All posts by Regoniel, Patrick A.

Dr. Patrick A. Regoniel is a graduate school professor of research, statistics, and environmental science at the Palawan State University. He has helped many graduate students complete their theses or dissertations by providing research and statistical advice and services since 1991. A Ph.D. in Environmental Science graduate of the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 2004, Dr. Regoniel is a member of the Gamma Delta Sigma Honor Society of Agriculture. He currently serves as Vice President for Research & Extension at the Palawan State University.

Brainstorming to Generate Research Ideas

How do you generate ideas for research purposes? Is it difficult to come up with one? The answer is No. It is easy to generate ideas for research as long as you employ a systematic approach to it. This article explores the usefulness of an organized brainstorming session by applying the principles of time management and ideas on how to conduct time-saving meetings.

One of the difficulties encountered by beginning researchers is how to generate ideas for research. This could be due to the lack of familiarity or exposure to the topic at hand. This could also be due to the preconceived notion that research is a difficult task to undertake.

You can easily generate ideas for research by brainstorming on the particular topic you are interested in. Find colleagues, classmates or friends who share the same passion, interest, field of specialization or discipline with you.

However, your group can easily get carried away and might talk about other things which are irrelevant to your initial intention of discussing ideas for research. Say, you talked about someone else instead of focusing on your initial idea for research. And you realized you are already gossiping.

You will therefore need to carry out a method or strategy to bring your idea for research into focus. You will need the following materials to facilitate the brainstorming session.

Materials Needed for Brainstorming Session

1. a new marker (to avoid interrupting the brainstorming session due to depleted ink) or chalk

2. a small (2′ x 3′) whiteboard, blackboard or Manila paper

3. a comfortable room free from distractions

The Group Memory

To avoid the tendency to talk about something else instead of your intention to generate ideas for research, make sure that you have a small whiteboard, blackboard, a Manila paper or anything you can write on where everybody can focus their attention towards it. This is what you call the “group memory”. The whiteboard or the Manila paper in front of the group will hold everybody’s attention as you discuss the idea for research that you are initially interested in but which you find too broad to research on.

You will, therefore, serve as the moderator who will present the initial idea for research that the group will brainstorm on. A group composed of 3 to 4 four people would be best where everyone is seated in an arc in front of you to avoid unnecessary conversations from taking place. Of course, you will need to hang the whiteboard or paste a Manila paper on a wall where everyone can see it. You may refer to the illustration below on how to arrange the seats.

brainstorming session
Seat arrangement for brainstorming session. ©2012 P. A. Regoniel

Mind Mapping

It is best to do this brainstorming at the early part of the day as the mind is still fresh, active and uncluttered by the day’s cares. You can do this in one hour, so 8 to 9 o’clock or 9 to 10 o’clock would be ideal. Never do this at 1 or 2 o’clock as sleepiness can easily slip in but 4 o’clock would be fine because the mind gets a second wind at this time.

Begin with a keyword such as climate change. Write this at the center of the white board, blackboard or Manila paper. From there, come up with a mind map (see mindmapping). Erasing or changing entries will not be problematic if you are using a whiteboard or blackboard. If you are using a Manila paper, just draw a line on each on the entry you want to change.

From the set of ideas in your mind map, select a clump where you can relate two or three variables (You have to read first what is a variable if you are not familiar with this concept). This set of variables now will help you find the applicable theoretical framework to back up your study. The theoretical framework will be your basis in constructing your conceptual framework. If you are yet unfamiliar with these two concepts, read my article What is the difference between the theoretical and the conceptual framework?

At this point, you will be able to generate a lot of ideas for research and focus your attention on those key variables that really matter to you or you are interested in.

© 2012 November 10 P. A. Regoniel

Externalities: The Mango Grower and the Beekeeper

One of the important concepts in environmental economics or economic valuation is the concept of externalities. This concept may sound so sophisticated and complex to understand to the novice in environmental economics. However, while teaching this concept to students I realized that this is a very important concept that everyone must know to be able to come up with informed decisions. Understanding what externalities are and how they can be used in making the most of your decisions can make a difference between “the devil and the deep blue sea” as the popular adage on difficult decision situations say. I narrate the story of the mango grower and the beekeeper to further make clear the concept of externalities.

