Category Archives: Research

This category includes educational materials on research in both the undergraduate and the graduate levels.

Save Time Using the Internet as Source of Information

How can research help you save time? This article describes how a simple web search for information can save time in daily concerns such as commuting from one place to another. Read on to see how research can save time as well as money and effort.

Research can do worthwhile improvements in our daily lives such as saving time. Time is gold so they say and we must consciously do things that can help us save time. More time available means more opportunity to do other things.

I narrate my personal experience on how research tools and techniques matter. The application of simple review of available information and putting the information to good use means efficient use of time and money.

Save Time Using Online Information

I was one of the participants of a planning meeting in the Department of Science and Technology at 10 o’clock in the morning last Wednesday. My residence is in Quezon City and I will be traveling from that point of Metro Manila to the City of Taguig. If I take the taxi as I did before, I will be paying roughly PhP500 to reach my destination. That would take about two hours, at moderate traffic.

I dislike the feeling of urgency whenever the taxi I am in gets trapped in the traffic mess. The  driver complains and asks me to pay extra for the delay. It gives me stress and this can get ugly if my frustration leads to a heated exchange of words with the driver.

I realized later that the driver is not to be blamed because running on an empty taxi after unloading me in my destination in the midst of heavy traffic means expending gas with no passenger to pay for the gas consumed.

Stating the Problem

I thought there must be a more efficient, less costly and less stressful way to get to Taguig. Can research help resolve the question I have in mind? So I framed my problem statement thus:

Is there a faster, more efficient, and less expensive route to reach the City of Taguig from Quezon City?

Given this question, the next step is to review available information.

As there is nobody to ask around, the internet is the most convenient source of information. I browsed the web and learned that aside from taxis and buses, Taguig can be accessed by train. Train? I never thought of that option and I haven’t heard any of my colleagues take that route.

Although unsure if the route still exists because the information was written a few years back, I assumed that it still holds true. I am familiar with the Magallanes station of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). And the information says that just a few hundred meters southward, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) station can be found.

I followed the route, taking the Ikot jeep in UP Diliman to get to UP Pantranco jeep so I can ride the Metro Rail Transit at the junction of EDSA and Quezon Avenue. The train arrived at the Magallanes station at around  7:50am.

I fumbled my way to the supposed EDSA station of the old railway system of PNR asking a guard for directions somewhere below the Magallanes interchange. He pointed the way to the station. Walking about 50 meters more, I “discovered” the hidden access.

The Old Train Arrived

My arrival would have been timely because a diesel-powered train arrived shortly. But being a newbie passenger, I missed it as I need to go against a throng of passengers who alighted from the train. I have to wait for the next train that is expected to come within an hour. I glanced at my watch and saw the time is 8:34am. I am still okay, I thought, as the meeting will commence at 10am.

save time by train
The Philippine National Railways train arrives at EDSA station.

Patience is a virtue, so they say, so I spent the time documenting the station and the surrounding areas. It’s a hot day so I walked from the  sunlight exposed sitting area and stood in the cooler western portion of the waiting shed.

At around 9:18am, the distinctive train toot and bright headlight came into view. I prepared to board the train with several other passengers. The train is moderately full at this busy hour. It seems many people are unfamiliar with this alternative route that goes from Tutuban to Calamba.

It took the train only 14 minutes to reach Bicutan, after two brief stops in Nichols and FTI. I arrived at my destination. The DOST compound is only at the other side of the road. In less than five minutes, I was 15 minutes ahead of the meeting schedule.

Cost of the Trip from Quezon City to Taguig

The whole trip from Quezon City to Taguig cost me only PhP50. Below is a breakdown of my expenses:

  • Ikot jeep: PhP6
  • PANTRANCO jeep: PhP10
  • MRT: PhP24
  • PNR: PhP10

I didn’t mind the congested ride in the jeep and at the MRT because it’s the busiest time of the day as employees rush to work. It’s great to find a more efficient, inexpensive and stress free route to my destination. The cost is 10 times less than taking the taxi. And I can improve on my commute time with the knowledge I gained on the train schedule.

Walking up the stairs at the Quezon Avenue station of MRT and queuing along with the long line of train passengers is the only patience challenging part of the trip.

The Default Theory

I have been thinking about this concept for quite a time. And I am convinced that advancing this idea as a theory can help explain the phenomenon that commonly beset human affairs, i.e., nothing happens, or nothing changes without deliberate and sustained effort to institute changes. I call this the Default Theory.

