PhD Research Seminar Series: Writing the Introduction and

Report
PhD Research Seminar
Series:
Writing the Introduction
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Outline
 Research: Process of identifying something
unknown and collecting data to make it known.

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Writing the Introduction
 Background
 Statement of Problem
 Purpose, Research Questions, and Hypotheses
 Significance
 Theoretical Framework
 Operational Definitions
 Writing Tips
Review
 Choose a research focus.
 Basic: Test a theory
 Applied: Improve practice
 Extension: Repeat a previously conducted study
with a different sample
 Write the conclusion you want to make.
 Turn the conclusion into your general research
question.
 Identify IV and DVs


Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
IV (Independent Variable): Cause
DV (Dependent Variable): Effect
Introductory Advice
 Tell a story.
 Be exhaustive, but don’t be extensive.

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Go into great detail on your key variables,
but do not include distally related topics.
Example Study
 The Effect of Goal Setting on Academic
Achievement at the University of Jos

DV (Effect)
 Academic

IV (Cause)
 Goal
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Achievement
Setting
Background
 Purpose: Provide the rationale for your study.
 Include:



Construct definition of your DV
Build a case for why your DV is important
Description of why your DV needs to be somehow
changed



Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Basic: Why is the theory not quite accurate?
Applied: Why does your DV need to improve?
Extension: Why do you think your sample will be
different?
Background: Example
 Construct definition of your DV


Many diverse definitions of academic achievement
Definition in this paper: Knowledge and skills developed
primarily by formal schooling (Lohman, 2005).
 Build a case for why your DV is important

Academic Achievement is related to many future
variables: university performance, job performance, etc.

Description of why your DV needs to be somehow
changed
Applied: Why should the DV improve?


Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Want to improve our society, and academic
achievement is related to many positive variables.
Should continue to find ways to improve academic
achievement.
Statement of Problem
 Purpose: State the problem you hope to
fix.
 Include:



Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
How do you think you can fix the problem?
Why do you think your solution will work?
Briefly explain the methods you will use to
try to fix the problem.
Statement of Problem:
Example
 How do you think you can fix the problem?
 Why do you think your solution will work?
 Goal setting theory states that setting goals
improves performance. Think can improve
academic achievement by providing a short
seminar on how to set goals and providing time for
students to set goals. Will work because previous
studies have established relationship between goal
setting and performance in many other domains.
 Explain methods you will use to fix the problem.
 Have treatment and control groups. Treatment will
take a seminar on goal setting, during which will set
goals for the ed psych class. Then compare final
grades of treatment and control groups.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Purpose, Research Questions,
and Hypotheses
 Purpose: Describe the answers you hope to
ascertain from your study
 Include:

Direct relationship between each Purpose,
Research Question, and Hypothesis.
 Purpose: Statement of the problem
 Research Question: Only for descriptive questions
 Null Hypothesis: No significant difference between
IV groups on DV

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Correlational: No significant relationship between
variables
Purpose, Research Questions,
and Hypotheses: Example
Purpose
Determine whether
goal setting improves
academic achievement.
Determine whether
a seminar on goal setting
improves the quality of
goals that students set.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Research
Question
Do students have
higher academic achievement
when they set goals or
when they do not set goals?
Do students who have
a goal setting seminar set
better goals before or after
the seminar?
Hypothesis
There is no significant
difference between
students who set
goals and those who
do not on academic
performance.
There is no significant
difference between
students who do and do
not attend a goal setting
seminar on the quality
of their goals.
Significance
 Purpose: Describe how your study will
influence theory and practice
 Include:


Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Summary from your Background of why
the DV is important
How practice or theory will change based
on the results of your study
Significance: Example
 Summary from Background of why the DV is
important

A good way to improve society is to improve
academic achievement
 How practice or theory will change based on
the results of your study


Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Practically: Since academic achievement is related
to job performance, if improve academic
achievement, also likely improve future job
performance
Theoretically: Test goal-setting theory to determine
whether the theory generalizes to a Nigerian
context
Theoretical Framework
 Purpose: Connect your research study to
the already-existing body of knowledge
 Include:

