Tag Archives: research topics

How to Develop a Keen Perception for Research Purposes

Researchers should have a keen perception of things around him to enable him to pose the correct questions worthy of research investigation. How is keen perception developed? Read the following account to gain insights useful in developing and working out your research topic.

How do you develop a keen perception? I thought about this topic recalling my previous post on the 5 qualities of a good researcher [1]. This is a crucial trait that every researcher must develop.

A phenomenon overlooked?

Early this morning, as I literally whizzed out there walking and running to finish my four-rounder and fulfill my quota of 3 miles around the Sports Complex located about two kilometers away from my home, something caught my attention. I always see this thing every time I do my routine aerobic exercise using the 30-point system of Dr. Kenneth Cooper, and this should transpire within a period of 16 weeks.

I noted the period I did my exercise because only at the end of this training period did I really consciously look above me and ponder what I am seeing. I kept on ignoring this thing that always catches my attention every time.

What is this apparently ‘normal’ thing anyway? It’s just the mercury lamp on an electric post that I notice lighted even if the sun starts to shine and illuminate the pathway. At 6:50 in the morning, when the sun is already up in the horizon, the mercury lamp is still lighted when it should be off.

I noticed that, actually, there are two of these mercury lamps along the path through which I walk and run four to five times a week. Looking closely, I noticed that one of the lamps emits an orange light while the other emits fully bright white light.

I also noticed, just right beside the path a few meters away, the chirping birds and the red flowers of fire trees beautifying the landscape. Once in a while, a mature seedpod would drop and crack, releasing the mature seeds inside; and the air smells fresh except when a vehicle passes through with its inexplicable, distinctive smell that disrupts the pace of my breathing as I avoid inhaling the foul air.

lamppost
The mercury lamp located by the wayside.

The significance of the lighted lamps

Have I already seen these lighted lamps before? Yes, but not so detailed as I see it now. Why? That’s because I consciously opened my senses (eyes, ears, nose, and mind) and observed. This is unlike before where I just focused my attention on my walking or running pace, even ignoring fellow runners along the way.

But I did notice that one of those people who regularly exercise in the same way I do has a walking disability and need to be accompanied by someone, probably his sister or wife. I avoid close encounters so I don’t really know which. I might have known better if I greeted them and talked a little. I would have known.

What then is the significance of this observation? This observation is useful especially to someone like me who is concerned with energy efficiency. Unnecessary energy is wasted in a lighted lamp that translates to electricity losses that consumers pay when the electricity bills come.

How about that person with disability? There may be a good story behind why he had that and why he should walk almost everyday. How about those regular walkers and runners that tread the same pathway? Do they have some health problems too?

What I just want to drive in here is that keenness, or an incisive mind, can be developed with conscious attempt to activate the different senses.  You will gain that acuity in perception through time with conscious effort although there are those who are naturally endowed with such characteristics. Novel writers, in particular, can be so detailed in their descriptions because they see things in so detailed a manner. And a researcher needs such skill because in doing so, many questions will arise.

What research questions could be asked from the observation?

I can hypothesize, for research purposes, that the reason why the lamps are still on is that passersby, probably drunkards, tried to destroy the lamp by throwing stones but hit the lower part of the bulb’s housing. Notice that the lower part of the lamp housing is almost dangling. It is  possible that the on-off mechanism that switches the lamp off when it’s daytime is damaged.

To verify this, of course, requires a closer look at the whole lamp. How should I do that? Probably I’ll climb up, or use a powerful binocular to find out. This is analogous to the methodology I should use to provide answers to my query.

Many things can crop up out of this simple observation of something which appears to be ‘normal’. And it took just an open mind and incisive look at things.

In the case of the person with disability, it would be easy to just ask him or his companion directly about his condition and discover the reason. That’s a case study.

Many questions could arise just because of that simple tweak on one’s attention. Bear this account in mind and see a whole new world unfold right before your eyes.

[1] 5 Qualities of a Good Researcher. This site.

© 2013 May 18 P. A. Regoniel

Simplified Explanation of Probability in Statistics

Do you have trouble understanding the concept of probability? Do you ask yourself why you have to read that section on probability in your statistics book that seems to have no bearing on your research? Don’t despair. Read the following article and have a clear understanding of this concept that you will find very useful in your research venture.

