Learning OutcomesConsistent with the course objective: students will “develop a Capstone Project reflecting the norms of scientific research”, this assignment aims to have students demonstrate the following:formulate a clear research question or statement of research problem that is well justified. Please review Module 1 and Module 2 as both modules contain notes designed to help you start your research on the right path.Demonstrate the following four parts in your research question or statement of problem: deterministic or cause and effect logic, express interdisciplinarity, convey inclusion or exclusion, and address the “so what” issue.InstructionsBy the due date and time you are to have submitted to me an approved topic and a preliminary research question or statement of problem for your Capstone Project.Your preliminary research question or statement of problem should reflect the following desirable characteristics:It displays deterministic thinking (i.e., it expresses a problem where you endeavor to identify and examine the causes of that problem).It reflects interdisciplinarity (i.e., it expresses and identifies the multiple academic disciplines that will be applied to the Capstone Project).It is limited in its scope (i.e., it expresses what will or will not be included in the Capstone Project).It addresses the “so what” question (i.e., it makes clear that recommendations and strategies to address the causes of the problem will be made).The submission must be APA formatted and well written.Between now and the due date, you need to have sufficiently communicated with me so that I will be aware of what you are submitting for formal approval. You should communicate with me via Canvas e-mail, phone, or face-to-face office visit so we may discuss your ideas, develop them and position you to upload and submit a solid topic for formal approval and a good start to your statement of problem/research question.For the above due date, you will prepare a one page double-spaced typed document for submission. The submission should be accompanied by an APA formatted cover page and Abstract (see my handout under Module 4 titled Capstone Project Cover Page and Abstract Formatting Guide).Your work should be submitted as one MS-Word or pdf file.
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Running head: TO BE OR NOT TO BE
To Be or Not to Be: Using Local Literature to Promote
Tourism and Economic Development
Student’s Name
Author Note
Student’s Name, Department of Interdisciplinary and Professional Studies, University
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Student’s Name, provide a
mailing address
Contact: provide an e-mail address
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
2
Abstract
The question remains whether research can address the fundamental questions plaguing the
species. “To be or not to be” is more than rhetoric as it touches on existential questions and
nowhere is this question more pertinent that in the realm of organizational diversity. This
research clearly demonstrates that where organizational settings promote diversity, employees
report higher than expected levels of satisfaction and productivity. Further, organizational
programs promoting diversity appears correlated with higher rates of diverse applications for
employment.
Keywords: organizations, employee satisfaction, diversity, productivity
3
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
Step by step instructions for running head to regular page numbered header (Microsoft Word):
Begin after you have typed at least the title page and the first few pages of your paper.
1.
2.
Click the Header button
3.
4.
5.
Click the “Page Number” button
Hover over the “Top of Page” entry and click the “Plain Number 3” option
Type Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
8.
9.
10.
Check “Edit Header”
Under the Header & Footer Tools tab, check the “Different First Page” box
6.
7.
Click the Insert tab
Click the “Insert Alignment Tab” button
Make the following selections in the dialog box that appears: Right, Margin, and None
11.
12.
Click OK
Scroll down to the header section of the next page and click inside that page’s header
13. Repeat steps 6-11, except in step 8 only type TITLE OF YOUR PAPER 14. Close
Header and Footer tab.
Writing the Research Question or Statement of Problem 1
Writing the Research Question or Statement of Problem
Writing a research question or statement of problem can be challenging so this handout is
designed to help students through this conceptual process and to help them distinguish
between articulation of a topic and articulation of a research question or statement of problem.
The Topic
Let’s start first with a discussion of the term “topic”. The best way to discuss the “topic” is to
view it as the Project’s subject matter or object of interest. Students should be able to express
their topic in a few words. For example: “My research addresses violent behavior among
juveniles” or “This Project examines academic failure among first year college students.”
There are a few points that should be made right here and now about articulating a topic.
1) It is essential that you have a genuine interest in the topic. There are worse things in life
certainly but do you really want to spend an entire semester doing research on something that
does not capture your interest and enthusiasm?
2) It is essential that others have expressed a genuine interest in the topic. These others
include other researchers and potential employers. The position is taken here that research
should reflect what is of interest to the discipline or field of inquiry and ongoing research should
try to validate what we know or add to what we know.
3) Recognize that you can go no further in developing your topic until you actually do some
reading.
