• What is the purpose of the background section in Chapter 1? Why should you fully and effectively provide reader’s with an understanding of the problem context?
The background section in Chapter 1 allows the writer to discuss the organization which is being researched which can include information regarding the organization’s background, history, when it was founded, number of employees, and annual report information. Providing the reader a full and effective problem context should be clear and succinct, lengthy background info detracts from the research clarity. However, it is vital to provide a clear understanding in order to explain the factors relevant to the organization’s problems and current circumstances that contribute to it and how the problem has evolved. This adequately sets the stage for the research and allows the writer to discuss not only the situation the organization is facing, but the impact the problem is having on its ability to accomplish its mission.
• Review the Chapter 1 examples (see Examples on the BlackBoard menu). Which example do you think has the best background section and which has the weakest background section? Explain why you think this is true.
Example 1 stands out as having the best background section due to its succinct yet thorough and clear history and background information necessary for the reader to understand the paper’s topic of Youth Job Training in the state of Michigan. There were a couple of examples which I believed to be too long, however the weakest background section for me existed in Example 4. This was not succinct and there did not exist a clear ending to the introduction. A briefer, clearer, and more succinct background section would help the reader understand more quickly the important history of the topic and then be able to focus immediately on the research provided.
• Which example most closely matches the type of problem that you plan to research for your individual research project?
Examples 1 and 2 most closely match the type of problem I plan to research, focusing on program evaluation and effectiveness.
• Why is it important, in the Research Objectives section of Chapter 1 to identify a specific audience for the research results?
It is important to identify the specific audience for the research results in the Research Objectives section in Chapter 1 in order to direct the research towards and write a paragraph in order to convince the particular audience that this study is important and worth the expense. Within this, included can be the anticipated benefits that will be obtained from the research once the recommendations are implemented. Additionally, this can convince the reader that if this issue is not addressed can threaten the survival of the organization.
• Why is it important to have a primary research problem and to organize it as sub-problems?
The primary research problem should address an important question so that the answer will make a difference. Additionally, this research problem should advance someone’s knowledge by illustrating new ways of thinking, suggest possible applications, or pave the way for further research in the field.
Sub-problems should be organized within the primary research problem as they are the most integral part in digging deep into the main overall problem. The sub-problems should be individual, researchable units which are clearly tied back to the interpretation of the data. More importantly, the sub-problems must add up to the totality of the problem.
Chapter 1 – Problem Definition
It is necessary to provide background information to put research problems into context. When a reader is given ample facts about company history, structures, environment and the like, it becomes easier to understand the significance of the research problem and why it is so important to address it. It also shows that significant thought was put into the research problem and the benefits that can be taken from the research material.
The Chapter 1 examples offered vast examples of background infomation. I felt that the #6 (Family Medical Practice) was a bit lengthy but provided a good history of what family medicine is, a description of the proposed location for a new practice, etc. The author could have condensed the introduction into the future needs for rural medical practices, the importance of VCOM as well as saving the cited areas for the literature review. I felt that #4 (Army Combat System) was far too long, so much so that I didn’t read much of it because it distracted me and lost my attention. #2 (Law Firm Retention) did not give me enough information in the background section. I was left wondering if the retention problem was new and if the management really even cared about retention. Example #5 (Proposal Laundromat) was too short but did provide some good information such as who the residents are, what housing examples warrant a need and what current services exist. I think this example has the potential to easily expand the background by illustrating facts like what caused the decrease in jobs and what are the thoughts that jobs may come back (is it a cyclical situation)?
Structuring the primary research problem with corresponding sub-problems is an effective strategy to answer the main problem through the answering of sub-problems. Since all sub-questions should be related to the primary question, sub-questions provoke thought through a series of questions that may or may not explain the problem and recommended solutions. Chapter 2 Example #2 (Leadership Effectiveness Study) most closely matches my research problem of “the impact of mergers on employee morale and productivity” because employee attitudes, behaviors and changes in organizations are common topics to be addressed.
The Research Objectives section of Chapter 1 identifies the end outcome of the research problem (a problem needs to be solved or a decision needs to be made). Recommendations should be shared with an intended audience, those who will best use the research information presented to solve the problem or make a decision, rather than everyone in an organization. If the information is shared with a general, non-specific audience, it’s simply a sharing of information with no intended outcome.
7. Why do researches spend so much time and effort reviewing scholarly and professional literature when doing a new research project?
What is interesting is that many research studies often evoke additional research studies. It is important to understand what studies have already been completed, what the current understanding of the topic is and what direction has it taken. The research has to be worth doing, what betterment to the topic would you be doing if you researched the same topic, in the same way and produced the same findings. Literature, often times, builds connections to other studies, all of which are important to understand so that you know where yours will fit in.
