Chapter 7

Research Questions and Hypotheses

Introduction

• Placing signposts for the reader – Purpose statement – Research questions or hypotheses

• Research questions narrow the purpose statement – Qualitative research questions – Quantitative research questions and hypotheses –Mixed methods research questions

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Qualitative Research Questions

• Qualitative researchers pose research questions – Not objectives – Not hypotheses

• Two forms of qualitative research questions – Central question

• Broad question that asks for exploration of thecentral phenomenon

– Subquestions • Questions that narrow the focus of the study

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Qualitative Research Questions

• Ask 1–2 central research questions – Broad and ask for exploration of the centralphenomenon or concept – Explore the general, complex factors about to thecentral phenomenon – Present broad perspectives or meanings

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Qualitative Research Questions

• No more than 5–7 subquestions these will narrow the focus but leave open the questioning • Relate the central question to the strategy of inquiry – Ethnography – culture sharing group, questions verify accuracy of data – Critical ethnography – build on an existing literature – Phenomenology – what participants experienced – Grounded theory – generate a theory

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Qualitative Research Questions

• Begin with “what” or “how” to convey an open or emerging design • Focus on a single phenomenon or concept • Use exploratory verbs: report, describe, discover, generate, explore • Avoid directional words, like affect, influence, impact, determine, cause, relate

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Qualitative Research Questions

• Expect questions to evolve and change • Use open-ended questions without reference to the literature or theory (unless indicated) • Specify the participants and research site

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Qualitative Research Questions

_________ (How or what?) is the _________ (“story for” for narrative research; “meaning of” the phenomenon for phenomenology; “theory that explains the process of” for grounded theory; “culture-sharing pattern” for ethnography; “issue” in the “case” for case study) of _________ (central phenomenon) for _________ (participants) at _________ (research site).

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Qualitative Research Questions

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Qualitative Research Questions

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

• Quantitative research questions – About the relationships among variables that the investigator seeks to know

• Quantitative hypotheses – Predictions about the expected relationships among variables – Estimates of population values based on data from a sample

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

• Quantitative objectives – Indicate a study's goals – Often in proposals for funding, less common inhealth and social sciences

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

Quantitative research question describing outcomes: What is the frequency and variation of scores on ____________ (name the variable) for______________(participants) in the study?

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

Quantitative research question focused on examining the relationship among variables: Does _________ (name the theory) explain the relationship between _________ (independent variable) and _________ (dependent variable), controlling for the effects of _________ (control variable)?

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

Quantitative null hypothesis: There is no significant difference between _________ (the control and experimental groups on the independent variable) on _________ (dependent variable).

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

• Three basic approaches – Compare groups – Relate variables – Describe responses

• Most rigorous form tests a theory • Measure the independent and dependent variables separately • Write questions or hypotheses • Null and alternative hypotheses

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

• The use of variables in research questions orhypothesis if one wants to do – An experiment or group comparisons – A survey that correlates variables – A descriptive study

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

• Write research questions and hypothesis that logically follow from relationship among variables in a theory • Research questions or hypothesis may indicate causeand effect logic • Research questions and hypothesis should have noredundancies, do not write both

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

• If writing hypotheses, use a consistent form – Null hypotheses (predict no difference or no relationship) – Alternative hypothesis or directional hypotheses (predict direction of difference or relationship) – Nondirectional hypotheses (predict a difference or relationship, but not its direction)

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

• Use nondemographic variables (mediating and moderating)

• Use same word order in the questions or hypotheses to enable a reader to easily identify the major variables

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

Amodel for descriptive questions and hypotheses: • Include both independent and dependent variables • Specify descriptive questions for each independentand dependent variable • Question for important mediating or moderating variables • May add inferential questions

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

Amodel for descriptive questions and hypotheses:

Descriptive questions Inferential questions

How do the students rate on critical thinking skills?

What are the student’s achievement levels (or grades) in science classes?

How does critical thinking ability relate to student achievement? How does critical thinking ability and prior grades influence student achievement?

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

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Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

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Mixed Methods Research Questions and Hypotheses

• Include qualitative, quantitative (or hypotheses), and a mixed methods research question • Qualitative and quantitative questions focus the purpose • Mixed methods question conveys the importance ofintegrating • Use guidelines for qualitative and quantitativequestions and hypotheses

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Mixed Methods Research Questions and Hypotheses

• Order questions to match the mixed methods design – In a single-phase design, either first – In a two-phase design, order to match the phases – In three-phase, often mixed methods in the middle

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Mixed Methods Research Questions and Hypotheses

• A mixed methods research question directly addresses integration • Three forms – Conveys the methods and procedures – Conveys the content of the study – Combines the methods and content in a hybrid question

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Mixed Methods Research Questions and Hypotheses

• Write separate questions or hypotheses followed by amixed methods question – This highlights the two approaches as well as their combined strength – At the beginning or as they emerge in phases – This places emphasis on the two approaches

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Mixed Methods Research Questions and Hypotheses

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Summary

• Research questions and hypotheses narrow the purpose statement and add signposts • Qualitative – central question and subquestions • Quantitative – describe, related, compare variables • Mixed methods – qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods question

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