4) Reading more about this topic will help you refine it into a workable research question or
statement of problem.
Now, notice that the topic is not asking a question. There is no “what”, “why”, or “how” related
to the topic. It simply reflects the subject matter and does so at a very general level.
The Research Question or Statement of Problem
There is some debate whether a research question must end with a question mark (Bryman,
2012) or whether it is more of a descriptive statement (Repko, 2014). Although not a trivial
matter, the goal here is to have you understand how a topic becomes a research question or
statement of problem. We will treat the two terms as synonyms.
Bryman (2012, p. 10) notes that “[r]esearch questions are extremely important in the research
process, because they force you to consider that most basic of issues ̶ what is it about your area
of interest {i.e., your topic} that you want to know? Research questions force you to consider
the issue of what it is you want to find out about much more precisely and rigorously.
Developing research questions is a matter of narrowing down and focusing more precisely on
what it is that you want to know about.”
Writing the Research Question or Statement of Problem 2
So, a topic is a broad identification of the area you want to study. The research question
represents a narrow articulation of that area. As this is an interdisciplinary degree program, our
Capstone Project research question or statement of problem needs to bring to the topic the
insights of two or more disciplines (e.g., management and psychology or health promotion and
sociology or history and economics).
As students are conducting their preliminary review of the literature to inform development of
the research question or statement of problem they should aim to achieve the following:
1. Focus the direction of the Project by specifically addressing the causes of the problem (cause
and effect thinking, often called deterministic thinking is a primary feature of much scientific
research).
2. Express what is included or excluded from the Project (what is often termed the “scope” of
the research).
3. Articulate the multiple disciplines that will inform the Project.
4. State the ultimate goal (what is often called the “so what” purpose).
Recall from page 1 of this handout the following two topics: “My research addresses violent
behavior among juveniles” or “This Project examines academic failure among first year college
students.” Let’s take the first topic involving juveniles and work it into a research question or
statement of problem by moving through the above-mentioned four points.
1. Focus and causation: the topic is somewhat focused already in that it points to juveniles and
violent behavior. We are however, going to focus a little more. Note below, under 3, the
expression of causal logic.
The research will examine male juvenile offenders and focus on their behavior that would
constitute a violent criminal act if committed by an adult.
2. What is included and excluded?
The research is not going to examine minor acts of delinquency or focus on female juvenile
offenders.
3. What disciplines will inform the Project?
The research is examining the role of self-control or impulse control (an idea from the discipline
of psychology) while also examining how direct associations with delinquent peers (an idea
from the discipline of sociology) may produce violent behavior.
4. So what?
Writing the Research Question or Statement of Problem 3
The research will generate a new level of understanding that ideally can produce new methods
of intervention or treatment to help juveniles better manage their peer associations and
enhance their self-control.
The above four points can now be brought together in a succinct research question or
statement of problem (in this case you will find below two sentences and that is just fine):
This Capstone Project seeks to examine the psychological concept of self-control and the
sociological concept of peer associations (NOTE: I have just expressed the interdisciplinary
nature of the research) to determine what effects they have on (NOTE: I have just expressed
the deterministic or causal logic) the commission of serious assaultive behavior among male
juveniles between the ages of 11 and 15 (NOTE: I have just expressed a limited scope and what
is excluded from the research). Based on an extensive review of the relevant literature, this
Project will advance a series of practical recommendations designed to both encourage
enhanced self-control and more normative peer relations among this demographic (NOTE: I
have just addressed the “so what?” issue).
Conclusions
This handout has not been prepared with the intent to make easy what can be a difficult
process. The handout cannot convey how much time and conceptual effort will be needed to
figure out what interests you. The handout cannot convey how much time and conceptual
effort will be needed to review published literature to find out what has been done, how it has
been done, and what needs to done still. The handout cannot convey how much time and
conceptual effort will needed to actually write a well-crafted research question or statement of
problem.
Rather, the handout aimed to teach you the difference between a topic and a research question
or statement of problem. It hopefully has put you on a path toward creating a good Capstone
Project by teaching you what to consider as you move through the process of developing a
sound research question or statement of problem. Please take the time to put into practice the
advice given. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
References
Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Repko, A. F. (2014). Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. Los Angeles: Sage.
Writing the Research Question or Statement of Problem 4

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