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To begin, select one theoretical framework, rather than trying to blend two or three. Sticking to a tried and true discipline-specific and discipline-friendly theoretical framework is one way to get started. But you may wish over time, to seek different frameworks or paradigms. The reconciliation of apparently different paradigms may provide one of the "breakthrough" moments in a person's career. Or, the modulation of paradigms to "get at" different parts of a complex problem may be useful. In short, selecting a framework and staying with it while research skills are being honed, may prove most beneficial to early career researchers. However, solving today's complex problems are most likely going to be met by those able to see beyond the walls or her or his own research domain.
Ask yourself… It is important to consider the significance of your research and how and it what way it might contribute to the knowledge base. For topics with a more applied or practical focus consider, how your research findings can be used to improve your discipline or profession. Will your work fill in gaps in knowledge? Will it increase student learning? Will it improve how coaches interact with players? Or will it examine the reliability or validity of an instrument within a particular setting or context? These findings might be used to guide other scholars' decisions regarding the suitability of a research tool or instrument.
Remember Your Dissertation?... Another place to look for your research focus is in the final chapters of your dissertation! At the conclusion of your dissertation research you probably made several recommendations for future research. In fact, you might be the researcher who continues this line of research. You already are familiar with the review of literature and the theoretical frameworks that serve as the foundation for this research. You may be ready to follow your own advice and begin working on your first recommendation as the next step in your plan. If following your dissertation recommendations, get started as quickly after your dissertation defense as you can. Submit your dissertation findings for presentations and publications and then continue your research by designing a series of studies following one or more of your recommendations. Keep your momentum! You may need to reformulate your research questions and update or expand your review of literature before you begin the next step.
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