One of the first steps of the research process is generating a research question. Researchers do this by starting with a topic of interest, a phenomenon they want to learn more about, or a problem they want to solve. For example, a researcher might want to learn more about what promotes happiness. Another researcher might have read a news story that the rate of high school drop outs is increasing in his town and decide s/he wants to learn more about this problem. A third researcher might have a child who is experiencing cyber-bullying and want to learn more about that phenomenon. Once a researcher has a topic, phenomenon, and/or problem s/he wants to learn more about, s/he can proceed with the steps of the scientific method.
Imagine that you are a researcher and you have been given a grant to conduct a research study on any topic of your choosing.
- Formulate a research question you would like to answer.
- In 1–2 sentences, discuss how this question could be answered using one of the non-scientific thinking methods discussed in the reading (ex., tenacity or authority).
- Provide an overview of how, using the steps of the scientific method, the research question could be studied. In this discussion, reflect on what your hypothesis would be and if you would want to use a qualitative or quantitative research design.
- Do you think scientific or non-scientific thinking would provide more useful information? Why?