Tag Archives: research


Primary research refers to original research conducted by the researcher themselves for a specific purpose or to answer a specific question. Some key aspects of conducting primary research include:

Developing research questions/hypotheses: The researcher must clearly define the research question or problem they are seeking to answer through primary research. Well-developed research questions help provide focus to the research. Broad or unclear questions make gathering useful primary data difficult.

Research methods: Once the research questions are defined, the researcher must select appropriate primary research methods to collect original data. Common primary research methods include surveys, interviews, observation studies, and experiments. The method used depends on the research topic, available resources, and desired outcome of the research. Methods must be selected carefully to ensure the data collected will help answer the research questions.

Sampling approach: If using surveys or interviews, the researcher must determine a sampling approach to select participants. Probabilistic sampling aims for randomness and generalization while non-probabilistic sampling targets availability and expedience. Sample size is also an important consideration, with larger samples providing more reliable insights typically.

Ethics: All primary research involving human subjects requires strict adherence to research ethics. Researchers must obtain informed consent, protect privacy and confidentiality, avoid deception, and ensure no harm comes to participants. Research ethics approval may be required depending on the methods used and participant populations sampled.

Data collection: Gathering original data is at the heart of primary research. surveys must be constructed carefully, interviews planned thoroughly, and observation/experiment protocols established to reliably collect useful data. Data collection tools like questionnaires need to be pre-tested to identify issues.

Data analysis: Once collected, primary data needs to be compiled, coded, and analyzed using statistical or qualitative analysis techniques as appropriate. Data analysis focuses on identifying trends, relationships, and insights that help answer the research questions. Reliable analysis is dependent on robust collection methods and appropriate sample sizes.

Reporting: The final step involves formally reporting findings and conclusions in a clear, well-structured format. Reporting demonstrates how the primary research addressed the original questions and adds value. Limitations must also be acknowledged to establish credibility. Reports aide dissemination of new knowledge gained.

Some additionaltips for effective primary research include piloting data collection tools, maintaining objectivity, leveraging available resources and expertise, using reliable analysis techniques, and recognizing limitations. Primary research strengthens a research project but requires careful planning and execution to generate meaningful insights.

Secondary research refers to using existing information to answer a research question rather than gathering original data. Some key aspects of effective secondary research include:

Defining research questions: Clearly defining the research questions is essential to focus the secondary research. Questions should be answerable using available secondary data sources. Broad questions may require primary data.

Identifying relevant sources: The researcher must systematically search for reliable secondary data sources likely to contain information addressing the research questions. Common sources include academic literature, industry reports, government statistics, market data, and more.

Evaluating sources: All secondary sources require critical evaluation on credibility, sources of funding, methodologies used, dates of publication and potential biases before being cited or used in analysis. More recent and rigorously collected data is preferable.

Collecting and compiling data: Relevant information and statistics must be gathered methodically from credible secondary sources. Data is ideally compiled consistently into themes or categories aligned to research questions for analysis.

Analyzing compiled data: Both quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques can be applied depending on the nature of compiled secondary data. Analysis centers on identifying trends, relationships, insights and conclusions relevant to research questions.

Limitations: Reliance on secondary sources introduces inherent limitations compared to primary data in terms of lack of control over collection methods, dates, contextual details. Limitations must be acknowledged in research outcomes.

Reporting: Findings, insights, limitations and conclusions from secondary research analysis are reported clearly and concisely. Reports cite all sources per academic standards and aim to add value.

Both primary and secondary research have important roles to play in conducting robust research. While primary research allows original data collection, secondary research leverages existing information to answer questions in a more timely and cost-effective manner when carefully executed. Combining both primary and secondary approaches can result in particularly rich, reliable research outcomes.


In order to formulate an effective research question for your thesis project, there are several key components you need to consider. First and foremost, your research question should address an area, topic or issue that you genuinely find interesting and would enjoy exploring in depth. Pursuing a topic you are passionate about will help sustain your motivation throughout the often arduous research and writing process. It’s also important that your chosen topic has not already been extensively researched or that there are still unanswered questions within that topic area that could potentially advance new knowledge and understanding.