One of the topics in the Statistics course that students had difficulty understanding is the concept of probability. But is “probability” really a difficult thing to understand? In reality, it is not that difficult as long as you gain understanding on how it works when trying to compare differences or correlations between variables.

It simply works this way:

The classic example to illustrate probability is demonstrated using a coin. Everybody knows that a coin has two sides: the head, which normally has face of someone on it with the corresponding amount it represents or the tail, which typically shows the government bank which issued the currency.

Now, if you flick the coin, it will land and settle with one side up; unless you get a weird result that the coin unexpectedly landed on its edge or in-between the head and tail sides! (see Fig. 1). This, however, could be a possibility as there is a middle ground that will make this possible though very, very remote (what if the government decides to have a coin thick enough to make this possible if ever you flick a coin?). I just included this because it so happened I flicked a coin before and it landed next to an object that made it stand on its edge instead of falling on either the head or the tail side. That just means that unexpected things could happen given the right circumstances that will make it possible.

coins
Fig. 1. Head, in-between, tail (L-R)

I just have to illustrate this with a picture because some students do not understand what is a head and what is a tail in a coin. So, no excuses for not understanding what we are talking about here.

For our purpose, we’ll just leave the in-between possibility and just concentrate on either the possibility of getting a head or a tail when a coin is flipped and allowed to settle on level ground or on top of your palm. Since there are only two possibilities here, we can then say that there is a 50-50, 0.5 or 1/2 possibility that the coin will land as head or tail. If we would like to represent this as a symbol in statistics to show this possibility, it is written thus:

p = 0.5

where p is the probability symbol and the value 0.5 is the estimated outcome that the coin will land on either the head or the tail. Alternatively, this can be stated that there is an equal chance that you will get a head or a tail in a series of tossing a coin and letting it land on level ground.

Therefore, if you toss a coin 10 times, the probability of getting either a head or a tail is 50%, 0.05 or 1/2. That means in 10 tosses, there will likely be 5 heads and 5 tails. If you toss it 100 times, you will likely get 50 heads and 50 tails.

If you have a six-sided dice, then the probability of each side in each throw is 1/6. If you have a cube, then the probability of each side is 1/4.

Application

This background knowledge can help you understand the importance of the p-value in statistical tests.

For example, if you are interested in knowing if a significant difference between two sets of variables exists (say a comparison of the test scores of a group of students who were given remedial classes as opposed to another group that did not undergo remedial classes), and a statistical software was used to analyze the data (presumably a t-test was applied), you just have to look at the p-value to find out if indeed there is a significant difference in achievement between the two groups. If the p-value is 0.05 or lower than that, then you can safely say that there is sufficient evidence that students who underwent remedial classes performed better (in terms of their test scores) than those who did not undergo remedial classes.

For clarity, here are the null and alternative hypotheses that you can formulate for this study:

Null Hypothesis: There is no significant difference between the test scores of students who took remedial classes and students who did not take remedial classes.

Alternative Hypothesis: There is a significant difference between the test scores of students who took remedial classes and students who did not take remedial classes.

The p-value simply means that there is a 5% probability, possibility or chance that students who were given remedial classes perform similarly with those who were not given remedial classes. This probability is quite low, such that you may reject your null hypothesis that there is no difference in test scores of students with or without remedial classes. If you reject the null hypothesis, then you should accept your alternative hypothesis which is: There is a significant difference between the test scores of students who took remedial classes and students who did not take remedial classes.

Of what use is this finding then? The results show that indeed, giving remedial classes can provide benefit to students. As the results of the study indicated, it can significantly increase the student’s test scores.

You may then present the results of your study and confidently recommend that remedial classes be given to students to help improve their test scores in whatever subject that may be.

That’s how statistics work in research.

©2013 May 15 Patrick Regoniel

4 Tips on How to Take Pictures Useful in Your Research

How do you ensure that you take pictures useful in your research? Are there ways by which you can maximize the use of your digital camera? Indeed there are important points to consider when taking pictures specifically for research purposes. Read the four tips below and avoid the regrets of post-field work.

Taking pictures once proved to be too costly both to hobbyists as well as beginning photographers who have difficulty ensuring that the pictures they take are worth the money they spend for film processing and photograph development in a commercial photo shop. That is during the age of the film-based cameras decades back. But with the popularity and greater resolution accorded by digital camera nowadays, this is not much of a concern as you can preview your shots either in your digital camera or your computer.