The Default Theory I have in mind applies to many cases of human endeavor. Although there is a theory by Timothy Levine called Truth-Default Theory or TDT, the theory I am advancing is entirely different from his description.

For example, I disseminated information among colleagues that there is an opportunity for innovation and development proposals to be potentially funded heavily by the Commission on Higher Education. The initiative is part of the government’s effort to minimize the adverse effects of the K-12 Transition Program.

A week was given to comply with the simple requirement of submitting a one or two-page concept paper to the funding agency. The concept paper preludes the preparation of a full-blown research proposal once the proposed concept is accepted.

I discussed the rationale, explained the mechanics and gave all the forms to be accomplished to the unit heads. I thought they would appreciate the effort and be motivated likewise to disseminate the information to the 400-500 faculty members of the university. I also explored possible topics as starting points that the group can follow through.

Even while disseminating the information and being hopeful that they will respond to the call, at the back of my mind, I somehow anticipate that nobody will submit or make the extra effort to present their proposals. By default, nothing gets done for some reason. Almost always, nothing gets done despite efforts to make a change.

And nobody did submit except me as I took extra effort to make a submission on or before the deadline. I am aware of the Default Theory. Things happen as they should if no additional effort is done to counter its effect. I have done this action several times, and I made changes and took a career turn. I counteract the default with deliberate, sustained effort to do something.

urban sprawl
Eutrophication of coastal areas occurs by default.

When applied to dealing with environmental issues or concerns which are my cup of tea, the Default Theory works likewise.

For example, for many years and after so many ideas, suggestions, propositions, projects, programs among others that arise to counter the effects of environmental degradation, the default prevails. That is, nothing gets accomplished that significantly and with lasting impact.

If you attend conferences or read scientific papers, the issue of environmental problems such as pollution, illegal trade, over-extraction, and similar problems faced decades back remain. The default is that nothing gets done, at least on a sustainable manner, even with much effort and expense. There may be successes, but history reveals that everything goes back to board one through time. Gains are not sustainable.

So where does this bring us?

It all starts with the recognition that this phenomenon exists. And deliberate, sustained effort to counter the “business as usual” must be made.

Information System: Its Definition and Role in Decision Making

What is an information system? How can it influence an organization’s effectiveness? This article defines information system and how it works.

The rapid pace of urban development in the information age is made possible by computer-based information systems. Middle level and upper-level managers benefit a lot from the outputs of a well-designed and efficient information system. In a highly competitive world, information systems define the winners and the losers in many areas: economic, political, social, among others.

But what is an information system? How does it work? How can managers make use of it?

Definition of Information System

An information system is an organized scheme of people and data collection and retrieval tools to produce information. Data is meaningless unless analyzed or processed to meet the needs of the users. Thus, data processors which may be human or machines, process the data and produce information. Information may be in the form of graphs, tables, figures or any output that translates data into understandable forms. Thus, information is processed data.

Modern organizations use computer-based or computer information systems because of its high efficiency in delivering information. Manual information systems, while still in use, is slower and relies mainly on the ability of people to process data.

In the age of information, information systems are synonymous with computer-based or computer information systems. That is because computers are used to process data into understandable chunks of information that the user needs. Slow data processing systems that rely on manual retrieval of data from physical folders or files in a metal cabinet are gradually phased out in modern workplaces.

information system
The information system in relation to the business world (Source:

How Does a Computer Information System Work?

A computer information system requires the input of data, a processing capability, and the ability to produce an output that can be stored for future use. The acronym IPOS summarizes the components of an information system. This acronym stands for Input, Process, Output, and Storage.

In a computer information system, an input is made through the use of a keyboard, a mouse, or a microphone. Process refers to data analysis using software applications that take advantage of the computer’s processor. Computers perform complex calculations to organize data into useful outputs that can be displayed on a screen or printed on paper. It makes sense of data whose raw form is meaningless.

The output may be used immediately or retrieved from a storage whenever necessary. Flash drives, hard disks, and cloud storage facilities are commonly used to store both data and information.

Requisites of Good Information

The information produced in an information system is only as good as the data used to generate it. It follows the GIGO principle: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Wrong information produces false results.

According to Zikmund (1999), useful information should be 1) relevant, 2) timely, 3) of high quality, and 4) complete.

Relevance is the degree to which the information produced is related or useful to the current issue that needs resolution.  Information is timely if it is available whenever needed. Information is of high quality if it is based on accurate data and analyzed correctly. And information is highly useful if it answers all of the user’s queries or requirements.

