Independent research

Steps to Create a
The IRP consists of 3 parts:
The Project Plan:
 Provides an initial summary and outline of
the complete research process.
The Project Diary:
 Is a record of an ongoing process; records
values, attitudes and feelings; reflects
honesty on problems encountered and their
solutions; records conversations, contacts,
readings and sources of secondary data;
and reflects the proposed timeline.
The IRP consists of 3 parts:
The Product:
 Is to be research based and independent,
derived from a student’s own work. It may be
presented in a diversity of formats, such as
a written report, electronic presentation,
video presentation, oral report or multimedia
Step 1 -Picking a Topic
The topic chosen for the focus of the IRP should be
related to the course content in one or more of the
following areas:
Resource Management
Choose a topic you are interested in.
If you don’t like your topic and are doing it because it
seems easy (or some other reason) you will be less likely
to want to work on it.
Make sure the topic is focused & specific. If the topic
is too broad you can end up overwhelmed with
Try to relate your topic to wellbeing, if possible.
Remember SPEEPS- social, physical, emotional,
economic, political and spiritual wellbeing. Wellbeing
is such a huge part of what CAFS is about. By picking a
topic related to wellbeing you will practice writing about it,
which will help for the trial and HSC exams.
Resources need to be accessible locally and available
to you (primary and secondary resources)
Your topic can be written as a hypothesis,
or as a research question.
What is a hypothesis?
A research topic is often written as a hypothesis.
It is a positive statement of what the
researcher expects to find out, or an idea that
he or she wants to test.
Some examples of hypotheses in CAFS:
 -Bullying in schools is out of control
 -Australian sporting stars provide good role models
for teenagers
 -Working parents are the majority users of child
 -Gender-stereotyping is highly evident in the media
Some Examples”
The media portrays unreal images of women
The literacy level of migrants impacts on employment opportunities
What are the influences of birth order on an individual’s behaviour?
What are the effects of verbal bullying?
The media encourages the sexualisation of children.
The children of migrants are encouraged to follow their parent’s culture in preference to
following Australian culture.
What are the impacts of domestic violence on children?
What are the impacts of divorce on children?
Are individuals who have been abused as children more likely to use drugs in
Step 2 – Be Organised
Establish a system that works for you
and have the following items:
 A display folder
 IRP diary
 USB drive
 Document storage folders
 A folder on your desktop
 [email protected]
 edmodo
Step 3 –Develop a research
This is due on 25th October
The proposal:
Defines the research question
Identifies the method to be used
Outline the time period for conducting the research
You need to:
• Recognise the proposed research topic and related question and
• Explain why the topic was chosen.
• Identify possible secondary sources of data specific to your topic and
explain what they are about.
• Describe your choice of primary research methodologies that will be used
to collect data
• Briefly outline issues such as sampling, validity, reliability, and bias which
you may need to overcome.
• Develop a clear and realistic timeline of your research.
Things you will need to do from
now till you start the Product
Need to develop questionnaires
Need to interview people and hand out and get
back questionnaires
Make telephone calls and arrange interviews
Research the internet
Visit the library and ask the librarian if she could
help you find 2 research papers in journals
based on your question
Keep your questionnaires and info in a folder
Always write in your diary!!!!!
Other questions that need to be
considered in your proposal
Introduction outlining:
 Why you have chosen your research topic
 Your research question
 The research methods you will use
Data needed outlining:
 The information you need to answer your question
including: statistics, descriptions and definitions,
literature to be reviewed
Other questions that need to be
considered in your proposal
Research methods explaining:
 The data collection methods you will use e.g.
questionnaires, interviews, observations, case
 How you will conduct you’re your research
including: number of individuals to be involved,
time and location
Develop a timeframe
Week of the Project
Details of what to be done
1 – 10th October
Start Diary and formulate a question
2 – 17th October
Develop a research proposal
3 – 24th October
Hand in a research proposal (26th) and investigate
secondary resources, take notes DIARY CHECK
4 – 31st October
Develop a questionnaire, check with teacher
5 - 7th November
Interview people and get back questionnaires
6 – 14th November
Write literature review section of the report, collate
interview results
7 – 21st November
Analyse date and produce tables, etc, (need to hand
up diary to Mr Bettiol) DIARY CHECK
8 – 28th November
Write first draft and Have IRP proofread
9 – 5th December
Write second draft of IRP (check acknowledgments,
bibliography and appendices)
10 – 12th December
Hand in IRP and Diary.
Research Proposal
Introduction – statement of the problem
 Literature review – background
 Rationale
 Methodology
 Timeline
 Significance – expected outcomes
 References
 Your proposal needs to be written/typed
just like a essay or research paper.
Step 4 – Write in your diary
Your diary is a record of the steps you take during the
development of your IRP.
Need to record:
 Details of methods used
 Important dates and people or places that can help in the
Document research from beginning to the end.
Records values, feelings and attitudes
Reflects on honesty on problems encountered and their
Records conversations, contacts, readings and sources of
secondary data.
Reflects timeline.
An example in text on page 166.
