Selection of a Research Problem

involves reading, discussing, and conceptualizing. A process of successive approximations to the problem as factors related to the problem are considered.

Statement of the Research Problem

concise and should identify the key factors (variables) of the research study.

constant

a characteristic or condition that is the same for all individuals in a study

variable

a characteristic that takes on different values or conditions for different individuals

dependent variable

"value of dependent variable depends on the independent variable"

dependent variables

aka outcome variables, are the values we calculate stastics with

Ex: study of the effect of teacher praise on reading achievement of second graders,** the dependent variable is reading achievement**

independent variables

"may affect the dependent variables"

Ex: study of the effect of teacher praise on reading achievement of second-graders,** independent variable is kind of praise**

manipulated independent variable

Ex: amount and kind of praise is **manipulated by researcher**

classifying independent variable

variable which cannot be manipulated

Ex: gender

control variable

- an independent variable other than the independent variable of primary interest whose effects are determined by the researcher

It is known to account for some/additional variation in the outcome of interest

Therefore, it’s effects are determined (or “controlled”) by the researcher in the design

It is included in analysis to get a clearer picture of the effects of the PRIMARY independent variable.

moderator variable

a variable that may or may not be controlled but has an effect in the researcg situation

Ex: grade level

Has many levels that can be combined with the levels of the independent variable of primary interest to produce different effects.

It affects the direction and/or strength of the relationship between primary independent and dependent variables

Can be qualitative (e.g., sex, class, race) or quantitative (e.g., levels of achievement)

confounding variable

variables operating in a specific situation such that their effects cannot be separated.

Ex: reading comprehension being a function of both passage length and grade level, cannot tell how much of the effect were due to each variable.

Difference uses of “Student Prior Achievement” in a study of teaching techniques

__As a Control Variable__: Study focuses on high achievers

__As a Moderating Variable:__ Sort students as ”over, at, & below” grade level –different techniques

__**Confounding Variable__: Known to influence, but not included in the research design

operational definition

define how or by what means we are going to measure the variable

Ex: Ability to learn: score on the LM Form of SBI Scale

Science Achievement: Score on science subtest

Concept attainment performance: time to solve 5 problems

Types of operational definitions

__1. Constructed in terms of how the particular object or thing operates:__

Motivation: persistent attendance of students in school as measured by number of days attended

__2. Constructed in terms of what an object or phenomenon looks like__

Team teaching: utilization of two or more teachers to develop lesson plans and teach in one or more subject areas for a fixed set of students

__3. Constructed in terms of operations performed to cause the phenomenon to occur:__

Conflict: a state produce by placing two or more individuals in a situation where each has the same goal but only one can obtain it.

hypothesis

a guess at the solution to a problem, the status of the situation, or relationship of two or more variables

substantive hypothesis

aka research hypothesis

- tentative statements about the expected outcomes for the variables of the research study

Ex : "As punitive, disciplinary methods are increased in an elementary school, student achievement will decrease."

statistical hypothesis

- given in statistical terms

- statement about one or more parameters that are measures of the populations under study

Ex: The mean reading achievement of the population of third grade students taught by Method A equals the mean reading achievement of the population taught by Method B."

null hypothesis

no difference or relationship is hypothesized

alternative hypothesis

indicates the situation corresponding to when the null hypothesis is not true

non directional research hypothesis

does not state a direction

Ex: Equals/ does not equal

directional research hypothesis

states a direction

Ex: is less than/ is greater than

foreshadowed problems

specific research problems, possibly stated in question form, that provide a focus for the research

What is research?

Empirical

Informed by a particular theory and current knowledge

Conducted in a systematic process (5 steps)

Reliable [consistent in execution]

Valid [internally and externally]

Informed by a particular methodological approach