Good information, therefore, is helpful in decision making if it is produced through systematic means. The rigorous manner applied in conducting research plays an essential role in delivering information that makes clear a decision maker’s options.

See how information is generated in the post titled: Market Analysis: The Pizza Study.


Zikmund, W. (1999). Essentials of marketing research. Dryden Press. 422 pp.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (June 8, 2016). Information System: Its Definition and Role in Decision Making. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Doctoral Thesis: Working Your Way Out

What attitude should you adopt in writing a doctoral thesis? Is it all too difficult? Here are five tips to get you going.

Writing a doctoral thesis is one of the most challenging tasks a graduate student would have to face in the course of completing a graduate degree. What are the challenges associated with doctoral thesis writing? I narrate my experience as I worked my way through the hurdles of the graduate school.

Give Up or Go On?

One of the professors I hold in awe and respect highly told everyone in class that pursuing a degree in the graduate school is not an easy path to take. There will be times you would want to give up and be free of the many demands of graduate study. He advised us to just “Go on and don’t be discouraged because depression is a normal part of a graduate student’s life.”

His words rung in my mind each time I feel like giving up. Much more so when I plunged deep into the water and looked up and around the blue waters surrounding me. I was assessing the status of coral reefs in selected spots in two bays. I was looking into the congruence of community perception on adjacent coral reefs with the “true” situation of their reefs verified by actual physical assessment of its condition.

Deep down in seawater at about 30 to 60 feet, I reflected upon myself: “What the hell am I doing here, swimming like a fish when I am a human being who should naturally be walking on land!” I am engaging in something unnatural. Humans are not meant to be in the depths of the sea. All of these I do for the sake of science, of trying to support the argument of my doctoral thesis. I felt like giving up.

But a doctoral thesis requires a more intelligent and rigorous inquiry into the unknown (see the difference between a master’s degree and a doctoral degree’s approach to the phenomenon). There should be a difference between a doctoral thesis and a master’s thesis. And I have to do something groundbreaking. At least that’s what I thought it should be.

doctoral thesis
Thesis defense, or offense?

Writing the Doctoral Thesis: Five Tips

So how can a Ph.D. candidate cope up with the challenges associated with the writing of a doctoral thesis? How can one cope up with the many and never ending manuscript editing woes?

Remember that writing a doctoral thesis is not your most amazing work. It is a prelude for you to appreciate and critically inquire into the theories that are never perfect. You can blaze a path of your own and be known in a niche you can best excel in.

How can you best cope with the task of finishing your doctoral thesis? Here are five suggestions to help you out of your predicament:

  1. Make sure you select an adviser who has a good reputation in your field. A good mentor produces good mentees.
  2. Be very clear about your intention in writing the doctoral thesis. An excellent review of the literature will help you clarify the issue that bogs your mind.
  3. Be brave to change your topic if the path you take gets too messy. Writing the doctoral thesis is done in partial, not full, fulfillment of the course requirements. Don’t aim towards perfection as that means more time and effort that may not be needed.
  4. Don’t force yourself too hard when you are not in the mood to write. Take a break. I did by playing a computer game all day long.
  5. Schedule your work and do a little at a time when your mind is not functioning at its peak. But compensate when you are in the mood. Do things gradually and you will accomplish a great deal. Just be consistent.

The point of the whole matter is that once you decide to go for a doctoral degree, there are some sacrifices to be made. No pain, no gain.

Market Analysis: The Pizza Study

What is market analysis? How is it done? This article describes how market analysis works using data on a pizza study.

After having defined marketing research in my previous post and giving an example conceptual framework for a pizza study, I decided to get into the details of market analysis using a standard multivariate statistical analysis tool. I saw the need of writing this article upon reading several articles on market analysis. There is a need to demonstrate what is market analysis.

Before everything else, the concept “market analysis” should be defined first.

What is market analysis and how is it used?

Market Analysis Defined

Marketing strategies work best when founded on a systematic evaluation of consumer preferences. What do consumers want? How do they respond to a product or service? Marketing research provides answers to these questions.

Hence, market analysis can be defined as the process of evaluating consumer preferences using a systematic approach such as marketing research, among others. Market analysis is a detailed examination of the elements or structure of the market.

Why is a market analysis done? An analysis is done to draw out important findings for interpretation, discussion and finally, a decision on what steps to make.

The Pizza Study

Once again, the conceptual framework given in the pizza study is given below to serve as a reference in the following discussion.

market analysis of a pizza study
Conceptual framework of the pizza study.

