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Brown, M. (2013). Developing social problems into research problems for graduate study [Online webcast]. Retrieved from Evaluating Use of Literature and Problem Statement
Researchers use scholarly literature for various purposes in their work, such as, but not limited to, establishing the need for and importance of their study or describing a theory. The problem statement is typically tied to the literature, and for this reason, these two components of research are presented together this week; this connection among research components will be a recurring theme throughout this course.
For this Discussion, you will evaluate the use of literature and problem statements in assigned journal articles in your discipline to understand what it means for a research study to be justified, grounded, and original. You will use the Use of Literature Checklist, the Problem Statement Checklist, and the Litmus Test as guides for your post.
With these thoughts in mind, refer to the Journal Articles document for your assigned articles for this Discussion. If your last name starts with A through L, use Article A. If your last name starts with M through Z, use Article B. Follow the prompt below for your program.
Master’s and research doctorate (PhD) students
By Day 4
Post a critique of the research study in which you:
· Evaluate the authors’ use of literature using the Use of Literature Checklist as a guide
· Evaluate the research problem using the Problem Statement Checklist as a guide
· Explain what it means for a research study to be justified and grounded in the literature; then, explain what it means for a problem to be original using the Litmus Test as a guide
Be sure to support your Main Issue Post and Response Post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA Style.
Stedman-Smith, M., DuBois, C. L., & Grey, S. F. (2015). Hand hygiene performance and beliefs among public university employees. Journal of Health Psychology, 20(10), 1263–1274. doi: 10.1177/1359105313510338
By Day 4
Post a critique of the research study in which you:
- Evaluate the authors’ use of literature using the Use of Literature Checklist as a guide.
- Evaluate the problem using the Problem Statement Checklist as a guide.
- Explain what it means for a research study to be justified and grounded in the literature; then, explain what it means for a problem to be original using the Litmus Test as a guide
Problem Statement Checklist Use the following criteria to evaluate an author’s problem statement:
• Is a problem identified that leads to the need for this study?
• Is a rationale or justification for the problem clearly stated?
• Is the problem framed in a way that is consistent with the research approach?
• Does the statement convey how the study will address the problem?
• Are the citations to literature current (i.e., within the past 5 years with the exception of seminal works)?
Use of Literature Checklist
Use the following criteria to evaluate an author’s use of literature.
• Look for indications of the following ways the author used literature:
• Introduce a problem
• Introduce a theory
• Provide direction to the research questions and/or hypotheses
• Compare results with existing literature or predictions
• Did the author mention the problem addressed by the study?
• Is the purpose of the study stated?
• Are key variables in the study defined?
• Is information about the sample, population, or participants provided?
• Are the key results of the study summarized?
• Does the author provide a critique of the literature?
• Are sources cited to support points?
• Are the citations to recent literature (within the past 5 years with the exception of seminal works)?
• Does the literature justify the importance of the topic studied?
Litmus Test for a Doctoral-Level Research Problem
Background on these “litmus test” questions
· The distinguishing characteristic of doctoral-level research (as opposed to masters level) is that it must make an original contribution to the field. However, students may struggle to identify what will authentically contribute to their field or discipline.
· The most critical step in making such a contribution is to first identify a research problem with the 4 doctoral hallmarks below. Identifying a doctoral-level research problem is “necessary, but not sufficient,” to produce doctoral-level capstone.
REQUIRED DOCTORAL HALLMARKS OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
In Walden’s scholar-practitioner model, a research problem shows promise of contributing meaningfully to the field ONLY if the answer to ALL of the following questions is “yes.”
Is there evidence that this problem is significant to the professional field?
There must be relevant statistics (expressing an unjust inequality, financial impact, lost efficiency, etc.), documentable discrepancies (e.g., two models that are difficult to reconcile), and/or other scholarly facts that point to the significance and urgency of the problem. The problem must be an authentic “puzzle” that needs solving, not merely a topic that the researcher finds interesting.
2. GROUNDED IN THE LITERATURE?
Can the problem be framed in a way that will enable the researcher to either build upon or counter the previously published findings on the topic?
For most fields, this involves articulating the problem within the context of a theoretical or conceptual framework. Although there are multiple ways to ground a study in the scientific literature, the essential requirement is that the problem is framed in such a way that the new findings will have implications for the previous findings.
For research doctorates (Ph.D.):
Does the problem reflect a meaningful gap in the research literature?
For the professional doctorates (Ed.D. and D.B.A.):
Does the problem describe a meaningful gap in practice?
4. AMENABLE TO SCIENTIFIC STUDY?
Can a scholarly, systematic method of inquiry be applied to address the problem?
The framing of the problem should not reveal bias or present a foregone conclusion. Even if the researcher has a strong opinion on the expected findings, scholarly objectivity must be maximized by framing the problem in the context of a systematic inquiry that permits multiple possible conclusions.