

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How to find a question
How to find a question

  • ...how the process of generating research topic which is

  • waterproof

  • intriguing

  • exiting

  • manageable

  • feasible

    ...should go?

  • ...what are the parameters of a good question?

  • ...why was Einstein brilliant?

  • ... process with occasional dead ends, time consuming and stressful  Have fun!


Attributes of a good research topic
Attributes of a good research topic

  • practical considerations - requirements of your uni

  • your capability – have/develop the skills and competencies to manage the research

  • excitement - your genuine interest

  • resources – money, equipment, expert knowledge, time

  • accessibility of data – especially when sensitive topics

  • linkage to the theory - previous theories give a context to your topic; avoid you to “discover” well-known things

  • clarity of research questions and objectives – will there be new insights or not

  • practical considerations AGAIN - Congruence with your career goals – in the end, you will be, want it or not, kind of an expert in the specific area you studied


Generating and refining research ideas
Generating and refining research ideas

  • Generating research ideas: range of tips and techniques

    rationalANDcreative techniques

  • Using these techniques usually may have two outcomes:

    one or more possible project idea VERSUS absolute panic


Rational techniques
Rational techniques

  • examine your own strengths and interests– look back and look into the future

  • look at past project titles – let your imagination and attention to guide you; note down

  • discussion– colleagues; friends; university supervisors, tutors; practitioners; proffesionals

  • searching the literature– academic and professional journals; review articles


Creative techniques
Creative techniques

  • keep a notebook of ideas– short-time memory is a ... (you fill the gap)

  • explore your personal preferences using past projects –

  • what appeals me about the project?

  • what is good about this project?

  • Why is the project good?

    Find out aspects in projects you consider as excellent and important to you

  • relevance trees or mind mapping

  • Brainstorming – not only for solving, but also for generating problems!



For refining research ideas
For refining research ideas...

  • ... conduct a preliminary study– literature, experts, research context (e.g., organisation)

  • ... topic from your organisation – how to do two things out of one?


Turning research ideas into research projects
Turning research ideas into research projects

  • Good research question:

  • sufficient to generate a project accepted by your institution

  • not too difficult – you can’t solve all the problems in the world

  • not “too big” – demanding significant funding

  • not “too small” – irrelevant; not enough substance

  • not “too hot” – sensitive topics – no one wants to talk to you

  • will generate new insights


Phrasing a good research question
Phrasing a good research question

  • General focus research question:

    I’m interested in sustainable worldview of companies

  • Following more detailed questions/ research objectives:

    I want to know, how the environmentally sensitive or green image of a company affects their profit?

    Going from more general level to the more specific focus


Phrasing a good research question1
...phrasing a good research question

  • Implications for future studies in scientific articles and publications – need only to rephrase as a research question 


Writing research objectives
Writing research objectives

  • General focus research question ->research objectives

  • ...lead you to greater specifity than research questions;

  • are more precise;

  • require more rigorous thinking

    RQ: “how the environmentally sensitive image affects the profit of a company?”

    ->

    RO: “To determine the role that the environmental-friendly image plays in customers’ decisions when choosing between different products/companies”

  • Research objectives ->

    - what to you want to know;

    - specify, where is the end point of your work;

    - help you to understand that your question is answered


The importance of theory in writing research questions and objectives
The importance of theory in writing research questions and objectives

  • theory - a formulation regarding the cause and effect relationships between two or more variables, which may or may not been tested

  • - ...explain and predict

  • Often, researchers do not ask those questions that allow to meaningfully conclude why the state of affair is as it is

    – in order to understand the mechanism of change, you have to ask questions about this mechanism of change

    - most studies stop where the starting point should be

  • Gathering of facts versus intelligence gathering

  • Why-questions go beyond description and require analysis


I f you want to do a research you need to answer four very simple p questions
I objectivesf you want to do a research, you need to answer four very simple :P questions:

1. What do I want to find out?

2. Why I want to find it out? (Why is it interesting?)

3. How will I found it out? (Maybe it is already known?)

4. Are the answers to the three previous questions in accord with each other?


Homework
Homework objectives

Generate a research topic that is interesting to you:

- phrase your central research question;

- phrase your research objective(s).

NB – it is also ok if you follow the 4 questions on the previous page!

  • length: 0,5-1 A4 pages

  • send it by email at least 2 workdays before our next lecture: arro@tlu.ee


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