SOC234 2018 Lab1 – Thu 8.30am

Dear SOC234 Lab,

Please respond to the following question with a reply-post of no more than 250 words:

‘What makes a good and bad research question?”

Remember that you will need to post your reply before Lab 1, and don’t forget to look at both the instructions for Tweeting and Blogging and the Lab and Lecture Guide, both up on Moodle.

Thanks and good luck, Roger.

#S234UOW18  #Lab1  #Thu830

Posted in SOC234 - Social Research methods, UOW.

27 Comments on SOC234 2018 Lab1 – Thu 8.30am

Kayla said : Guest Report 2 months ago

[Posted this on Lab 11 blog when it was due and didn't realise until now.] According to Walter (2013, p. 10), the key point of a research question is to identify the main purpose of an individual’s research. This is done in question form (Walter, 2013). Through the individual’s research questions, important ideas are established which seek to explore and explain the research, as well as to identify the key concepts of the proposed research (Walter, 2013, p. 10). Whilst there are different types of research questions, what makes a good and bad research question is what is of interest. To give a single definition of what makes a good or bad research question will be dependent on a number of variables (Walter, 2013). These include the individual’s gender, culture, race and their economic position, as these are part of an individual’s standpoint which shape the way they see the outside world (Walter, 2013, p. 11). As described by Patulny (2018), a good research question must be precise, be clear on the purpose of the research question and to be interesting, to both the researcher and those reading the research (Patulny, 2018). Therefore, it can be said that a bad research question is too general or vague which then results in the research becoming overloaded with useless information as the topic has not been translated into a specific and clearly define research question (Ezzy, 2010, p. 65). As research is so often designed to create and test theory, it can be assumed that only a good research question is able to create a good and testable theory, whereas a bad research question will not be able to appropriately test against or create a theory as it lacks the precision, clarity and curiosity of good research questions (Patulny, 2018). References: - Ezzy, D 2010, ‘The research process’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp. 61 – 86. - Patulny, R 2018, ‘Introduction – Social research and Research Questions’, lecture, SOC234, University of Wollongong, delivered 26 August. - Walter, M 2013, ‘The nature of social science research’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp. 3 – 23. #S234UOW18 #Thu830 #Lab1

Kiara said : Guest Report 5 months ago

Research is used in our society and in academic learning. It examines how theories, research and knowledge are used as a social tool as well as, how it is used in gathering the information which allows us to have a much more in-depth understanding of the many qualities which are defined by a mere theory or opinion set by an individual. For an individual to be able to process the research, it would allow them to understand the importance of having a clear research question whilst comparing the differences between what makes a good research question and a bad research question. (Ezzy, D 2010) As said in the lecture, Research is formalized by curiosity. They are theories that are formed by the mind of an individual and is further developed through careful and detailed study. It is used as a function to test a theory, allowing the researchers to develop and identify a phenomenon and discover its characteristics through the use of evidence. (Vic. R, Patulny 2018) But what makes a good research question and a bad research question? Research questions are basically used to test a hypothesis, guiding people to construct logical arguments for their research. A good research question is made up of concise and arguable theories that allow an individual to understand and test its many layers of study. It should provide the researcher with many opinions and views about the topic, enabling them to learn more about it to a much greater extent. A bad research question can be answered easily without the need to gather information more thoroughly or comprehensively. Bad research questions can also be answered purely by opinions instead of hard evidence. (Vic. R, Patulny 2018) #S234UOW18 #Thu830 References: Ezzy, D 2010, ‘The research process’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic., pp66, Vic. R, Patulny, (2018) ‘Introduction – Social Research and Social Questions,’ SOC234, University of Wollongong, viewed 08/03/2018. S, Amin, 2017

Nadia Ciccolella said : Guest Report 5 months ago

It is important to be able to distinguish between a good and bad research question, as it is the most fundamental aspect of an individual’s research project. In regards to sociology which overall abundantly inspects social life, and in the words of Natalier - it is crucial to present a question that delivers foundation, focus and drive for a particular topic (2013, p. 26). It is common for someone to be passionate and interested about his or her chosen research topic, however what could easily turn this into a “bad question” is bias as his or her morals and values may interfere with their work. In addition to this, a question that is vague, broad and off-topic can also resemble a bad research question; furthermore Ezzy supports this statement as she agrees that if a research question is too general or vague it can lead to confusion and an individual may have difficulty answering the question (2010, p. 65). Therefore it is advised that individuals are clear and concise when producing their questions and ensuring it has an aim. It is crucial that an individual’s research question is reliable as it makes the research beneficial and valuable rather it being uninformative and erratic. In order for the research question to remain professional it is vital that an individual ensures they are incorporating all these factors that make a “good research question”, as it results in an ethical, well constructed, reliable and purposeful research question. REFERENCES: Ezzy, D 2010, ‘The Research Process’, in M Walter (ed), Social Research Methods, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp. 60-72. Natalier, K 2013, ‘Research Design’, in M Walter (ed), Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 25- 40.