Definition of Externalities

Externalities are just those unexpected outcomes or third party effects that may arise when someone makes a decision while making transactions with another entity. That entity may be a person, an organization or a company.

The concept of externalities can be made clearer by the classic story of the apple grower and the beekeeper. However, this is a temperate country example so to put it in context in tropical countries, I will relate the story of the mango grower and the beekeeper as an adapted version.

The Mango Grower and the Beekeeper

In a small island in the tropics, two farmers engaged in two different livelihood activities. The first man grows mango trees and produces mangoes for local consumption and exports these mangoes abroad. The other man, a beekeeper, rears bees in culture boxes also for the same purpose, i.e., for local consumption and export.

beekeeping and externalities
The author once engaged in beekeeping.

These activities went on for several years and both businesses thrived until the beekeeper noticed that the bees are no longer bringing in a significant amount of nectar in the culture boxes. This phenomenon happened when the mango grower started to cut down some trees in his farmland to make way for a road to facilitate transport of mangoes from his growing export business.

Due to poor honey production, the beekeeper decided to stop engaging in beekeeping because his income could no longer sustain his once thriving business. Since the decline in honey production, he had to trim down on the number of employees until he could no longer support even two of them.

Back to the mango grower, the farmer noticed a decline in mango production since his neighbor beekeeper stopped his business operation. What could be the reason behind this decline?

The mango grower, concerned that he might likewise stop his mango growing business like the beekeeper, sought the help of a local university knowing that there are faculty members engaged in agricultural research. The university dispatched a veteran researcher to look into the plight of the mango grower (that person could be someone from the environmental science department). The main objective of the researcher is to find out the reason why there was a decline in mango production.

The environmental scientist, knowing the classic story of the apple grower and the beekeeper, related the story to the farmer. He said, the decision of the beekeeper to stop his beekeeping operation affected the mango grower’s agricultural production because the bees pollinate the flowers of the mangoes. Since the mango grower decided to cut down some of his mango trees to make way for the road, the availability of nectar from these mango trees also declined. Hence, less honey for the beekeeper.

Realizing his mistake, the mango grower decided to see the beekeeper and explain the scenario. They were both illuminated of their situation. The mango grower convinced the beekeeper to resume his business and while doing so, he will compensate for the pollination services of the bees. He also assured the beekeeper that he will plant more mango trees to replace the number of trees that was lost. From then on, their business once again thrived and they lived happily ever after.

The Externalities in the Story

What then are the externalities in the story of the mango grower and the beekeeper? These are the unexpected benefits that arose from their business operations. What are these benefits?

Two unexpected benefits are evident in the business operation of the two farmers. These are 1) the pollinating services of the bees, and 2) the mango trees’ flowers as source of nectar.

Once these externalities are recognized and incorporated in decision making, these are internalized externalities and they no longer are considered externalities. So when someone talks about internalizing the externalities, this refers to the incorporation of the third party effects in any transaction. This means that in the story, the mango grower internalized the externality of the pollinating services of the bees.

But is the other externality, that is, the flowers of mango trees that serve as nectar internalized? In this story, it is not. How can this be internalized? The mango grower must also be compensated by the beekeeper because the honey are obtained by the bees from the mango trees. So if honey production is good, the beekeeper must likewise compensate or provide a share to the mango grower to internalize this externality.

Conclusion

From this story and discussion, externalities therefore are the benefits, disadvantages, or third party impacts that may ensue as a result of any situation or transaction that affects the environment. Thus, to come up with sound decisions and to achieve environmental sustainability, these externalities must be internalized.

Externalities may be positive or negative. I illustrate both types of externalities in the gulf oil spill incident in Mexico several years ago that caused not only negative externalities but also positive externalities. You may click here to read the article to further strengthen your understanding of externalities.

© 2013 November 3 P. A. Regoniel

How to Write a Concept Paper

What is a concept paper? Why is there a need to write a concept paper? How do you write it? This article explains the reasons why a concept paper is important before writing a full-blown research paper. It also provides a step-by-step approach on how to write it.

I once browsed the internet to look for information on how to write a concept paper. It took me some time to find the information I want. However, I am not quite satisfied with those explanations because the discussion is either too short or it vaguely explains what a concept paper is.

