Establishing Direction in Educational Research With Purpose, Questions, and Scope

Establishing Direction in Educational Research With Purpose, Questions, and Scope

Copyright: © 2024 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/979-8-3693-1726-6.ch003
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Selecting a research topic is crucial for research success, however transforming it into manageable and researchable endeavours is equally pivotal. This chapter delves into three important components in this transformation process: (1) Defining the research's purpose, (2) Formulating research questions, and (3) Establishing scope. These components, explored in three distinct sections, are integral to rendering social science research navigable and conducive to rigorous exploration. The first section scrutinizes the concept of research purpose, emphasizing its profound impact on the research process and its critical role in shaping research questions. The second section distinguishes research questions from the research purpose, highlighting their significant impact and providing insights into crafting them effectively. The third section explores the concept of scope, specifying parameters and addressing the multifaceted aspects influencing the research process. This chapter guides researchers in navigating educational research complexities, covering design, question, and scope.
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Selecting a research topic and planning are among the pivotal determinants of research success. A substantial part of the process of executing research lies in refining it to manageable and researchable dimensions. Conducting rigorous research hinges on precisely delineating a research topic and planning process. Designing research does not follow a one-size-fits-all approach; instead, it is guided by the concept of fitness for purpose (Newman & Covrig, 2013). The specific objectives of the research dictate the methodology and design chosen. As for the research topic, it constitutes only a fraction of the broader subject domain, necessitating the delineation of meticulous boundaries around it – defining what it encompasses and excludes. The essence of research resides in the pursuit of discovery, investigation, development, testing (such as validating a theory), and addressing questions like “what if, how, why, how well, what, and where.” (Cohen et al. 2018, p. 153). The genesis of a research topic can spring from various sources.

Research topic may spring from a researcher’s personal interests or experiences, giving rise to questions like, “What is the impact of early identification of behaviour disorders on the educational provision for affected students?” or “How can educators effectively enhance students’ motivation to learn a second language?” (Cohen et al., 2018, p. 154). Alternatively, research topics may stem from recognized areas of significance or contemporary concerns. For example, “Do interactive teaching methods yield higher test scores in university students compared to lecture-based teaching?” (Cohen et al., 2018, p. 154). Whatever the research topic, the success of educational research is intimately tied to transforming it into manageable and researchable endeavours. During the transformation process, the researcher develops the research purpose, research questions, and scope, which are pivotal in directing educational research. Educational research often aims to inform and improve educational practices and policies (Pramodini & Sophia, 2022). A clear research purpose and well-structured questions contribute to evidence-based decision-making, providing insights that educators, administrators, and policymakers can use to enhance teaching methods, curriculum design, and overall educational systems (Bulterman-Bos, 2008). Educational environments are dynamic, influenced by numerous factors, and involve various stakeholders, including students, teachers, parents, policymakers, and communities. A defined scope is crucial in setting boundaries for the study, specifying the educational context, participant demographics, and time frame. It ensures that the research remains manageable and relevant within the complexities of educational settings. This chapter, titled Establishing Direction in Educational Research with Purpose, Questions, and Scope, examines the research purpose, research questions, and scope, which guide the researcher during this process.

The chapter is divided into three sections. The first section investigates the concept of research purpose, provides insights into its formulation, discusses its profound impact on the research process, and emphasizes its critical role in producing research questions. The second section delves into the nuances of research questions, distinguishing them from the research purpose, emphasizing the significant impact of research questions on the research process, and discussing the contextual and structural elements that must be considered when crafting research questions. This section outlines a method for distilling a broad research topic into specific research questions. The final section investigates the concept of scope, specifies its parameters, and discusses the numerous aspects that can influence the research process. This chapter serves as a scholarly guide, assisting researchers in navigating the complicated terrain of research design, question development, and scope determination in educational research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Answerability: The characteristic of research questions that allows for precise and unambiguous responses, guaranteeing that they are manageable, well-defined, and consistent with the limitations of the research endeavour.

Research Endeavour: The systematic and purposeful efforts undertaken by scholars, scientists, or researchers to investigate, explore, and contribute knowledge to a specific field or topic.

Operationalisation: The process of converting broad research goals into specific, doable actions or questions while maintaining precision, clarity, and suitability for empirical study.

Research Landscape: The totality of factors and considerations within the field of research that influence the development and adaptation of research questions to match the deepening understanding of the subject under study.

Research Topic: The subject or theme selected for investigation, and which forms the basis of a research study.

Justification: Reasons or rationales that provide a basis for the conduct of research and that answer the question of “why” the study is worth pursuing.

Development: Advancement or refinement, especially in the context of ideas during the research process.

Contextual Elements: Specific factors or conditions within a particular context that have an impact on the research process and outcomes.

Rigorous Research: A thorough and meticulous approach to the research, which ensures the precision and reliability of the study.

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