Assignment 2: Formulating a Research Question
“How do you measure a potato?” That is the legendary question that Endel Tulving is said to have used to stump his first-year psychology graduate students (Ellsworth & Gonzalez, 2003). The students would come up with a wide variety of creative answers: You can weigh it, compute its volume, measure the water content, describe its chemical properties, and others. This list would grow quite long until, eventually, students would have the hoped-for lightbulb moment: You can’t accurately measure something until you have clearly expressed what it is that you want to know about it. In other words, you can’t design an appropriate research project until you have composed a specific research question.
Ellsworth, P. C., & Gonzalez, R. (2003). Questions and comparisons: Methods
of research in social psychology. In M. Hogg & J. Cooper (Eds.), The
SAGE handbook of social psychology (pp. 24–43). Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage Publications.
Describe a workplace problem that could be investigated by an industrial/organizational (I/O) professional.
Formulate a research question related to the workplace problem that you identified. Use the following questions as a guideline for help in formulating your final research question:
What is the specific problem?
What is the evidence of the problem? (Hint: Cite professional or scholarly sources here to support your position.)
What do you suspect is causing the problem?
Is the research question clearly expressed, without being too general or too narrow?
Does the question relate to the identified problem?
Is it possible or realistic to be able to design a research project that will answer the research question?
Will your proposed research question, if answered, add to the body of knowledge in the industrial/organizational (I/O) field? In other words, has a similar research project already been published?
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