Preparing a concept paper entails different approaches but I somehow drew out some principles from these readings. I wrote a concept paper in compliance with a request to come up with one. Nobody complained about the output that I prepared.

I was reminded once again when a colleague asked me the other day to explain what is a concept paper and how to write it. He needs this information because students have been asking him on how to go about writing the stuff.

To him and his students, I dedicate this article.

What is a Concept Paper and Why Do You Need It?

First, before going into the details on how to prepare a concept paper, let me explain what a concept paper is and why do you need it.

A concept paper serves as a prelude to a full paper. What is the full paper all about? The full paper may be a thesis, a program, a project, or anything that will require a longer time to prepare.

In essence, a concept paper is an embodiment of your ideas on a certain topic or item of interest. The concept paper saves time because it is possible that your thesis or review panel may say that your idea is not worth pursuing.

One expects that the concept paper should consist only of 1 or 2 pages. Alternatively, if you want to resolve some matters, it can go up to 5 pages.

For example, as a student you may be asked to prepare your concept paper for your thesis proposal (see 4 steps in preparing the thesis proposal). This means that you will have to develop an idea and express it for others to understand. You may glean from either your experience or from the literature that you have read. Of course, your topic should be within your respective area of specialization.

If you are a student of computer science, you might want to study the behavior of wi-fi signals bounced to different kinds of material. Alternatively, maybe you wish to create a simple gadget to concentrate signals for a portable USB wi-fi connection to improve its performance. Or maybe you would like to find out the optimum cache size for greatest browsing experience on the internet. The list could go on.

How Do You Write a Concept Paper?

As I mentioned a while ago, there is no hard and fast rule on how to write a concept paper. It is not desirable to have a format as your ideas may be limited by placing your ideas in a box. You may miss some important points that may not be in the format given to you. The point is that you can express to others what you intend to do.

What then are the things that the concept paper as a prelude to a thesis should be able to address or contain? To systematize your approach, a concept paper must have at least the following elements and in the following order:

concept

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1. A Rationale

You explain here the reasons why you need to undertake that thesis proposal of yours. You can ask yourself the following questions:

What prompted you to prepare the concept paper?
Why is the issue of such importance?
What should you be able to produce out of your intended study?

2. A Conceptual Framework

A conceptual framework is simply your guide in working on your idea. It is like a map that you need to follow to arrive at your destination. An excellent way to come up with one is to do a mind mapping exercise.

That brings up another thing, what is mind mapping anyhow?

A mind map is simply a list of keywords that you can connect to make clear an individual issue. It is our subconscious way of analyzing things. We tend to associate a thing with another thing. This relates to how we recall past experiences. In computers, we have the so-called “links” that connect commands in a computer module to make an application program work.

How does mind mapping work? You just have to come up with a word, for example, that will help you start off. You can begin with an issue on computers and from there, generate other ideas that connect with the previous one. There are a lot of literature on the internet that explains what a mind map is.

Now, after reading an explanation of the mind map, how will you come up with your conceptual framework? Well, I do not need to explain it again here because I wrote about it previously. You may read an easy to understand explanation and example here.

3. Your Hypothesis

Once the idea of the conceptual framework is quite clear to you, then you may write your hypothesis. A hypothesis is just your expected output in the course of conducting your study. The hypothesis arises from the conceptual framework that you have prepared.

Once you have identified the specific variables in the phenomenon that you would like to study, ask yourself the following questions: How are the variables related? Does one variable affect another? Alternatively, are they related at all?

A quick review of relevant and updated literature will help you identify which variables really matter. Nowadays, it’s easy to find full articles on your topic using the internet, that is if you know how. You can start off by going to doaj.org, a directory of open access journals.

Example of Hypotheses

Considering the issues raised a while ago, the following null hypotheses can be written:

1. There is no significant difference in wi-fi signal behavior between wood and metal.
2. There is no significant difference in browsing speed between a ten MB cache and a 100 MB cache storage setting using Mozilla Firefox.

At this point, you may already have a better idea of how to prepare a concept paper before working on a full thesis proposal. If you find this discussion useful, or you would like to clarify further the discussion above, your feedback is welcome.

