Background This section should be approximately 2-5 pages of background narrative, citing literature as appropriate and needed. You have two purposes in this section: (a) grab your readers’ attention and (b) enlighten your readers about the thrust of the study and its importance.
Conceptual Underpinnings for the Study Reread your Chapter 2 to see if you can determine a theoretical or “quasi-theoretical” base for the study. The conceptual framework is the theoretical base from which you topic has evolved. It includes the basic, historical, theoretical nature, and background of your topic. This information is the material that under girds, and provides basic support from which your topic emerges. Essentially you are trying to present a rational/theoretical/research-based model for (a) the key variables you are interested in investigating and (b) any believed interrelationships between the dependent, or criterion, variable and the independent variables. This section will typically be 2-4 pages. Literature citations are essential. Theorists and researchers who are famous in the field of the topic will probably be referenced in this section.
Statement of the Problem Approximately 1-3 pages in which you give a clearly and concisely detailed explanation of just phrases like: “While evidence of this relationship have been established in the private schools of New Hampshire, no such relationship has been investigated within the public schools of Missouri.” “Yet, the results of prior studies have been mixed and contradictory, as evidenced by research by Smith (1990) and Allison (1992).” “Still not enough is known about the impact of ‘X’ on ‘Y’ when ‘Z’ is taken into account for students of this age.”
Purpose of the Study There should be one or two paragraphs to introduce the research questions and hypotheses.
Research Questions List them as 1. . . . 2. . . . 3. . . . . . . . n. Hypotheses List them as 1. . . . 2. . . . . 3. . . . . . . . n.
Limitations, Assumptions, and Design Controls Having this section clarifies some points for your readers, setting the assumptions upon which the research is pursued, listing some limitations, and indicating clearly how some potential problems will be controlled (thereby increasing your readers’ confidence in you as a researcher and in your study). Limitations are the limitations for which you, the researcher, have no control over. These might include resources for your topic which are limiting you from doing more extensive study, or in the case of active research, subjects who fail to complete the appropriate test items, or lack of whatever which might cause you to eliminate that person from your study. This section may not be applicable to your treatment of the topic. Seek advice. Assumptions are those things that, relative to your study, you are “taking for granted.” You may find it easier to write this section later as you develop your methodology in Chapter 3.
Definition of Key Terms An introductory sentence should be used to transition to the definition of key terms. The terms in this section should be terms directly related to your research that will be used by you throughout the research. It is up to you, the researcher, to define each term as you want the reader to know that term. In every case possible, cite a source for you definition. It is all right to have some definitions without citations when you are listing a “commonly understood” term or you have no source. (The following are examples for formatting purposes). Achievement. (The definition should be written as 1 or more complete sentences and not underlined)_________________________________ (Thompson, 1998). Attendance._____________________________________________________________________ __________ (Smith & Jones, 1997).
Summary Present a 1-3 paragraph summary of key points included in Chapter 1. Then present