To find out what customers want, let us have a sample data of feedback from 200 pizza shop customers. To understand how analysis works, you need to read the article on variables as these are important units of analysis. If you already understand what variables are, then proceed to read the rest of the discussion.

Coding the Variables for Market Analysis

Let us have the following measures for the variables in this study namely pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy:

Pizza Taste

1 – Very bad
2 – Bad
3 – Moderate
4 – Good
5 – Very good

Service Speed
1 – Satisfied
0 – Not satisfied

Waiter Courtesy
1 – Courteous
0 – Not courteous

Level of Satisfaction
Let us assume that the following Likert scale applies to the customer’s level of satisfaction:

1- Not at all satisfied
2 – Slightly satisfied
3 – Moderately satisfied
4 – Very satisfied
5 – Extremely satisfied

If for example, the customer is satisfied with pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy; he rates everything “5.” If he is not satisfied with courtesy, then he might rate it a “0.”

Multiple Regression Analysis

Below is a data set representing the response of 200 pizza customers that serves as input to multiple regression analysis (you may try the data set if you know how to compute using multiple regression):

You may skip this table by clicking the link below:

Jump to the Results of Analysis.

A table summarizing the results of the pizza survey.

Customer #SatisfactionTasteSpeedCourtesy

Result of the Regression Analysis

The following table presents the results of the multiple regression analysis using a simple spreadsheet software application with regression capability – Gnumeric. The first part shows the general relationship between the dependent and independent variables. The second part shows the details of the relationship between satisfaction score and pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy.

Part 1. Regression Statistics
Multiple R0.66
Standard Error0.47
Adjusted R^20.43
Part 2. Details
CoefficientsStandard Errort-Statisticsp-Value

Notice that the overall relationship has R values. Among these R values, the most important for interpretation is the Adjusted R^2 value. This value represents the relationship between variables of the study. The value obtained here is 0.43. This means 43% of the variation in satisfaction score is accounted for by the three variables.

Closer scrutiny of the details in Part 2 reveals that service speed significantly relates to satisfaction score. The red font indicates this significant relationship (for better understanding, please read the post on how to determine the significance of statistical relationships).

Interpretation of the Results

Based on the results of the statistical analysis, we can say with confidence that among the variables studied, service speed relates significantly to customer satisfaction. If you look closely at the entries in the data set, for every 5 or 4 satisfaction score, a 1 corresponds to service speed, meaning, the customer is satisfied with service speed. Take note, however, that this interpretation holds true only to the particular location where the study transpired.

Given this result, the marketing manager, therefore, should focus on the improvement of service speed to satisfy customers. This simple information can help the pizza business grow and gain a competitive edge. Market analysis guides decision-making and avoids incurring the unnecessary cost associated with the hit-and-miss approach.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (May 21, 2016). Market Analysis: The Pizza Study. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Marketing Research Conceptual Framework

What is marketing research? How do you come up with your conceptual framework on marketing research? This article defines the concept and provides a simplified example.

One of the readers of my article on how to develop a conceptual framework asked if I could provide an example conceptual framework on marketing research. I am quite interested in applying the principles of marketing research on my entrepreneurial venture such as in creating and running this website.

It so happened I came across a book on marketing research in BOOKSALE while looking for textbooks on statistics. The book is on sale, so I pulled out my wallet and shelled out a little investment for my hungry brain. The title of the book is a straightforward “Essentials of Marketing Research” by William Zikmund.

I set aside 15 minutes to read the book right after my jogging session. I did this thinking that my mind could actively absorb the contents of the highly academic book after pumping a lot of oxygen during vigorous exercise. In fact, Hillman (2008) noted the beneficial effect of aerobic exercise to cognition. Exercise not only improves physical health but also academic performance.

To come up with a conceptual framework for marketing research, I find it necessary to define marketing research first.

Marketing Research Defined

Zikmund (1999) defines marketing research as a systematic and objective process of generating information to aid in marketing decisions. This process includes specifying what information is required, designing the method for collecting information, managing and implementing the collection of data, analyzing the results, and communicating the findings and their implications.

The most important thing in this definition is that marketing research, as in any research venture, helps business owners or marketing managers make decisions. Marketing research sheds light on customer’s preferences, the long-range profitability of business operations, and other product-oriented concerns.

Successful companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, among other well-known businesses must be employing excellent marketing research activities to keep their edge. Decisions related to their products and services are not haphazardly done. Managers decide with calculated risks.