© 2012 October 31 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (October 31, 2012). How to Write a Concept Paper. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2012/10/31/how-to-write-a-concept-paper/

Example of a Research Activity Using t-test

Are you a statistics teacher looking for a simple example of a t-test activity that you can use in your class? Or are you a student who wants to have an idea how t-test works? I describe below an example of a situation where the t-test can be applied right after learning the procedures and understanding how it works. Read more to find out.

Teaching students through practical hands-on exercises enable them to appreciate how the different analytical tools used in research can help them address issues and problems that they encounter in their respective disciplines. I applied this approach in one of my classes in the graduate school. My students consisted of more than 44 graduates of different courses namely education, biology, nursing, environmental science, public administration, mathematics, business and tourism.

After giving them an LCD projector presentation about t-test, a statistical tool to test differences between two groups of data, I gave them a simple situation which can be applied right there in the classroom. This is to find out the difference between one’s heartbeat before and after exercise.

The t-test Research Activity

Since some of my students are graduates of nursing, they are the ones who took charge of recording the heartbeats per minute of all 44 students in every 5-member group before they exercise. After recording the heartbeats of each of their classmates, the whole class marched briskly in the classroom for about 5 minutes. It is expected that their heartbeats should be higher after the brisk walk in place.

I just can’t keep myself from getting amused seeing them enjoy the activity. I can see smiles in their faces while those who can’t keep their peace laughed it all the way. I even took a picture and a video to record this momentous occasion.

It was 7 o’clock in the evening as classes in the graduate school are held from 5:30 to 8:30 in the evening. This activity is quite beneficial to employees of the various government and non-government institutions where these students are working. Sleepiness and tiredness of the whole work day is dispelled for the moment as they stretch their leg as well as face muscles.

Right after the exercise, each student recorded their heartbeats and gave them to their group leaders. The group leaders then recorded the numbers on the board for everyone to see. Everyone in the class computed for the t-test value and compared their results with those of their classmates.

t test

Their findings showed, of course, a significant difference between heartbeats before and after exercise. But something intriguing happened. Some of the students have actually lower heartbeats after they exercised. These somehow puzzled us because before the exercise, everyone rested for about 10 minutes or even more.

Discussion of the t-test Results

This finding shows that there are unexpected things that could happen in the course of doing research. And explanation to this phenomenon requires further investigation. Why did the heartbeat decrease after exercise? Is this something worth investigating. Will we get the same results if a greater number of people are involved in the study?

My hypothesis in this case is that at the end of the day, everyone is quite stressed after work; thus, their rapid heartbeat. While doing the exercise, somehow their muscles relaxed and caused blood flow to be much more efficient, causing their heartbeats to drop.

This may be something that has already been discovered. A review of literature should be done to find out. This could be a groundbreaking study related to stress and exercise. And computing for the t-test value may be applied to find out differences in means before and after exercise.

Pedagogical Approach that Works!

The whole activity transpired within the three-hour duration of classes each week. It consisted of a short lecture followed by application of knowledge gained right there. The activity is quite memorable and found quite effective in getting across the principles of research and statistics and how it is applied in real life.

At the end of the day, the students were able to understand and actuate their learning through practical, hands-on experience. Most of the class were able to compute for the t-test value without a fuss.

© 2012 October 28 P. A. Regoniel

Biodiversity Differences in Freshwater and Estuarine Ecosystems

There are very few references available on the biodiversity that can be found in freshwater and estuarine ecosystems of tropical countries. Students, therefore, are not able to appreciate the differences between these two ecosystems. Most of the published literature are descriptions of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems in temperate regions. Recognizing this gap, this article provides an overview of the two ecosystems and provides links to detailed descriptions of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Why the Dearth of Literature on Freshwater and Estuarine Ecosystems?

Information on freshwater and estuarine ecosystems of tropical regions is lacking. It may be due to the lack of regard to the important role these ecosystems play in the life of people in communities or cities. It may also be due to the inability of educators in many tropical countries to develop and publish material which are in tune with their local settings.

Apparently, many of the teachers are still locked in their traditional modes of teaching. They are occupied with class work and traditional lecture sessions, limited by their four-cornered classrooms. Or probably, they have devoted themselves to economic activities to keep up with the ever-growing prices of goods and services.

Whatever the reason, the point is that many students in tropical countries learn from the books published by authors in other places which may not be relevant to their specific location. There should be a change in paradigm among teachers.

