In a discussion last week, I heard an interesting way of characterising levels of research enquiry:
- What is it? How do we name it, classify or group it?
- Why do we care about it? I.e., what interesting thing does it do?
- How does it do this interesting thing?
For example, let’s say we want to research the effects of HIIT training on 5k runners
- What are the characteristics of High Intensity Interval Training, defined in a clear enough way that excludes dissimilar training methods?
- What is the impact of HIIT training on leg strength, muscular endurance, lactate threshold and by how much?
- What are the causality mechanisms which flow from HIIT to the improvements in variables mentioned in #2?
The essential three questions here are: What? Why? How?