You are on page 1of 13

IDENTIFYING THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

A/Professor Denis McLaughlin School of Educational Leadership

DEFINITION
Research problems are educational

issues or concerns studied by researchers


In education, a problem is a concern to

educators that exists in educational settings

Ask yourself
To help locate your research problem for your thesis, ask

yourself such questions as:


What was the issue/problem you want to study? What is the concern being addressed behind this study? Why do you want to undertake this study? Why is this study important to the scholarly community?

DEFINING TERMS
Research Problem: Educational issue/problem in a

study
Research Topic: Broad subject matter being

addressed in a study
Purpose: Major intent or object of study

Research Questions: Questions to answer or address

in a study

OVERVIEW
General
Topic Research Problem

Research Statement

Research Questions
Specific

PROBLEM RESEARCHABILITY
1.

Will your research contribute to knowledge and practice?


It fills a void or extends existing research It replicates a study with new participants or a new site Problem has not be studied or understudied It gives voice to people not heard, silenced, or rejected in society It informs practice

2.
3.
4.

Accessed to people & sites


Time, Resources and skills

Therapy
To prove what your already know

5.

DESIGNING & WRITING THE STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM


1. 2.

The research problem within this study Justification for the problem (based on past research and practice) Shortcoming of past research or practice The importance / significance of the problem

3. 4.

GETTING STARTED
Write down the purpose statement of your study

Embedded in this purpose statement are key terms

that will help you to start your literature review This part of the literature review searches for core literature and it should focus almost exclusively on empirical studies Look for studies similar to your problem statement in Australia. Look for studies similar to your problem statement in other countries.

LITERATURE PRIORITY

PARENT
RELATIONAL

CORE

WHERE TO START
1.

Encyclopedia of educational research (Alkin, 1992) The appendix Doing library research in education is brilliant Handbooks International Handbooks of Educational Administration, Educational Leadership, Lifelong Learning etc quickly introduce you to the major players and research issues in your study Theses Overseas Dissertation abstracts, US computer disks British Dissertation abstracts Australia Cunningham library, ACER, www.acer.edu.au

2.

3.

4.

Databases ERIC (Educational Resources Information Centre) www.accesseric.org. (worlds largest source of information one million abstracts) Australian Education Index (AUSINET) Current index to journals in education and resources in education: locate through ERIC Social Science Citation Index: CDROM

5.

6.

7.

Online Journals (anbar)

8.

Google (search engine)

INITIAL ORGANISING THE LITERATURE


Print out your research problem and research

purpose statement in font size 20pt & bold & adhere to a place near your computer where your regularly see. Do not be a dilettante . You need to get a reasonably solid grasp of your proposed topic relatively quickly in order to focus or flick.
Read, categorise, file Construct a literature map (different from but a pre-

requisite to a conceptual framework)

From Creswell (2002).