Research Basics: Design to Data Analysis in Six Steps offers a fresh and creative approach to the research process based on author James V. Spickard’s decades of teaching experience. Using an intuitive six–step model, readers learn how to craft a research question and then identify a logical process for answering it. Conversational writing and multi–disciplinary examples illuminate the model’s simplicity and power, effectively connecting the “hows” and “whys” behind social science research. Students using this book will learn how to turn their research questions into results.

Step 1: Develop a Good Research Question

Research is designed to answer questions. We investigate things because we want to find out something about them.

We may, for example, want to know how something works. Biologists wonder how cells metabolize energy. Weather watchers want to know how storm clouds form. Environmental scientists want to understand people’s interactions with their environment. Educators want to know how teachers learn to teach well. Urban planners want to know how people can improve their neighborhoods. Both traffic planners and environmentalists want to know how we can get people to drive less. These “how” questions focus on processes. They tell us the steps involved in getting something done.

Alternatively, we may want to know about people’s opinions and attitudes. What do ...

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