Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 5 & 6: The Selection of a Research Topic

Sesions lead by Ann Thompson, CTLT Director. Faculty and students describe their current ideas about research topics and share their research agenda.


  1. Found this book (chapter 6 in particular)quite helpful on helping me identifying a dissertation topic:
    Davis, G. & Parker, C. (1997). Writing the Doctoral Dissertation: A Systematic Approach (2nd edition). New York: Barron.

    Feel free to share more resources in this space as well.

  2. From this same book (Davis & Parker, 1997, p. 55)-- When searching for a topic look for:
    1-Research needed and interesting
    2-Theory base for research: can add to a body of knowledge by relating to theory or constructs
    3-Amenable to research methods: feasible regarding both availability of data and tools for analysis
    4-Achievable in reasonable time
    5-Matches student capabilities and interests
    6-Attractive for funding
    7- Area for professional development and future research

    Hope you find this useful.

  3. I tried to test my research topic "Design, production, and evaluation of multimedia instructional programs with embedded tracking" against the criteria mentioned by Ana Correia and spotted a problem. The third criteria (3-Amenable to research methods: feasible regarding both availability of data and tools for analysis) is questionable for my research topic if I want to test such a program in public schools. Everybody knows how difficult it is to get access to testing in schools. Does it mean that I need to change the focus of my programs to higher education?

  4. I felt that Dr. Thompson's session was very beneficial as I am working on my master's creative component. One theme that I noticed each of the panelists touched on was collaboration with colleagues. I took a research class with Dr. Schmidt and I found it very beneficial to recieve feedback on my work from her as well as the other course participants. She took us step by step through the creative component with feedback on each area. This process can be so overwhelming, but taking it in stages and encouraging peer feedback is very important.

  5. "Does it mean that I need to change the focus of my programs to higher education?" Not necessarily, but you need to be proactive and start working early enough to establish the connections to the K-12 schools you want to target for your study. It may be difficult, but it is not impossible, especially if you are bringing a direct benefit to the school with your research.

  6. I am beginning the work on my creative component as well, so this seminar topic is providing very useful information to me.

    I liked that many panelists mentioned:

    --The importance of selecting a topic of interest not only to the graduate student, but to the committee members as well.

    --Making sure that the research was going to provide information that could "contribute" to the research topic area and future research.

    --Determining what question(s) the research is going to strive to answer and sticking with a more specific areas of the research. Otherwise you could have too much information to look at and not enough time to accomplish things.

    Megan Fontanini

  7. If you want to learn more about my research interests and related projects, please check the ISU Instructional Design Research Group website:

    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Ana Correia

  8. I just wanted to share what I am working on for my creative component. I found it beneficial to hear all of the panel member's experiences with their dissertations.
    I am working towards my master's degree in instructional technology, and I chose to focus my work on digital storytelling. I will be doing my research with my third grade students in a social studies unit. My research questions are based on measuring how digital stories motivate students and how they can increase student learning. The reason that I chose a social studies unit and digital storytelling is because I feel that my social studies curriculum lacks hands-on, project based learning. I think that digital storytelling can really enhance student learning and also create opportunities for the students that they may not have had before. I am just beginning the process, so I will let you know how things turn out.