Kate Healy said : Guest Report 5 months ago

As said in the lecture, what makes a good research question is the fact when it’s constructed in a clear manner. The question should include the researcher’s theoretical paradigm and have particular demographics in mind. (Jenna, S 2015) Research questions are particularly interesting when researchers study a social issue they’re interested in. They can then begin identifying studies that already exist in order to narrow their study into a question that is yet to be investigated or not enough. (CIRT) Essentially good research questions have no easy answer and are researchable to the extent multiple sources are needed. In contrast, a bad question is normally vague and confusing, or could be too generalised in nature. They could also be too simple and purely opinion. This consequentially would set the researcher up for failure, or a one-page paper with a simple answer or none at all. (Jenna, S 2015) For example “What is the childhood obesity rate in NSW, Australia?” Is too narrow, and can be answered simply. (CIRT) Better wording create an effective research study. “How does the education level of the parents impact childhood obesity rates in NSW, Australia?” is focused on one geographical location making it possible to study. (CIRT) References: Jenna, S 2015, ‘Good VS. Bad Questions’, Prezi, 5 October, Viewed 8 March 2018, Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching, Writing a Good Research Question (CIRT), Grand Canyon University Arizona 1949, viewed 8 March 2018, CIRT Grand Canyon university Arizona 1949>

Harvey said : Guest Report 5 months ago

A research question essentially drives your study. Whether the final outcome of your research is strong or weak depends solely on the proposed question. A good research question can generate new knowledge about the world, identify and help to resolve social problems, and debunk common sense understandings about a range of social phenomena (Sandberg and Alvesson, 2011). Research questions should be clearly articulated and straightforward for researchers in order to understand what the study will highlight. The development of a research question is a key step that is often missed; when developing the question, some features need to be taken into consideration, these include: making the topic relevant, clear and simple, interesting, and maintaining focus without branching off towards other topics (Cirt.gcu.edu, 2018). Preliminary research must also be conducted, allowing the researcher to distinguish which has already been covered and what literature already exists (Natalier, 2013). Ultimately, a good research question will be clear, relevant and focused, whilst synthesising multiple data sources to present a unique argument. Alternately, a bad research question will be too broad and off topic, and often come to no valid conclusion. It is vital to have an interest when prepping for a research question; researching the topic can be demotivating and essentially harder if you have no interest in it. References: - Natalier, K 2013, ‘Research Design’ in M Walter’s (ed.) Social Research Methods: Third Edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 26-28. - Cirt.gcu.edu. (2018). Writing a Good Research Question – Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching. [online] Available at: https://cirt.gcu.edu/research/developmentresources/tutorials/question

Lara Mythillos said : Guest Report 5 months ago

Research questions have the intentions of expressing an idea or concept through a theoretical framework. What makes a good and bad research question comes down to the ability of the researcher in using the question to their advantage to set up the research process and investigation. A good research question is clearly focused to allow effective investigation, which is not based on social assumptions (Natalier, 2013). The research question will explain the aim and key ideas the researcher will be elaborating on (Walters 2013 p13). A bad research question occurs when the researcher is to broad, confusing or has closed the question, which does not allow for thorough research (Walter 2013). If the research question is not “clearly and simply articulated” (Natalier 2013, p. 27) the findings can be affected as the research can change course and not achieve what was originally required. Whether the research question is good or bad, it must still have the ability to test theory and develop evidence (Fawce & Downs 1992: 4) to social questions through understanding characteristics surrounding the topic. Theoretical paradigms play an important role in allowing the researcher to investigate themes enhancing the clarity and future outcome of the question and research process (Natalier, 2013). #S234UOW18 #Lab1 #Thu830 Walter, N 2013, ‘Chapter 1 – The Nature of Social Science Research’, Social Research Methods, Third Edition, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, pp. 6 – 24. Natalier, K 2013, ‘Chapter 2 – Research Design, Social Research Methods’, Third Edn, South Melbourne Oxford University Press, pp. 25 – 49.

Curtis said : Guest Report 5 months ago

According to Sandberg and Alvesson (2011, p.24), a strong research question has the potential to “generate new knowledge about the world, resolve disciplinary controversies, contribute to solving social problems, and debunk common sense understandings about a range of social phenomena”. Therefore, it is crucial to construct a good question for research to be worthwhile and beneficial. Bouma and Ling (2004, p.14) highlight two common characteristics of a strong question: an awareness of the limited scope of a single question, and a relation to empirical phenomena; that the question can be answered through the study of tangible things. Further, a strong research question acknowledges feedback loops; theory shapes data (deductive research), and data shapes theory (inductive research) (Patulny, 2018). When constructing a research question, it is beneficial to identify gaps and limitations in existing knowledge, as certain social groups may not have been studied in connection with a researcher’s topic (Sandberg & Alvesson, 2011, p.24). Additionally, a concept-driven approach is stronger than a topic-driven approach, as the researcher’s focus will be directed to their intended study, rather than a broader topic area (Natalier, 2013, p.27). Through this ‘gap-spotting’, concept-driven approach, research duplication can be avoided, resulting in a more original, captivating research project (Sandberg & Alvesson, 2011, p.24). An inadequate research question may be produced through an absence of any of the aforementioned concepts. Bad research questions are typically rushed, have ambiguous or convoluted phrasing, or investigate answered questions, due to a lack of research (Natalier, 2013, p.28). Therefore, a good research question forms the research, and should be the golden standard for social research. References: Bouma, G.D & Ling, R 2004, The Research Process, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, p.14. Natalier, K 2013, ‘Research Design’ in M Walter’s (ed.) Social Research Methods: Third Edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 26-28. Patulny, R 2018, “Introduction – Social Research and Research Questions”, lecture, SOC234: Social Research Methods, University of Wollongong, delivered 26 February 2018. Sandberg, J & Alvessson, M 2010, ‘Ways of constructing research questions: gap spotting or problematization?’, Organization, vol. 18, no. 1, pp 24-28.

