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2012 choosing a research topic

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2012 choosing a research topic

  1. 1. CHOOSING A GOOD RESEARCH TOPIC Raffles Institution Year 1 Research Education
  2. 2. OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROCESS Topic Identification Choosing a Research Topic (Assignment 1) Methodology Social Survey (Assignment 2) Interview (Assignment 3) Data Analysis & Interpretation Report Writing (Assignment 4)
  3. 3. We Do Research Everyday! <ul><li>E.g. Compare handphone plans or models </li></ul><ul><li>Methods used: </li></ul><ul><li>Ask people for their opinions (survey) </li></ul><ul><li>Read user reviews or search the internet (read up different sources) </li></ul>
  4. 4. SIX ELEMENTS OF A GOOD TOPIC ELEMENTS OF A GOOD TOPIC WHAT HAPPENS IF IT IS MISSING? #1 INTEREST <ul><li>Lose interest, no motivation to work on the project </li></ul>#2 FOCUSED <ul><li>The project is too broad and ends up being superficial </li></ul>
  5. 5. SIX ELEMENTS OF A GOOD TOPIC ELEMENTS OF A GOOD TOPIC IF MISSING? #3 SIGNIFICANT <ul><li>Project will not be as interesting and outstanding compared to others </li></ul>#4 REASONABLE SCOPE <ul><li>Project run the risk of not being completed on time or impossible to implement </li></ul>#5 LITERATURE IS AVAILABLE <ul><li>Project may lack evidence to substantiate claims </li></ul>
  7. 7. Copyright (c) 2010 J&C Research Consultants Pte. Ltd.
  8. 8. Copyright (c) 2010 J&C Research Consultants Pte. Ltd. … Professor Brenner shared the importance of choosing a good research topic…
  9. 9. Which research topic do you think would be more significant and interesting? <ul><li>The role of genes in controlling programmed cell death (apoptosis) </li></ul><ul><li>The discovery of genes that control apoptosis – a potential cure for cancer? </li></ul>
  10. 10. #1 INTEREST IN THE TOPIC <ul><li>CHOOSING A GENERAL TOPIC THAT MEETS THE TASK REQUIREMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Choose a general topic that you have a genuine interest . </li></ul><ul><li>Your curiosity is your greatest intrinsic motivation to embark on the project work task and complete it well. </li></ul>
  11. 11. #1 INTEREST IN THE TOPIC <ul><li>WHERE TO FIND IDEAS FOR AN INTERESTING TOPIC? </li></ul><ul><li>Newspapers: Articles </li></ul><ul><li>Magazines </li></ul><ul><li>Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Radio / Television Programmes / Movies </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Interests / Passion </li></ul><ul><li>Common Beliefs or Practices (observation) </li></ul><ul><li>Everyday Life: e.g. Facebook usage and its effect on sleep </li></ul>
  12. 12. #2 FOCUS THE TOPIC <ul><li>DEFINING A GENERAL TOPIC TO BECOME CLEAR AND FOCUSED </li></ul><ul><li>Ask who, what, when, where, why and how about the topic to arrive at some sub-topics. </li></ul><ul><li>From a sub-topic, focus it further to form a specific question for your project work. </li></ul>Copyright (c) 2010 J&C Research Consultants Pte. Ltd.
  13. 13. #2 FOCUS THE TOPIC <ul><li>Example </li></ul><ul><li>General Topic </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networking – A Boon or Bane? </li></ul><ul><li>Sub-topics: </li></ul><ul><li>Refer to concept map </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook_Misuse.doc </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook Addiction </li></ul>
  14. 14. #2 FOCUS THE TOPIC <ul><li>Focusing the sub-topic further: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Who are addicted to Facebook? </li></ul><ul><li>2. Why are they addicted? </li></ul><ul><li>3. What are the effects of their addiction? </li></ul><ul><li>4. Where and when do they use Facebook? </li></ul><ul><li>5. How can they overcome their addiction? </li></ul>
  15. 15. #2 FOCUS THE TOPIC <ul><li>Specific scope from sub-topic: </li></ul><ul><li>How Facebook usage affects the academic performance of RI students </li></ul><ul><li>Can Facebook usage affect marriages? </li></ul>
  16. 16. #2 FOCUS THE TOPIC <ul><li>Example </li></ul><ul><li>General Topic </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding the needs of the elderly in Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>Sub-topics: </li></ul><ul><li>Come up with your own concept map of the needs of the elderly and the issues related to each one of them </li></ul><ul><li>Example of a sub-topic: </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting active lifestyles among the elderly in Singapore </li></ul>
  17. 17. #2 FOCUS THE TOPIC <ul><li>Focusing the sub-topic further: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Who are the people who can help promote acive lifestyles of senior citizens? </li></ul><ul><li>2. Why is promoting active lifestyles important for the elderly? </li></ul><ul><li>3. What are the types of activities suitable for the elderly to keep them physically and mentally engaged? </li></ul><ul><li>4. Where and when can such activities take place? </li></ul><ul><li>5. How can the elderly be encouraged to keep active? </li></ul>
