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Carol Mutch: Factors to consider when selecting a research topic

July 22, 2012
“1. Size

– Is your topic or question carefully stated in a way that sets out the limits of your study?

– Have you focused your research in a way that will keep you on track?

2. Scope

– Have you defined the scope in terms of population and sample or setting and case?

3. Time

– Have you made a calculated guess at the length of time this study will take?

– Is the study manageable in the time you have at your disposal?

– Can you fit this study around your other work, family, or community commitments?

– Can you meet the necessary deadlines?

4. Resources

– Can you obtain the resources (financial, material, administrative, and personnel) required?

– Do you have easy access to these or the finances to support them?

5. Skill

– Do you have the data-gathering and analytic skills to conduct this study?

– Can you get help or training if it is beyond your expertise?

6. Access

– How easy is it to gain access to the site, the sample population, and/or cases you need to study?

– Have you considered whose permission you will require and how you will get it?

7. Prior knowledge

– How well do you know the field within which this topic sits?

– How familiar are you with the research, theoretical, and methodological literature around this topic?

– Do you know where to go for support or advice?

8. Motivation

– Will this topic hold your interest for the required length of time?

– Have you considered what intrinsic and extrinsic incentives might keep you going throughout the research?”

Ref: pp. 37-38 Carol Mutch (2005) Doing Educational Research: A Practitioner’s Guide to Getting Started. NZCER Press: Wellington

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