Harvey Davies said : Guest Report 5 months ago

There are several key principles that should be morally followed before conducting research on human participants, helping avoid raising any complex ethical issues. These principles are: minimising the risk of harm; obtaining informed consent; protecting anonymity and confidentiality; avoiding deceptive practices and providing the right to withdraw (Laerd Dissertation, 2012). During research, participants have a right to remain comfortable and unharmed. There are varying types of harm that participants can be subjected to, including physical harm, privacy and social disadvantage. In order to minimise the risk of harm, researchers need to take the ethical value of participants into consideration and not engage in activities that run the risk of harm. Fidelity is a key principle that involves the act of being faithful to participants; failure to remain faithful when dealing with participants completely limits their autonomy. There are many types of ethical issues that arise in our contemporary society, all of which could be avoided using the correct methods of research. Different ethical boundaries are set throughout different sets of data, challenging researchers in numerous ways. For example, qualitative methods can cause distress for participants as they aim to discover more in-depth answers through differing sets of questions. To overcome this chance of distress, researchers must use questions that each participant would be able to comfortably answer without it feeling personal. Essentially, the most crucial factor of the research method is that the method must suit the research topic and question (Walter, 2013).

Kellie John said : Guest Report 5 months ago

Blog: A successful research question clearly defines the purpose of the research and outlines the concepts that are under investigation. When constructing a good research question the researcher keeps in mind the audience under investigation and whether they are collecting quantitative or qualitative data. They use key words to make the type of data clear to the participants, for example “number of people” or “what’s your understanding of…” etc. Successful questions also involve researchers conducting background reading on past questions relating to their topic, this helps make their question more effective due to having more knowledge about the topic of interest and learning from past experiments errors and breakthroughs (Lewis S 2015). Effective construction also involves asking questions that are realistic and can be examined, for example “how do you feel about global warming?”, rather than “how many people will it take to stop global warming?”. Failing to ask questions that are measurable gives inaccurate data. Ineffective research questions may fail to consider ethical issues, for example asking questions that may involve a person’s private information. This can cause data to be ineffective due to participants having feelings of pressure or vulnerability that creates biased answers. Bad questions may contain slang or spelling errors making the work unprofessional and confusing for participants. In relation to this if the question is to broad participants will most likely have trouble constructing answers, this is why it is important to create questions that are concise (Downe‐Wamboldt B 1992), (Lewis S 2015). References: 1. Downe‐Wamboldt, B., 1992. Content analysis: method, applications, and issues. Health care for women international, 13(3), pp.313-321 2. Lewis, S., 2015. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health promotion practice, 16(4), pp.473-475.

Andrew Minutillo said : Guest Report 5 months ago

Good research questions are inextricably linked to good social research. Kristin Natalier states that a research question provides drive, foundation and focus for a project (Natalier. 2013, p.26). It is often that without proper care taken, a question will lead to various issues later in the research process. Good research questions must be distinct. Research questions in which provide a clear purpose or aim often allow for the construction of solid parameters for the research to be made. If the question is unclear, it’s often difficult for the responder to follow the argument made, moreover, the researcher to stay focused. Similarly, Natalier sights Bouma and Ling (2004: 14) in stating that good research questions must allow for the study of observable and tangible things; yet, limited in scope as to neither narrow out nor yield too wide of a scope. This relates back to having a distinct purpose, if what is to be researched is too broad then it is likely that the path of the research will become lost. Bad research questions likely have been made without proper care taken on the phrasing. A bad research question uses convoluted, over-complicated, vague or over-conceptual language (Natalier. 2013, p.27.). The language used in the question must be of a formal and sophisticated level, however, a superfluous level then creates an unclear understanding as to what is being proven or studied. It is clear that a research question is of optimum importance and must be generated with care. REFERENCES: Natalier, K. (2013) “Chapter 2 - Research Design” in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p25-49. Bouma, G.D. & Ling, R. (2004). The Research Process. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Patulny, R (2018) “Introduction – Social Research and Research Questions,”. SOC234, University of Wollongong. Viewed 05/03/2018.