Recognizing this, I always take the opportunity to engage my environmental science and marine biology students in field work as I teach subjects that require them to go to the field and explore the environment. It may be a Dynamics of Ecosystems course or  the subject Research 01 where they need to familiarize themselves with actual research situations, i. e., in the field. I always attempt not to teach them but mentor them along the way.

Let them discover – so to speak.

Field Trip to Freshwater and Estuarine Ecosystems

There were two separate occasions of field work that I undertook with my students so they will get familiar with these ecosystems. These are

1) a trip to the freshwater ecosystem of Balsahan by graduate students enrolled in the Dynamics of Ecosystems course, and

2) a recent trip to the estuarine portion of Iwahig River.

Freshwater Ecosystem of Balsahan

We discovered a very diverse array of wildlife in the upper freshwater portion of Balsahan River. Among these is a species of Insulamon,  a crab endemic (or only found) to Palawan.

Insulamon sp., a freshwater crab endemic in Palawan.
Insulamon sp., a freshwater crab endemic to Palawan.

We did the survey in 2010 but then references on proper identification of the crab is not available so we were not able to identify it correctly. No taxonomist was also available for consultation at that time. What we lack in taxonomic skills we compensate by taking a photo of the crab for future reference. I posted a recent picture of the crab in my travel and wildlife website, Palawaniana.net, for comments but there were none.

Eventually, Dr. Hendrik Freitag, animal ecologist of Ateneo de Manila University, properly identified the crab as Insulamon palawanense in 2012. It was featured in the National Geographic Online Magazine. Dr. Freitag happened to visit Palawan State University and saw the picture in one of my online articles. He confirmed the crab indeed belongs to the same species he discovered.

Also, we saw a small, almost inconspicuous leaf frog, also an endemic species, hiding under the leaves along the riparian zone of Balsahan River. This is a funny looking frog with skin protruding like horns on its head.

A more detailed account of this trip and the diverse wildlife of Balsahan is published in another site. You may read it here.

Estuarine Ecosystem of Iwahig River

Estuarine ecosystems are also not well studied in the tropical regions especially in the unique Island of Palawan which has wildlife species in more affinity with nearby Borneo Island than the rest of the Philippines. Experts attribute this similarity to land bridges that connect mainland Palawan with Borneo.

Despite the itchy bites of the sandfly (local name: niknik), the marine biology students braved the waist deep waters near the mouth of Iwahig River. Many species of wildlife were photographed and then released back into the water. The mangroves growing in the estuarine portion of the river were likewise identified and photographed for reference.

Notable among the animals is another crab of purple color. Is it another Insulamon? We don’t know because no information on a crab with such appearance is available. Proper identification requires a considerable number of crabs, some measurements, and a whole lot of descriptions filled with jargon. The picture says it all anyway.

The whole trip lasted only for about two hours but a diverse collection of photographs on biodiversity of the estuarine ecosystem was obtained. This collection is better than any book published in printed format.

See all these biodiversity in the article I posted online for everybody. It is titled Tropical Ecosystem: Estuarine Biodiversity in Iwahig.

© 2012 October 27 P. A. Regoniel

Another Important Note to Readers

Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking time in reading my articles. I just would like to inform you that I have set a spam filter for this site to maintain quality experience for users who browse the articles.

If you would like to comment, please make sure that it is relevant to the content you are commenting on. If not, then your comment will be considered as spam and deleted permanently. It will take time to post relevant comments as I review each comment for relevance. I do not have an automatic service to do this.

I really would like the materials herein to be enriched by the readers. So I will appreciate if you post comments that enrich the experience of the users of the site, particularly our younger generation hungry for information, as they visited the site hoping to find answers to their questions related to the topics that I posted.

I focus my efforts and time on writing and editing my posts before publishing them. This takes a lot of my time. So I also expect those who would like to contribute educational articles here to do the same. Quality of articles published in this site should always be ensured.

This site is dedicated to students as well as teachers. I created it in response to my students’ enthusiastic remark that they like the way I teach because they are able to understand otherwise difficult topics especially in research and statistics. This is enough motivation for me to write on those topics I have had a good grasp although occasionally I have to verify or consult other relevant materials to enrich reader experience.

