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Chapter 3A

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Chapter 3A

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  1. Chapter 3A Selecting a Problem and Reviewing the Research

  2. CHAPTER OBJECTIVES - STUDENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO: • Discuss how to find a topic for a research process. • Discuss how to develop an idea into a research question, then a hypothesis. • Develop a research hypothesis. • Define the three types of sources for a literature review. • Discuss how to use general, primary, and secondary sources.

  3. CHAPTER OBJECTIVES, CONTINUED - STUDENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO: • Define terms related to a literature review. • Summarize how to use sources such as reviews, indices, and journals to conduct a literature review. • Describe how scholarly journals work. • Define electronic tools available via the WWW. • Discuss how to use a bibliographic database program. • Demonstrate how to write a literature review.

  4. CHAPTER OVERVIEW • Selecting a Problem • Reviewing the Literature • Writing the Literature Review


  6. Idea→Research Question →Research Hypothesis →Literature Review From idea to literature review, with the research hypothesis on the way. Idea Literature Review Research Question Research Hypothesis From idea and literature review to hypothesis.

  7. SOME PITFALLS TO AVOID!! • Don’t fall in love with your idea • You may need to change your first idea • Don’t pick a trivial project • Don’t try to do more than is possible • Try to do something (somewhat) new

  8. DEFINING YOUR INTERESTSWHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM? • Personal experiences or first-hand knowledge • Ask your professors • Think about what has not yet been asked • Last resorts? • Perhaps you can think of a question related to one of the topics listed in the text

  9. FROM IDEA TO RESEARCH QUESTION TO HYPOTHESIS • You’ve identified an area of interest • Now formulate a research question that: • Is a clearly stated expression of interest and intent, and • That implies a relationship between variables

  10. HYPOTHESES—A QUICK REVIEW • Stated in declarative form • Posits a relationship between variables • Reflects theory or literature • Brief and to the point • Testable



  13. REVIEWING THE LITERATURE Define your idea in as general terms as possible by using general sources. Search through the secondary sources. Search through the primary sources. Organize your notes. Write your proposal.


  15. USING GENERAL SOURCES • General sources provide: • A general introduction to topic areas • Some clues to help search for more information

  16. A FEW GENERAL SOURCES • The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature • Facts on File • The New York Times Index • Time • Newsweek • U.S. News and World Report • Lexis/Nexis • Expanded Academic Index • Google Scholar • Listing of Newspapers • Government Printing Office • The Statistical Abstract of the United States

  17. BE CAUTIOUS USING INTERNET SOURCES!!! • Currently, the Internet is unregulated (unlike Secondary and Primary sources) • The Internet is good for fun and ideas: • But be cautious!!

  18. USING SECONDARY SOURCES • Secondary sources provide: • Scholarly summaries of research • More sources of references

  19. A FEW REVIEWS AND SYNTHESES OF LITERATURE • Annual Reviews • The National Society for the Study of Education • The Condition of Education • The Encyclopedia of Educational Research • Handbook of Child Psychology • Encyclopedia of Psychology

  20. USING PRIMARY SOURCES • Primary sources provide reports of original research • Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory lists thousands of periodicals, including journals

  21. WHY ARE JOURNALS THE BEST SOURCE? • Articles are written in a specific, uniform format • Peer review: • Experts review the article and make recommendations • Many submitted articles never get published

  22. USING ABSTRACTS • An abstract is a one- or two-paragraph summary of a journal article • You can use abstracts to help decide whether a particular article will be useful

  23. USING ABSTRACTING SOURCES • PsychAbstracts and PsychInfo • Subject area search • Keyword search • Other abstracting sources • Current Index to Journals in Education • Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) • Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography

  24. USING INDEXESWho’s done research in this area? • What abstracts are available? • Comprehensive Dissertation Index • Who’s done research in an area? • Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) • Science Citation Index • Bibliographic Index

  25. CRITERIA FOR JUDGING A RESEARCH STUDY • Is the review of previous research complete and recent? • Are the problem and purpose clearly stated? • Are the research hypotheses clearly stated? • Is it clear how the study was conducted? • Was the sample representative of the population? • Are the results and discussion relevant to thestatement of problem and purpose? • Are the references complete and current? • Do you have any criticisms of either the content or style?

  26. USING ELECTRONIC TOOLS IN YOUR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES • Searching online • Advantages of online searches • Convenient, saves time • Can be thorough • It’s the future

  27. SEARCHING ON THE WEB: GREAT SEARCH ENGINES • Search engines help find information on the Internet • Some of the more popular search engines: • Google • Yahoo! • Microsoft Live Search • ASK

  28. USING BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATABASE PROGRAMS • Database programs are software that help • Enter reference information using a standard format • Change reference format to suit different manuscript requirements • Search references for keywords • Add notes to reference entries • Generate a reference list for the manuscript

  29. INTRODUCTION TO THE INTERNET & WORLD WIDE WEB • Research activities on the Internet • An Introduction to E-Mail • An Introduction to News Groups • Using Mailing Lists or a Listserve

  30. EXPLORING THE WWW • A home page is a collection of information • For example, the Library of Congress home page at


  32. WRITING THE LITERATURE REVIEW • Read other literature reviews—take advantage of what others have done • Create a unified theme—tell a coherent story • Organize your background materials • Work from an outline—it will help you stay organized • Relate different areas that you are working with to each other—tell a coherent story • Practice—practice—practice!

  33. HAVE WE MET OUR OBJECTIVES? CAN YOU: • Discuss how to find a topic for a research process? • Discuss how to develop an idea into a research question, then a hypothesis? • Develop a research hypothesis? • Define the three types of sources for a literature review? • Discuss how to use general, primary and secondary sources?

  34. HAVE WE MET OUR OBJECTIVES? CAN YOU: • Define terms related to a literature review? • Summarize how to use sources such as reviews, indices and journals to conduct a literature review? • Describe how scholarly journals work? • Define electronic tools available via the WWW? • Discuss how to use a bibliographic database program? • Demonstrate how to write a literature review?