ACADEMIC CONCEPT – Optional participation – Developing your context and topic

Last week, we discussed the importance of choosing and appropriate topic and some ways to identify appropriate topic. This week, I would like to discuss developing your context. As Tracy (2010) describes it, “Good research is relevant, timely, significant, interesting, or evocative. Worthy topics often emerge from disciplinary priorities and, therefore, are theoretically or conceptually compelling. However, worthy topics just as easily grow from timely societal or personal events” (p. 840). Research that is theoretically significant builds on theory, or extends or problematizes current theoretical assumptions. Theoretically significant research offers new and unique understands that emerge from data analysis and builds on past research but provides a new conceptual understanding that can be used by future researchers. Basically, theoretically significant research is grounded in past literature and adds to that body of literature by extending and adding to current research.

In selecting a dissertation topic, most student focus on trying to be original and show the desire to contribute to the current knowledge base in their specific area. A dissertation should be an original piece of research and should make contributions to the field but your research does not have to present an enormous “breakthrough” in the area. Research is a process of searching and re-searching for new insights; it is about advancing scientific knowledge or understanding a practice or phenomenon (Bloomberg & Volpe, 2016). It is worth noting that it is acceptable to module your research on a previous study and develop a new aspect or even replicate it. Replicating a study is appropriate because knowledge builds over time and studies build upon one another.

As you consider the development of your topic, what are your fears/concerns about your topic and the development or your topic? What are your doing this week to help you develop your topic? (Remember, in order to receive participation credit, posts must meet the requirement of 150+ words and one academic supporting source).

ACADEMIC CONCEPT – Optional participation – Developing your context and topic

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