Further, I was encouraged to share my knowledge because a colleague once thanked me for providing her niece a very good background on research and statistics. She gratefully acknowledged that I was instrumental in her niece’s being able to enroll in the graduate school in a prestigious school without the need to take these subjects. Thus, she saved both time and money when she was upgraded to higher level after she passed the admission or qualifying exam.

I would like to share my knowledge and skills along this area to the best that I could. I dedicate this site to people like me who once browsed the web but found a lot of irrelevant stuff and who wished to have a site which is devoted mainly to educational materials that are easy to read and understand.

I hope you enjoy learning from my posts. – admin

5 Qualities of a Good Researcher

Can anyone be a good researcher? Do researchers possess specific qualities that make them succeed in the field of scientific inquiry? Find out in the article below if indeed you have any of the qualities a good researcher must have.  If not, then you train and build yourself up on those qualities that you find yourself wanting.

While everyone in college will be given the opportunity to do research, not everyone can do it unless they possess the qualities required of a good researcher. Just like leaders, scientists can also be made, not just born.

But there are innate qualities that researchers must possess to succeed in this challenging task that requires a lot of imagination and perseverance.

What then are the qualities of a good researcher? Here are five notable attributes of people who tread the path towards discovery:

1. A good researcher manifests thirst for new information.

A good researcher shows an open mind about things. He does not just take things by themselves but explores new grounds. He adopts the philosophy of “thinking beyond the box“, leaving out the conventional for something innovative. A good researcher treads the unknown frontier.

Pieces of evidence of this thirst for new information manifest in people who do not stop learning. Those persons who maintain an open mind for new possibilities to happen, even when everything appears to have been discovered or studied, or options exhausted.

Two hundred years ago, has anyone ever thought that man could go to the moon, or explore the depths of the sea? Or tap on the keys of the cell phone to communicate with another person so far away?

2. A good researcher has a keen sense of things around him.

Keenness is a quality developed through an observant attitude. A good researcher sees something more out of a common occurrence around him. And he sees this quickly.

He can see a wiggling worm inside a flower, or the beautiful color combinations of a wild plant, or simply, notices the small fly in the burger.

Do you know which part of the vertically-oriented traffic light is green?

keenness

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3. A good researcher likes to reflect or think about the things he encounters.

Researchers who pause and reflect on the knowledge that they gained, either formally in school or through their experience, gain insights. Insights are creative thoughts that make one nod his head and say, “Aha, this is something I have been looking for!” An original idea was born.

4. A good researcher must be intelligent enough to express his ideas.

How can you express your thoughts if you cannot write? The point here is that a good researcher must be adept in the written language.

How can people understand your point when you are the only one who can understand what you have written?

Intelligence to express ideas is a quality that appears to reside in gifted individuals. But if you recognize your weakness in this realm, why not seek someone who can? After all, ideas are more important; but of course, better if you present them in such in a way that others understand well what you want to say.

5. A good researcher applies a systematic approach in assessing situations.

Research requires systematic and objective thinking to arrive at something. Logical reasoning, therefore, is applied by a good researcher.

He can analyze things, meaning, he can break down a complex situation into manageable bits that he can focus his attention into (see article on conceptual framework).

Do you have these qualities? If not, then it’s time for you to harness the hidden talents in you through training and continuous learning.

© 2012 October 24 P. A. Regoniel

Note to Readers

This website adopted the simplest, minimalist web design in WordPress created by Galin Simeonov to facilitate learning among readers, primarily those who look for no-nonsense answers to their questions in the quickest way possible. It was designed with the student in mind, free of distracting pop-ups and unnecessary graphics that slow down the internet connection, draw away one’s concentration and clutter the mind.

In fact, when this note was written, a free, downloadable word processing utility, OmmWriter, was used by the author for better concentration. He can hear a slow paced, soothing background sound in a refreshing and calming snowy backdrop.

To make the most of this site, you may read the text on its own and/or click on the links for more information or clarification of concepts and let the linked article load in the background while you read the rest of the paragraph to save time. It’s multitasking. You save on time and you save on money especially if you are paying by the minute using a portable connection like USB Globe Tattoo Stick.

All of those links are related to the subject discussed. Those linked articles have advertisements on them, but these are not necessarily evil or bad, because the advertisements on those articles help the administrator pay for his internet connection, keep up with the electrical consumption bills, upgrade his computer, and recover his small investment for domain hosting. The is no such thing as free lunch.

