Formulating a Research Question
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.
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