If you are a researcher or a college student working on a thesis, a certain degree of knowledge and skill in taking pictures must be had to get the most out of pictures taken in the field. At the very least, you should be able to apply the following tips in your pictures to make your output more technically oriented and effective in your presentation of results:

1. Think first of your intention in taking the photograph.

Before taking pictures, you should bear in mind the objective of your research. This will determine the focus as well as the background you need to include as you compose your picture. What do you want to portray? Do you need to make a close up shot or a shot that includes the landscape? At what angle should you take the picture?

This can be made clearer by citing an example. Say, you want to discriminate a male from a female crab, or specifically the abdominal structure difference between the two. This, of course, will mean that you will have to turn the crab upside down (or dorsal side down) to reveal the abdominal structures and lay down two samples together to show differences before taking the shot.

2. Understand what f-stop means.

One of the important information you should have in taking pictures is understanding what an f-stop means. F-stop refers to the size of the aperture of lens that the camera will set automatically if you are using an automatic camera or can be adjusted manually if you use a camera with manual aperture adjustments. The greater the size of the lens aperture, the greater will be the amount of light that will enter the camera. This will mean fast shutter speed to make the proper exposure so that your picture will look fine.

Almost always, researchers want as much clarity and detail in their pictures. So the rule is, set the lens aperture to its smallest possible size as the camera will allow; of course, with proper exposure in mind. I find that I can achieve good results using a minimum f-stop of 8.0. Using an f-stop lower than this value will cause other parts of the photograph some blur. This is alright if your intention is to highlight a certain feature like the way I highlight the eyes of a goldfish below using Panasonic Lumix LX5, a camera with manual aperture setting.

fisheye
Close-up picture of a goldfish (Photo Credit: P. A. Regoniel@Picable)

You may be intrigued how I took this shot of a swimming fish. That’s easily done in an aquarium. When taking close up shots like this, try to experiment using the highest possible f-value (smaller aperture; e.g. f8 to f22) for greater detail, that is, if your camera will enable you to do so. Great macro shots are taken in well-lighted environments.

For more useful tips on aperture setting, you may read my article in Knoji entitled “How to Take Close Up Pictures of Wild Life.”

3. Always take a picture relative to another object which you can use for size estimation.

This is an important aspect of taking photos for research purposes. This technique is especially useful if you are interested in morphometrics or quantitative analysis of form used in comparing or discriminating different species of animals.

If you have forgotten your ruler or measuring scale, a ballpen which you can measure later is useful in the field. Place it next to the object (preferably below it) on level ground so that it lies parallel to your specimen. That eliminates guesswork of size. I show an example below.Penaeus sp.

Having the lower number in the scale at left facilitates reading the length from left to right which is a normal reading mode in most countries. The total length of this shrimp is 5.7 cm from tail tip to tip of the snout (excluding the whiskers of course).

However, I do not recommend the blue ruler that my student brought in the field during our exploratory trip of a mangrove area (you may read about it here). It is better to use a transparent one so that the ruler gridlines will contrast better.

4. Take as many pictures as your SD card will allow.

Take as much picture as possible in the field on just a single point of interest so you will have choices of the best shot. To avoid missing out the important pictures and to allow you to take video shots at the same time, a 16GB memory card will be sufficient. Just make sure you have extra, charged and protected battery for your camera.

A camera with a global positioning system (GPS) will be helpful as it will allow you to recall where you took your shots as well as enable you to plot your specimen’s source on a digital map. Google Earth is useful for this purpose. Click on the pin function and type the latitude and longitude coordinates to pinpoint the source of your pictures.

Bear this photography tips in mind to make the most of field trips required to fulfill the objectives of your research.

© 2013 May 14 P. A. Regoniel

10 Tips to Generate Your Research Topic

Are you in that state where you need to formulate research questions as part of your thesis writing undertaking? Or are you just starting to engage in research but find difficulty in identifying research ideas to work on? The following article will be able to help you. Here are 10 tips to generate your research topic and get you going.

After you have gone through and finished your academic requirements in college, do you find difficulty in coming up with your own research topic? Or probably you are a budding researcher looking for research topics that strike your interest? Don’t despair. You are one of the thousands of new researchers who have experienced the same thing during the last leg of their venture to the research world.

If you are a college student, your classmates might ask you if you have already come up with your statement of the problem, and you would say that’s actually your problem. This sentiment, however, is not without solutions and one of the best action to take, of course is you should do something about it. Quit complaining, read, and apply the 10 steps below to generate ideas for your research topic.