People benefit from the advertisements, both the users who click on them and those who advertise because they keep the economy going. If we don’t have any idea on what to buy, then we don’t have enough choices to make. If we don’t have stores, then where do we go? How can people who work on those establishments survive?

But of course, we don’t just click away for no reason at all. If it’s relevant to us, then we click on them and decide anyway, whether we buy something or not.

Most of the topics discussed and will be discussed in this collection of articles arose from frequently encountered questions from students in both classroom and field work settings. It is the author’s philosophy that answers to these questions should be simple, succinct or straightforward without lacking in substance.

Thus, the slogan, “Don’t talk too much, simply educate me.” – admin

What are Examples of Research Questions?

To effectively write the statement of the problem of your thesis, you will need to bear in mind certain principles that will guide you in framing those critical questions.  Well-written research questions determine how the whole research process will proceed.

At least three basic research outcomes are expected. These are described below along with examples of research questions for each outcome.

There are already many pieces of literature written on how to write the research questions required in investigating a phenomenon. But how are the research questions framed in actual situations? How do you write the research questions?

You will need to bear in mind certain rules and principles on how to go about writing the research questions. Before you start writing the research questions, you should be able to discern what you intend to arrive at in your research.

What are your aims and what are your expected research outcomes? Do you intend to describe something, determine differences or explain the causes of a phenomenon?

Three Basic Research Outcomes

There are at least three basic research outcomes that will arise in writing the research questions. These are 1) come up with a description, 2) determine differences between variables, and 3) find out correlations between variables.

Research Outcome Number 1. Come up with a description.

The outcome of your research question may be in the form of a description. The description is provided to contextualize the situation, explain something about the subjects or respondents of the study or provide the reader an overview of your study.

Below are examples of common research questions for Research Outcome Number 1 on a research conducted on teachers as respondents in a study.

Example Research Questions

  • What is the demographic profile of the teachers in terms of age, gender, educational attainment, civil status, and number of training attended?
  • How much time do teachers devote in preparing their lessons?
  • What teaching styles are used by teachers in managing their students?

The expected outcomes of the questions above will be a description of the teachers’ demographic profile, a range of time devoted to preparing their lessons, and a description of the teaching styles used by the teachers. These research outcomes can be presented in the form of tables and graphs with accompanying descriptions of the highlights of the findings. Highlights are those interesting trends or dramatic results that need attention such as very few training provided to teachers.

Research Outcome Number 2. Determine differences between variables.

To be able to write research questions that integrate the variables of the study, you should be able to define what is a variable. If this term is already quite familiar to you, and you are confident in your understanding, you may read the rest of this post.studying

You might want to find out the differences between groups in a selected variable in your study. Say, you would want to know if there is a significant difference in long quiz score (the variable you are interested in) between students who study at night and students who study early in the morning. You may frame your research questions thus:

Example Research Questions

  • Non-directional: Is there a significant difference in long quiz score between students who study early in the morning and students who study at night?
  • Directional: Are the quiz scores of students who study early in the morning higher than those who study at night?

The intention of the first research question is to find out if a difference exists in long quiz scores between students who study at night and those who study early in the morning, hence is non-directional. The second research question aims to find out if indeed students who study in the morning have better quiz scores as what the review of the literature suggests. Thus, the latter is directional.

Research Outcome Number 3. Find out correlations or relationships between variables.

The outcome of research questions in this category will be to explain correlations or causality. Below are examples of research questions that aim to find out correlations or relationships between variables using a combination of the variables mentioned in research outcome numbers 1 and 2.

Example Research Questions

  • Is there a significant relationship between teaching style and long quiz score of students?
  • Is there a significant association between the student’s long quiz score and the teacher’s age, gender, and training attended?
  • Is there a relationship between the long quiz score and the number of hours devoted by students in studying their lessons?

Note that in all the preceding examples of research questions, the variables of the study found in the conceptual framework of the study are integrated. Therefore, research questions must always incorporate the variables in them so that the researcher can describe, find differences, or correlate them with each other.

If you find this helpful, take the time to share this with your peers so that they can likewise discover new, exciting and interesting things along their fields of interest.