The theory that you think best describes
the behavior of your DV
 Basic:
The theory you want to refute
 Applied: The theory that says that your
treatment will improve your DV
 Extension: The theory that says that your
sample will be different than the original
sample
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Theoretical Framework:
Example
 The theory that you think best describes
the behavior of your DV

Applied: The theory that says that your
treatment will improve your DV
 Theory
of Goal-setting by Locke and Latham
(2002)  Building a practically useful theory
of goal setting and task motivation
 Describes how goal setting works and what
makes a good goal
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Construct vs. Operational
Definitions
 Construct Definition: Explanation of your
construct by relating it to other
constructs
 Operational Definition: Statement of
specifically how the construct will be
measured or implemented in your study
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Construct vs. Operational
Definitions
WAEC Scores
Academic
Achievement
Final Course Exam
NECO Scores
State Exams
Intrinsic
Motivation
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Self-Report on
IM Questionnaire
Behavioral Observations
Construct vs. Operational
Definitions
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Teaching
Intervention
Weekly one-hour lessons
on number sense
for four months
Group
Counseling
Bi-weekly one-hour
meetings with other
bereaved adults focused
on discussing loneliness
Technology
Workshop
Two morning seminars
that introduce key principles
of PowerPoint
Construct vs. Operational
Definitions
Self-Report of Parents’
Economic
Status
Yearly Income
Free/Reduced
Lunch Eligibility
Performance on
Literacy Test
Illiteracy
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Self-Report of
Reading Ability
Construct vs. Operational
Definitions
Any person who attends school
Student
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Secondary school and above
Operational Definitions:
Example
 Dependent Variables
 Academic Achievement: Final course grade in
Educational Psychology course
 Quality of Goal: Rating from 1 (Low) to 5 (High) by
an independent judge on two dimensions: difficulty
and specificity
 Independent Variables
 Goal: The outcome that the student hopes to
accomplish for their course grade in Educational
Psychology.
 Goal-setting seminar: A two hour PowerPoint
presentation on setting quality goals.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Writing Tips
 Give a construct definition for every
psychological term you use.
 Explicitly state how each theory or
concept you write about directly relates
to your study.
 Be specific!

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Avoid vague words like it, this
Writing Tips
 Be generous with providing examples
 Examples make an abstract concept more
concrete.
 Examples help examiners know that you
understand what you are writing.
Even though preschoolers successfully solve quantitative tasks
that require either the exclusive use of verbal counting or
nonnumerical quantitative skills, they appear incapable of
solving tasks that require both of these abilities at the same
time (Resnick, 1989; Siegler & Robinson, 1982). For example,
preschoolers have difficulty answering the question “Which is
bigger, 9 or 5?”
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Writing Tips
 Re-read and Revise
 Re-re-read and Revise
 Re-re-re-read and Revise
 Re-re-re-re-read and Revise
 Re-re-re-re-re-read and Revise
 Re-re-re-re-re-re-read and Revise
 Re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read and Revise
 Re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read and Revise
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Technical Writing Tips: APA
Style
 Acronyms: University of Jos (UJ)

Only give the acronym if you will repeat the
phrase many times throughout your paper.
 If
you only use the phrase once, do not give
the acronym
 If you use the phrase multiple times, explain
the acronym once. Thereafter, always use the
acronym.

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
The University of Jos (UJ) is located in Jos,
Plateau State. Prof. Andzayi is the dean of the
Faculty of Education at UJ.
Technical Writing Tips: APA
Style
 Numbers

NEVER spell out and give the numeral for a number.


Always spell the first number in a sentence.


There were nine plates of jollof rice and five pieces of
chicken.
If the sentence contains a number greater than ten, write
the numeral for every number in the sentence (except
when the first word is a number, in which case spell it
out).

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Fifteen chickens crossed the road.
If the sentence contains only numbers below ten, spell
out all numbers.


There were ten (10) students.
Eleven students attended the retreat, as well as 15
workers and 5 retirees.

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