Ever wonder…?

image source

Research… We all wonder about things, so how do we go about answering these questions? Aside from obtaining fundamental knowledge, research can help guide additional understanding in a field, answer practical questions, provide solutions, and guide further research. Almost everyone is familiar with some type of research whether it’s formal or informal, basic or applied.

So you’ve decided to do some research… but where do you start? Most areas of formal research require a fair bit of planning, funding, organization, even an ethics review or permission from government for example. How do you decide what to research? What is the purpose of your research and what do you hope to gain? First, you will need a good research question.

Some common themes emerge when we look at developing a research question:

  • Is the question clear and logical?
  • Is it testable or reproducible?
  • Is it free of bias?
  • Will it produce quality evidence?

When we develop research strategies, these qualities are important in developing and carrying out quality research. The goal is to produce strong evidence that answers your research question. Research is not about “proving” a theory, rather building evidence in support of a theory. If the research question is ill defined it will be difficult to reproduce. If the research question has bias it will not produce quality evidence. Research is about exploration of knowledge. When thinking about a research question, keep in mind the road to discovery may not lead where you expect. Keep an open mind and focus on obtaining quality evidence to answer the question.

2 Replies to “Ever wonder…?”

  1. Thanks for the great post Emma. I keep having that prevent bias in the research question is just as important as preventing bias in the research itself. I really liked your padlet question, and the reflection that by adding the word “improve” you are inherently inserting what you think or would like to see discovered. I am finding it really interesting that such small words can seriously impact our discoveries or our projects. This is something I know I will have to pay attention to as we move forward through the program.

  2. Great post and appreciated your caution to avoid setting out to “prove” something and to remain open to discovery of evidence that addresses your question.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.