Emily said : Guest Report 5 months ago

Research is fundamentally how we develop and uncover new ideas in any circumstance, therefore it must be undergone correctly in order to differentiate between a good research project and a bad. Therefore, it begins with research questions and coincidently “what makes a good and bad” one? These questions are what construct the future answers, evidence and objectivity to a core argument and are used to relate the steps: Theory to Methodology and therefore ensure that all three are coinciding with one another for compatibility. Firstly, good research questions, “state the major aim of the research in question form, specifying the key idea that the research seeks to investigate and/ or explain and also identifying the key concepts of the research.” (Walters 2010 p13). More specifically, the question is clear, concise and produces a purposeful topic to delve into whilst objectively posing the kind of research to be undertaken for an answer – qualitative or quantitative. Alternatively, bad research questions can be identified as “too general or vague” and can be “very difficult to answer” (Ezzy 2010 p65). An example of this may be, “what defines happiness?” This is not only vague but can present subjectivity and bias with each individual as they answer to what they believe is their own happiness. As a result, this can skew final results and compromise the entire research project. Furthermore, it weakens the argument as it only allows for qualitative research not quantitative whereas a good research question should be able to incorporate both. #S234UOW18 #lab3 #Thurs830 References: Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods, 3nd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p13-65 ‘Introduction – Social Research and Social Questions,’ SOC234, University of Wollongong, viewed 07/03/2018. S, Amin, 2017, ‘The Art Of Asking: Good Research Questions Vs Bad Research Questions’.

Jack said : Guest Report 5 months ago

A good research question will assist the research process, whereas a bad one will slow it down. This is the essence of what makes a research question good or bad. A research question should be designed to be a guide for the research process (Walters 2013 p.26). This means that it is going to provide enough breadth to avoid constraining this process yet still be specific enough to prevent the researcher from straying too far away from the topic being investigated. Research questions (usually) form as the result of a curiosity about a topic and so they should be something the researcher will actively want to engage with. Walters cites Bouma and Ling (2004) in saying that we should seek to design a question which has elements that can be empirically researched (Walters, p.27). I would add that it is also ok and often helpful to have qualitative aspects involved as well. Furthermore, a good research question will garner interest in the topic. A bad question may have a simple answer (that doesn’t facilitate a major research project) or be too difficult to research in a given context and with the resources available. In short, a research question needs to be well thought out. References: Walter, M (2013) “The Foundations of Good Social Science Research” Chapter 1 in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p3-24. Natalier, K (2013) “Chapter 2 - Research Design” in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p25-49. Patulny, R (2018) “Introduction – Social Research and Research Questions,” SOC234, University of Wollongong, delivered 26/022018.

Tamika said : Guest Report 5 months ago

A successful research question will enable a researcher to provide direction, a clear focus and set boundaries, which enhances participants to become further engaged and develop a deeper insight of social phenomena (O'leary 2004, p.28). In comparison, a bad research question will limit the researchers ability to access qualitative information, such as assessing behaviours and drawing understanding (Walter 2010, p.26). Qualitative research unfolds a good research question by a naturalistic approach, and according to Patton (2001, p.39), reveals a, "real world setting where the researcher does not attempt to manipulate the phenomena of interests", but allows it to unfold naturally. O'Leary (2004, p.34) considers a good research question needs to be narrowed and clarified in order for it to be easily "researchable", however if this is unsuccessful, questions become too broad and wide, which can cause "ambiguity to arise". Verdouw (2008) provides an example of a broad research question stating, "what is a good life". This ultimately proved to be too difficult to analyse as Verdouw could not discuss the many different aspects of, "what is a good Life" from the the experiences of 41 participants (Verdouw 2008, pp. 65-67). Furthermore a research question can become unreliable if they are only researchable in theory and not in practice (O'Leary 2004, p.40). Questions such as, “Does split parenting alter a child's decisions of choice”, can be time-consuming as observations will need to be taken over a longer period, and the researcher could lack access to information due to the privacy and protection of the child. References: O’Leary, Z 2004, The Essential Guide To Doing Research, Sage, London. Patton, Q 2002, Qualitative evaluation and research methods, 3rd edn, Sage Publication, Thousand Oaks. Verdouw, J 2008, “For the Love of Money: Moral Orientations Towards Money in the Good Life”, Univeristy of Tasmania, viewed 6 March 2018. Walter, M 2010, Social Research Method, 2nd edn, Vic. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne

Rebekah Shiba said : Guest Report 5 months ago

Often in social research there is difference between a good social research question and a bad research question. To identify the difference between the good and bad research question the researcher must investigate whether the social topic that is being researched is broad and opens itself to be dissected and broken down into further open ended question that allows the researcher to seek answers to social questions that we and others ask about our society. (Walter 2013, p.4) A clear research question will state the aim of the researcher in question form and will specify the key ideas in which needs investigating while explaining and identifying the key concepts of the research (Patulny, 2018). Bad research questions will be narrow minded meaning that the question has no answer or can be answered in a brief or short paragraph or sentence. While a good research question should be “clearly and simply articulated” (Natalier 2013, p. 27-28). A good social research question should not be based on the researchers own opinion but on the societal issues meaning that “Theory forms data, and data forms theory” (Patulny, 2018) one’s own bias should not be represented in forming the question. Natalier (2013) further reinforces the idea that “Theory forms data, and data forms theory” (Patulny, 2018) as good researcher will avoid framing a question around a particular a method but allow the question to be the precursor to the selection of the method (Natalier 2013, p. 27-28). A good researcher will not repeat asking a question that has already been answered but instead will develop the information from the previous research and find the limitations and gaps in the existing knowledge and form a question around that topic (Natalie 2013, p. 27-28). #S234UOW18 #Lab1 #Thu830 References:. Walter, M (2013) “Chapter 1 - The Foundations of Good Social Science Research” in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p3-24 Natalier, K (2013) “Chapter 2 - Research Design” in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p25-49 Patulny, R (2018) “Introduction – Social Research and Research Questions,” SOC234, University of Wollongong, viewed 05/03/2018.