Example Conceptual Framework on Marketing Research

One of the popular marketing research activities focuses on product quality and services. I illustrate product and service research with a personal experience below.

A few years back, I answered a simple questionnaire soliciting my feedback on the product and services of a pizza shop. The questionnaire sought my rating of pizza taste, service speed, and the courtesy of the server.

We can plot the paradigm of the study as follows:

marketing research example
The paradigm of the pizza study showing the independent and the dependent variables.

The paradigm above shows the conceptual framework of the study. It is an abstract representation of what the pizza manager or consultant has in mind. It shows the variables that the researcher shall examine to determine which of the three variables correlate most with customer satisfaction.

Why were the three independent variables namely pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy selected? A review of the literature on customer satisfaction may have revealed that these variables are determinants of customer satisfaction. But in the particular location where the pizza restaurant operates, any of these variables may be more important than the other. A study found out that customer preferences vary geographically. This finding implies that clients in one place may prioritize courtesy over taste. In one location, customers may put a premium on service speed. In another location, customers may not mind much either the speed or courtesy but the taste.

So how will the marketing manager use the findings of the study in the given example? If for example, customers in the location I’m in prioritizes service speed, then the appropriate action should be to improve the speed of pizza delivery without compromising taste and courtesy.

This example illustrates the importance of marketing research in making decisions that can help businesses grow. Research findings guide marketing managers on what steps to take to improve their business operations.


Hillman, C. H., Erickson, K. I., & Kramer, A. F. (2008). Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(1), 58-65.

Zikmund, W. (1999). Essentials of marketing research. Dryden Press. 422 pp.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (May 20, 2016). Marketing Research Conceptual Framework. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Electromagnetic Radiation Effect on Sleep

Does electromagnetic radiation emitted from modern digital devices affect sleep? This article explores and describes electromagnetic radiation effect on sleep based on scientific evidence. Read on to find out.

In an earlier post, I described the effect of blue light emitted from laptop or tv screens to sleeping patterns. But knowing this and taking action to prevent exposure to blue light apparently is not enough. I still had difficulty sleeping despite reducing my exposure to blue light. Blue light reduces melatonin levels thus disturb sleep.

I thought emissions from the WiFi adapter in my laptop might have something to do with my insomnia. So I hooked the laptop and the router together using a 10-meter RJ-45 cable run through the ceiling. I then switched off the built-in WiFi adapter on my laptop to a wired internet connection. Apparently, I slept soundly because of this change.

My experience could be considered an anecdotal evidence that the emission of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) can affect sleep. I thought my observation can lend support from the scientific literature. Hence, as is my usual routine, I browsed Google Scholar for relevant research on electromagnetic radiation effect on sleep.

Is there a relationship between EMR and sleep? What does research say about the electromagnetic radiation effect on sleeping patterns? Are they related at all?

Electromagnetic Radiation Effect on Sleep

The following five papers that describe the electromagnetic radiation effect on sleep can be convincing enough.

1. Chronic (or long-term) electromagnetic field exposure causes abnormal tissue death in the brain. It also causes lung damage, paralysis, muscle tremors, and bone pain (Worthington 2007).

2. Residents exposed to electromagnetic radiation from telecommunications towers suffer insomnia. In addition, they noted other non-specific health symptoms. These symptoms include headache, giddiness, loss of memory, diarrhea, mental slowness, reduced reaction time and mood swing (Suleiman 2014).

3. Radiation from cell phone base station affects the adrenal glands. The glands stimulate the production of adrenalin and cortisol. Excess adrenaline causes insomnia (Goldsworthy 2012).

4. Electromagnetic radiation from network routers can disturb sleep (Stein 2015).

5. Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) before sleep alters brain activity thus affect sleep (Regel 2007).

These findings demonstrate dose-response relationship. This means that small doses of EMR may not cause health problems. But larger doses can produce health symptoms upon reaching a certain threshold level. The present youth are particularly vulnerable, as their life revolves around the use of these gadgets either for serious school work or at play.

electromagnetic radiation effect
Radiation dose chart

Steps to Avoid Electromagnetic Radiation Exposure

One of the papers recommended that governments should impose new regulations on EMR-emitting communications infrastructure. Locating cell phone stations away from densely populated regions can reduce health risk. Chronic or long-term exposure to EMR-emitting gadgets such as cellphones, tablets, laptops, among others in the information age should be avoided.

