Previous step: Task Definition
You must become an expert on your PAT topic! You must have all the knowledge that will be required to answer/solve the question posed in your Focus Question. To do this, you must ask yourself: What do I need to know to be an expert on this topic? Part of this process is creating a set of no less than 10 research questions. Do NOT confuse the research questions with the questions you will be asking in your questionnaire in Phase 2!
In this post:
- The Research Questions table
- Summaries addendum
1. The Research Questions table
The Learner Guide specifies that you create a table to record these questions along with additional information (and provides you with a suggested layout). As laid out in the post Phase 1 report outline, the Research Questions will be in Addendum A: Research Questions.
|1||What is ice-cream?||Background||1||Website||①|
|2||How many ice-cream parlours are there in the Plettenberg Bay area?||Competition||1||Website||https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/|
1.1 Question Level
The level of each question must be listed. Your questions must represent at least 3 of the levels. Most of your questions will be Level 1.
|LEVEL||TYPE OF LEVEL OR QUALITY OF QUESTION|
|1||Provide facts (who, when, where, what, how many, etc.)|
|2||Give direction to the investigation (why, how, etc.)|
|3||Support predictions or help with any changes, alternatives or variations (what if, if, etc.)|
|4||Support your judgement or help to evaluate, critique, review or find meaning (would it be better if, what recommendation, what would be best, etc.)|
|LEVEL||TYPE OF LEVEL OR QUALITY OF QUESTION|
|1||How many ice-cream parlours are there in the Plettenberg Bay area?|
|2||Why are there so few ice-cream parlours in the Plettenberg Bay area?|
|3||What would be the outcome if the ice-cream parlours all served soup during the winter instead of closing down?|
|4||What would be the best solution for increasing year-round revenue for an ice-cream parlour considering the seasonal nature of business in the area?|
This is a simplified version of the levels of questioning and not the only system. It is worth researching this topic to gain a better understanding (see Levels of Questions in Bloom’s Taxonomy).
Each of your 10 questions must be assigned to a heading. This will only truly make sense to you once you have completed a PAT. In your final Word report, you will actually write the body of the report. Like any report, yours will be logically written in sections or chapters if you like. The information that you use will be from the summaries you create in Phase 1.
To create these chapters and organise the info right from the get-go, imagine what section the summary will fit into. I usually recommend starting with 3 categories along the lines of Background, Impact and Solution.
1.3 Type of source
Simply type what type of source it is that you found: is it a website (including all types of websites: blogs, etc.), PDF, book, magazine, video or an interview. Enter a single word for each question in the Type of Source column.
Of the 10 questions, at least one of them must be researched from a source that is NOT a website. You could use a video from YouTube, or you could go old-school and visit the library to consult a book, magazine or pamphlet. You could interview someone.
A PDF is considered to be printed material and counts as such — even though it was downloaded from a website. If you really get stuck, type pdf in front of your search string in Google and websites offering PDF downloads will be listed first in your SERP. If you find a PDF on the internet, download the PDF to your Resource Material folder.
Common mistake: classifying a source as a Newspaper because it is the website belonging to a newspaper. Example: https://www.nytimes.com/
1.4 Bibliographical Information
Once you have located a source for your research question, paste the details of the source in the Bibliographical Information column.
If the source is a website, type “website” in the Type of Source column and then copy the URL from the address bar and paste it into the cell in the Bibliographical Information column (hit the space bar to automatically create a hyperlink). Hyperlinks tend to be quite long. This will create a problem with your table. To solve this problem, split long URL’s using a soft enter (SHIFT + ENTER).
If the source is a PDF, download it to your Resource Material folder in your Phase 1 folder and enter “PDF” in the Type of Source column. Then create a link from your Word document to the PDF in your folder in the cell in the Bibliographical Information column.
If the source is a video (from YouTube or elsewhere) enter “Video” in the Type of Source column and paste the URL into the cell in the Bibliographical Information column.
Your URL can NEVER be a Google search string — in fact, the domain part of the URL will never contain the word “google” (unless your topic is literally about Google).
1.5 Summary column
You do not “answer” your research questions, you use them to guide your research. In other words, once you have found a source that contains the information you need, summarise that source!
I think trying to type your summaries in the Research Questions table is a bad idea. Rather, place an appropriate symbol in this column for each row and use it to create a hyperlink to the summary in your separate Summaries addendum.
2. Summaries addendum
You should already have created your summaries addendum (created in Phase 1 report outline post) with sub-headings for each of the 10 summaries.
Create a hyperlink from the research questions table (from the symbol you inserted in the Summary column) to the relevant summary sub-heading (yet another example of the power of using Styles in your Word documents):
- Select the symbol in the Summary column, right-click the selected symbol, select the Link option and then select the Place in This Document option
- Select the relevant heading from the list
- Click the OK button
Next step: Capturing full source details for 3 sources