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Developing research questions: an example from the social sciences

What is your broad area of interest?

e.g. Children's computer literacy

What do you want to know about this?

e.g. When and how do children gain computer literacy?

Can you make it a research question?

  • What is the relationship between age, environment and computer literacy among Australian children?
  • What are the major impacts on the development of computer literacy among Australian children?

What would you do to answer that big complex question?

  • Find out how early children experience (learn about) computers - make it a question:
    • Does age of exposure to computers affect the acquisition of computer literacy?
  • Find out what sort of children from what sort of environments experience computers at what age - make it a question:
    • What is the relationship between social level and acquisition?
    • What is the relationship between gross family income and acquisition?
    • What is the relationship between parental educational level and acquisition?
    • What is the relationship between parental computer skills and acquisition?
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