1. Review your notes in your major subjects.

Review the topics you have discussed during your classes in the major subjects and ask yourself: “Which of these topics interest me?” List down three to five major topics and choose the one that really appeals to you. Type that topic in a search box (Bing, Yahoo, or Google) and find out if there are scientific papers written about it.

For example, when I type the words “camouflage + findings”, I found a new finding about quail camouflage in eScience News. It says quails know the patterns of their own eggs and how to camouflage their eggs in the specific substrate they will lay those eggs. That’s interesting finding you might want to test in other animals as your research topic.

2. Ask your professor if he needs a research assistant.

There are professors who are undertaking research as part of their professional advancement. They may be needing a research assistant to help them with their research. Volunteer and learn while doing the research. In doing so, you will get some research topics to work on. It is also possible that your research may get funding from the research project of your professor.

3. Brainstorm with classmates and friends.

Engage the brains of other people. Brainstorm on issues along your field. For more details on how this is done, read my previous post on brainstorming.

4. Read scientific literature.reading

Find out what topics are being published along your area of specialization. You may log on to a free, online resource such as the Directory of Open Access Journals or www.doaj.org. Type your keyword and it will return research topics that may interest you.

5. Visit the workplace of those who graduated in your field.

You can get some ideas while exploring the workplace of those who have graduated in your field of specialization. For this reason, having senior students as your friends or associates in a student organization can help  a lot in generating your research topic.

6. Join research groups.

If you are still in your junior years, you may join those graduating students while they conduct their research. This will enable you to see some areas which have not been explored. Questions may also arise during the research process that may bring you to develop a research topic of your own.

7. Visit marginalized communities.

One of the major purposes of research is to uplift the living condition of marginalized people. Visit communities and see how you can help resolve their problems through research. This is what we call immersion. There are many unresolved issues and concerns that you can write down as your research topic.

8. Find a need.

This corresponds with #7. But you can do this at home by recalling what you need in your own household or your neighbors. What can you do to fulfill that need? List anything that comes to mind.

9. Construct a problem tree.

Try to explore the root causes of a problem by constructing a problem tree. A problem tree is similar to a mind map where you list down a key problem, find out its causes as well as outcomes. If there are unanswered or blank areas that need further study, note these down and use it as the focus of your research.

10. Subscribe to this blog.

Well, that’s easy to understand. As I write topics here on research, something worthy pursuing might crop up in your mind thus prompt you to do research on that topic.

© 2013 March 19 P. A. Regoniel

The Importance of Scoping in Research

Scoping is an important process used in any research endeavor which can save time, money and effort. What is scoping and how is it being done? This article makes clear this subject and provides an example.

Scoping Defined

Scoping is defined as the act of assessing, finding out or weighing up situations guided by a previously identified research focus. In trying to examine the practicality of pursuing a subject matter of research, it pays to understand the specific context by a phenomenon occurs.

To understand this concept better, an example is provided below.

Example of a Scoping Activity

Suppose you would like to conduct a research on the impact of development programs or projects in communities located across a given region. You will initially have a set of secondary data with you where you may be able to prepare a set of questions to help you assess the impact of development projects to the different communities. As you go along, you will have questions in mind that could not be easily answered just by relying on reports that are available for you to examine. Almost always, these reports are not that comprehensive and attuned to the specific questions that you may raise.

Examples of these questions are the following:

1. To what extent were the development programs or projects implemented?

2. How did the specific sectors of the community avail of the programs or projects?

3. What are the surrounding circumstances upon program or project implementation?

4. How do the members of the community respond to the program or project implemented by an agency?

5. What are the ambient environmental conditions particularly the social, political, economic, and cultural milieu by which the projects were implemented?

6. Are the beneficiaries well aware of the programs or projects?

scoping exercise
A group of researchers exploring a remote coastal community.

… plus many more questions that seek to illuminate the key issues and concerns surrounding the program or project. Since this is the initial stage of the assessment, there is a certain degree of vagueness on many respects pertaining to programs or projects.

To gain a better grasp of the situation, the common approach to answer questions on key issues and concerns which the secondary information cannot provide is for the researcher to personally undertake a field trip to the study area. The process itself of getting to the target locality can be noted down for future reference and may form part of the scoping process.

