UCI Web and Smart Devices for Children Under 8 Years Questions

Research Methods

For this activity, you will outline ONE hypothetical research study and then provide feedback to 2 classmates. You do not need to actually collect data, but rather think about how you would attempt to do research. Work through the activity sheet (below) doing your best to identify various components of a research study. There are no wrong or right answers, but better choices than others depending upon what research question you are trying to answer.

Part I

Fill out the worksheet below by thinking through a hypothetical research study of your choice. The key to setting up a good research question is to identify a good research question. Think about these tips:

  • You start by identifying several topics of interest, and then use these topics to think of ONE research question to explore. For example, I am interested in children, negative behavior, and time spent on the Internet or playing web-based games. My research question could be: Do children who spend more time playing games on tablets, phones, or computers display negative behavior more frequently than children who spend less time playing these games? Come up with your own research idea/question based on your own interests.
  • Research questions need to be narrow enough to actually be able to collect the type of data you need to answer the question, but broad enough so that the question will be applicable to a group of people. For example, asking why your friend choose to eat lunch at In-N-Out rather than Chic-fil-a is not reflective of a group of people. A better question would be what influences student’s fast food choices during the school year? Notice in this question I added specific limitations- students, school year and fast food choices. This makes it limited to a specific population, but not too specific.
  • A good research question will also be sociologically relevant. Ask your self, what major theoretical perspective does this question fall into? If you can’t identify it then it’s likely not sociologically relevant. In the first question above, how important is it for us to know what your friend’s fast food choice is? If it’s a reflection of personal taste, it’s not important from a sociological standpoint. But if it’s a reflection of access to resources such as location, mode of transportation, money, group status, etc. then we’d probably want to know the answer!
  • Also ask yourself, is the answer already widely known. If it’s a no brainer, then it’s likely that someone has already researched it.
  • Last, all other decisions one makes in a research process come back to the research question, including if it’s qualitative or quantitative and using one specific type of data collection process over another. When in doubt think what is my research question asking?

Part II

Peer review 2 of your fellow classmates’ assignments (these will appear in your to-do list once the due date for the assignment has passed). Provide helpful instruction to your classmate about how they could improve their “study”. Does the research question and design follow best practices? Is the question and design easy to understand and is sociologically relevant?

Activity sheet:

You can copy and paste the Qs into a new document or download the file below as a pdf.

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