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In: The SAGE Handbook for Research in Education: Engaging Ideas and Enriching Inquiry

Section Three: Challenges in Formulating and Framing Meaningful Problems

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Challenges in Formulating and Framing Meaningful Problems
Challenges in formulating and framing meaningful problems
Introductory Essay

Induction into scientific practice hardly ever takes up the matter of how to formulate and frame meaningful problems. Most primers on research methods are geared to the culminating steps in research—on how to test, evaluate, and dispose of hypotheses that otherwise seem to show up, like masked wrestlers, from “parts unknown.” One might gather that educational and social science is mostly a technical matter of how to grapple unruly variables into submission—of how to assert proper experimental control, fit statistical models, and draw valid inferences. Nothing is trained so assiduously as the ability to indict a study for its yield of flaws. What is absent, however, is sustained reflection on the ...

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