Research Preliminaries

Topics: Scientific method, Research, Qualitative research Pages: 4 (1372 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Module 1: Preliminary Research Steps
Important Resources
This course is a brief overview about research design that is intended to cover the basics of designing and implementing a scientific study.  Although this course will address every step of the research process, it is by no means exhaustive and is no substitute for a college level course in research methodology, nor is it a substitute for an experienced research advisor.  Choosing a Topic

For a researcher to choose a topic for a project, it is important to consider a broad area of inquiry and interest.  This may be as broad as “global eye health” or “personality psychology,” but it should be an area that is of interest to the researcher.  However, a broad area is useful only at the beginning of a research plan.  Within a broader topic of inquiry, each researcher must begin narrowing the field into a few subtopics that are of greater specificity and detail.  For example, a researcher may be interested in “global eye health,” but could focus more specifically on “proper eye care and how it affects individuals.”  Although this topic is still too broad for a research project, it is more focused and can be further specified into a coherent project. Literature Review

The literature review should be conducted early in the research process, directly after you choose a topic.  A literature review can bring clarity and focus to your research problem and broaden your knowledge base in your research area.  The literature review is crucial because an important responsibility in research is to add to a body of knowledge and to compare your findings with others.  The procedure is simple: search the literature in your area of interest, review the selected studies, and develop a theoretical framework for your own study \What makes a good research question?

Not all research questions are good ones—in other words, not all questions can be answered through qualitative and quantitative research methodology.  A good...
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