Purpose of Scoping

Of what use then is scoping? Scoping can assist the researcher in planning what steps need to be done, refine the objectives of the research, determine the personnel as well as budgetary requirements, note down important areas to be covered, among others. Simply stated, scoping determines the scope, breadth, and depth of the assessment or research. This can mean efficient use of time and money with optimal effort.

Materials for Scoping

Materials needed for the scoping activity include (but not exclusive of) the following:

  • note pad
  • pen/pencil
  • camera
  • communication equipment (e.g. cellphone)
  • geographic positioning system (GPS)
  • recorder

If you are involved in a scoping activity, it is necessary that you arm yourself with an inquisitive mind and a healthy body. This is because the task of doing things in the field requires you to be critical of things that you see and explore areas or places where you have not been before which are challenging tasks.

© 2013 March 18 P. A. Regoniel

What is the Difference Between Theory Testing and Theory Building?

Essentially, what do graduate students do when they conduct a research investigation? Do they follow certain guidelines in doing their research? Is there a difference between how a master’s degree and a doctoral degree student do their research? What is theory testing and theory building? The following article answers these questions.

Graduate students undertake research in two different ways. A master’s degree student engages himself mainly in research primarily aimed towards theory testing while a doctoral degree student undertakes a much more challenging research task of theory building. What is the difference between theory testing and theory building?

Theory Testing and Example

Theory testing is relatively easier than theory building. Theory testing is primarily applied by the graduate student, as the name suggests, to test whether a certain theory of his choosing is a plausible explanation of a phenomenon he would like to investigate.

To clarify the concept of theory testing, take the case of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Theory. Anthropogenic refers to human-derived greenhouse gas emissions that are believed to be the main reason for the observed global warming in recent years. Carbon dioxide comprises one of the greenhouse gasses. Carbon dioxide causes water on the surface of the earth to evaporate. Increased water vapor in the atmosphere can trap heat coming from the earth thus cause global warming. Is this a good explanation of global warming? See the debate on the issue in the video below:

If you are a master’s degree student, you can test this theory by looking into the humidity levels associated with carbon dioxide emissions. That is because it was mentioned a while ago, that carbon dioxide causes the water to evaporate. Greater carbon dioxide means greater water vapor in the atmosphere measured using, say, a wet and dry bulb thermometer. You will then have to find out if there is a correlation between temperature and surface humidity. This tests theory using specific factors to substantiate carbon dioxide effects to global temperature.

The main focus of theory testing is to find evidence to confirm or refute a theory. Theory testing, in this instance, tries to find out if there is there sufficient evidence to substantiate the Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory.

Theory Building and Examples

Theory building requires the application of higher level thinking skills compared to theory testing. Doctoral degree students or dissertation writers engage in this kind of research.

Why is this so?

Theory building requires the synthesis of a broad range of literature and studies to provide evidence or confirm explanations to a given phenomenon. Theory building is the graduate student’s or a veteran scientist’s attempt to explain something plausibly in a different light or perspective.

To further clarify the idea of theory building, take the previously discussed theory that tries to explain global warming, that is, the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Theory. The AGW Theory is just one of the theories that try to explain global warming.

One of the responses of a coastal community to sea level rise due to climate change is to build seawalls. This adaptation prevents coastal erosion as a result of advancing waters. This measure, however, could prove futile as this picture shows.

seawall
One of the responses of a coastal community to sea level rise due to climate change is to build seawalls. This prevents coastal erosion as a result of advancing waters. This, however, could prove futile as this picture shows.

Bast (2010) enumerated six other theories on global warming. I list these theories below:

1. Biothermostat Theory – the theory proposes that negative feedbacks from biological and chemical processes on Earth offset whatever negative feedbacks are caused by increasing carbon dioxide levels.

2. Cloud Formation and Albedo Theory – the theory advances the idea that changes in the formation and albedo (the proportion of light reflected by a surface) of clouds cancels all or nearly all the warming effects of greater levels of carbon dioxide.

3. Human Forcings Besides Greenhouse Gases Theory – the theory postulates that man influences climate is not only because of greenhouse gas emissions but likewise important human activities like clearing forests, irrigating deserts, and building cities.

4. Ocean Currents Theory – the theory explains that the variation of temperature worldwide was due to the slow-down of Thermohaline Circulation (a large-scale circulation of the ocean driven by differences in density due to changes in temperature and freshwater input) of the ocean.

5. Planetary Motion Theory – the theory attributes the recent global warming phenomenon to natural gravitational and magnetic oscillations of the solar system.