Izaak said : Guest Report 5 months ago

Formulating a good research question has a lot to do with focus, breaking down ideas into their most basic form and addressing that core issue. The question may seek to illuminate a complex issue, but this focus allows us to narrow the scope and eliminate irrelevant information. The centre for innovation in research and teaching has developed guidelines for creating a good research question (Cirt.gcu.edu, 2018). These guidelines delineate between weak and strong research questions by asking if its measureable if it can it be supported or contradicted and if the methodology to conduct the research feasible. (Cirt.gcu.edu, 2018). An example of a poor research question is "How has the media portrayed health". This research question uses vague terminology such as media and health. Both these terms encompass a broad spectrum of meanings, media can be referring to television, the internet or social media and health could be any aspect of mental or physical health. The question can be restructured to ask, "How has the Australian television series "X" portrayed depression since 2015". These research questions both fit within the same topic, but the latter has been strengthened by adding specific terminology. Some of the previous blog posts have also addressed issues with research questions such as Craig who outlined that questions should not be influenced by personal bias and Elizabeth adding that new ideas posed should open a useful line of social inquiry. Reference: Cirt.gcu.edu. (2018). Writing a Good Research Question - Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching. [online] Available at: https://cirt.gcu.edu/research/developmentresources/tutorials/question [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].

Maggie Sydenham said : Guest Report 5 months ago

MAGGIE SYDENHAM The most basic requirement for a research project is that the researcher really wants to know something about the subject.  Sometimes a vague idea can be firmed up by undertaking a brief literature review to get an idea of what research has already been done on the subject.  This can reveal a gap in existing research which will advise the specific question to be asked.  Denscombe (2012) advises first setting out the parameters of a research proposal and broadly what it is likely to achieve followed bythe literature review to ensure that the proposed research is not duplicating prior studies.  He suggests that that is the time to articulate the specific research question. A pertinent, clearly articulated research question will give the research a defined purpose and by continuously referring back to the question, the researcher can keep on track and limit the possibility of a loss of focus (Punch, 1999, p. 38).  A convoluted question will result in confusing results.  One should not be precious about a particular method of research (e.g. quantitative or qualitative approaches) and if the project asks questions that have been posed in previous research project there is a risk of duplication (Walter, 2013, Ch. 2)  To sum up:  a good research question will succinctly articulate the purpose of the research in order to obtain reliable results.  A bad research question is one that is not clearly stated and could have the effect of the researcher losing focus and getting off track. Denscombe, M (2012) Research Proposals, A practical guide, McGraw-Hill:Berkshire Punch, K F (1999) Introduction of Social Research, Quantitative & Qualitative Approaches, Sage Publications: London Walter, M (2013) Social Research Methods, (3rd ed) Oxford University Press:South Melbourne.

Lexe Evans said : Guest Report 5 months ago

Research questions are primarily used to show concepts that the researcher wishes to achieve throughout researching the topic of interest (Natalier 2013, p.26). A good research question can take the “researcher beyond the topic of interest to nailing down exactly what it is that they want to know” (Ezzy 2013, p.54). Before generating a research question, it is important that the researcher thinks through all aspects of the area of interest, as well as “identifying existing gaps and limitations in existing knowledge,” this is significant in creating a good research question (Natalier 2013, p.27). After the researcher has identified aspects of the area, a good research questions can be achieved through the question being coherent, easily understood and specific (Punch 2014, p. 76). Developing a good research question, sets boundaries within the research, providing a direction in which to take the research, as well as determining a focus for the analysis and appropriate methods (Natalier 2013, p.27). Alternately, a bad question is characterised as “unclear and not specific enough”, which further affects the direction of the research (Punch 2014, p. 76). Bad questions are characterisised from creating questions that are long, complicated or are too general, as well as questions that have already been answered. As Ezzy (2010, p.65) said, “research questions that are too general or vague can be very difficult to answer”, resulting in research projects that lose direction due to the development of a bad research question. References: Ezzy, D 2010, ‘The Research Process’, in M Walter (ed), Social Research Methods, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp 61-86. Ezzy, D 2013, ‘The Research Process’, in M Walter (ed), Social Research Methods, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp 50-72. Natalier, K 2013, ‘Research Design’, in M Walter (ed), Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp 25-49. Punch, KF 2014, Introduction to Social Research Quantitative & Qualitative Approaches, 3rd edn, Sage Publishing, London. Walter, M (ed.) 2013, Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Craig said : Guest Report 5 months ago

