Research Questions Hypothesis and Variables - Ligue Braille Research Questions Hypothesis and Variables – Ligue Braille

Research Questions Hypothesis and Variables

hello everyone this is dr. Wallace have you ever wondered why so much time and emphasis is placed on understanding research questions hypothesis statements and variables in a research methodology course let’s face it when you look at these three items in a research proposal they do not take up a lot of space we spend more time discussing our research methodology data collection and analysis and prior research on our topic than we do on these three components in a research proposal however these three components are the foundation upon which any good research study is conducted I want to take a few minutes and explain at a high level the role of each in a research proposal and study and then show you how they are connected to each other I think the best way to examine this subject is to begin with an example research topic I can then demonstrate how these three components are connected by using this research topic as an example let’s keep things easy and formulate a very simple topic for the purpose of our lesson I’m going to say that I want to examine the effects of a thermostat on room temperatures now with this research topic established let’s begin by looking at our three components okay let’s kick things off by looking at research questions what is a research question the research question is the way we succinctly define what we hope the research study will show us we have identified a problem or issue that we think is important to study now the research question specifically identifies what part of that issue or problem we hope to answer or address as implied by its name our research question is presented in the form of a question the type of question we are asking is often driven by the type of study we are conducting and our research methodology using our example topic a potential research question that we might ask is how does changing the thermostat setting impact a rooms temperature now that we have a research question let’s go take a look at the roll the hypothesis so what is a hypothesis a hypothesis is a prediction of what we believe the study will find or put another way the answer to the research question a hypothesis is an empirical statement that can be verified based upon observation or experience it is testable to be true or false through the research study findings you will also sometimes your reference to a null hypothesis but let’s say that for another lesson now let’s return to our research topic example and create a hypothesis the hypothesis for our example study might be changing the temperature setting on a thermostat up or down will cause the room temperature where the thermostat is located to change in the same way we have made a prediction of how we think the research study will answer our question okay let’s move to the final piece of the puzzle variables variables my Achilles heel during my doctoral study days that’s right I’ll be the first to admit that this simple concept gave me a hard time when I was a student let me take a shot at breaking down variables as simply as possible in one slide there are two types of variables dependent and independent also referred to as DV or IV okay so what’s the difference let’s see if I can make this as simple as possible the dependent variable is what we watch to see if a change is occurring while the independent variable is the thing we manipulate to influence a change in the dependent variable I understand this can get confusing perhaps if we go back to our example research topic things will become a bit clearer in this research study the thermostat setting is my independent variable because it is the thing I have the power to change or alter I am going to manipulate the independent variable to see if it creates a change in my dependent variable the thermostat setting influences the room temperature which is my dependent variable the room temperature is my dependent variable because it is the thing I am watching to see if a change occurs when I alter the independent variable now I manipulate my thermostat setting by moving it to a different temperature I have just made a change that I predicted will influence my dependent variable I will now watch my dependent variable the room temperature to see if a change occurs that matches the change I made to the thermostat setting my independent variable this is what I predicted with my hypothesis so I want to watch how the room temperature my dependent variable is impacted when I make changes to the thermostat setting my independent variable okay now that we have a high-level understanding of these three components of a research proposal and study let’s see how they all work together let’s connect those dots the research question or questions that we create for the study specified what we want to answer or find out in the study in other words they put meaning to why our study is important the hypothesis is our prediction of what we believe the study will find or put another way our predicted answer to the research questions with the hypothesis you are looking into your magic ball and telling everyone what you think the research study will find when all is said and done in many cases the research questions and hypotheses will be closely related with the primary difference being that the hypothesis is presented as a statement while the research questions are will to put this plainly formatted as a question now let’s see how the variables complete our puzzle the independent and dependent variables are the components of our study that we manipulate and watch for outcomes since our hypothesis made a prediction is it’s only logical that our variables have to be included in the hypothesis our hypothesis is where we show the relationship between the independent and dependent variables while this is the logical flow for building many research studies I cannot over stress the fact research proposal is a constantly evolving process until we have locked down all components of the research proposal and are ready to conduct the study is entirely possible that you may go back and tweak or change any one of these components based upon you information you uncover or updates that you make to one of the three components don’t let this worry you though because this is a natural occurrence when working the kinks out of your research strategy let’s conclude by summarizing what we have covered the research question is our way of stating what we hope the study will find or help us learn our hypothesis is our prediction statement of what we think the research study findings will show finally our variables are the aspects of the study that we manipulate and observe to determine whether our hypothesis was correct thank you for taking the time to view this lesson I hope the information that I have presented helps clarify why understanding research questions hypothesis and variables is so important in research methodology and how these three work together to establish a strong foundation for a research study

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