6. Solar Variability Theory – the theory suggests that global warming is due to changes in the brightness of the sun caused by bursts of energetic particles and radiation that periodically vary.

These are all theories that try to explain global warming. The graduate student needs to read a great deal of literature and gain insights to build theories. Further, you must note that these theories are not perfect explanations of global warming. Some of these theories may be substantiated or confirmed through time. On the other hand, further theory testing will show their weaknesses.

Whichever of these theories will stand rigorous scrutiny by researchers through further studies on the causes of global warming will come out as the best theory of global warming. That’s how science works.

Reference

Bast, J. L. (2010). Seven theories of climate change. Chicago: The Heartland Institute. 30 pp.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (December 24, 2012). What is the Difference Between Theory Testing and Theory Building?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2012/12/24/what-is-the-difference-between-theory-testing-and-theory-building/

© 2012 December 24 P. A. Regoniel

5 Examples of Psychology Research Topics Related to Climate Change

Are you a psychology student pondering what research topics to pursue in the course of conceptualizing your thesis proposal? This article is tailored right for your needs. You may explore the 5 research topics presented below and come up with your relevant psychology-based research topic on climate change. Specific research questions are offered for your guidance.

I was prompted to write this article because a colleague asked me how her undergraduate psychology students should conduct their study in relation to the key result areas which the university is aligning its research programs, projects and activities. More specifically, she asked what topics could be explored by psychology students in relation to say, climate change adaptation as one of the key result areas.

I initially gave several ideas that students can pursue during the lecture but these ideas still appear to be too general. Or maybe I have not put the topic in clear perspective.

I, therefore, came up with the following specific research topics based on the initial list of topics I enumerated during a brief research orientation lecture with a group of undergraduate students and several College of Arts and Humanities faculty members. The students are currently conceptualizing their research proposal in compliance with the thesis requirement for graduation.

The 5 examples on psychology research topics related to climate change are products of my online search as well as my research experience on environmental research and knowledge gained during my training in the graduate school. Specifically, the following research topics are psychology research topics related to climate change that students can explore.

Of course, they need to do a literature review first to find out which topics and what particular issues were already explored.

Psychology Research Topics Related to Climate Change

I drew out the following ideas mainly from the topics identified by the  American Psychological Association. I rephrased the topics presented in that site to avoid duplication of words as I am conscious of plagiarism understanding that articles written using similar words will impact on the quality of articles written online. I also wrote these questions in such a way that it can be done under local conditions, i.e., relevant to the thrusts and priorities of universities in the tropical regions. But these can likewise be done in temperate countries.

1. How can well-designed environment-directed messages increase people’s behavior that are beneficial to the environment?

recyclingExamples of environment-beneficial behavior will be the three R’s of recycling, reduction, and reuse of materials. I remembered that I wrote an article about an indigenous person who reused otherwise unusable materials from a nearby mining company to build a mini-hydro power plant in a remote place in Bataraza. See how Boyet, the Tagbanua, made use of materials in a materials recycling facility here.

2. Is there a relationship between climate change evidences like sea level rise, warming temperatures, and changing agricultural production to the quality of life of the members of the community?

It would be great to know the relationship of the continuing fluctuations of the weather to people’s quality of life. Will these events be beneficial or detrimental in the long term? Many studies can arise from this simple question alone.

The results of this study will enhance the quality of policy makers’ decisions on those government initiatives that impact on people’s lives. This also streamlines their interest and attention to deal with relevant steps to address the negative effects of climate change.

3. What prevents people from complying with the most efficient and effective policies of government?

It will be interesting to know how people make decisions, whether to follow or not follow the rules and regulations, the ordinances, and the laws that pertain to climate change. What keeps people from complying to these policies and what encourages them to follow voluntarily or willingly?

This is an issue I already discussed in my previous post on research topics about climate change and governance. You may read the article here.

The decision making scenario can actually be represented in a model which will help predict people’s compliance to policies of government. Policy makers will then have a better view of his constituency’s sentiments. This is what people call science-based policy making.

4. Why is there a general concern about nature? What are the reasons behind such interest in conserving or protecting the environment? What can be gained from the environmental programs, projects and activities?

Surely, everybody knows some of the answers. But which of these answers are the foremost reasons why people try to keep the environment intact or at the very least minimize exploitation? You may get exciting answers to the questions posed above.

