course project task iii developing a research question

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Assignment 2: Course Project Task III/Developing a Research Question

In Module 1, you posted your initial research topic and potential research questions. You were then able to use the key words in your initial questions to help you locate research articles in the databases and to begin thinking about a possible theoretical or conceptual framework that could link them, as you reviewed empirical articles on your topic. You also received feedback from your peers and your instructor on your topic and initial questions, especially around how to think about research questions in a more focused, relational way: how one variable [independent] might relate to or affect another variable [dependent]. Consider these variables–think about what you might want to explore/investigate. Keep in mind what you have learned about theory: You may want to re-look at Creswell’s rainbow concept in Module 3 of a theoretical framework as an arc bridging possible variables. Also, think about the recent peer discussions around the idea of a theoretical or conceptual framework as another way to help you, along with the supplementary materials on research topics/research questions in Doc Sharing.

In Assignment 1 of this week, you reviewed and critiqued a literature review and saw how a question helps to frame the supporting literature to be reviewed and selected to highlight the importance of the research question and study.

By the due date assigned, submit your research question to the Discussion Area. Name your file W7000_M4_A2_lastname_firstinitial.doc.

Through the end of the module, read the research questions submitted by your peers. Offer your own assessments of their submissions. Provide balanced feedback, describing the strengths and the areas needing improvement.

Often peer feedback can offer helpful insights to assist you in viewing your work in a clear, but different way because the perspective of your peers comes from a comparable understanding. In fact, sometimes students are the best teachers because they have grappled with and solved similar problems.

You will receive feedback from your peers and facilitator on your submission.

All written assignments and responses should follow APA rules for attributing sources.

Please make sure you review the elements of the grading criteria and associated points carefully and make sure your assignment has addressed all t

Module 4 Overview

Presented a quote by William Faulkner, “I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it.”

Provides the learning outcomes on which the readings and assignments for this module are based.

  • Analyze and synthesize scholarly literature in critiquing different research genres.
  • Engage in ethical scholarship and utilize appropriate citation and referencing skills associated with dissertation and scholarly writing to avoid plagiarism/matching text.
  • Examine connections between the various academic writing genres (article critiques, annotated bibliographies, article synthesis), and how they contribute to the development of the literature review and to the dissertation.

You submitted your first draft of your research topic and potential research questions in Module 1 and received feedback from your classmates and instructor. You probably might be thinking about revising your research topic, based on the feedback. Some people believe that one of the most difficult parts of a dissertation is to be able to clearly state a research topic. You may be one of these.

As you revise your research topic, remember that you want a manageable research topic that will allow you to begin and finish your dissertation in a reasonable amount of time. As you provide feedback to others in your class, hopefully you will find that your feedback also assists you in better understanding your own topic. In this module, you re-state or refine your research topic and develop and/or refine a researchable question from your research topic.

The second assignment in Module 4 is to critique a literature review from a dissertation related to your topic. The goal is for you to review the different elements of a literature review and the strategies used by the author to synthesize the various sources. Also examine how the review has been organized. What principle has the author used? For instance, are the sections organized by key themes or in chronological order? As with your revised research topic, be sure to review the feedback that you receive on your first critique so that you can submit a stronger critique on this assignment. Remember that critiquing skills increase with practice.

When associated with research, literature refers to the body of scholarly, published work that exists on a given topic. Depending on your field, the body of established work may be in the form of journals, books, conference proceedings, government and corporate reports, theses and dissertations, or discipline specific magazines.

Think of a literature review as joining a conversation. If you walked into a conversation, you would not interrupt the people who were already in conversation, but would first stop and listen to what they were saying, think about what had been already said, and then add your input on the topic being discussed. Similarly a literature review is an account or evaluation of what has and has not been published on a specific topic. Your goal in writing such a review is to inform the reader as to what aspects of the topic have already been researched and written about, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the coverage of the specific topic, and then highlight the need and importance of your research. The review must be driven by a guiding concept, such as your research question, or the position you are taking on the topic and should not be a list of summaries of the related articles. It is usually a sign of a weak review to see every paragraph beginning with the name of a researcher. An indication of a well written review would be when you see the literature review organized into sections that present themes or trends, including relevant theory or theories related to the research question.

The purpose is not to list all the material published on the topic, but to synthesize and evaluate it according to the guiding concept of your thesis or research question. As mentioned in Module 3, this is where the theoretical framework comes into play since it helps to inform the direction and scope of the review. For instance, if your theoretical framework comprises of theories related to leadership, sociology, and cultural differences, your literature would be drawn from those specific fields.

Hence, writing a literature review is a scholarly exercise that reflects the student’s ability to scan the literature efficiently to identify a set of useful and relevant sources, to evaluate and identify unbiased and valid studies, and to compile information in such a manner as to present a cohesive and logical integration of trends that uncover existent gaps and highlight the importance and need for your proposed study.

In your literature review, you should have:

  • Integrated and evaluated the literature, by examining the patterns existing among the articles.
  • Discussed which studies were stronger.
  • Identified the weaknesses and/or gaps found in the literature.
  • Discussed the academic and practical significance of prior research.
  • Reiterated the need for your study.

Live Lecture Video
Watch the video below of a live lecture review. Click here for a transcript of this video.

Reminder: Those students who did not demonstrate proficiency as per the writing rubric on the writing prompt in Module 1 should have started working on the MyWritingLab Learning Path. You may work on this in a self-paced manner. The goal is to complete the Learning Path by Module 6 and to take the Mastery Check in Module 7.

he elements and in enough detail to merit full points.

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