When discussing good and bad aspects of a research question one of the main contributing factors to a successful question and one that is often missed, is taking the time to think about all areas of the research topic. It is imperative to not rush this initial process, “People often move straight from the research focus and jump directly to the research method” (Natalier, 2013 p. 26) leaving their research unshaped and often without boundaries. A quality research question ideally has a literature review performed on the research topic to help find gaps in existing knowledge (Natalier, 2013 p. 27). This avoids the possibility of any duplication of data by asking questions that have already been asked and previously researched. This will therefore drive the direction of were their research question can be targeted. Targeting a research question towards concepts rather than just topics can also be indicative of a good research question. For example, focusing on sexuality or gender (Natalier, 2013 p. 27) helps give boundaries by which to focus research. Weak questions can sometimes be broad and vague whilst in contrast a bad research question can often also be long and complicated (p. 28). Poor research questions lack the evidence of being precise and articulate (Natalier, 2013 p. 28) and often do not include the use of sub questions which help identify key concepts. It is also important to note that although topics by researchers are often influenced by their interests and values (Natalier, 2013 p. 27) which often lead to astounding research, that a bad research question will show signs of bias from the respective researcher’s standpoint (Walter, 2013 p. 11). References: Walter, N 2013, ‘Chapter 1 – The Nature of Social Science Research’, Social Research Methods, Third Edn, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, pp. 3 – 24 Natalier, K 2013, ‘Chapter 2 – Research Design, Social Research Methods, Third Edn, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, pp. 25 - 49

Tiana said : Guest Report 5 months ago

The research question is the most important aspect of the research design and key to the research process (Walter, M, 2013 p. 25). Maggie Walter (2013 p. 26) states that without a good research question, the study will often have no coherence or direction as it is what shapes the research project. Research questions should be clearly articulated and concise for researchers to understand what the project will study and bring to knowledge. Bouma and Ling (2004: 14) acknowledges that there are two points that make a strong research question: A research question can not cover every aspect of a specific topic, and that the question can be answered by studying situations/objects that can be observed. Through this knowledge, research questions should be specific to a concept within a topic, and they should explore a new area to generate new knowledge about the world (Walter, M, 2013 p. 26). Research questions should not be too broad as each project should have a clear focus as to what the researchers want to find within their studies (Walter, M, 2013 p. 27). An example of a broad question would be “What causes divorce?”, however questions that are long and complicated should also be avoided. It is important to research what it is that you are interest in finding to avoid using a research question that has already been answered (Walter, M, 2013 p. 28). Research questions help you lead to new discoveries about the world and generate new knowledge that can help with understand the world around us (Walter, M, 2013p. 26). Without a good research question, it is hard to enact a study that is focused on a specific concept. Walter, M., 2013. Social Research Methods. 3rd ed. Australia: Oxford University Press.

Oliver King said : Guest Report 5 months ago

According to Fawcett and Downs, research plays a fundamental role in the construction or testing of theory, allowing researchers to investigate and further explore certain phenomena with specific goals and purposes in order to develop concepts regarding those phenomena (Fawcett and Downs, 1986, p. 4). Therefore, a good research question needs to be specific and identify the central ideas within the subject matter that it is designed to investigate, as it helps determine that the research performed is clear and focused and will be beneficial in the development of theories (Walter, 2013; Patulny, 2018). Conversely, a bad research question instead focuses on a broad topic and may also be too unclear or generic and can in turn produce research information unrelated or unusable for theory development or testing. However, whilst it is important to make sure a research question is not too broad, it also cannot be too narrow, as this can lead to difficulty in gathering a sufficient quantity of results (Patulny, 2018). The construction of an effective research question also necessitates thorough understanding of preceding studies performed relating to the subject matter that the research question intends to investigate, as it provides identification of potential gaps in previously founded knowledge which can be investigated for current study (Natalier, 2013). Additionally, an effective social research question should have some form of relevancy to occurrences within contemporary society, so as to provide insight through which individuals can attain greater understanding of current social events and conventions (Ezzy, 2010). Natalier, K (2013), “Chapter 2 – Research Design” in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013), Social Research Methods, 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, pp. 25-49. Patulny, R (2018), Lecture 1 Introduction, PowerPoint, Social Research Methods SOC 234. University of Wollongong, viewed 02/03/2018. Walter, M (2013), “The Foundations of Good Social Science Research” Chapter 1 in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013), Social Research Methods, 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, pp. 3-24.

