Management Consulting/answer of my question
Assume a research topic of your choice and give the complete format of its research report.
4. Assume a research topic of your choice and give the complete format of its research report.
Components of a Research Problem.
First, the defined properties or characteristics of a good problem statement varied from one source read to the next depending on the subject addressed. For example, one document related to computer science defined four properties of a good problem statement as complete, precise, consistent and general. Another document dealing with scientific research described a good problem statement as one that expresses a relationship between two or more variables is stated clearly and unambiguously as a question and that implies possibilities of empirical testing. Taking all these characteristics and summing what remained constant from one definition to the next I conclude that a good problem statement is simply one that clearly and concisely conveys the issues and concerns addressed.
Second, it became clear that coming up with a good problem statement is not as easy as most would think. Bridget N. O'Connor tells us in Information Technology, Learning and Performance Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2, Fall 2000 that a good problem statement is far from effortless." She defines it instead as a "complex activity related to preparing a logical argument".
I concluded based on the characteristics discussed above that in order for a problem statement to convey all issues and concerns in a clear and concise fashion it must have the following components:
The given constants and variables - this consists of all the information necessary to fully describe the situation.
The end goal - this is the desired end state of the problem.
Obstacles - assertions or steps through which the necessary information or other resources will be obtained or performed to achieve the desired end state of the problem
Twelve Components of Research:
A. Appropriate - Does topic apply to the discipline selected? Need to judge by "intrinsic merit", not evaluators bias or disciplinary biases.
B. Clear - If sufficient focus can summarize purpose in short paragraphs.
Succinct, terms clearly defined. Parsimonious.
C. Comprehensive - Do question/s and purpose really describe all it could for a complete study? Are all of the relevant areas related to the topic included?
D. Credible - Questionable if topic is already studied thoroughly. Need to be familiar with related literature. What groups special interests are served or ignored? Whose values are emphasized in the goals and purposes?
E. Significant - Will it significantly contribute to literature? Will it provide a unique or distinctive perspective on existing issues? Can it refine concepts, perspectives, or verify current understandings? Will it be likely to be accepted and used for significant insight and/or change of policies and practices?
2. Research Philosophy
A. Appropriate - What philosophical view is reflected in the study itself, not just the philosophy of researcher.
B. Clear - Specify philosophical tradition: e.g. 1) realism 2) idealism 3)
existentialism 4) pragmatism 5) phenomenology 6) positivist 7) a combination of these.
C. Comprehensive - Not just selecting a philosophy and using associated
guidelines in a study "replacing one positivist orthodoxy with a group of
neopositivist orthodoxies." (LeCompte and Preissle, 1993, p.326). Is there consistency in philosophical views?
D. Credible - Describe in detail, relate to existing research philosophies in literature.
E. Significant - Show how philosophy affected choices of theories, data
3. Conceptual/Theoretical Frame - Heart of study
To some degree specified at the beginning of the study, can be multiple theories, very broad theories (e.g. Lewin, Gaffman).
A. Appropriate Concepts apply to setting; fits what was experienced. How do concepts and constructs interrelate with each other/interactions. Concepts related to questions asked "securely integrated"
B. Clear - Well defined. Data level of questions clearly related to theory.
Empirical descriptions of possible relationships and presuppositions articulated.
C. Comprehensive - Scope of theory fits research questions novices often restrict scope to current status of discipline need to broaden to include cross- disciplinary concerns multiple theories and views.
D. Credible - Not an afterthought emergent (not imposedneed to suspend preconceptions at least for awhile during data collection) and found in data.
Address rival explanations of data; not just trying to support one perspective.
Results of data, not results of researchers norm based or value-based
judgements that are presumed to be factual.
E. Significant - Thoroughly addresses relevant theories or adds to them. Most significant when pit one theory against another (like a critical experiment).
4. Research Design/Model
A. Appropriate Ethical, do-able. Must assess clarity before can tell if it is appropriate design. Does design fit questions/goals? Ethnography good for 4 situations:
1. Sociocultural system analysis
2. Using culture to analyze social events
3. Participantcentered analysis and reconstruction of events or actions
4. Obtaining process and values data
B. Clear Often not clear what was intended to be done in contrast with what actually was done "Ethnography" defined in different ways sometimes synonymous with qualitative research. Use terminology consistently within study and accurate terms (good to reference using an accepted methods text).
