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FORMULATING THE

RESEARCH TOPIC
Lecture 5
Professional Development and Research
Lecturer: R. Milyankova

Objectives of the session:

To generate ideas that will help in the choice


of a suitable research topic
To identify the attributes of a good research
topic
To turn research ideas into a research project
that has clear research questions and
objectives
To draft a research proposal

Alice in wonderland:

Alice: Will you tell me, please, which way I


ought to walk from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal
on where you want to go
Alice: I dont much care where
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesnt matter
which way you will walk!

Properly formulating and defining the


research topic will help:

To choose the most appropriate research


strategy
To choose the most appropriate data
collection
To choose the most appropriate analysis
techniques
! Start with research ideas!

Business research topic:

Something you are capable of undertaking


Something that excites your imagination
Something that you have a genuine interest in
Something that develops research skills as
part of undertaking your project
Something in which you will not lose interest
while developing the project
Something you are capable to receive data for

Checklist of attributes of a good


research topic

Does the topic fit the specifications and meet the standards
set by the examining institution (IUC; UoP)?
Is the topic something with which you are really fascinated?
Does your research topic contain issues that have clear link to
theory?
Do you have or can you develop within the project time
frame, the necessary research skills to undertake the topic?
Is the research topic achievable within the available time?
Is the research topic achievable within the financial resources
that are likely to be available

Checklist of attributes of a good


research topic

Are you reasonably certain of being able to gain


access to data you are likely to require for this topic
Are you able to state your research questions and
objectives clearly
Will your proposed research be able to provide fresh
insights into the topic
Does your research topic relate clearly to the idea you
have been given (organization, tutor)
Are the findings for this research topic likely to be
symmetrical (of similar value whatever the outcome)
Consider your career goals!!!

Techniques for generating research ideas:


Rational thinking:
Examining your own
strengths and interests
Looking at past project
titles
Discussion
Searching the literature
(articles, reports, books)

Creative thinking:
Keeping a notebook of
ideas
Exploring personal
preferences using past
projects
Relevance trees (mind
mapping)
Brainstorming

Exploring personal preferences using


past projects
Select six projects that you like
Note down your first thoughts with response to:
- What appeals to you about the project
- What is good about the project
- Why is the project good
Select three projects that you do not like
Note down your first thoughts with response to:
- What do you dislike about the projects
- What is bad about the projects
- Why is the project bad

Brainstorming
Define your problem
Ask questions relating to the problem
Record all suggestions, observing the following rules:
- NO SUGGESTIONS SHOULD BE CRITICISED OR
EVALUATED before all ideas have been considered
- All suggestions should be recorded and considered
- As many suggestions as possible should be recorded
Review all suggestions and explore what is meant by each
Analyze the list of suggestions and decide which appeal to
you as research ideas and why

Refining ideas:

Brainstorming
The Delphy technique
The preliminary study the feasibility
Integrating ideas (accountancy financial
accounting methods - costing)
Refining topics given by your
tutor/employing organization

The Delphy Technique

Brief members of the group about the research idea


Encourage them to seek clarification and more
information
Ask them to generate independently at least three
specific ideas
Collect the ideas and distribute them to all members
of the group
Discuss the ideas in open a second cycle
Come to a consensus, following a discussion, voting
or some other method

Turning research ideas into research projects

Writing research questions


Writing research objectives
Turning research questions into research objectives:

The IDEA: The recruitment via the Internet


The question: How effective is recruiting new staff via Internet in comparison with traditional
methods?
The Objective: To define the effectiveness of recruitment via Internet

The connection between theory and practice (cause and effect


relationship) the expectations that if doing A, then B will happen
Research = intelligence gathering (gathering of facts)
- what and why questions
deductive approach (understanding theory, selecting data) and inductive
approach (selecting data, defining theory)

Clarifying the research topic


Grand theories
Increasing
capacity to
change the
way we think
about the
world

Increasing
restrictions
in terms of
general
applicability

Middle range theories

Substantive theories

The purposes of research proposal


Organizing your ideas = coherent statement of research intent

Convincing your audience

Contracting your client

Content of research proposal:


- Background
- Research questions and objectives
- Method research design (a survey, interviews, examination of secondary
data or combination of methods) and data collection (primary, secondary,
tertiary), research population, ethical guidelines
- Timescale - Ghannt Diagram

Resources financial, data,

References

The purposes of research proposal

Criteria for evaluating research proposals: the


extent to which the components of the
proposal fit together
Rationale relevant theories in the topic area
Research questions and objectives
Time depends on methods selected

The viability/applicability of the proposal

Can this proposal be carried out satisfactory


within the timescale and available resources?

Preconceived ideas???
Change the topic!!!