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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guiding your research

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The address for the Researchit blog

Getting a focus with your research

At this stage you should have submitted the draft proposal and discussed it with me. Tuesday and Thursday's lesson next week are dedicated to this task as you commence secondary research on your project.

Regardless of the topic, you should be doing secondary research at this stage to establish your knowledge and understanding of your chosen area. Once you have comprehensive secondary knowledge it is then time to start deciding on the primary research you wish to conduct.

Before doing that I require you to develop the guiding questions (sometimes called focus questions)for your Research project. These are the questions which guide your thinking and guide your research.

Research Project question/issue/challenge

Guiding Question 1:
Guiding Question 2:
Guiding Question 3:
Guiding Question 4:
Guiding Question 5:

You should not have more than 5 guiding questions.

Here are some samples to consider before trying yourself with your Research Project.

Research Project question/issue/challenge
Is cricket still the sport at the centre of the Australian culture?

Guiding Question 1:
What role has cricket played in the history of Australia and the development of the Australian identity?

Guiding Question 2:
How many people play cricket in Australia and is there a pattern ot participation?

Guiding Question 3:
What are the statistics in relation to media coverage of cricket?

Guiding Question 4:
Does the Australian public have a good knowledge of cricket happenings?

Guiding Question 5:
How achievable is it for young people to play cricket in their local community?


Research Project question/issue/challenge
Has cricket become the sport of the minority in the Australian community?

Guiding Question 1:
How many people play cricket in Australia and is there a pattern of participation (who plays cricket)?

Guiding Question 2:
Is cricket still a high rating TV sport. What are the ratings?

Guiding Question 3:
What does a young person have to do to play cricket?

Guiding Question 4:
How accessible and achievable is playing cricket for all young people.

Guiding Question 5:
What are the challengers for individuals to continue to play cricket beyond the teenage years?

As for the formal proposal, here is the proposal template to complete.

Putting the issue into your research

Contact me at
The address for the Researchit blog

Putting the issue into our Research Project brief

During our research project lessons we have been discussing the nature of issues and the need to frame our research within an issue context. That is, our research needs a purpose and not just finding out everything about something.

The following quotes from the Research Project Subject Outline are particulary relevant to this discussion:

A research topic:

• could be an idea or issue, a technical or practical challenge, an
artefact, a problem, or a question
• may be a new topic that is not related to a subject or course
• may be a topic that is linked to an existing subject or course. Work
that has been previously assessed for another subject or course
cannot be used in this subject. However, information gained or ideas
expressed in one assessment task can be extended in another
assessment task. For example, a student can use the research data
on a particular topic in another subject as part of his or her research

Here is some further clarification about what is an issue and how it may help the design of your Research Project.

The Research Project lends itself to studying an issue at local, national or global level. With an issue Research Project:

• Dispute is the essence of any issue.

• Issues often involve contending groups of people with conflicting opinions.

• The hardest part of any study is selecting an appropriate issue. Issues selected for investigation must show clearly conflicting elements and involve choices decided from a
range of alternatives.

• The investigation of an issue must consider the roles and perceptions of stakeholders (various groups in those places and other significant groups elsewhere) that have a vested interest in the issue.

An example of an issue Research Project would be:

“The age of drinking alcohol should be increased.”

I thought the following websites dedicated to exploring and providing information on issues would be a useful exercise for you to look at and maybe see a topic/issue that may support the exploration of your topic.

Here are the sites to explore:

* Newspapers to explore for issues at

* Find out the facts on a wide range of issues at

* Research issues at the Social Issue Research Centre at

* Investigate a catalogue of issues at

* Find out information for issue studies at

* Investigate a directory of issues at

* Look at this Australian social action issue site at

* Here is a resource with summaries of many issues

Spend some time over the next week looking at these sites, see how issues are described to create a context.

For many of you the Research Project may not be an issue. However it must be more than just “find out about”. You will need to create a statement which frames what you intend to do as a challenge or problem. For example if you wish to research life for new arrivals in Adelaide you would make a statement such as:

“New arrivals in Adelaide face many challenges that they overcome in a range of ways.”

If you are creating a product or event you also need to frame your statement as a problem. For example if you wished to make a cupboard:

"How can a solid,functional and well designed cupboard be made at a reasonable cost."

You would then design your focus questions to guide your research and the creation of the written response/product/event (more on the focus questions phase next week).