Elise said : Guest Report 5 months ago

The solitary purpose of research is to examine existing and to also produce original theories, specifically within Sociology (Patulny, 2018). The data obtained, is the evidence of the assumptions of the theory being researched (Patulny, 2018). “Theory forms data, and data forms theory” (Patulny, 2018). The concentration of a research project is specified directly within the research question (Patulny, 2018). For Sociological research to be successful, the research question itself should be developed with importance, patience and precision (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). Creating a strong and driven question will positively contribute towards the moulding of all other stages of the research project (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). If a research question is strong, it should be able to acquire original information, recognise complications within the social world and assist in developing resolutions for these issues (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). A good question should provide the researcher with guidance and focus (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). It should also be consistent throughout (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). To assist in the development of a good research question, the researcher should look at the current breaks within present information (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). A bad research question is one that has been rushed with minimal consideration (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). Questions should not be based on topics that are supernatural or ethical (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). They should also not be extensive or problematic (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). Do not develop questions on concepts and theories that have already been covered by previous research (Natalier 2013, p. 25-49). #S234UOW18 #Lab1 #Thu830 References: Natalier, K 2013, ‘Chapter 2 – Research Questions’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods, 3rd Edition, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, pp. 25-49. Patulny, R 2018, ‘Social Research Methods – Introduction’, Lecture 1, SOC234, University of Wollongong, delivered 26 February, viewed 06/03/2018.

Brodie said : Guest Report 5 months ago

What makes a good and bad research question? Social Research is used to investigate social issues or questions. Fawcett and Downs state that the function of research is to generate or test theory (1986, p. 4), so the aim of a research question, is to add direction to such research. This being, one should hazard a guess that to create a good research question, it requires a purpose. Enquiring upon a topic of interest to the researcher ensures that the question will remain focussed, concise, arguable, and ultimately clear. On the contrary, a bad question will often be too vague, or ramble. Kurtz argues that the subject of Sociological questions has often become too irrelevant to normal people, as if to question their viability (2007, p. 283). ‘Are men better leaders because they are more often chosen over women to be leaders in parliament, business, or academics?’ In this example, Ezzy tests traditional stances to ask a question that appeals to a certain authority (2010, p. 61). By doing this, the question maintains its viability by following the guidelines – focussed, concise, arguable and clear. These guidelines therefore assure a good essay question. Ezzy, D., 2006. The Research Process. Fawcett, J. & Downs, F.S., 1986. The Relationship of Theory and Research. Kurtz, T., 2007. Sociological theory and sociological practice. Acta Sociologica, 50(3), pp.283-294.

Carina Severs said : Guest Report 5 months ago

According to Denscombe (2014, p. 2), to gauge whether a question is either good or bad you need “test to ensure the question can extract the information accurately to interpret the social phenomenon” you are interested in. If it does not accurately reflect the social phenomenon, then the question including the research method and methodology, would “need to be reviewed to ensure the most reliable information is gathered” (Denscombe 2014, p. 2). According to O'leary (2004, p. 1) “It is a creative and strategic process which involves constantly assessing, reassessing and making decisions about the best possible means for obtaining trustworthy information, carrying out appropriate analysis and drawing credible conclusions”. Further, “questions should be able to be consistently understood and ask for answers which respondents are able to provide” (Fowler & Floyd 2007, p. 63). There are a multitude of considerations when developing a question for research, including social, political or cultural bias, target group, validity, loaded words producing loaded results and many more. If we do not pose innovative research questions it is less likely that our research efforts will generate interesting and influential theories (Alvesson, M and Sandberg, J 2013, p. 47). High quality questions distinguish the exceptional from average research, which could give us insignificant or negligible results.Alvesson, M, and Sandberg, J 2013, Constructing research questions: Doing interesting research, Sage, London. Denscombe, M 2014, The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects, McGraw-Hill Education (UK). Fowler, Floyd J Jr 2001, Why it is easy to write bad questions, ZUMA Nachrichten 25, pp. 49-66. URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-208000 O'leary, Z 2004, The essential guide to doing research, Sage

Karissa said : Guest Report 5 months ago

In research there are good research questions and there are bad research questions. Identifying between the two requires a lot of investigation into exactly how the question seeks its answer. A good research question must be very specific in its approach and needs to be important within society while a bad research question will be vague and cause unreliable data to be found. A good research question will have had plenty of previous study and research into the topic, covering any questions that may be raised but it also makes the research current and shows that there is knowledge in that specific area. A poor research question is unclear in its approach and is unable to address details within the research area, for example using questions that have only one direction. For example: does being a uni student make you stressed emotionally and/or financially? This leaves the question to go in two different directions when we ideally want a direct and specific answer to the question. This kind of question is problematic and can leave participants confused, making them respond with unreliable answers. This will negatively influence the research results found. It also needs to be ensured that no bias or skewing of questions is occurring. The researcher must not let their own subjectivity compromise the research and if thoughts or questions are raised the researcher would then follow up with previous research or findings on that topic and examine whether this question should be changed or should continue. #S234UOW18 #Thu830 References: M, Walter, 2013 ‘Social Research Methods’, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press Melbourne, Vic. R, Patulny, (2018) ‘Introduction – Social Research and Social Questions,’ SOC234, University of Wollongong, viewed 02/03/2018. S, Amin, 2017, ‘The Art Of Asking: Good Research Questions Vs Bad Research Questions’.

