Help EDR610 : The Class : Families : Descriptive : Lesson2-1-1

 Descriptive Research

"Getting Our Bearings ... Where We've Been & Where We're Goin ... !"

Just to kind of recap: in the first module we got a good general overview of the whole research process. In other words: what parts or steps does 'research' contain? And this would be true regardless of the 'form' that the research takes; that is, 'research' could include:

  1. a dissertation;
  2. a published paper;
  3. a presentation of findings at a conference;
  4. a study commissioned by grant funding to solve
  5. a 'real-life' problem or need in a school, district, etc.

    (and the above are but a few examples of the "form," or "packaging," that "research" can take!)

  • Now, we are going to take a closeup view and spend some more detailed time on the individual steps, or pieces.
  • But, it would still be a good idea to look at the overall diagram of the research process time to time! Just so that we 'don't lose sight of the forest for the trees!' In other words, we need to keep in mind not only what the step is, but where it "fits" in the overall scheme of things!!!

  • Sooooo ... remember my 'oft-repeated reminder' to you that the research question or problem statement drives the entire research process? It is its very heart and soul!

    Let's spend some time now looking at various 'types,' or 'families' of research questions/problem statements in this lesson packet.

    Reminder! I'll use "research question" and "problem statement" interchangeably. The ONLY difference between them is in the 'grammatical form' of the sentence!

    1. Research Question: stated as a question, or interrogative sentence; e.g., "What are the primary motivating factors perceived by teacher-training applicants choosing to teach in rural school settings?"
    2. Problem Statement: the same idea stated in (declarative) sentence format: e.g., "This study is to identify the primary motivating factors perceived by teacher-training applicants choosing to teach in rural school settings."
    The "Basic Families" of Research Questions/Problem Statements:

    Descriptive: The first family of research we will look at is the descriptive research family. This would family would include the "what is/what are" questions or curiosities. You're simply identifying; e.g., determining the 'general state' of things.

    Examples: (& I've highlighted the "keywords," or identifying terms, that indicate these questions/statements are primarily "descriptive" in nature)

    1. What are the primary motivating factors perceived by teacher-training applicants choosing to teach in rural school settings?
    2. This study is to identify the median salary of first-year special education teachers in the state of Nevada. ( Or, we could have said, 'determine' instead of 'identify.'The key thing to consider is: does it sound like it's a 'what is/what are' identification-type question -- regardless of whether or not those terms appear exactly?)
    3. What is the major barrier to effective supervision identified by principals in rural school districts?
    Please note: It doesn't matter whether the form of the "answer" is qualitative (in words -- Nos. 1 & 3, above) or quantitative (in numbers -- No 2) -- or it could even be both (multimethod, as we discussed in the first lesson packet)! Rather, it's the purpose of the question (identify/what is what are) that determines the 'family' of research questions it belongs to!

    Notes on Descriptive Research

    Once you have completed this assignment, you should:

    Go on to Assignment 1: Descriptive Research Problem Statement
    Go back to Descriptive Research Family

    E-mail M. Dereshiwsky at statcatmd@aol.com
    Call M. Dereshiwsky at (520) 523-1892


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