Some things to consider when coming up with potential research topics include current events, social issues, areas of personal and professional interest to you that have not yet been fully resolved or explained. You can also get inspiration from academic literature and debates within your chosen field of study that indicate there are still open questions or conflicting perspectives requiring further exploration and evidence. Discussing potential topics with your supervisor early on can also help point you towards feasible areas of investigation that fit within the scope of a bachelor’s or master’s level thesis project.

Once you have identified a few potential topics of interest, it’s important to start refining these broad topics into more focused research questions. An effective research question will have several key features. First, it should be clearly stated in the form of a question to define exactly what it is you are seeking to investigate and answer through your research. Avoid vague, non-interrogative statements as these don’t properly frame the direction and goals of the study. The question should be narrow and specific enough that it can realistically be answered within the standard length and time frame requirements of an undergraduate or graduate thesis. It also needs to ask something that is empirically researchable and provable through gathering objective evidence and data, rather than being based solely on personal opinions.

Some key steps to take when refining your broad topic into a specific research question include: considering what gaps in knowledge exist within this topic area that could advance understanding; what debates or disagreements currently exist that your research could help resolve; what measurable factors or variables could be studied to better understand relationships, impacts or outcomes related to this topic. For example, if your broad topic was “The impacts of social media use on mental health in young people”, you might refine this into the question “To what extent does increased time spent on image-based social media platforms like Instagram correlate with higher rates of depression and anxiety in female university students aged 18-24?” This question is clearly defined, focused, researchable and aimed at answering something specific that could add meaningful knowledge.

Once you have a potential research question drafted, it’s important to conduct a thorough review of the existing academic literature related to your topic area. This will help you determine if your question has indeed not been substantially addressed already or if new perspectives, methodologies or contexts could provide novel insights. You should also ensure through this review process that there are adequate published sources and materials available to support investigation into your question. If after reviewing the literature you find there are no significant knowledge gaps or your question would simply duplicate past work, it likely needs reformulating to target an area requiring further illumination. Discussing your preliminary literature review and question with your supervisor provides an invaluable checkpoint before committing significant time to developing your proposal and can help guide revision.

With refinement based on feedback at this stage, you will be ready to start developing your research proposal, which will involve providing a more detailed rationale for why this question needs answered along with your proposed research design and methodology for investigating it. This involves outlining aspects like your theoretical framework, methods of data collection, analysis approaches, anticipated limitations and the significance of potentially making an original contribution to knowledge on this topic. The proposal stage allows iterative improvement of your research plan based on supervisor and ethics committee input to help ensure a strong, well-designed study capable of yielding meaningful results.

By taking the time upfront to thoughtfully craft a clear, focused yet open-ended research question through careful consideration of existing knowledge gaps and literature, iterative refinement, and input from supervisors, you set yourself up for success in conducting a thesis project that makes a notable, original academic contribution. With a researchable question as the foundation, you then build a rigorous, ethics-approved methodology to systematically seek answers towards advancing understanding of your chosen topic area. Formulating a high-quality research question is one of the most important initial steps in the thesis process.


While social media use among youth has also been associated with some negative impacts such as increased risks of cyberbullying, social comparison and reducedsleep, researchers have also found many potential benefits of social media use for youth:

Social media allows youth to connect with peers and maintain existing friendships: One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it makes it easy for youth to stay connected with their friends even when they are physically separated. Various studies have found that social media helps strengthen both close friendships and larger online social networks of youth. It allows them to share updates about their daily lives, inside jokes, thoughts and feelings with their peer group. This ongoing social connectedness through social platforms is positively correlated with youth’s well-being and life satisfaction scores.

Social media expands social networks of youth: Beyond existing friends, social media platforms also give youth an opportunity to interact with a much larger network of peers who share their interests or are part of the same community through groups, pages and followings. This expanded social network exposes youth to a variety of perspectives and experiences which can help them learn social skills while connecting with like-minded individuals. For example, research shows that youth who are part of fandoms and interest-based communities on social media report higher self-esteem.

Social media boosts civic and political engagement of youth: Various studies have found positive links between social media use and youth’s civic and political engagement. For instance, researchers have found that youth who actively discuss social and political issues on social media are more likely to participate in online and offline political activities such as signing petitions, contacting representatives and even participating in protests or marches in the future. Social platforms give youth a chance to easily stay informed about issues in their community and voice support for causes they care about.

