Some schools refer to it as the Audience section; other schools refer to it as the Significance section. Either way, it means the same thing: identifying the people who would care about or benefit from your study findings. In these sections, you need to answer the following questions: To whom may your findings be significant? How can your findings inform practice or future research?
These sections are important because they are related to the reason for conducting your study. Your study should be designed to address your Research Problem. In doing so, you will be collecting knowledge that can add to the literature and inform practice in your discipline. Consequently, it is important that your topic and your focus align with concerns of your discipline drawn from the literature.
In my experience, people are often drawn to a topic that interests them, or that they are familiar with through their occupations, and there is nothing wrong with that. This interest, however, must be relevant to issues or concerns in your field of study and yield information that is relevant to that field.
Sounds simple, right? Well, it is, as long as you keep the significance to your discipline in mind.
For instance, say you were interested in prescription drug abuse because you work in the medical field or the pharmaceutical industry. However, your degree program is public policy and administration. Because your field is policy and administration, your focus should be policy as it relates prescription drug abuse. The literature you would be drawing from and contributing to would be policy literature, not medical or pharmacy literature. Although medical and pharmacy literature might be necessary to contextualize the phenomenon, it would not be your focus and you would not be contributing to it.
It sometimes happens that people’s interest in a topic overshadows their study’s connection to their field. To avoid this, make sure to clearly identify the people who would benefit from your study findings and the field to which you would be contributing.
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