  18. 18. #2 FOCUS THE TOPIC <ul><li>WHY IS A FOCUSED TOPIC IMPORTANT? </li></ul><ul><li>It helps you to be clear about exactly what your project work seeks to investigate </li></ul><ul><li>It guides you whenever you are confused or lost . </li></ul>
  19. 19. Why are these topics considered poor? <ul><li>1.Do certain types of food increase the risk of cancer in people? </li></ul><ul><li>2.The dangers of illegal downloading </li></ul><ul><li>3.Psoriasis : How does it affect local patients physically and mentally? </li></ul><ul><li>4. What types of books do Singapore youths borrow from libraries? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Examples <ul><li>Critique of past year students’ research topics </li></ul><ul><li>2011 Critique of past year students' research topics.doc </li></ul>
  21. 21. #3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC <ul><li>When you choose a certain topic for project work, you need to give a reason for your choice. </li></ul><ul><li>A good reason is one that can explain the significance of the chosen topic. </li></ul>
  22. 22. #3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC <ul><li>HOW TO BRING OUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A TOPIC? </li></ul><ul><li>Set your project work in an important context . E.g. Curbing Facebook addiction versus Curbing Facebook addiction among Year 1 RI students </li></ul><ul><li>Show how your project work adds value </li></ul><ul><li>to what others already know. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Clarify how your project work addresses certain knowledge gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Eg. People generally know the harmful effects of Facebook usage but they may not be clear about the reasons why the addiction occurs in the first place. </li></ul>
  23. 23. #3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC <ul><li>HOW TO BRING OUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A TOPIC? (cont’) </li></ul><ul><li>4. Explain the implications of your project work for society, community, and/or certain groups of people Eg Through reading your research project, parents and teachers may have a better understanding of why teenagers spend a lot of their time on Facebook and how parents and teachers can help them to curb their addiction </li></ul>
  24. 24. To Do <ul><li>Look at the different sub-topics you have generated, consider the significance of each sub-topic </li></ul><ul><li>Think which is a more important question to examine through your research project </li></ul>
  25. 25. HOW TO MAKE SURE MY PROJECT IS DOABLE? Ensure my topic has a reasonable scope
  26. 26. #4 TOPIC HAS A REASONABLE SCOPE <ul><li>When considering the scope of the topic, you have to consider its: </li></ul><ul><li>Feasibility , i.e. does your topic lend itself well to conducting a survey of at least 20 people, or conducting an interview? If your project involves proposing some solutions to a problem, are your solutions cost efficient and easy to implement? </li></ul><ul><li>Manageability , i.e. does the group have enough time and resources to undertake this project work? </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility , i.e. does the group have access to relevant literature and data? </li></ul>
  27. 27. #4 TOPIC HAS A REASONABLE SCOPE <ul><li>ORDER OF CONSIDERATION </li></ul><ul><li>1. Feasibility </li></ul><ul><li>2. Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>3. Manageability </li></ul><ul><li>If a topic is not feasible or the information or data is not accessible, do not choose it unless you are able to overcome these difficulties . </li></ul>
  28. 28. To Do <ul><li>Consider the feasibility, manageability, accessibility of your subtopics </li></ul><ul><li>Decide on the one that is most significant and feasible, manageable and accessible </li></ul>
  29. 29. HOW TO ENSURE I WILL BE ABLE TO SUBSTANTIATE ALL MY IDEAS Check that sources are available before my group decides on this topic
  30. 30. # 5 AVAILABLE LITERATURE ON THE TOPIC <ul><li>What is literature? </li></ul><ul><li>Sources from Social Studies </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals and articles, books, information from credible websites </li></ul>
  31. 31. SUMMARY <ul><li>A good research topic is one which: </li></ul><ul><li>You are interested </li></ul><ul><li>Meets the task requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Is focused </li></ul><ul><li>Is significant , i.e. good reason to examine the topic </li></ul><ul><li>Is feasible , information is accessible and the project is manageable </li></ul><ul><li>Has available literature on the topic </li></ul>
  32. 32. Assignment 1 Preliminary Ideas (PI) Source: Project Works Vol. 1, pg 55 COMPONENTS OF A PI ELEMENTS OF A GOOD PI Choice of topic Interest in the topic Meets the task requirements . Focus the topic Reasons for the choice of topic Reason brings out the significance of the topic Assessment of the Feasibility, Manageability and Accessibility of the required information Topic is feasible , information is accessible and the project manageable . There is available literature on the topic.