What is the framework in research
As a researcher, sometimes it feels like research has a life on its own: a question that leads to another question and so forth, making us, scientists, wander throughout a tangle of endless research paths. And there we stand, under an ocean of doubts, struggling how to make ourselves keep on track and deliver the results we first aimed for.
In fact, the organization is one of the most important features while researching: it is very easy to be carried away by secondary questions, resulting in unfocused work. That is why scientists and researchers rely on research frameworks: a framework in research offers structure and guidance for planning methodologies, prioritizing the right questions, and constructing logical presentation sequences of the research itself.
Formulating a research question
Every scientist should keep in mind that the right research question is key to arise interest in their own work. On one hand, research questions should mirror the research plan; on the other, also reveal certain “grey” spots around the subject area of study, rationalizing their need for the investigation. This will definitely arise attention from other scientists, who might need questions answered in that particular field of knowledge.
It is important that the main topic question is formulated right at the beginning of the research itself, for it will definitely determine some choices along the way, namely concerning methodology, for the all the research planning will – or is supposed to – be conducted with the purpose of answering it in the most assertive way possible.
Still, overwhelmed by choosing the right question for your work? The good news is that research frameworks can help, even at an early stage like this. FINER criteria allow scientists to formulate a good research question, by highlighting useful topics:
Feasible – Writing feasible research questions means that they CAN be answered under objective aspects like time, scope, resources, expertise, or funding. Some questions that you can ask yourself regarding feasibility are, for example: Is there enough time to conduct the research? Is there the technology and expertise I need to undertake my study? Can I pay for it? Is my study going to have the amount of effect and relevance among the audience I am expecting? Do I have access to the group of interest – or number of participants – I need to obtain accurate results?
If you are a newcomer in academia, you might consider asking for advice from more experienced researchers and collaborating with a statistical consultant, for statistical power is also a central issue in terms of feasibility.
Interesting – This might be the more subjective part of the FINER acronym. The interesting factor is highly dependent on intrinsic individual drive for a specific knowledge field or scientific topic. The first thing is to find out what YOU consider interesting: as you probably have already discovered on your own, carrying on any kind of research is quite overwhelming and often demands self-motivation. Even if the topic of your choice turns out quite uninteresting for some people or institutions, it doesn’t mean it’s not exciting at all. In order to grow interested among your target audience in levels according to your own, try building a strong and captivating rationale.
Regardless of your own personal motivation about a subject, it is important to check if your question corresponds to more practical and broader interests: ask yourself if your work will bring immediate benefits for society, for example, and check the current interests of funding agencies. With this in mind, it is possible to formulate a research question that generates interest both for you, as the author, and for the community.
Novel – In scientific literature, novelty defines itself by being an answer to an existing gap in knowledge. Filling one of these gaps is highly rewarding for any scientist – for it may represent a real difference in peoples’ lives – but achieving such a goal demands a whole lot of research, for one must know in-depth what has been written in the before on the topic. If you don’t feel confident in your level of expertise in the matter, know that replicating prior methodologies in different contexts, like trial groups, for example, can be a smart move.
Ethical – In empirical research, ethics is an absolute MUST. Therefore, there are many independent entities that review and approve proposed studies, inter alia those involving human beings. Also, methods, protocols and standardized formats for review have been developed throughout history in order to prevent any kind of incidents that we, in modern society, would understand as harmful, dishonorable, or unprincipled. Before you carry on with your study, make sure you are addressing safety and confidentiality measures, and acting according to the necessary protocols; like demanding consents of the participant population in case of a clinical trial, for example.
Relevant – Relevance alone can lead to real, visible changes in society. An idea that is considered relevant in the scientific community has better chances to be discussed upon by a larger number of scientists and recognized experts, leading to innovation and rapid information dissemination.
Empirical literature deals with original research, conducted upon experience and observation, as opposed to systematic logic. Normally, the various types of empirical literature respond to standard written structures and forms, making it easier to communicate in a more assertive and accurate manner, in a global scale. For whoever wants to publish a paper or an article about his/her own research, it is recommended to follow these guidelines in order to listen and ultimately accepted, in the scientific community.
A research study is a means of understanding the surrounding world, used in science. It examines every characteristic and variable inherent to a certain subject or topic, helping mankind to develop new and state-to-the-art technology, generally benefitting our own way of life. But these improvements are only possible when shared; and that is why It is important that a researcher writes about his own work, the more accurate as possible.
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