© 2012 October 22 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (October 22, 2012). What are Examples of Research Questions?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2012/10/22/what-are-examples-of-research-questions/

What are Examples of Variables in Research?

In the course of writing your thesis, one of the first terms that you encounter is the word variable. Failure to understand the meaning and the usefulness of variables in your study will prevent you from doing good research. What then are variables and how do you use variables in your study? I explain the concept below with lots of examples on variables commonly used in research.

You may find it difficult to understand just what variables are in the context of research especially those that deal with quantitative data analysis. This initial difficulty about variables becomes much more confusing when you encounter the phrases “dependent variable” and “independent variable” as you go deeper in studying this important concept of research as well as statistics.

Understanding what variables mean is crucial in writing your thesis proposal because you will need these in constructing your conceptual framework and in analyzing the data that you have gathered. Therefore, it is a must that you should be able to grasp thoroughly the meaning of variables and ways on how to measure them. Yes, the variables should be measurable so that you will be able to use your data for statistical analysis.

I will strengthen your understanding by providing examples of phenomena and their corresponding variables below.

Definition of Variables and Examples

Variables are those simplified portions of the complex phenomena that you intend to study. The word variable is derived from the root word “vary”, meaning, changing in amount, volume, number, form, nature or type. These variables should be measurable, i.e., they can be counted or subjected to a scale.

The following examples of phenomena from a global to a local perspective. The corresponding list of variables is given to provide a clear illustration of how complex phenomena can be broken down into manageable pieces for better understanding and to subject the phenomena to research.

  • Phenomenon: climate change

Examples of variables related to climate change:

  1. sea level
  2. temperature
  3. the amount of carbon emission
  4. the amount of rainfall
  • Phenomenon: Crime and violence in the streets

Examples of variables related to crime and violence:

  1. number of robberies
  2. number of attempted murders
  3. number of prisoners
  4. number of crime victims
  5. number of laws enforcers
  6. number of convictions
  7. number of car napping incidents
  • Phenomenon: poor performance of students in college entrance exams

Examples of variables related to poor academic performance:

  1. entrance exam score
  2. number of hours devoted to studying
  3. student-teacher ratio
  4. number of students in the class
  5. educational attainment of teachers
  6. teaching style
  7. the distance of school from home
  8. number of hours devoted by parents in providing tutorial support
  • Phenomenon: Fishkill

Examples of variables related to fish kill:

  1. dissolved oxygen
  2. water salinity
  3. temperature
  4. age of fish
  5. presence or absence of parasites
  6. presence or absence of heavy metal
  7. stocking density
  • Phenomenon: Poor crop growth

Examples of variables related to poor crop growth:

  1. the amount of nitrogen in the soil
  2. the amount of phosphorous in the soil
  3. the amount of potassium in the ground
  4. the amount of rainfall
  5. frequency of weeding
  6. type of soil
  7. temperature
Arid land
Poor crop growth in the arid soil of a hill in an island.

Notice in the above examples of variables that all of them can be counted or measured using a scale. The expected values derived from these variables will, therefore, be in terms of numbers, amount, category or type. Quantified variables allow statistical analysis. Variable correlations or differences are then determined.

Difference Between Independent and Dependent Variables

Which of the above examples of variables are the independent and the dependent variables? The independent variables are just those variables that may influence or affect the other variable, i.e., the dependent variable.

For example, in the first phenomenon of climate change, temperature (independent variable) may influence sea level (dependent variable). Increased temperature will cause expansion of water in the sea. Thus, sea level rise on a global scale may occur. In the second phenomenon, i.e., crime and violence in the streets, the independent variable may be the number of law enforcers and the dependent variable is the number of robberies.

I will leave to you the other variables so you can figure out how this works.

How will you know that one variable may cause the other to behave in a certain way? Finding the relationship between variables require a thorough review of the literature. Through a review of the relevant and reliable literature, you will be able to find out which variables influence the other variable. You do not just simply guess relationships between variables. The whole process is the essence of research.

At this point, I believe that the concept of the variable is now clear to you. Share this information to your peers who may have difficulty in understanding what the variables are in research.

©2012 October 22 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (October 22, 2012). What are Examples of Variables in Research?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2012/10/22/what-are-examples-of-variables-in-research/