Tag Archives: education

Four Examples of Research Topics on Education

One of the common concerns of graduate students is finding topics relevant to their field of specialization. If you are a graduate student of education, here is a list of recent issues and concerns on education that you might want to focus on as your research topic.

Here are four examples of research topics on education. The list focuses on children as vulnerable members of society.

1. How children react to loss of parental care

There are many instances that children have to cope with loss of parental care as a result of death of their mothers, separation of parents, assignment of a parent to distant places, among others. This feeling of loss is generalized as grief. Although it is easy for adults to adjust to such circumstances, questions arise as to whether children are able to cope.

Example Research Questions:

  • What are the causes of grief among children?
  • How do babies express their grief?
  • How does grief affect children in various developmental stages?
  • How do children cope up with the loss of a loved one?
  • Is there a difference in the behavior of children who lost their mothers compared to those who did not?

2. Early childhood development

Many mothers, especially those who are new, are very much concerned about the development of their children. Nowadays, there are so many stresses in the environment that could threaten the development of children. The following are questions on child development that research could help shed light on.

Example Research Questions

  • What are the early warning signs of abnormality among toddlers?
  • Which intervention works best in addressing a specific type of abnormal behavior among small children (e.g. inability to speak, inability to crawl, losing eye contact, inability to respond to sound)
  • Is there a relationship between frequency and duration of parent contact and child development?
  • How do mothers respond to signs of abnormality in their children?

3. Classroom and learning

children reading

There have been a considerable number of literature emphasizing the role of environment in facilitating brain development. Intelligence cannot just be attributed to genes but also to the surrounding environment. In educating children, the learning environment can play a very significant role in shaping the minds of growing children. Classroom design is one such concern.

Example Research Questions

  • General Question: Does classroom design affect children behavior?
  • What are the development needs of children that can be addressed by classroom design?
  • How can classroom designs be made more stimulating to children?
  • Is there a relationship between classroom design and the number of uneasy children?
  • How do placements of play structures influence children behavior?

4. Socialization among children

With the preponderance of the internet nowadays, children become more engrossed in their laptops or desktop computers as part of their socialization activities. They now have more friends in the internet than in real life. Teenagers, in particular, are beset by this problem. Since they spend most of their time in front of computer screens, they were referred to as the “screenagers.”

There have been increased concern on children being unable to socialize effectively with real persons as a result of too much “socialization” activity online. This also exposes them to grave abuse as a result of their online ventures.

Example Research Questions

  • Is there a relationship between the frequency and duration of online activity among children and study time?
  • Is there relationship between age and the type of online material visited by children?
  • How do children respond to strangers requesting details about them?
  • Is there a relationship between children’s irritability and intensity of computer use?
  • What factors influence the time devoted by children to online activity?

These topics will enable you to get started on your research endeavor along the field of education. If you want to explore other topics, you might want to try other means such as  brainstorming. This will help you zero in on topics that you might find interesting.

Reference:

Child Development Media, Inc., n.d. Videos, books and curricula for child development professionals and parents. Retrieved on July 30, 2013 from http://www.childdevelopmentmedia.com/child-development-articles/

© 2013 July 30 P. A. Regoniel

Honing Research Skills through Self-Study

Can someone publish a research paper without prior knowledge of research skills and tools provided by the formal study? Read on to find out.

Can someone do research without formal training such as that obtained from a university? The answer is Yes. Why not? After all, science evolved from people who have been asking questions and got curious of phenomena around them.

But then standards have to be established so that researchers will understand each other and follow on the findings of others. There should be a baseline or reference that shall serve as springboard for further study.

Nowadays, can a biologist just name a species without following any standard rule such as having a genus and a species for each animal, plant or protozoa they encountered? Of course not. If you don’t follow standards, you will be considered unscientific and unreliable. The same goes with research methodologies. Researchers should conduct their research in a similar fashion to verify findings.

Now, there is a popular trend involving netizens, not only well-trained scientists, in discovering and learning things around them called bioblitz (see Project Noah) . In military terms, blitz means an intensive sudden attack. In this instance, bioblitz just means an intensive  quick inventory of all living organisms in a designated area, which may be a natural park or any ecosystem, for a set period.

I have been doing this approach in my class whenever we have field trips for many years to help them familiarize with and appreciate nature. It’s simply exploration and documentation of wild plants and animals in their habitat.

Honing Research Skills through Self-Study

Despite the standards required by science, one’s curiosity in examining more closely things around him can be enough motivation to unravel some mysteries. In my case, I learned to love research work long before I finished my graduate degree. Similarly, my love for computerized statistical analysis as a research tool arose out of pure curiosity and fascination in seeing how computers easily make the calculations once data has been entered.

In fact, both my research and statistical software analysis skills were developed mainly through self-study. And these skills helped me a lot on those times that I need a good source of income to fund a dire family need.

research kidney
Image Source: xkcd.com

Publishing Research Results

As a result of my field exposure, I was able to publish and present at least three papers before I finished my studies in the graduate school. Those initial bouts of publication gave me the confidence and the momentum to keep on doing research, not only because of the need to publish for self-fulfillment and career advancement but primarily to help make the world a better place to live in.

What’s the use of research if nobody learns or benefits from it? If you did something useful, publish it, let others know and understand what is at stake. I earlier posted five reasons why you should publish your research findings.

Recently, I was involved in a cross-country study on household adaptation to climate change. That research work became a basis for policy making, to mitigate the effects of climate change especially in vulnerable coastal areas the southeast Asian region. It is titled Economic Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Selected Coastal Areas in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Exposures like this bring me closer to the unfortunate, as there are many things to do to help the marginalized fishers and farmers rise up from poverty.