5. How does climate change as evidenced by unpredictable weather events affect people?

I remembered the disastrous flooding events in Marikina in Manila in 2009 and Iloilo City in the Western Visayas due to Typhoon Frank. The residents of Marikina as well as Iloilo never expected the flooding to occur for so many years. This caused a lot of damages to property and even loss of life.

How do you think those people affected feel? What are in their minds on those times when life-threatening disasters strike? Should they have survived had they been prepared for such unpredictable event? Being prepared matters a lot.

At this point, I do hope that with these research topics more ideas will pop out of your head. You can draw out and remember theories from the lectures given you by your teachers on human psychology that will serve as your theoretical framework as you embark to write down your conceptual framework. If you do not know yet the difference between these two concepts, read my article on the difference between the theoretical and the conceptual framework here.

© 2012 November 19 P. A. Regoniel

Example Research Topics on Climate Change and Governance

Is there any relationship between climate change and governance? What are the topics of interest regarding climate change and governance? This article defines governance as it is a vague term to many students and presents two major research topics related to climate change and governance. This will jumpstart ideas and focus topics for research purposes.

In order to understand how climate change relates to governance and vice-versa, you should first have a good understanding of what governance means. The climate change issue is already well discussed in many literature and studies but governance appears to be a term that still baffles many especially undergraduate students trying to make their way about this subject.

What then is governance? The following definition of governance makes clear the concept and lays down the foundation to beginning researchers on this subject in order to carry out studies on climate change and governance.

Definition of Governance

Governance, as the root word govern connotes, does not necessarily mean government although sometimes governance is used interchangeably with government. The processes of government’s management of its affairs towards a desired order, of course, is governance. The government does governance but governance is not necessarily done by a government.

There are actually many definitions of governance. From what I gather, I would adopt the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) simplified definition as this site is devoted to simplifying things for understanding. Besides this is about climate change, a worldwide concern, that researchers would like to relate with climate change.

So here’s the UNESCAP definition of governance:

Governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).

This is an excellent, easily understandable definition of governance. It is a process. Therefore, it is something that people involved do in order to carry out whatever decision outcomes have been agreed upon or arrived at. Those decisions may be done by people in government but may also be done in a corporate setting and at different levels or scope, i.e., local, national or international.

Now, since the definition of governance is in place how can the relationship between climate change and governance be studied? The next topic explores the issues to reveal research topics on climate change and governance.

Example Research Topics on Climate Change and Governance

The following are two major topics on climate change and governance where other related topics can arise.

1. How do people’s compliance to laws, ordinances or resolutions relate to climate change?

How do people behave in relation to laws and ordinances related to climate change? Since governance refers to the implementation of decisions through government policies or enactments, it would be interesting to know how this actually is being implemented in the field.police

Do people comply with climate change-related laws? What are climate change-related laws? Are climate change-related laws as seriously implemented as any other law the government formulated such as laws that are matters of life and death? How are these climate change-related laws implemented by the law enforcers and what are the outcomes?

There are actually many issues associated with this as law or policy enforcement is usually associated with many flaws. What are incentives for people to respond and act accordingly to the intended desired outcomes of policy? Incentives here refer not just to punishment in terms of physical penalty but could be monetary in nature such as imposing fines. Are those fines enough to prevent transgression of laws?

2. How are laws and policies arrived at by those exercising governance?

Are policy makers in any way well guided in the process of making their decisions? Where do they base their decisions? Are those decisions founded on some objective basis or are these just random fruits of the mind or merely self-interest?

Good governance should be objective. Thus, there should be an objective basis for any decision made especially of a government that influences the citizens of a country through policies on climate change. What should policy makers then do to make their decisions objective?

In order to effectively address the issue of climate change, the government therefore must have the correct statistics or background to base their decisions on. How are climate change-related laws arrived at?

To be able to effectively implement climate change-related laws, there is popular belief that these kinds of policy making should be science based to be objective and effective. I heard from a climate change conference colleague that the Malaysian government is doing this quite well by engaging its researchers to do research for policy making purposes and really act on the recommendations made by them. Those in government have such high respect to their researchers. I wonder if this is happening in other countries that implement climate change-related policies.

I expound on this policy making process in my previous article titled What is science based policy making?

At this point I believe that many ideas on climate change and governance are already popping out of your head. Write those things down and start reviewing literature about them.

© 2013 November 16 P. A. Regoniel

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