PhD Research Seminar

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					PhD Research Seminar Series:
 Selecting a Research Topic

        Dr. K. A. Korb
       University of Jos
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

       Research: Process of identifying
            something unknown and collecting data
            to make it known.
             Selecting a Research Topic
             Developing Research Questions
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

               Choosing a Research Topic
      1. Pick a general topic that you are interested in.
      2. Determine the focus of your research study
                   Basic: Test a theory
                   Applied: Improve educational practice
                   Extend previous research
                       Different population
                       Trends over time
      3.        Write down the conclusion that you want to
                make once you are completely finished with
                your paper.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                    Tips for Finding a Research
       Read journal articles
       Read journal articles
       Read more journal articles.
        Future Directions segment of the Discussion
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                    Basic                             Applied
                                                      How can we use
                                                      principles of
            How does                                  motivation to help our
            memory work?                              students succeed?
                                            What teaching
                         Why do people
                                            methods can we use
                         do what they
                                            to help our students
                         do? (Motivation)   learn more
           How does                         effectively?
                                                           How can we help
           learning occur?                                 our students
                                                           memorize facts?

       Research conducted to test              Research conducted to
          theories and build a                 solve practical human
       foundation of knowledge.                      problems.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                Stating Desired Conclusion
       Basic: Name of theory has been shown to be
            incomplete because the theory says ______, but my
            research study has demonstrated the opposite, ______.

       Applied: This research study demonstrates that
            education can be improved by treatment in study
            because students who received the aforementioned
            treatment performed better than students in a control

       Extend: Previous research has demonstrated
            ________. This research study provides evidence that
            the previous research cannot be generalized to name of
            population because ___________.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

            Developing Research Questions
      1. Rephrase the conclusion you want to
         make into a general research question.
      2. Identify your key variables
      3. Develop a few more specific research
         questions that provide the details to your
         general research question.
              ONLY write research questions for the
               independent and dependent variables in
               your general research question.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

       Developing Research Questions
               Do primary students perform differently on
                quantitative reasoning tasks when presented
                with numbers or pictures to represent
                   Do primary students perform better on a pictorial
                    task of quantitative reasoning or on a matched
                    symbolic task of quantitative reasoning?
                   Do primary students choose to use a symbolic or a
                    pictorial representation of quantity when solving a
                    quantitative reasoning task?
                   Can primary students fluently move between
                    pictorial and symbolic representations of quantity?
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                             Key Variables
               Determine Your Independent and Dependent
             –      Independent Variable: Any variable that the
                    researcher manipulates in an experiment; proposed
             –      Dependent Variable: A variable that is being
                    measured in an experiment; the proposed effect;
                    depends on experimental situation
             –      NOTE: Correlational studies have two variables;
                    neither are classified as independent or dependent
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                          Key Variables
                    Independent   Dependent
                      Variable    Variable(s)

                                  What the
                     Treatment    Treatment

                                  What differs
                      Groups      Between the
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                         Key Variables

                    Counseling   Completion


                      Teaching   Achievement
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                     Key Variables

                    Group    in School

                            Response to
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

               Selecting a Topic
             1. Select a general topic
             2. Determine the focus
             3. Write down the final conclusion you want to make
               Developing Research Questions
             1. Turn the conclusion into a general research
             2. Identify independent and dependent variables
             3. Develop more specific research questions
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                    Three Questions
      1. Has this research question been
         answered in previous research studies?
      2. Will this research study contribute
         meaningfully to either theory or practice
         (preferably both)?
      3. Using the resources available to me, can
         I feasibly answer this research question?
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos

                    Concluding Advice
       It is better to say one thing with certainty
            than many things unconvincingly.

       The best dissertation is a completed

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