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.