Step 5 – Use a variety of sources of
data – Primary and Secondary
Your first step should be to search for
secondary sources for what has already
been written about your chosen topic.
 For example:
 edwards_etal.pdf
Libraries are a good place to start, such as
your school, local library, TAFE or Uni
 Look at the Internet (Google), computer
programs, television, podcasts, books,
journals, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets,
 Search within these websites:
 ABC, SBS, Channel 9, Australian Bureau of
This preliminary reading should help you
formulate the questions you want to ask in
your own research and is the beginning of
your literature review.
As you find information, you should record
the name, source and publication details so
that it is available later when compiling your
 Later on in the research process you may
also use some of this secondary data for
comparison, discussion and analysis in your
Collecting and recording data
Primary research – important but also time
consuming. It is carried out first hand by
researchers and may involve in undertaking
interviews, carrying out observations,
distributing and collecting questionnaires or
developing a case study.
Secondary research – sources that are
gathered by someone else. The information
has been processed in some way.
Secondary sources are often used to
support or add to the findingsof primary
Quantitative and qualitative
Research methodologies can be classified as
either quantitative or qualitative. Often a
combination of methodologies is used in a
research project.
 Quantitative research collects numerical data
and is sometimes referred to as research with
numbers. Focuses on measuring, collecting
and drawing relationships between facts
through statistics. The methodologies include
questionnaires, interviews and experiments.
Qualitative research is concerned with
collecting information in a social context and
looks at interactions and relationships
between individuals and groups.
 Qualitative research is used to gain insight
into people's attitudes, behaviours, value
systems, concerns, motivations, aspirations,
culture or lifestyles.
 Includes observations, case studies,
interviews and questionnaires.
Step 6 – Consider ethics and
issues in research
Respect for subjects of research
Integrity of researcher
Integrity of data
HSC regulations
Scholarship principles and practices
Acknowledging sources
Working with others
Step 7 – Research Methodology
Depending on the purpose of the research,
particular research methodologies are used to
conduct it. Some methodologies are more
appropriate than others for studying particular
 The literature review helps to direct research to
be done.
Case Study
Step 7a – Conduct a suitable
primary Research methodology
Use either quantitative data or qualitative
 Survey
 A survey is the process of conducting a study
involving a number of individuals or subjects.
 A survey uses either interviews or
questionnaires, conducted among a few or
many people.
 The researcher talks to various respondents in person or over the
telephone, asking them questions about a particular topic.
Interviews are usually conducted on a one-to-one basis, but
sometimes the researcher might have a focus group where
approximately three to eight people come together and are
interviewed simultaneously.
The respondents’ answers are recorded in some way; either on a
checklist, in brief notes taken by the researcher, or by an audio or
The researcher and the respondent should be clear on the
purpose of conducting the interview, and the researcher needs to
be well prepared and plan clear, unambiguous questions.
The researcher must be careful not to dominate the discussion or
bias the answers by over-interpreting them.
A structured interview is quite formal, with predetermined
questions being asked in the same sequence to all respondents.
An unstructured interview is informal and tends to be more
flexible. Respondents are able to express themselves more
freely through discussion of topic areas, rather than answering
specific questions.
When planning and carrying out an interview
researchers need to:
Decide on what information is needed and from whom.
Plan and write the questions using broad-based
questions on a checklist.
Decide on the sample size and the method of collection.
Prepare the recording method for the interview.
Pilot the interview (practise it on someone similar).
Conduct the interviews among the respondents.
Analyse the results.
Do 1,2 and 3 from above
What are the advantages and disadvantages of carrying
out an interview?
 Gathering information from people using a planned set of
questions. The questionnaire may be oral, whereby a
researcher asks the respondents questions and records
the responses on a tally sheet, or written, whereby the
respondents record their own answers on the
questionnaire sheet.
 The questions may be closed - which limits possible
responses, or open -with the respondents able to express
opinions and make comments.
 Questionnaires can be used in many research situations.
They can be distributed to large populations and thus
provide a useful amount of data. They are reasonably
easy to interpret, especially those with closed questions.
They do require a lot of planning and preparation, however,
and respondents need to be made aware of the purpose of
the questionnaire.
When developing and conducting questionnaires
researchers need to:
Decide on what information is needed and from
Design the questionnaire, with a limited number of
questions and a combination of closed and open
questions where possible.
Decide on the sample size and the method of
Pilot the questionnaire.
Conduct the survey in the required population.
Analyse the results.
Do 1,2,3 from above
What are the advantages and disadvantages of conducting a
Case Study
 The detailed investigation of one issue, such as a
person, an event, a community group or an institution.
A range of research techniques including interview,
observation and questionnaire may be used to
assemble the range of information needed about the
single issue.
 They are especially useful in finding out how and why.
 They usually require supporting research, and
generalisations are not often possible based on the
limited information gathered.
 They are often subjective and researchers can find it
difficult not to become involved and thus influence the
When developing a case study-based project
researchers need to:
1. Choose an appropriate topic to investigate and
a time period to cover it.