8. What do we mean when we say scholarly literature?
Scholarly literature are periodicals, journals, research etc. that are written by the subject matter experts for the topic. Try to stay away from sources like Wikipedia where anyone can make entries to the pages without being properly vetted or reviewed, in other words, the credibility of the work is questionable.
9. Review the examples of Chapter 2 and identify which of the examples most closely parallels your individual research project. Explain why you think your selection closely parallels what you plan to do.
In one of the examples entitled, The Economic Impact of Melamine Adulterated Food on Food and Drug Administration Resources, has several similarities with my research topic. Both this example and my topic identifies a policy or in my case, a curriculum. The study then goes on to identify factors which contribute to its current state, similar to the factors of my study, all having impact on the efficiency of the curriculum.
10. Why should every student contact the CMU librarians when doing a literature review? What specific services do the librarians offer to you in terms of conducting a literature review?
Librarians, first and foremost, are a wealth of knowledge. CMU librarians may even be familiar with your exact assignment. In general, the librarians know about the different cataloging, designation, location finding services. They know about the type of sources, where to find them and help you narrow your search. They can help you to use the library services most efficiently. In terms of a literature review, they are able to help you canvas the available research already published, help you organize the type and scope of that research so that it can be easily applied to your respective review.
The purpose of the background section is to do just that provide, at first, a general background of the organization in question but then get more specific with what the organization is and what the problem is. You need to be able to articulate the problem to someone as if they have little to no knowledge of what is going on. Also, take the time to use the section to narrow the scope of the problem.
I feel the ‘Program Eval of Youth Employment’ closely matches what I will be researching. It deals with a lot of governmental programs as well as best fit for employment measures. Which is very close to what I will be researching for my organization.
The main reason you would want to identify a specific audience for the research results in Chapter 1 is that you want your research to be a call to action or be informative to a scope of people. If you make your audience to broad you could be forced to explain a lot of information that is little value added as you are expecting the audience to have an idea already of what you will be talking about.
The research problem is the single most important thing in the research. Along with the sub questions and research that you do needs to be able to be tied back to this research question or sub questions. This is the whole reason for being for the research.
To help address the ‘rustiness’ you may want to look at having your writing looked at by CMUs writing center as well as a peer you think would have the knowledge to help you with your writing. Researching spend so much time reviewing scholarly and professional literature because a lot of their own research might be based of that info and/or ideas of how to conduct your own research could come to light via doing this.
The purpose of the Chapter 2 is to help establish a framework for your own research based on what is out there already on the topic. The ‘Nave outsourcing IT’ best parallels by topic because it will be dealing with DoD components as well as missions and budgets of the entities.
Librarians will offer the best perspective when as they will be able to point you in the right direction in areas of topics that you would be beneficial to your own research. The literature review process is not a study of one research question but a study of the broad topic of what you are discussing. The studies you will be looking at are related in nature but will not accurately reflect on what you are trying to do within your organization. There will always be literature on your topic, many of the problems faced in the research we as students have been done before. We are just replacing details such as governance, organizations, and the people just to name a few examples.
The background section is to set the tone for the reader and give general data to validate why the research problem is relevant and worth while. It is important to fully and effectively provide readers with the problem context because without full knowledge of the issue they will not completely understand the research. I believe that example #3 is the weakest example because it does not provide much data or specifics. In contrast, I believe that Example #4 is the strongest background because it not only gives you data specifics but it also gives you images to reference so that the reader can be more engaged in the reading. I believe that study #6 most closely relates to my individual research paper because it addresses the challenges of the shortage of health care providers to low income and at risk populations. My research topic addresses the challenges of recruiting nursing in telephonic based roles for a medicaid/medicare health insurance company. It is important to identify a specific audience for the research results because it ill help the reader understand the message you are trying to convey. It also helps you to decide what information is important to include and what information is not important. It is also important to have a primary research problem as a general topic of research, then sub problems to address all of the different facets of the research problem.
If you are a bit “rusty” in your writing, you can utilize CMU’s online writing center, the global campus library, GoResearch, CMU Research Guides, Dr. Kessler is also a resource for questions, etc. Researchers spend a lot of time and effort reviewing scholarly and professional literature when doing a new project because it takes a lot of time to review journals and ensure that the information is relevant to your topic and the points you are trying to make. Also, many of these journals are lengthy and not all of them may apply to your research. The term Scholarly means a piece of writing that has been peer reviewed and written by experts in their field.
The chapter 2 example that most closely parallels mine is example #2 because it looks at leadership and increasing productivity and retention. This is something that I could touch on in terms of nurse job satisfaction.
Every student should contact the CMU librarians when doing a literature review, because they are the most knowledgeable of the resources available and will allow students to more efficiently pin point information. They also are familiar with research and APA formats and can help to guide the research process. They are also available at any time for students to utilize.