Social media supports identity exploration and development: Adolescence is a period when youth deeply explore and solidify their identities. Researchers have found that social media platforms allow youth to experiment with identities, explore their interests and reflect on ‘who they are’ through profiles, bios, pictures, opinions shared, groups joined and pages followed. This identity work benefits their psychosocial development. One study found that youth who engaged more in identity expression on social media had higher self-esteem and life satisfaction scores on average. Expression of authentic identities is important for youth well-being.

Social media enhances creativity of youth: Besides identity exploration, various researchers argue that active participation on social platforms significantly boosts youth’s creativity. For instance, youth produce user-generated content such as memes, digital artwork, videos, blogs, podcasts etc. that require creativity. Learning new digital skills to produce such content is positively associated with creative skills development and growth mindset in youth. Researchers also find that youth who share their creative works on social media report confidence in their abilities and interests in creative pursuits. Creativity fosters several emotional and intellectual benefits in youth.

Social media makes learning more engaging and collaborative: Education experts also argue that when used properly under guidance, social media enhances engagement, collaboration and motivation in formal learning among youth. For instance, classroom pages and groups on Facebook or projects involving media production encourage co-creation and peer learning. Hashtag challenges are positively linked to improved topic understanding. Online discussions allow shy students to participate more. Such collaborative learning experienced on social media carry over to classrooms and support youth development of 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication and digital literacy.

Though social media use also comes with risks that should not be understated, research evidence increasingly highlights the significant benefits it provides youth in terms of social connectedness, identity exploration, information access, civic participation, creativity and collaborative learning when used judiciously under guidance. These positive effects aid crucial areas of youth development like well-being, self-esteem, communication abilities and future success. Sensible social media habits from a young age can set youth on a path of reaping maximum benefits while minimizing risks from such platforms.


Nursing capstone projects allow nursing students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills attained throughout their nursing program. These projects involve conducting an original nursing research study on a topic of relevance to nursing practice, education, administration or theory. There are a variety of research methods that can be utilized in nursing capstone projects, with the appropriate method depending on the nature and purpose of the research study. Some of the most common research methods used include:

Quantitative Research Methods:

Descriptive research designs: These aim to objectively describe phenomena through collecting numerical data. They do not involve manipulating variables. Common descriptive designs include survey research, observational studies, case studies, and record reviews. Survey research involving questionnaires or structured interviews is very common in nursing capstone projects to collect data on topics such as patient/staff experiences, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

Correlational research designs: These aim to discover relationships between variables through statistical analysis without manipulating variables. They may examine how two variables such as patient characteristics and health outcomes are related. Correlation does not imply causation.

Experimental research designs: These aim to determine cause-and-effect relationships through manipulating an independent variable and measuring its effect on a dependent variable. Randomized controlled trials and non-randomized control group pre-test/post-test designs are examples. Experimental designs are less common in capstone projects due to ethical and feasibility issues related to intentionally manipulating patient care.

Statistical analysis: Quantitative data collected through descriptive, correlational or experimental designs is typically analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistical tests using software like SPSS. Common analytic strategies include frequencies, measures of central tendency, hypothesis testing through t-tests, ANOVA, chi-square, correlation, and regression.

Qualitative Research Methods:

Phenomenological research: Aims to describe the essence of a lived experience around a phenomenon for several individuals. Often involves in-depth interviews to collect detailed descriptions which are then analyzed for themes. Focuses on understanding subjective experience rather than objective measurement.

Grounded theory research: Focuses on building theory through constant comparative analysis of qualitative data as it relates to categories and their properties. The goal is to generate a conceptual framework or theory to explain processes related to the topic. Data collection may involve interviews and observations coded and analyzed for emerging categories.

Ethnographic research: Focuses on understanding cultural behaviors, beliefs and interactions of a whole group who share some common trait, typically studied through extensive fieldwork over time using observation, interviewing and immersion. Less common in capstone due to time and resource demands.

Narrative research: Aims to explore life experiences through stories told by individuals in interviews or documents. Data analysis involves restorying the narrative to investigate the meaning individuals ascribe to their experience. Stories are interpreted for the researcher’s understanding rather than presenting an objective facts.

Content analysis: A research method for analyzing textual data through objective coding and categorizing patterns or themes within the content. Can be used to systematically evaluate written, electronic or visual communication data. Both qualitative and quantitative content analysis approaches exist.