Decide on the appropriate research techniques
to use.
Plan and prepare the necessary materials for
collecting and recording data.
Carry out selected research techniques.
Collate the results collected.
Analyse the results.
Involves watching and recording what is seen.
Can reveal a lot about group dynamics not always possible
with other methods.
Participant observation involves the researcher taking
part in the group and observing from within. The
researcher has full access to the group and therefore gains
more knowledge and greater disclosure from members.
Researchers tend to be subjective and are often biased,
and the researchers presence and actions may influence
the group’s dynamics if group members detect what the
researcher is there for and do not act naturally.
Observations are time consuming.
Non –participant observation involves the researcher
observing the group without participating. Researcher
more objective and finds it easier to record what is seen.
When developing an observation-based
project researchers need to:
1. Choose
an appropriate site or group to
observe and a time period to cover it.
2. Decide what specifically to observe.
3. Design a data-recording sheet.
4. Conduct the observation.
5. Analyse the results.
Literature Review
Involve researching books, articles, seminar papers,
websites or other secondary sources that contain material
about an issue. The ‘literature’ refers to any form of
information that has already been published in a particular
topic area.
The aim of the literature review is to provide some
background information about the topic so that research
discussion makes more sense.
All research should begin by reviewing existing sources so
that the researcher can learn from the work of others and
focus on what needs to be researched.
All the materials accessed as part of the literature review
must be referenced and included in the project’s
Bring at least 3 sources to class
tomorrow which would help you write up
a Literature review. You will be starting
that in class tomorrow.
 Books
 Articles
 Seminar papers
 Websites
 Journals
The Introduction
The introduction should include:
the nature of the topic under discussion (the
topic of your thesis)
 the parameters of the topic (what does it
include and exclude)?
 the basis for your selection of the literature
The Body
The body paragraphs could include relevant paragraphs
historical background, including classic texts;
possible approaches to the subject (empirical,
philosophical, historical, postmodernist, etc);
definitions in use;
current research studies;
current discoveries about the topic;
principal questions that are being asked;
general conclusions that are being drawn;
methodologies and methods in use;
… and so on.
The Conclusion
The conclusion should include:
 A summary of major agreements and
disagreements in the literature
 A summary of general conclusions that are
being drawn.
 A summary of where your review sits in the
How to write the review
Divide a sheet of A4 paper into 3 sections. Label the sections
Introduction, Main body and Conclusion.
Under the heading Introduction, write a sentence to summarise
your research topic. Add a brief summary of the literature that
provides the background to your research and sets the scene.
Under Main body, decide how you'll organise your literature review:
perhaps by theme, methodology or chronologically.
Hint: think about how the previous research on your topic has
developed. How has the subject developed over time? What are the
important landmarks or key studies?
Think about how you will use the literature to support your
hypothesis, but where possible, also include literature that offers a
different view point.
Remember: don't just report what's been written. You need to be
critical and make judgements about the validity and worth of
previous research.
Under Conclusion, re-state your research proposal, and write a
couple of sentences about why your research is important and
relevant in the context of the existing research. Think about how
your research is unique and what it will add to the existing literature
in the area.
Enabling programs are a common and successful strategy for improving
educational opportunities and subsequent success for disadvantaged students
in the USA (Tripodi 1994), UK (Davies & Parry 1993), New Zealand (James
1994) and Australia (Postle, Clarke & Bull 1997).
In the USA these tend to be intensive summer programs offered prior to
enrolment for ‘at risk' ‘minority' students; while for the UK, New Zealand and
Australia they tend to be pre-enrolment programs that facilitate access to higher
education by mainly mature students who lack conventional entry qualifications,
generally because of a background of disadvantage. (A distinction will be
drawn here to smaller scale ‘bridging programs' that address only very specific
aspects of preparedness, for example, bridging Mathematics programs for
enhancing the Maths skills of students entering technical fields. Although these
often represent important equity initiatives, their tight focus and relatively short
duration serve to distinguish them from the broader and more intensive enabling
programs that are the focus of this paper.)
In an extensive study of the Scottish Wider Access (SWAP) Programs, Munn,
Johnstone & Robinson (1994) noted that such access programs have been:
'remarkably successful in attracting traditionally under-represented groups in
higher education' (p.73).
Analysing and Interpreting
Analysis and interpretation of the data
collected is a very significant part of the
 It makes sense of the data and gives
meaning to the research findings. You need
to refer back to the research question to
help organise your data and focus your
Analysing involves clarifying the data and
highlighting important points, trends, common
elements, unexpected outcomes and
relationships between factors.
 When analysing quantitative data this will
usually mean tabulating the data and
establishing the mean, median, mode and
range of research results.
Setting Out Your IRP
Cover page
Table of Contents
The remainder
Introduction (Approximately 250 words)
Literature Review (Approximately 400 words)
Methodology (Approximately 500 words)
Results and Findings (How ever much it takes!)
Analysis and Discussion (Approx. 600 words)
Summary and Conclusion (Approx. 300 words)
Recommendations (approximately 100 words)

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