L2. Generating Research Questions

•  Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations• Feasibility, Accessibility, Manageability 

Introduction (5 mins)
+ Introduce the students to the issue of generating research question using the 6W1H method.
+ They are Who what when where why which and how. 

Development (40 mins)
+ refer to the website 
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair- projects/project_question.shtml+ They are recommended to go to the Topic Selection Wizard to help them come up with their research question.
+ Although this activity has been recommended to them via email, ask them to go through another topic anyway so as to generate more ideas for their current project.
+ Advise students to set a higher standard if they want to challenge themselves if they want.
+ Require the students to search at least 3 projects, one for each student within the group. This is to ensure that each of the students get the chance to think about the research question. 

Conclusion (5 mins)
+ Remind them to post at least 3 research questions in their blog. 


(1) Test a hypothesis: Hypothesis-driven research
One research method in particular is usually singled out by introductory science texts. It is known as the Scientific method. Steps in this method are
(a) State a hypothesis
(b) Design and experimental procedure to test the hypothesis
(c)  Construct any necessary apparatus
(d) Perform the experiments
(e) Analyze the data from the experiment to determine how likely it is the hypothesis can be disproved
(f)  Refine or correct the hypothesis and continue if necessary

(2) Measure a value: Experimental research (I)
(a) Identify a well-defined quantity
(b) Design a procedure to measure it
(c)  Construct any necessary apparatus
(d) Perform the experiments
(e) Analyse and report on the accuracy of the results

(3) Measure a function or relationship: Experimental research (II)
(a) Observe a phenomenon and develop testable questions
(b) Identify control variables and response functions
(c)  Design an experimental procedure to vary the control variable, measure the response variables, and keep other factors constant
(d) Construct any necessary apparatus
(e) Perform the experiments
(f)  Analyse the relation between control variables and response variables, and characterize the relation mathematically

(4) Construct a model: Theoretical sciences and applied mathematics
(a) Choose a relationship discovered through experimental investigation
(b) Construct mental pictures to explain the relationship, and develop hypotheses about origins of the phenomenon
(c)  Identify basic mathematical equations from which the relation might result
(d) Using analytical or numerical techniques, determine whether the experimental relationship results from the basic mathematical equations
(e) If incorrect, find a new mathematical starting point
(f)  If correct, predict new relationships to be found in future experiments

(5) Observational and exploratory research
(a) Create and instrument or method for making observations that have not been made before
(b) Carry out observations, recording as much detail as possible, searching for unexpected objects or relationships
(c)  Present results and stimulate further research

(6) Improve a product or process: Industrial and applied research 

(a) Identify market need for product
(b) Design product with the potential to meet the need
(c) Build prototype products
(d) Determine whether products function as desired
(e) Optimise products with respect to cost, speed, environmental consequences, and other factors that affect profit
(f) Bring product to market and continue 

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