By Miriam Schapiro Grosof
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For example, a foundation may be willing to sponsor a given research study only if the subjects do not object to the special treatment they may be given, while a university may be willing to allow students to be used as subjects only if the "control" group also receives the beneficial "treatment", after the observation period. Studies of long-term effects on student achievement of such factors as high pupil turnover, as in urban renewal districts, may require access to information from many school districts, as well as record keeping in a form incompatible with that in general use in these districts; such studies will probably fail to receive funding or encouragement.
Avoid those that, in the opinion of your mentors, pose technical difficulties of a formidable kind. Do not embark on a project that more experienced researchers regard as dubious unless you are willing to risk wasted time and money, and great frustration and disappointment. Practical Aspects of Problem Formulation 39 USEFULNESS OF THE FINDINGS In choosing a research problem you should ask yourself: If I find an answer to the problem-question, will anyone care? More specifically, will the answer be useful in any of the following senses: (1) immediate: Will it provide knowledge that can assist someone in making a decision?
Deutsch's (1971) investigation of the impact of Head Start on later school performance represented an effort to resolve conflicting and highly politicized assertions as to cost-effectiveness of this controversial program. Government policies concerning birth control give rise to a variety of studies4 as to relative effectiveness of public information and persuasion campaigns. This urgency to obtain an answer on which some action will be based can lead to the formulation of a sound research question.
A Research Primer for the Social and Behavioral Sciences by Miriam Schapiro Grosof