C. Comprehensive Adaptations and variations of standard methods appropriate to answer questions comprehensively. Need variety of methods (one form of triangulation).
D. Credible 6-8 months in field more credible than one shot observation in classroom. Need sufficient training and funding. Has the design been used before?
E. Significant Complete ethnography vs. mixed design will affect interpretation.
Takes time and sufficient resources. Results may be inaccessible for longer time due to analysis requirements may require compromise. (e.g. use samples of video data).
5. Setting/Circumstances (Description of Setting)
A. Appropriate need to identify the range of circumstances to be sure all that are relevance to questions are included in study.
B. Clear Description is clear. Ideal is to describe setting so thoroughly it is virtually equal to photograph.
C. Comprehensive - My list compiled from numerous studies:
1. How you chose and entered site
2. Detailed description (Maps and diagrams may be good supplements if
they dont compromise confidentiality)
a) Surrounding community
b) School/church/organization catchment area
e) Church or other organization social, legal, denominational,
district and local church levels
f) Leadership style/roles, social class ethnicity, areas of
responsibility and power
g) History of church, or other organization: local, district,
h) Annual schedule
i) Teachers roles, backgrounds (e.g. Ethnicity, class)
j) Classroom/s or other areas used
k) Staff roles, background
l) Students ethnicity, classes, roles.
Gatekeeper of this crucial to access these details.
D. Credible Degree to which it could be a guidebook/manual for a newcomer.
Show how setting and situation could bias study. Include documents, manuals if available. (e.g. photo books, policy manual).
E. Significant Not necessarily representative. Describe insufficient detail that reader can determine if research site is significantly like their own site.
6. Sampling Procedure
A. Appropriate (The procedure itself is appropriate, not just the number or the sample itself.) Did specific people chosen for detailed study bias study? Sufficient number and variety of people in sample/s to represent the group to be described in
results and conclusions section of report.
B. Clear The written summary of the sampling process is described fully what kind of sampling/selection used (use terms from reputable source).
C. Comprehensive Also need to describe participants in thorough detail. Who declined to participate and who dropped out? Does this reflect a loss of extremes that might give distinctive input? Or was it a loss of those in midrange that might
give more typical responses. (Thus were conclusions skewed toward views of one or several extremes?) Who were the participants? Characteristics in detail (My compilation from studies):
3. number of participants
6. student/teacher ratio
7. teacher typologies of students
8. home environment (family, residential area, living area/s)
9. common experiences with peers
10. personality characteristics
D. Credible Most likely biasing factors described in detail. Are comparisons and generalizations warranted from sample/selections? (Highlight areas of possible
bias and explicate in detail).
E. Significant Convincing rationales provided for sampling procedure.
7. Background and Experience of Researcher
A. Appropriate Researcher characteristics affect rapport: sex, age, ethnicity, values/morals, social and emotional characteristics, other physical aspects. These also affect degree to which researcher can participate, degree of acceptance by
participants, and thus the resulting data.
B. Clear Language, including dialect, will affect entry and later access to people during research (congruence with their world-view).
C. Comprehensive Extensive reflections of past experiences that might
potentially relate to setting, participants reflect before, during and after research. (Personal notes).
D. Credible If identify personal characteristics, reader can possibly judge likelihood participants were reactive
E. Significant May find setting or participants repugnant and withdraw reject values of those studied or go to other extreme: "go native" and lose perspective.
8. Role/s of Researcher
A. Appropriate Roles will facilitate acquisition of some data and limit other data
so choose roles that will best provide data related to goals and purpose.
B. Clear Need to be resocialized on personal level yet retain outside view. Did
you specify a role rather than leave it vague (ambiguous roles tend to be seen as threatening)
C. Comprehensive Relationships vitally affect breadth of data. Were you able to flex with people shift role if it meant getting more and better quality data?
D. Credible Need some externality-value of etic perspective. ("Social Science framework") (See Lofland & Lofland text, or even Jim Lee). Did they believe your role or did you try to portray a role you could not genuinely assume? Need authenticity of role (we can assume several possible roles, but some roles fall outside our potential range).
E. Significant Must assess degree of participation full to none to help assess influence of researcher assumptions and biases on results. Were you a significant
person to them by virtue of the assumed role/s, or were you peripheral?
