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The starting point: question

The starting point: question
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Welcome to the very first lecture of Research Methods. I’m Tingting Liu from the college of Tourism and Service Management at Nankai University in China. In this session, we will open our lecture by understanding how to start a good research. I believe that most of you are struggling about how to raise a critical research question, how to make your research question more achievable and how to do meaningful research. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to have a better understanding about what the good research is.
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So in this session, we will cover the following topics. Firstly, the starting point for any research is to raise a critical question. Secondly, we will discuss with you about the standard of good research questions. Thirdly, I will share with you some different ways to find a good research question. Fourthly, I’d like to show you how to transfer a question into achievable research objectives. And finally, we will share with you how to start raising research question by looking at real-life examples.
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The first part is about the starting point of a research, which is question. In this part, you will know what research question is, what research topic is and the types of scientific research.
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What is the research question? Research question refers to the specific question that a researcher wants to study and can be answered through research. It is somewhat similar and different from what people call problems or phenomena in their daily lives.
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So we can see the similarities and differences of the problem in real life and the research question in academic field. Many problems in the social science research are normally some kind of social phenomena or social problems in real life. That’s why they are similar. The difference is that “the problems”of social science research are typically more specific, concentrated, and explicit than certain social phenomena or social problems in the real life.
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In fact, research questions are not a topic or a theme of your research. They can be one of the few specific questions that you want to answer or you want to address. For example, you may try to understand why people at different stage of their life would like to explore different travel styles, what determines and affects the way they travel, what implications these travel styles have for their industry practitioners. So these are a series of questions can be served as a research topic. In an old saying, we always say that a good start is half the success. In the research field, we say that good research questions are half of the research objectives accomplished.
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What is the research topic? Research topic is a certain type of phenomena field or problem area involved in the research. Compared with the research questions, research topic is relatively general, such as tourist behavior, destination image, tourism marketing and so on. I’d like to show you two examples of research questions. The first example is the influence mechanism of tourist loyalty based on destination attribute perception. The second example is study on college students tourism consumption, decision based on network information concern. As you can see from the two examples, indeed, for one research topic, it can include several concepts. For example, here we can see the influence mechanism is one concept. Secondly, we also see tourist loyalty.
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And thirdly, we see another concept, destination attribute perception. Generally speaking, research topic might contain many different research questions, because the process of choosing a problem often begins with a broad research theme and gradually narrows down to a more focused research problem. Before we talk about how to raise a good research question, we need to understand different types of research. There are exploratory research, descriptive research and explanatory research. Exploratory research is a study that answers what. Descriptive research is a study that answers who and where. Explanatory research is a study that answers why and how. For example, when we want to research about the government plan, we can start from three perspectives. What is a result of the new government plan?
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Who will implement this plan? And how can the plan be effective? And why can it be achieved? So by the sequence they can be exploratory research, descriptive research and explanatory research. It is generally based on the extent to which the researcher understand the topic and the extent to which the field has been studied to determine the type of the research. Exploratory research is relatively suitable for a problem that hasn’t been clearly defined, or to explore the necessity for further research. Descriptive research is a description of a phenomenon, a more specific and detailed analysis of the problem. The purpose and task is to make the described problem clearer.
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Explanatory research is to infer the causal relationship and to obtain evidence about the connections between the cause and the result. The purpose and task is to test and construct theory. The above content covers three types of the research, and in which situations can different types of the research be used.

In this video, you will know what research question is, what research topic is and the types of scientific research.

What are the characteristics of research questions in social science compared with some social phenomena or social problems in real life?

What are the differences and connections between them?

Please feel free to leave a comment in the discussion area.

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Research Methods in Tourism Studies

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