Thursday, April 19, 2007

research question

now that you have had some time to engage your research topics, it is time to begin making some research design decisions. as a group, submit a proposed research question and field sites, as well as your preliminary thoughts on methods.

the objective of this stage of your project is to identify a researchable topic and to articulate it concisely. use 300-500 words to state your question, the field site(s) where data will be collected, and the methods you'd like to use. the brevity of this articulation (think abstract or executive summary) is meant to evoke only that which is necessary to communicate the project. but dont panic! this is the first iteration and there will be time for changes and adjustments.


1) complete this exercise to help you determine what a researchable question looks like (do all 6 sections noted in the upper left hand corner of the page and take the review quiz -- the exercise is brief but helpful).
2) work with your groups to discuss/brainstorm/negotiate a research question that specifically captures what you will study.
3) identify field sites (both online and in amsterdam) where you will collect data to answer your research questions.
4) develop an abstract that a- introduces the topic, b- clearly states the question(s), c- identifies the field sites, and d- states the methods you will use.

if you are one of the groups pursuing the category of "pilot study" or "academic research" you also need to situate your study in the literature.

5) once you have an abstract, post it on each of your blogs. the abstract should be the same on each blog, but if you want, you can add personal comments about the proposal in a separate post.

6) identify one person in each group to create a page on our course wiki. create the page in the "group projects" category on our wiki home page. post your abstract on your group page.

stuff to remember: abstracts, although short in length, can be deceptively difficult to write. spend time working through ambiguous ideas and statements to make them more clear. this exercise will go a long way in helping you focus on a project. this is an iterative process so there are opportunities to evolve your ideas and even change your topics later on.

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