Research topic

 A problem in an area of interest of yours

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(e.g. the effects of computer assisted technology for reading in a 4th grade reading class)


Five main sources of research topics

  1. derived from theories
  2. personal experience
  3. replication of previouse studies
  4. electronic mailing lists
  5. library searches and immersion


Characteristcs of a “Good” Problems (Topic)


-Researchable: this means it must be something that is observable.

-Theoretical and/or practical significance: it must be important and worthwhile information to know

-A good problem for you: research what you know about.  Something that you can relate to. Something your interested in.



Narrowing your Research Topic



          1st you start out by reading up in your field on areas of interest. (physical ed and students with disabilities)

          2nd you “identify” a general problem area (e.g. students with disabilities general have problems maintaining the standards in Physical Education classes)

          3rd You narrow down the general problem to a topic of something specific (e.g. adjusting classroom physical education standard to accommodate physical disabilities).



Topic statement


– what is included in a topic statement of a quantitative study


– what is included in a topic statement of a qualitative study




The first item in the introduction of your research plans and the introduction to the final research report.  It is important because it gives direction in the research plan and research report

Quantitative research topic: indicates the variables of interest, the specific relations among those variables, and, ideally, the characteristics of the participants.

Qualitative research topic: usually are stated in the general language because qualitative researchers need to become attuned to the research context before narrowing their topic.





Purpose of a hypothesis in a Quantitative research and in Qualitative research



Hypothesis: is a researcher’s prediction of the research findings, a statement of the researcher’s expectations about the relations among the variables in the research topic.  Composed of subjects, treatment (Independent variable), measurable outcome (dependent variable)

Purpose of Quantitative Hypotheses: it determines the nature of the study (i.e. participants, measuring, instruments, design, procedures, data, analysis, and conclusion).

Purpose of Qualitative Hypotheses: qualitative studies seek to better understand the nature of their participants and context before stating a research focus or hypothesis.  They may have guiding hypotheses.  Qualitative studies may result in a hypothesis from the research.


Inductive Hypotheses

 a generalization made from a number of observations.


Deductive Hypotheses
 is derived from a theory and is aimed at providing evidence that supports, expands, or contradicts aspects of a given theory.
Research directional hypotheses

states the expected relation or difference between variables, which the researcher expects to test through the collection and analysis of data.


Research non directional hypotheses

 predicts only that a relation or difference exists 


Research null (statistical) hypotheses

 predicts that there will be no difference that no change will occur.



Contents of a Research Report:

Quantitative Study



Introduction (intro and lit review, problem statement, statement of hypothesis)

Methodology (subjects, insturmentation, materials, research/ design, procedures)

results:all data, not analyzation

discussion: interpret data



time scheduele (proposal only)

budget (proposal only)

appendecies (proposal only)



What does a Problem Statement do?

(in a Quantitative Study and a Qualitative Study)



  1. indicates the variables of interest
  2. indicates the relationship between variables of interest
  3. identifies participants

Quantitave study

– explicitly stated

Qualitative study

– general in nature

– evolves over the course of the study





Literature Review

(in a Quantitative study, Qualitative study)



Quantitative Review: you do your lit review before you do your study.  This would be stated in the introduction section of the Quantitative study.

First person is not found in quantitative research

 Qualitative Review: you do your lit review through out your study

– First person is found in qualitative (I, me)



Contents of a Research Report

(in a Qualitative study)



– Title of the study

– Introduction to the study

– Research procedure

– Potential contributions of the study

– Limitations

– Appendecies


Difference between a Primary and Secondary Source

Primary source: an article or a report done by the person that conducted the study.  This is preferred because it is closer to the original results. 

Secondary source: an article or a report done by the person that conducted the study. 


abstract (and its process)

 an abstract is a summary of a study that describes it hypotheses, procedures, and conclusion. Basically abstracting involves reviewing, summarizing, and classifying your references.


Difference between Research Plan and Proposal

  In the proposal you are searching for the funding to run the research.  In a research plan you have already received funding for you research.  In quantitative research only the proposal would have include the time schedule, the budget, and the appendices.



Difference in Research Plan for a

(Quantitative study vs. Qualitatitve study)





Quantitative research plan: typically include an introduction, a method section, a data analysis description, and a time schedule.

Qualitative research plan: less structured than a quantitative because the research must be responsive to the context and setting under study.


Research Plan and its benefits

Research plan: a detailed description of a study proposed to investigate a given problem; it includes a literature review that justifies the study and its hypotheses, a description of the steps that will be followed in the study, and information about the analysis of the collected data.  The plan provides a guide for conducting the study.


Benefits: A written research plan helps you to think through the aspects of your study, and generally improves the quality of the research.