To reduce electromagnetic radiation effects on your health, take the following steps:

1. Avoid using your electronic gadgets close to your body. Use an earphone when calling someone.

2. Connect to the internet using a cable as much as possible. If you can do so, switch off your WiFi adapter. The adapter emits more radiation the distance increases from the router. Weak router signals mean more electromagnetic radiation emitted by your gadget’s receiver.

3. Avoid going to places where people converge and use their cell phones such as malls and buses.

4. Do not sleep with your cell phone on and next to you.

5. Do not put your cellphone in your pocket. EMR has been known to cause infertility problems.

6. Avoid living near cellphone base stations. If living near one, block your house from incoming radiation with reflective aluminum insulation and painted walls.

7. Inform others about the health effects of electromagnetic radiation. Encourage them to take action so that emission of EMR in your workplace or community will be reduced.

The worry of the future generation is not about visible air pollution as environmental technology gradually keeps it at bay. Invisible radiation, due to our modern communications systems, is a threat that now shows its symptoms.

What you can’t see can harm you.


Goldsworthy, A. (2012). Cell phone radiation and harmful effects: Just how much more proof do you need?.

Regel, S. J., Tinguely, G., Schuderer, J., Adam, M., Kuster, N., Landolt, H. P., & Achermann, P. (2007). Pulsed radio‐frequency electromagnetic fields: dose‐dependent effects on sleep, the sleep EEG and cognitive performance. Journal of sleep research, 16(3), 253-258.

Stein, Y., Hänninen, O., Huttunen, P., Ahonen, M., & Ekman, R. (2015). Electromagnetic Radiation and Health: Human Indicators. In Environmental Indicators (pp. 1025-1046). Springer Netherlands.

Suleiman, A., Gee, T. T., Krishnapillai, A. D., Khalil, K. M., Hamid, M. W. A., & Mustapa, M. (2014). Electromagnetic radiation health effects in exposed and non-exposed residents in Penang. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 2(02), 77.

Worthington, A. (2007). The radiation poisoning of America. GlobalResearch. ca, October, 9.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (May 14, 2016). Electromagnetic Radiation Effect on Sleep. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Two Questions for Great Research Topics

Plain and straightforward tips on how to come up with great research topics. Read on to find out.

Students often come to me and ask what research topics would be worth pursuing to fulfill their course requirements. I always refer them to the university’s research agenda as it defines what the country needs to realize the goals of sustainable development. The university’s research agenda is broad enough to cater to everyone’s interest, but there is a need to bring this down to a level that one can practically pursue in the field.

Recognizing the need to narrow down further the research topic to make it doable, I usually ask my students two questions that will guide them in selecting a research topic and start off their research venture with greater confidence.

Two Questions to Identify Great Research Topics

I ask the following questions to help students find their way in the maze of topics they find particularly when they are online. These questions assist them to arrive at great research topics that are practical and doable.

1. What research topic strikes your interest?

This question is easier answered if a student is a masters degree candidate. But for undergraduate students who do research by groups, selecting great research topics that represent the group’s interest is a bit tricky. A few confident undergraduate students would tell me that they would like to do their research by themselves because of this concern. But I convince them that the investigation is better done in groups considering the multi-disciplinary nature of current research interests. And doing research in groups help them develop desirable values such as cooperation, unity, punctuality, and generosity as they interact with each other.

Hence, there is a need for the members of the group to spend time together to discuss and come up with a topic that will represent everyone’s interest. A mind mapping activity can best capture ideas concepts and let the group see their options better.

2. How much time and money can you allocate to your research?

Sometimes, students tend to undertake projects that are beyond their means to perform as well as fund. Thus, I ask them to prepare a work and financial plan so that they can define the tasks to do, the time required for it, and the associated costs of the activity.

I show a simple work and financial plan below that can help students manage their time, effort, and finances.

TaskTime FrameEstimated CostRemarks
1. Gather relevant literaturexP 150photocopy
2. Develop conceptual framework-xP 500meeting
3. Prepare questionnaire –xP  800printing
4. Gather data—xP 1,000fare, snacks
5. Encode data and analyzexxP 1,500statistician’s fee
6. Write and revise paper–xx
7. Submit manuscriptxP 500photocopy
TOTALP 4,450

x – week performed

After having an idea of the cost involved in carrying out the study, students will now be in a better position to decide if they are willing to incur such expense. This approach prevents unexpected expenses that may be beyond the capacity of the students to fund thus avert cost overruns.

If the research topic entails expenses that are way beyond the capacity of the group to fund, then the rational option is to find another topic that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Simple tips like this make life easier for many students.

