The introduction is the part of the paper that provides readers with the background information for the research reported in the paper.
Its purpose is to establish a framework for the research, so that readers can understand how it is related to other research (Wilkinson, 1991, p. If a researcher is working within a particular theoretical framework/line of inquiry, the theory or line of inquiry should be introduced and discussed early, preferably in the introduction or literature review.
It is important in a proposal that the problem stand outthat the reader can easily recognize it.
Sometimes, obscure and poorly formulated problems are masked in an extended discussion.
Effective problem statements answer the question Why does this research need to be conducted.
If a researcher is unable to answer this question clearly and succinctly, and without resorting to hyperspeaking (i.e., focusing on problems of macro or global proportions that certainly will not be informed or alleviated by the study), then the statement of the problem will come off as ambiguous and diffuse.A research question poses a relationship between two or more variables but phrases the relationship as a question; a hypothesis represents a declarative statement of the relations between two or more variables (Kerlinger, 1979; Krathwohl, 1988).Deciding whether to use questions or hypotheses depends on factors such as the purpose of the study, the nature of the design and methodology, and the audience of the research (at times even the taste and preference of committee members, particularly the Chair).Remember that the theory/line of inquiry selected will inform the statement of the problem, rationale for the study, questions and hypotheses, selection of instruments, and choice of methods.Ultimately, findings will be discussed in terms of how they relate to the theory/line of inquiry that undergirds the study.Some committee Chairs prefer a separate section to this end.When defining terms, make a judicious choice between using descriptive or operational definitions.When a writer states hypotheses, the reader is entitled to have an exposition of the theory that led to them (and of the assumptions underlying the theory).Just as conclusions must be grounded in the data, hypotheses must be grounded in the theoretical framework.In quantitative studies, one uses theory deductively and places it toward the beginning of the plan for a study. One thus begins the study advancing a theory, collects data to test it, and reflects on whether the theory was confirmed or disconfirmed by the results in the study.The theory becomes a framework for the entire study, an organizing model for the research questions or hypotheses for the data collection procedure (Creswell, 1994, pp. In qualitative inquiry, the use of theory and of a line of inquiry depends on the nature of the investigation.