Friday, February 26, 2010

Quantitative Research

Student needs an explanation of what is needed for a thesis.


Professor: You read some books and papers, you raise research questions, you do an experiment, you collect data, you analyze the data, discuss the results, make recommendations in the conclusion.
Student: Piece of cake. But how many books and papers I gotta read?
Professor: 40. Plus or minus.
Student: OK. Thesis is how many pages?
Professor: 80 some. Plus or minus.
Student: How many research questions?
Professor: One or two big ones. Ten or fifteen smaller ones.
Student: Smaller ones.
Professor: Call them hypotheses if you like. What you want to test.
Student: Why so many hypotheses?
Professor: It’ll direct your discussion.
Student: Why can’t I just answer one or two research questions? If I have so many hypotheses, I’ll get lost, they’ll ask me a whole bunch of questions in the defence I can’t answer.
Professor: You have to have something to talk about. You have to have something to write about about. You can’t just answer one or two questions Yes or No. That’s not a thesis. That’s not academic. You have to learn to say, But and On the other hand and…
Student: OK, OK. I got it. 40 books plus or minus. 80 pages plus or minus, 15 hypotheses plus or minus.

Professor: A new definition for quantitative research.



N_O said...

Is this a real story!?
Specific numbers are clearly given...

Barry Natusch said...

Real story? Fact or fiction? The story IS grounded in real life.

Like all reports, there has been a little TELESCOPING of chronology, a little CONDENSING of the events.

And the conversation has been shaped and shaved.

But yes, some students like to be given a number to aim for.