©2016 April 5 P. A. Regoniel

Three Tips on How to Write a Thesis Statement

Are you looking for information on how to write a thesis statement? Writing the thesis statement should be effortless if you are equipped with a good knowledge of your research topic. If not, then read on. Here are three tips on how to write a thesis statement. 

Before going to the steps on how to write your thesis statement, I see it necessary to define first what a thesis statement means. A thesis statement is your proposed answer or argument concerning a given problem situation or question that needs resolution. It is your explanation of how or why a phenomenon occurs based on the limited evidence that you have observed or gathered. You are advancing a thesis to convince others that your explanation is plausible or reasonable. Thus, you need to design a research to provide evidence to central argument of your research paper. That thesis may be uniquely yours, or somebody may have thought about the same explanation. Thus, you need to undertake the following steps to ensure that your thesis is an original one.

Three Tips on How to Write a Thesis Statement

Here are the steps to follow if you have difficulty in writing your thesis statement.

Step 1. Identify your research topic

If you do not have a clear research topic in mind then you have no basis in writing your thesis statement. You may freely select your topic but if you are under some kind of funding, the agency sponsoring your work may have specific recommended topics for you to do research on. You must also mind your university’s research agenda, as there are recommended topics based on current trends and known needs of society. The United Nation’s 17-point Sustainable Development Goals is a good starting point on what research areas to explore. Select a research area relevant to your field of specialization and narrow it down to manageable bits.

For example, we will use community adaptation to climate change as our long-tail keyword. Long tail keywords are those three to four keyword phrases which are very specific to whatever you are interested in.

Step 2. Review the literature

Once you are ready with your research topic, you need to see if it is feasible enough to do research on. It is not easy to discern if indeed your topic is worth pursuing until you have done a good review of literature.

Contemporary researchers are fortunate because they can now access a vast source of scientific literature in the internet. The easy one most familiar to me is Google Scholar which I learned to use just a few months back. Before, I was using the Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ) but I had the impression that available literature in the site is limited compared to what I acquire from Google Scholar.

As a beginner, the literature available in Google Scholar serves the purpose. You can just type your keyword and in an instant, assuming a good internet connection, a list of articles is displayed just like when you surf the generic Google search box.

For our example, if we search in Google Scholar the word “community adaptation to climate change,” the search engine will return the following articles with their corresponding meta descriptions:

how to write thesis statement
Fig. 1. List of articles on community adaptation to climate change.

The top article matches the long-tail keyword thus is displayed first in the default ten articles for the page. This article is the most relevant among the articles shown but the second to fourth articles are also related. Now, the first four articles make up your first reference list. This is a good sign as this means that you will be able to see more relevant articles.

Take time to read the meta description, that brief description about the article related (or may not be related) to your chosen topic. It is here where you exercise your judgement whether to include or not include the article in your research proposal. If you find the article relevant, right click on the active link and open in a new tab.

Read the abstracts and see how the research proceeded. Reading about 30 of these articles will give you enough ideas to get your research going. See if there are gaps in knowledge in the articles you have read.

Step 3. Write your thesis statement

Once familiar with the variables that make up your research, it is time for you to write your thesis statement. In the example given above, I would advance the following thesis statement derived from reading the four abstracts on community level adaptation to climate change:

Thesis Statement:

Proactive strategies devised by both the communities and government and non-government organizations can reduce the vulnerability of communities to typhoons.

Notice that I attempt to relate two variables in this statement namely, 1) proactive strategies, and 2) vulnerability of communities to typhoons.

At this point, you are now ready to build your conceptual framework. I need not expound on it here as I have previously written an article titled “How to Build Your Conceptual Framework: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make One.”

If you want to have the whole package of articles to develop your research proposal, my newly published book titled “How to Write a Thesis in Today’s Information Age” can help you out. I provide exercises at the end of each chapter to hone your skills and hyperlinked keywords in the index facilitates navigation.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (January 23, 2016). Three Tips on How to Write a Thesis Statement. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

The Computer Vision Syndrome Epidemic: Are You a Victim?

What is computer vision syndrome? What happens when someone is afflicted with this syndrome? Is there something you can do about it? This article provides answers to these questions.

Are you a regular computer user? Since you are reading this article, chances are, you are one of those who spend most of their waking lives in front of the computer. It seems everyone could not dispense of their laptops, desktop, tablets, or cell phones. They need to keep up with the latest news, do some work, communicate with friends, search for literature, and many other things possible with that shiny liquid crystal display (LCD) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) screen.