Mixed Methods Research:

Convergent parallel mixed methods design: Collects quantitative and qualitative data simultaneously, analyzes separately, then mixes by comparing and contrasting results. Allows for a more comprehensive understanding through triangulation of findings.

Explanatory sequential mixed methods design: Collects quantitative data first, analyzes, then builds on results with in-depth qualitative follow up to help explain initial results. Gives voice to numeric outcomes.

Embedded mixed methods design: Collects both types of data within a predominant quantitative or qualitative design. Quantitative data used to support qualitative themes or vice versa for completeness.

Multi-phase mixed methods design: Involves collecting multiple forms of data using different designs over an extended timeframe in distinct phases, such as pilot and intervention/outcome testing.

To summarise, nursing students have a variety of robust research approaches and analytical techniques available to conduct rigorous nursing capstone research projects exploring topics relevant to evidence-based practice. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are commonly used, often in mixed designs, depending on the best fits with the research question, objectives, resources and intended outcomes of the study. Choosing the right method is vital for high quality nursing research.


One of the most comprehensive resources for researching retro game history is the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG). Located at The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, ICHEG houses one of the largest collections of digital and electronic games in the world, including hundreds of retro console and computer games from the 1970s through the 1990s. Their physical collection provides an unparalleled opportunity for hands-on research. They also have extensive digital collections, oral histories, conference proceedings, and scholarly publications that can be accessed online. Their website at https://www.icheg.org provides a gateway to explore their collections and is an excellent starting point for any retro game history research project.

Beyond ICHEG’s collection, many libraries and archives hold special collections focused on videogame and computer game history that can offer primary source materials for research. Some particularly notable ones include the New York Public Library’s Maurice Sendak Collection (focused on early computer games of the 1970s-80s), the Library of Congress’s digital games collection, the Strong Museum’s own game collections, archives held by The Museum of Play in Rochester, NY, and collections at places like the Smithsonian Institution, MAME project, and others. Reading room access or use of digital surrogates from these institutions allows researchers to directly examine original game software, manuals, advertisements, developer papers, and more.

Another crucial set of resources are books on video game history. Some landmark texts that provide excellent contextualizing overviews and primary source material include Coffee Break Arcade’s Game History (2017), Raiford Guins’ edited collection of scholarly works Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game Afterlife (2014), Steven L. Kent’s The Ultimate History of Video Games (2001), and David Sheff’s Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World (1994). Other useful single topic books examine specific consoles, companies, genres, or eras. Many of these titles integrate oral histories, archival research, and first-hand accounts to bring depth and nuance beyond encyclopedic cataloguing.

In the digital realm, websites like Wikipedia, MobyGames, Giant Bomb, and All Game provide broad but shallow histories, release information, reviews, and details on thousands of retro games, developers, and consoles. While not peer-reviewed or authoritative on their own, they can help map the terrain and point researchers towards primary sources. Console-specific enthusiast sites often offer deep dives into particular platforms and exclusive interviews. The unofficial SEGA Retro wiki and KLOV game database also mix aggregated data with original research. Emulation sites provide access to playable ROMs and ISOs, useful for examining and documenting original games.

Beyond published materials, oral histories are a critical method for accessing insider accounts and perspectives not available through other documentation alone. For many no-longer-existent early developers, oral histories may provide the only substantial records of their processes and experiences. Notable oral history projects include the National Museum of Play/Strong Museum’s ScrewAttack oral histories, the Software Conservancy archive, the ICHEG Video Game History Interviews, and individual collections at places like the Museum of the Moving Image. Conducting your own oral histories with seminal developers can yield original source material.

Conferences like DiGRA, FDG, and the Austin Game Conference allow access to scholars actively pushing retro game studies forward through presentations and networking. Social media sites have facilitated grassroots historical preservation efforts and brought together connected global communities of retro gamers and historians. Reddit forums, Facebook groups, and YouTube channels document discoveries, share knowledge, and collaborate on projects.

By leveraging the breadth of these diverse resources—archives, publications, digital platforms, oral histories, conferences, and communities—researchers can gain a multidimensional understanding of retro videogame history through primary artifacts, contextual information, and creators’ own words to develop authoritative, compelling studies that add to our collective understanding of this influential art form and technology’s origins, evolution, and impact. The past deserves deep examination to inform the present and future.