Unit 4 Assignment 1 – Your Research Question Please submit your research question to the assignment area for review. You will also submit the SMART form with the following sections completed: Please finalize sections 1 and 2 of the dissertation or capstone research plan (SMART form) based on the research design you have been working on throughout your coursework. Be sure to read the instructions found in the left-hand column. You may build on what you submitted for the Unit 2 discussion. Remember to incorporate any relevant feedback you received prior to submitting this assignment. Including these sections with the research question will give the instructor the context for your research question and will allow him/her to ensure it is in alignment with these initial sections of the SMART Form. Take time to review the scoring guide for this assignment. The instructor will evaluate the research question on these criteria. In addition, make sure that: • The sections of the dissertation or capstone research plan are conceptually and terminologically consistent. • The research question exhibits the five characteristics described in the grading criteria. Reminders • This is a graded assignment that will be worth 10% of your total numerical grade. • Review the assignment due date information provided in both the Syllabus and the Faculty Expectations discussion to effectively plan your time. • All scholarly sources should be cited and referenced in APA Style. • Submit your work to Turnitin and the assignment area (remember, use the TII drafts area to check your work and change any significant matches before you submit your final the TII assignment area). • Submit the Turnitin submission report with your assignment. Assignments will not be graded until they are submitted to Turnitin. Resources Your Research Question Scoring Guide. Scientific Merit Action Research Template (SMART) Form – PSL [DOC]. Turnitin. Unit 4 – Formulating The Research Question INTRODUCTION In this unit, you will learn how to align your research topic, needs assessment, and problem statement with the conceptual model and build well- crafted research questions. Course Competencies • Competency 2. Apply advanced critical thinking skills to research methods and design. • Competency 4. Develop research questions that align with an identified problem. • Competency 6. Propose a research methodology that aligns with an identified problem. • Competency 9. Apply academic communication skills in verbal and written interactions within the research process. OBJECTIVES To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to: 1. Identify appropriate instruments that will measure key constructs specified in the research topic. 2. Create a well-formed research question. 3. Differentiate between relevant qualitative and quantitative research methods. Unit 4 Study 1 Identifying Constructs, Variables, and Definitions To this point, your focus has been on the foundational elements of your research project, conceptual model, and implications for the field. Now you will transition to developing the methodological components of your dissertation or capstone research plan. This includes identifying the methodology and design, developing research questions, and articulating the data collection process. In order to do this, you will first need to provide a clear explanation of the constructs and variables you will research based on the needs assessment and the conceptual model. Before crafting a research question you must identify the concepts and/or constructs for your research. These constructs need to be defined using the most appropriate literature. Read through the following handouts to gain further information about identifying variables: • Variables in Quantitative Research: A Beginner’s Guide – Public Service Leadership. • How to Craft a Research Question. Multimedia • Understanding Qualitative Research | Transcript. • Understanding Quantitative Research | Transcript. • Matching Statistical Tests to Hypotheses | Transcript. • How to Interpret SPSS Data | Transcript. • What They Do Not Tell You About Statistics | Transcript. Unit 4 Study 2 Crafting Well-Formed Research Questions We have seen that the process of designing research follows a clear sequence: • First, one develops a program evaluation or action research project. • Next, one searches the literature to find support for the topic. • Then, one develops a well-formed research problem statement, indicating the need for a research projected targeting a specific issue in an organization or community that is supported by existing literature. The next step in the research process is to craft well-formed research questions. A well-formed research question has these qualities: • It clearly identifies the variables or concepts being studied. • It clearly identifies who the sample will be. • It suggests by its wording what research design will be used. • It is posed as a question and ends in a question mark. • It is answerable. Before beginning, let us review a few do and don’t items about research questions of any kind: • Do not commit yourself to a particular methodology before you have an acceptable research question in hand. • Do not try to write a research question before you learn—from the existing literature—whether your topic is researchable and what the research problem you want to address is. • Do not base your choice of methodology solely on personal preference; support your choice by showing that similar studies have used similar methodologies. • Do base the methodology on the research question itself. The question should be answerable in a reasonable or feasible way. This is trickier than it sounds. Let us look at two examples: • ‘What are the Internet needs of the sub-Saharan African population?’ is a very interesting and important question, but because the sub- Saharan population is both intensely tribal and vast, no simple sampling plan will adequately represent the entire population, so it may not be feasible to answer it in the time frame of a dissertation or capstone. • ‘What is the experience of dying?’ is a question that all human beings care a great deal about, but it is not answerable because we cannot get data from those who have died. Feasibility includes, but is not limited to, considering whether: • You will have the financial or physical resources to do the study. • The likely participants are accessible to you, or whether the data are actually available. ◦ Dissertations or capstones with a research plan that only includes secondary data and no data collection may not be seen as strong enough to be approved. • The time frame required is reasonable for your dissertation or capstone. Additionally, the research question must comply with all ethical constraints. Even though a research question such as ‘To what extent can human beings survive X infectious disease without medical care?’ may be an important epidemiological and public health question, it is unethical, (unless some observational method could be devised that did not deliberately expose healthy persons to the disease and there is no medical care available). Part of developing a viable research question includes clearly identifying the variables. Read through the following handout to gain further information: • Variables in Quantitative Research: A Beginner’s Guide – Public Service Leadership. Let us begin work on your research questions. • Review How to Craft a Research Question. ◦ This reading is included here again for you to refer to as you develop the research question.