But do you know that by staring at your gadgets for a long time can make you sick? You are at risk of getting a sickness that gradually becomes common among computer users nowadays. Doctors call this modern malady computer vision syndrome or CVS. According to Wimalasundera (2006), millions of new cases occur each year.

I learned about this health condition while searching an explanation for the pain I experience at the back of my ear whenever I spend hours writing articles, searching the literature for my lessons, and answering the endless flow of emails to answer official queries, friends, and monitor the progress of research projects. Probably, I am spending more than eight hours a day to do all these things. Well, the pain stopped when I reduced the time I devoted in front of my laptop.

What is CVS and what are its symptoms? I gathered the following information after a search through online literature. This time, I used Google Scholar to pick up information from refereed journals recognized for their reliability.

Computer Vision Syndrome Defined

Blehm et al. (2005) and Yan et al. (2008) describe computer vision syndrome as a health condition characterized by a collection of symptoms including eyestrain, tired eyes, irritation, redness, blurred vision, double vision, and neck and back pain. Recently, Khalaj et al. (2015) added dizziness as a symptom. All of these symptoms relate to the eyes.

The primary symptoms of CVS appears to be dry eye, as computer users seldom blink as they stare onto computer screens. But other authors say the primary symptoms include eyestrain and monitor glare (Khalaj et al., 2015). There appears to be no consensus for this understudied area among the authors. Much more research needs to be done to clarify the issue.

Despite the dearth of literature on this subject, scientists believe that the symptoms of CVS arise because of poor lighting. Inadequate ambient light makes people squint in making out the characters on their computer screen while highly reflective screens diffuse too much light that tire the eyes. Also, eyes focused too close to the screen, faulty eyeglasses, bad seating posture, too many tasks to do using computers, reduced variation in eye movement, or a combination of these factors, are contributory factors.

How can you avoid CVS?

Based on the likely causes, the following practices are recommended to frequent computer users to prevent CVS:

1. Blink more. Consciously blink your eyes periodically while using the computer. Blinking is a natural way to protect your eyes from infection, thus prevent dry eyes. If you do have dry eyes, omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate symptoms. Rashid et al. (2008) conclude that topical alpha-linolenic acid treatment led to a significant decrease in dry eye signs.

2. Sit on an ergonomic chair. It pays to invest a little in a computer chair that support the spine of the back. Add a bamboo pad or similar material to prevent your buttocks from heating up and cause other health problems if you spend too much time seating on a chair.

3. Replace your old pair of glasses. Change your eyeglasses if they have been with you for more than two years. Optometrists recommend changing glasses once a year. Faulty eyeglasses may be the source of your frequent headaches.

4. Rest. Nobody undermines the importance of rest in any activity. All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy. If you likewise use the computer at play, then you need to change the game you play into something that can wean you away from your computer. How about inviting your friends and go out to take some interesting pictures in a famous tourism site?

5. Have enough light. Adjust the lighting conditions in your work area so you can read fonts better on your computer screen.

6. Move your eyes. Gaze away from the computer screen once in a while to give your eyes time to rest and refocus. Optometrist Roger Phelps recommends the 20-20-20 rule. The number represents 20 minutes of computer use and looking at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. The older you are, the shorter should be the time devoted to computer use.

The point of the whole matter is that you avoid spending too much time in front of the computer or your electronic gadgets. Spend time mingling with friends, physically, to establish bonds no computer can ever replace. You gain not only your health but food for your emotions.


Blehm, C., Vishnu, S., Khattak, A., Mitra, S., & Yee, R. W. (2005). Computer vision syndrome: a review. Survey of Ophthalmology, 50(3), 253-262.

Khalaj, M., Ebrahimi, M., Shojai, P., Bagherzadeh, R., Sadeghi, T., & Ghalenoei, M. (2015). Computer Vision Syndrome in Eleven to Eighteen-Year-Old Students in Qazvin. Biotechnology and Health Sciences, 2(3).

Rashid, S., Jin, Y., Ecoiffier, T., Barabino, S., Schaumberg, D. A., & Dana, M. R. (2008). Topical omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for treatment of dry eye. Archives of Ophthalmology, 126(2), 219-225.

Wimalasundera, S. (2006). Computer vision syndrome. Galle Medical Journal, 11(1), 25-9.

Yan, Z., Hu, L., Chen, H., & Lu, F. (2008). Computer Vision Syndrome: A widely spreading but largely unknown epidemic among computer users. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(5), 2026-2042.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (November 28, 2015). The Computer Vision Syndrome Epidemic: Are You a Victim?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from