Elizabeth Carter said : Guest Report 5 months ago

A successful sociological research question plays a foundational role in a research project (Patulny, 2018). It must highlight the core topic and theories to be examined in a specific and coherent manner (Walter, 2013). This ensures understanding and transparency that would not be present in a poorly constructed question that was difficult to decipher and too general (Walter, 2013). For an effective question, preliminary research must be conducted into existing social theory (Natalier 2013). This identifies established studies to determine if the topic area is changed, to understand breaches in knowledge and to identify contradictory research (Natalier, 2013). The idea must then be evaluated as to whether it will open a useful line of social inquiry, whether it is able to be studied following scientific methodology and if it will increase understanding of the social phenomena (Walter, 2013). Without this literary review, the question will be ill-informed and likely irrelevant. A research question must be applicable to human subjects in their dynamic society and personal spheres (Patulny, 2018). This involves an ability for the question to be adapted for an ethical investigation and demands awareness of the drivers that have led to the formulation of the question (Kurtz, 2007). This includes the social milieus of the researchers and their theoretical paradigms (Walter, 2013). A lack of consideration of the ‘humanness’ in the question will lead to inconsequence of any data collected (Patulny, 2018). #S234UOW18 #Lab1 #Thu830 References: Kurtz, T. (2007) “Sociological Theory and Sociological Practice”. Acta Sociologica: 50(3): 283 – 294. Natalier, K (2013) “Chapter 2 - Research Design” in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p25-49 Patulny, R (2018) “Introduction – Social Research and Research Questions,” SOC234, University of Wollongong, viewed 03/01/2018. Walter, M (2013) “Chapter 1 - The Foundations of Good Social Science Research” in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p3-24

alisha said : Guest Report 5 months ago

What makes a good or bad research question? Asking a good or bad research question requires dual consideration for the cultural production from which it manifests and attempts to investigate. Research questions are positioned within epistemological perspectives. Asking a good research question may rely on the prescribed practices of Walter (2013, p.7): professionalism, ethical integrity, transparency and rigor thus, allowing for explicit questions and provision of security in the face of public scrutiny. Clarity and lack of ambiguity, aligned with keywords and regard for the respondents to be questioned, also bare significance upon the success or failure of a research question. This is particularly apparent as outlined and illustrated by Walter (2013, p.14) whereby respondent perceptions and interpretations are outside the dominant culture from where the question is being asked. For further details on such bad research questions refer to . To inform the research design, good questions rely upon: precision, specificity, clarity of focus, aim and curiosity (Patulny 2018). To be without a concise research question or operating with a bad one, the foundations of the research will be void of boundaries and direction (Natalier 2013, p.26). Regardless of the phenomenon of investigation, the research question should be limited in scope and pursuing empirical evidence (Natalier 2013, p.27). Ensuring keywords are utilized by narrowing down the concept from broad topics with prior research. A good research question will determine focus and methods therefore, the researcher is best to shape a question through thorough reading and review of existing literature (Patulny 2018). Moreover, this practice will enable identification of contradictions and limitations of previous research, while helping to avoid the re-asking of questions already exhaustibly explored (Natalier 2013, p.27). References Morphy, F 2002, ‘When Systems Collide: The 2001 Census at a Northern Territory Outstation’, in DF Martin, F Morphy, WG Sanders & J Taylor (ed.), Making Sense of the Census: Observations of the 2001 Enumeration in Remote Australia, CAEPR, Canberra, pp. 29-73. Natalier, K 2013, ‘Research Design’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press, Victoria, pp. 25-49. Patulny, R 2018, ‘Social Research Methods’, lecture, SOC234, Wollongong University, delivered 26 February. Walter, M 2013, ‘The Foundations of Good Social Science Research’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press, Victoria, pp. 3-24.

Maggie said : Guest Report 6 months ago

Prior investigation into the limitations of previous studies within your research area can inform the development of a good research question (Walter, M 2013). By doing so, the researchers can ensure current and known knowledge is not re-studied or re-investigated and gaps within present obtainable literature can be considered (Walter, M 2013). Through identifying specific concepts within a topic, researchers ensure energy and focus is paid to a desired notion and is not consumed by a complete and broad area (Walter, M 2013). For instance, paying interest towards a specific demographic, gender, race, or cultural background, rather than addressing all possible classes. A good research question also adopts the iterative process as it acknowledges that theory shapes data and that data shapes theory, visible through the inductive (Data → Hypothesis) and deductive (Hypothesis → Data) cycle (Patulny, R. 2018). Alternatively, a poor research question is ambiguous in nature and fails to address and question specifics within the research area (Walter, M 2013). For instance; Asking ‘What is important to students’ in comparison to questioning ‘what specific needs does the bachelor of psychological science fulfil for students of the university of Wollongong?’. In contrast, by presenting a complex research question, participants may be confused and respond with brief, unreliable answers, ultimately impacting the obtained research results (Walter, M 2013). A poor research question can also be formed as a product of lack of reading into the research topic (Walter, M 2013). By failing to thoroughly review the area, researchers can risk repeating past studies as they investigate what has already been tested and currently known. #S234UOW18 #Thu830 References: Patulny, R. 2018, ‘Introduction – Social research & research questions’, SOC234, University of Wollongong. viewed 26/02/2018 Walter, M 2013, ‘Research Questions’, in Social Research Methods (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, Victoria, pp. 26-27

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