9. Data Collections Methods
A. Appropriate Methods are plausibly related to the research questions. Beware of irrelevant or unneeded data (too many rabbit trails followed). Careful planning needed and regular follow up reviews. What constraints on the kinds of data collected were there? Also characteristics of participants can affect methods
B. Clear Parsimony needed. Describe amount of time taken for each phase. Low inference descriptors needed. Audit trail each decision, change, and other aspects can be traced.
C. Comprehensive Be exhaustive as possible without exhausting participants or researcher. Can over saturate redundancy because you are there too long.
Sufficient time must be allotted for data collection at least a few weeks. (3 to 36 months in literature surveyed). Deal with all questions proposed.
D. Credible Describe the initial planning and ongoing review of plans so it can be judged for appropriateness. Must be dense and represent what was researched fairly. Direct quotes needed from participants and researchers notes. Use the language participants use. Higher validity with interactive methods if methods used correctly. Naturalistic setting also adds to validity, as does the use of categories emic to or emergent from participants. Time facilitates likelihood of matching participant categories to researcher categories. Multiple sources of data
needed to verify and refineor eliminatepreliminary findings. Readers will judge if alternative sources were available (i.e. what could have been asked or
examined, but wasnt?) Were techniques of data collection related to results justified conclusions, not just speculation or superficial data.
E. Significant Data hard to replicate lower reliability (as with projective instruments) and concepts of participants are more tied to time, place, and those studied. Reliability of confirmation surveys with standardized items can be controlled to greater extent than can reliability of observations using field note
data. (One can make a case for very high reliability in transcriptions of
interviews). Validity of interviews and observations depends on researchers role, specific techniques used, and degree of clarity of constructs.
10. Data Analysis/Interpretation
A. Appropriate Name the formal method/s of data analysis and
changes/adaptations made. Informal methods should be described in detail (preferably illustrated). Identify the basis for interpretations.
B. Clear Almost seems mystical how data is transformed because of complexity of data, as well as shifts of data and kinds of analysis throughout study. Needs to document how initial codes pushed researcher to more elaborate codes and linkages and finally to formal data analysis. (Use theoretical notes for this
documentation). Describe member check and how the results of the check elaborated or restricted conclusions.
C. Comprehensive Need to describe: 1) abstraction process 2) units of analysis 3) codes used 4) methods of quantification, if any 5) corroborating evidence 6) how synthesized in the results 7) limitations and advantages to a given formal
method 8) usage of additional formal methods with given data and triangulation of formal methods of analysis (and potential future formal methods and triangulation).
D. Credible Often a weak area in qualitative research either cavalier or not described sufficiently. Why did the researcher choose one analytic method and not an alternative? Need to trace ongoing shifts in analysis and describe in the report and justify those changes, so reader can judge analysis approach chosen.
Distinguish analysis using participant categories from analysis using researcher categories including those derived from existing theories so they can be evaluated for appropriateness.
E. Significant Discuss how key constructs evolved over time of study, so they can be assessed for adequate relationship to initial questions as well as the collected data. While unwarranted conjectures are possible using qualitative analytic procedure, it is also possible that analysis will be too narrow and simplistic, interfering with the development of theory that adequately explains.
Describe derivation of meanings of emergent terms and constructs.
A. Appropriate What is intended audience? Relates to purpose and goals. What policies need revising? May be parallels discovered between unrelated groups e.g. comparisons made across cultures.
B Clear Careful specification of implications. Implications for the research
setting, and potential applications for other settings clearly state limitations of conclusions and applications. Application is a shared responsibility with the reader.
C. Comprehensive If initial framing is more comprehensive, it will apply more broadly. Multiple applications of results possible, not just one situation or level (at least implied, not absolute). (This could be a unique case.)
D. Credible Degree of tentativeness/confidence is appropriate to purpose, goals, and breadth of study. Convincing arguments for conclusions, implications, and applications.
E. Significant May not need to specify immediate changes needed if the outcome of study is new or revised theory, or information about a group or context that is rare. The ultimate objective of a study is to document what occurred and preserve information. Tentative conclusions can generate as much research in future as very confident conclusions (perhaps even generate more follow-up research). Move beyond concepts that initially informed research
what does the research suggest about additional areas needing research and potential areas have been uncovered that need new constructs and categories that subsequent research can address? What issues do we confirmatory follow-up?
12. Presentation Format and Sequence
A. Appropriate Wide variations:
3) descriptions of problem-solving.