Learning from Experience

I never thought I would engage in research as I never had any exposure on how this works until I joined a crocodile conservation facility. My constant field work, which required looking into the ecology of crocodiles, shaped my present life.

Although I am no longer studying crocodiles as I am not a herpetologist, I learned a lot from my experience. I was able to publish, not because of formal study, but because I realized I love the excitement of discovery and was excited to share it.

To cap it all up, although a formal study will enable you to do research, what really matters is your unending passion to discover, scrutinize, unravel, innovate, and learn from what you are doing. There are those who finished their graduate work as a requirement, but many failed to do any research after getting their degree.

© 2013 July 25 P. A. Regoniel

Cultural Diffusionism: Makeshift Mini-Hydro by the Indigenous People of Sitio Bohoy

Technology can reach remote places and change the way of life of indigenous peoples. Here is an example of cultural diffusionism and acculturation in Sitio Bohoy, a remote place where once G-string clad Pala’wans reside.

I never expected to see a trace of technological innovation in a very isolated place like Sitio Bohoy in the far-south of Palawan Island in the Philippines two years back. More so aware of the fact that those who employ such technology belong to the indigenous people, the Pala’wans, who were once wearing G-strings the last time I recalled seeing them.

How the Mini-Hydro Came to Be

Boyet, a member of the Pala’wan tribe, came up with his own version of the mini-hydroelectric power station to provide electrical power to 15 houses in his community. Together with his friends, he built a dam in a nearby stream made of indigenous materials plus junks he could lay his hands on from the materials recovery facility of a nearby mining company.

The makeshift mini-hydro dam pooled water and produces power when water is released through 6-inch corrugated PVC pipes at the main source, then smaller pipes downstream to increase water pressure. This series of big and small pipes are joined together by rubber strips, probably from worn-out rubber tires of vehicles. A two-inch GI pipe at the end of the pipeline hits the home made turbine attached to a generator that consequently produces electricity at the onset of darknesss until 10 pm. Occasionally, along the length of the pipeline, holes with small hoses inserted in it supply water in the adjoining farms.

makeshift dam
A dam made of sacks, sticks, poles, gravel and sand and reused materials from the junkyard of a mining company in Sitio Bohoy.

Is the mini-hydro an original invention? Of course not, but it arose through simple diffusion of technology.

When our group asked him how we was able to conceptualize the mini-hydro, he simply said “I saw it on TV.” His large television set, presumably one of those cheap, surplus televisions from Japan, once gets its power from a 12-volt truck battery. Now, the electricity generated by the mini-hydro powers the television including a karaoke. This turned the once quiet nights of the community into nights of singing and merrymaking.

Cultural Diffusionism and Acculturation

What struck me upon seeing the makeshift mini-hydro is the influence this technology can impose on the culture of the indigenous tribe – the Pala’wan. Technology diffused to this community through the television gradually worked its way into their way of life, changing their once unique heritage of cultural mores and beliefs.  This is a classic example of cultural diffusionism, defined by Titiev (1958:446) as the spread of a cultural item from its place of origin to other places.

I bring up this issue remembering the discussion I had with an anthropologist during one of the training I attended two years ago. She said that she would like to study the indigenous tribes of Palawan. But I said, those indigenous groups no longer exist, knowing that many of them intermarried with immigrants and citing this particular story.

The Pala’wans have already been acculturated. Theirs is a polluted culture. Wouldn’t you agree?

Reference:

Titiev, M. (1958). Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New York: Henry Holt and Co.

© 2013 July 6 P. A. Regoniel

Defining A Research Topic For Your Thesis

Defining a research topic can be a difficult undertaking for a beginning researcher. How will you come up with a good research topic for your thesis? The article below provides five helpful tips. 

As most post-graduates would agree, deciding on your topic for your thesis paper is not as easy as it sounds. While you may have a general idea of the direction you want to go, and may even have the general topic chosen, defining that topic into an actionable research paper can be difficult. Considering the fact that this paper is an essential part of completing your academic career and that it can affect your future job prospects, it is important to come up with a research topic that is both interesting and achievable for you. Consider these tips:

Use Your Interests

Considering the amount of time that will be dedicated to this paper, the topic should be something that is not only of interest to you, but hopefully something you are passionate about. Having some knowledge going into the research puts you at an advantage, instead of having to start from scratch.

Research topic that is achievable

Picking a topic that is so unique that it becomes almost impossible to finish in the time period required is unwise. Consider the time that will be needed to do the research on a specific topic and come to a conclusion. There may be a reason that there are few thesis papers written on certain topics; they may be too laborious or do not have enough supporting data to complete.

Check literary sources

To determine whether a topic is a good fit for you, do some research on what literary sources are available. Too many resources may mean the topic has been used abundantly, while too few may make it difficult to do research in the time allotted.

Start with “Why” and go from there

Keep in mind that thesis topics are not facts nor are they opinions. They are explorations into the “why” of something. Finding the perfect topic will come to you when you find an intriguing question that needs a detailed answer, one that you have been wondering about yourself.

Ask advisors and professors

Discuss your search with your advisors and professors to get their input. They can provide you with ideas and direction, although the final definition will always be up to you.

The exploration for a thesis topic can be frustrating, however, by looking at all the angles ahead of time you can save yourself from even further frustration down the road. Consider it similar to doing international background checks before hiring a personal assistant that you need to trust and rely on for years. By taking the time to choose the correct topic that will interest you, has sufficient data available and will make an impact, you will save yourself from disappointment and unwanted surprises a year or more down the line.