Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Starting research: Loosing your way to finding it

I am writing this post to bring to the attention of all students who are keen on doing research on any topic in the domain of media and communication. The search usually begins with associating some personal observation or maybe simply browsing through a couple of books or research papers on your topic of interest. Mind you topic of research is is not the research problem or research question itself.

Sometimes you may want to simply test a theory, test its applicability and so a need to do research. Many a times I have been asked what is this need to study theory. I would say majorly for two reasons. One you need to understand the phenomenon so study a theory or second to study a phenomenon to theorize it. That is where research comes in, and the need to study theory and research together as subjects to understand how the world we live in operates, how we work? etc.

The most crucial part is getting down to your research problem or research question, which requires tremendous amount of reading. Research papers from journals, books, speaking to people to know that you haven't taken any ride which will lead to you to nowhere. Research question is most basic to a research topic. It is the guide or the map that will define your path of doing research.

As Zina O'leary clealry gives steps on forming a research question which sums it all:-

  • What is your topic?
  • What is the context for your research? community, school etc
  • What do you want to achieve? i.e to discover, to describe, to change, to explore, to explain, to develop, to understand...
  • What is the nature of your research question? i.e. a what? who, where, how, when or why question
  • Are there any potential relationships you want to explore? i.e impacts, increases, decreases, relationships, correlations, causes etc. (Researching Real-World Problems: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry)

You may not find direct reading material on your chosen topic but sometimes you may have to link different researches and theories to your current topic. So it may be overwhelming or a feel of getting lost in so much information, but you have to loose your way to find it.

No comments:

Post a Comment