Many qualitative methodologists prefer the review of the literature that is embedded throughout, rather than a separate chapter (requires a high level of integrative thinking).
B. Clear Clarity of description is a strong indication of validity. Sometimes difficult to separate data and interpretations; theoretical notes help in this area.
C. Comprehensive Represent multiple perspectives via dense narrative. Several criteria (McCutcheon): 1) logical 2) orderly 3) feasible 4) alternative possibilities
are noted and reasons for discarding them are described in detail 5) sufficient data to merit interpretations made quotes allow reader to assess this 6) results are consistent with what has been found in similar groups and, if not, there is a plausible explanation for discrepancies 7) results contribute to theory, general understanding, or current controversies and issues. Results apply to multiple
theories and perspectives
D. Credible direct quotations of participants and field notes convincing, but addresses major questions you began with. Include findings that are discrepant and deviant cases (exceptions) helps separate data and interpretations. Time oriented or other consequential influences must be demonstrated and justified.
Note results that were not anticipated (surprises) and show how those were integrated into results and why they are significant.
E. Significant Need to describe different levels of confidence for various data and interpretations. Integrate results broadly, relate significance to original goals and purposes.
Your final report will include these sections:
o Title page.
o Abstract. An abstract is an abbreviated version of your final report.
o Table of contents.
o Question, variables, and hypothesis.
o Background research. This is the Research paper you wrote before you started your experiment.
o Materials list.
o Experimental procedure.
o Data analysis and discussion. This section is a summary of what you found out in your experiment, focusing on your observations, data table, and graph(s), which should be included at this location in the report.
o Ideas for future research. Some science fairs want you to discuss what additional research you might want to do based on what you learned.
o Acknowledgments. This is your opportunity to thank anyone who helped you with your science fair project, from a single individual to a company or government agency.
Write the abstract section last, even though it will be one of the first sections of your final report.
Your final report will be several pages long, but don't be overwhelmed! Most of the sections are made up of information that you have already written. Gather up the information for each section and type it in a word processor if you haven't already.
Save your document often! You do not want to work hard getting something written the perfect way, only to have your computer crash and the information lost. Frequent file saving could save you a lot of trouble!
Remember to do a spelling and grammar check in your word processor. Also, have a few people proof read your final report. They may have some helpful comments!
This is What Your Research Summary Should Look Like
4046 N. Leavitt
Coonley Elementary School
Chicago, IL 60618
Table of Contents
Table of Contents 2
Review of Literature 6
Reference List 11
This is where you write a thank you to everyone who helped you with your report. This may include siblings, parents, librarians, teachers, etc.
Explain why you wanted to conduct this project. You will state your control and your variables. Your control is a part of your experiment that you DO NOT CHANGE. A variable is what you DO CHANGE to test your hypothesis.
Your hypothesis is an educated guess as to what you think will happen when you conduct your experiment. It should be an if
Review of Literature
This is the research portion of your paper. It should be written in the third person in APA format. It should also include a variety of sources with a copyright date of 1999 or later. There are three (3) major components: 1.) general background information that describes characteristics of the independent and dependent variables, 2.) analysis of prior research that describes any scientific research directly related to the project, and 3.) description of the problem you are solving that includes the rationale and purpose for your project
As you are working you need to keep track of absolutely everything you used to conduct your experiments. THIS INCLUDES HOW MUCH OF EACH THING YOU USED. You should describe the items specifically and explain how they were used in your project.
Your procedures are what you did to test your hypothesis. This will be written step by step in chronological order. It is to be written so that someone else can read your procedures and follow the same steps to conduct your experiment. Remember to include the size of your test groups and the number of trials you conducted.
This is where you evaluate and interpret what happened when you conducted your experiment. You are to record what you observed each time you conducted the experiment. Data should be organized into tables and charts, as well as graphs if possible. Your data should be quantitative and should use SI measurements; refer to measurement handout if necessary.
Your conclusion is a comparison of what you actually observed and your hypothesis or what you thought would happen. You will say whether you were right or wrong. You should then give an explanation as to why you were right or why you were wrong based on what you learned through your research.
This is a list showing where you obtained all of your research material. There is a specific format you are to follow when writing your bibliography; it will be described on a subsequent handout, but you may use the following page to record information from your sources. Use the handout you were given to format your references correctly.