Research Questions & Hypotheses. Overview. What is a research question? How does one develop one? How does one evaluate one?. Objectives: After today you should be able to. Understand the importance of a well-developed research question.
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What is a research question?
How does one develop one?
How does one evaluate one?
Understand the importance of a well-developed research question.
Be aware of numerous methods for generating a research question.
Develop a concise research question.
Be able to evaluate the quality of a research question.
Understand the role and nature of publishable replication research.
The research question is the starting point of the study. Everything flows from the research question. It will determine the population to be studied, the setting for the study, the data to be collected, and the time period for the study. A clear and concisely stated research question is the most important requirement for a successful study.
The most important prerequisite for this research is a well‑cultivated curiosity. This seems to be a common characteristic possessed by notable researchers. Beyond being curious, these individuals also had the patience and tenacity to follow a question until satisfied with the answer.
Careful Observation of People
Application of New Technology
The Annoyance Principle
Build on Experience
Skeptical Attitude (questioning peers and status quo)
Question validity of commonly held beliefs
Direction of causality
Third variables unaccounted for?
Levels of analysis (can increase)
Boundaries (generalizability) - external validity
Question validity of existing studies
Change settings (e.g., situational specificity hypothesis)
Change types of individuals/units (children/adults; e.g., Zollo study)
Adequate numbers of subjects?
Adequate technical expertise?
Affordable in time and money?
Is it possible to measure or manipulate the variables?
To the investigator?
To the field?
Potential harm to subjects?
Potential breech of subject confidentiality?
To scientific knowledge/theory?
To organizational, health or social management and policy?
To individual welfare?
RQ: Is a happy worker a productive worker?
H1: Happier workers are more productive than unhappy workers.
RQ: Does increasing the happiness of workers make them more productive?
H1: Increasing the happiness of workers does not increase productivity.
Constructs are clear
Relationship (sign, direction if experimental, type of moderation) is clear
Population often included
Design/statistical method often clear
Compared to who? (can’t have a “more” without a “than”
The word “significant” is unnecessary
Statistical test is clear (usually one per hypothesis)
With mediator hypothesis may be
X will positively relate to Y
M will positively relate to Y
X will positively relate to M
X will not relate to Y when controlling for M
M will mediate the positive relationship between X and Y