What will you have to know and do to begin your research?
There are several things a person must know before beginning their classroom research. The first thing is the topic. Merriam advises when choosing a topic, the first place we look at is our daily lives, whether it’s our workplace, family, friends, or community (page 73). A place that raises curiosity, a place where something has happened that puzzles you, or a place where you wonder why it is, the way it is. Initially, your research topic naturally comes from observing something, and asking questions about our everyday lives (Merriam, 75). For me it’s in my classroom, and in my classroom, we use ClassDojo all day, everyday.
The next part a person has to know before beginning their research is the problem. You cannot start a research study without identifying the problem first. “ A problem is anything that perplexes and challenges the mind so that it makes belief uncertain,” (Merriam, 76). I automatically thought about how my students’ behavior, mood, or persistence changes when they don’t earn points like everyone else. According to an article written by Ronald Chenail (page 1716-17), you want to write a sentence or two explaining your curiosity and relevance of the topic and why it’s worthy to study. This allows you to begin addressing the purpose statement right away.
After you’ve identified and chosen the problem, you want to give your readers a background on your topic. This is where you research and find out what has already been done on your topic, what studies already show, and what are the key concepts in your study. This is sometimes called the “Background of the Problem,” (page 79).
Once you have acknowledged the background information, you can write your purpose statement (Merriam, 77). Your question is usually “the gap” in your topic. It’s what is unknown or what hasn’t been researched. You would pose your statement as, “The purpose of this study is to…” (page 77).
After the purpose statement is addressed, you follow by asking a set of “research questions.” The research questions are like subtopics, or your body in a paper. Merriam suggests 3 or 4 questions a decent amount (page 78). These questions usually determine how data will be collected. Chenail uses the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” questions because they pose as open-ended questions.
Next, you introduce your problem. The problem statement is short and is a summary of the introductory section (Merriam, 79). There are three factors in the problem statement (page 79): 1. The context of the study, or the topic and question 2. The gap in the study- what we don’t know and will address in our research 3. Stating the significance of the problem.
Choosing a topic, creating a purpose statement, posing research questions, and introducing the problem statement are things we need to understand and know, to begin our classroom research study.
Merriam, S., & Merriam, S. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
The Qualitative Report Volume 16 Number 6 November 2011 1713-1730 http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR16-6/chenail.pdf