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					Research Questions
     Darleen Opfer
    Types of Qualitative Research
             Questions
 Grand Tour
 Sub Questions
        Guidelines for writing qualitative questions
       Ask one or two grand tour questions followed by no more than
        five to seven sub-questions.
       The question format is related to specific qualitative
        methodologies.
    –      For example, in ethnography there exists a taxonomy of questions
           about experience, language, contrast, etc.
    –      In critical ethnography the questions come from a body of existing
           literature
    –      In grounded theory the questions may relate to the procedures for
           data analysis – open coding “what are the categories that emerge”,
           axial coding “How are these categories related to one another?”
       Begin the question with the words what or how. Tell the reader
        that the study will do one of the following:
    –      Discover (grounded theory)
    –      Explain or seek to understand (ethnography)
    –      Explore a process (case study)
    –      Describe the experiences (phenomenology)
       Pose questions that use non-directional wording.
       Expect the research questions to evolve and change during the
        study.
       Use open ended questions without reference to the literature
        unless dictated by a specific qualitative design.
       Use a single focus and specify the site in the research questions.
    Ethnography example:
How are conceptions of social studies
played out – or not played out – in
classroom practice?
– How is the setting organized?
– What kind of interpersonal dynamics exist?
– What activities occur in each setting?
– What information, opinions, and beliefs are
  exchanged among participants?
      Case Study Example
How do women in a psychology doctoral
program describe their decision to return
to school? How do women in a psychology
doctoral program describe their reentry
experiences? And, how does returning to
graduate school change these women’s
lives?
 Activity 1: Qualitative Research
             Questions
For the first abstract, write research
questions for the study described.
 Types of quantitative research
           questions
– They can be about comparisons between
  groups
– They can be about the relationships
  between two or more variables
– They can describe responses to variables
        Guidelines for quantitative research
                     questions
   They are developed from theory – the questions are testable
    propositions deduced from theory
   The dependent and independent variables should be kept separate
    and measured separately
   Select one form – hypothesis, research question, or objective – and
    not a combination
   Choice of the forms of hypotheses used (Null or
    Alternative/Directional) should be determined by the audience
   Hypotheses can also be stated in literary or operational. Literary
    means that the variables are stated in abstract concepts.
    Operational means they are stated specifically.
   Typically use variables other than demographic variables as
    independent variables. Demographic variables (age, income,
    education, gender) are typically mediating variables in theories
    instead of major, independent variables.
   Use the same pattern of word order in the questions to establish a
    formal rhetorical style – repeat key phrases and state the
    independent variables first and the dependent variables last.
   When writing research questions or hypotheses for quantitative
    studies, write descriptive questions first followed by multivariate
    (multiple variable) questions.
             Forms for Hypotheses
Null Hypothesis

There is no significant difference in the accumulation of
resources and the productivity of faculty

Directional/Alternative Hypothesis

The more the accumulation of resources, the more
productive the researcher
                        Null                      Alternative


 Literary      There is no relationship           The more that
              between support services     nontraditional-aged college
              and academic persistence         women use support
               of nontraditional-aged      services, the more they will
                   college women.             persist academically.


Operational    There is no relationship       The more hours that
               between the number of       nontraditional-aged college
              hours nontraditional-aged      women use the student
               college women use the        union, the more they will
               student union and their     persist at the college after
              persistence at the college      their freshman year.
              after their freshman year.
        Guidelines for quantitative research
                     questions
   They are developed from theory – the questions are testable
    propositions deduced from theory
   The dependent and independent variables should be kept separate
    and measured separately
   Select one form – hypothesis, research question, or objective – and
    not a combination
   Choice of the forms of hypotheses used (Null or
    Alternative/Directional) should be determined by the audience
   Hypotheses can also be stated in literary or operational. Literary
    means that the variables are stated in abstract concepts.
    Operational means they are stated specifically.
   Typically use variables other than demographic variables as
    independent variables. Demographic variables (age, income,
    education, gender) are typically mediating variables in theories
    instead of major, independent variables.
   Use the same pattern of word order in the questions to establish a
    formal rhetorical style – repeat key phrases and state the
    independent variables first and the dependent variables last.
   When writing research questions or hypotheses for quantitative
    studies, write descriptive questions first followed by multivariate
    (multiple variable) questions.
Examples of repeated phrasing and variable
  order in hypotheses

1. There is no relationship between the use of
   ancillary support services and academic
   persistence of nontraditional-aged college
   women.

2. There is no relationship between family support
   systems and academic persistence of
   nontraditional-aged college women.
        Guidelines for quantitative research
                     questions
   They are developed from theory – the questions are testable
    propositions deduced from theory
   The dependent and independent variables should be kept separate
    and measured separately
   Select one form – hypothesis, research question, or objective – and
    not a combination
   Choice of the forms of hypotheses used (Null or
    Alternative/Directional) should be determined by the audience
   Hypotheses can also be stated in literary or operational. Literary
    means that the variables are stated in abstract concepts.
    Operational means they are stated specifically.
   Typically use variables other than demographic variables as
    independent variables. Demographic variables (age, income,
    education, gender) are typically mediating variables in theories
    instead of major, independent variables.
   Use the same pattern of word order in the questions to establish a
    formal rhetorical style – repeat key phrases and state the
    independent variables first and the dependent variables last.
   When writing research questions or hypotheses for quantitative
    studies, write descriptive questions first followed by multivariate
    (multiple variable) questions.
       Example of research question ordering for a
                    quantitative study
1. How do students rate on critical thinking skills? (a descriptive question
   focused on the independent variable)
2. What are the students’ grades in science classes? (a descriptive
   question focused on the dependent variable)
3. What are the students’ prior grades in science? (a descriptive question
   focused on the mediating variable, prior grades)
4. What is the educational attainment of the parents of the students? (a
   descriptive question focused on the mediating variable, educational
   attainment of parents)
5. Does critical thinking ability relate to student achievement? (a
   multivariate question relating the independent and dependent
   variables)
6. Does critical thinking ability relate to student achievement, controlling
   for the effects of prior grades in science and the educational
   attainment of the students’ parents? (a multivariate question relating
   the independent and dependent variables controlling for the
   mediating effects of the two intervening variables)
Activity 2: Quantitative Research
            Questions
For the second abstract provided, write
research questions for the study
described.
    Guidelines for mixed methods research questions
                      and hypotheses

   These studies need both qualitative and quantitative research
    questions
   The questions need to incorporate the elements of good questions
    and hypotheses for qualitative and quantitative approaches
   It may be difficult to specify research questions for the second
    phase of a two-phase sequential study where the second phase is to
    elaborate on the first. The researcher can state the questions in the
    final report of the study.
   The order of the questions should follow the order of the phases of
    the study or the weight of the methods in the design.
   In sequential studies, the questions can be introduced at the
    beginning of each phase.
Activity 3: Mixed Method Questions
  For the third abstract, write research
    questions for the study described.
 Activity 4: Your Own Research
            Questions
Write research questions for your own
study and add these to your conceptual
map.

				
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posted:7/23/2011
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