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Reasearch Methods

Reasearch Methods

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Published by: Tristan Sebastian on Oct 01, 2012
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Steps in conducting research

Research is often conducted using the hourglass model structure of research.[6] The hourglass model starts with a broad spectrum for research, focusing in on the required information through the method of the project (like the neck of the hourglass), then expands the research in the form of discussion and results. The major steps in conducting research are:[7]
• • • • • • •

Identification of research problem Literature review Specifying the purpose of research Determine specific research questions or hypotheses Data collection Analyzing and interpreting the data Reporting and evaluating research

The steps generally represent the overall process, however they should be viewed as an everchanging process rather than a fixed set of steps. [8] Most researches begin with a general statement of the problem, or rather, the purpose for engaging in the study.[9] The literature review identifies flaws or holes in previous research which provides justification for the study. Often, a literature review is conducted in a given subject area before a research question is identified. A gap in the current literature, as identified by a researcher, then engenders a research question. The research question may be parallel to the hypothesis. The hypothesis is the supposition to be tested. The researcher(s) collects data to test the hypothesis. The researcher(s) then analyzes and interprets the data via a variety of statistical methods, engaging in what is known as Empirical research. The results of the data analysis in confirming or failing to reject the Null hypothesis are then reported and evaluated. At the end the researcher may discuss avenues for further research. Rudolph Rummel says, "... no researcher should accept any one or two tests as definitive. It is only when a range of tests are consistent over many kinds of data, researchers, and methods can one have confidence in the results."[10]

Scientific research
Main article: Scientific method Primary scientific research being carried out at the Microscopy Laboratory of the Idaho National Laboratory. Generally, research is understood to follow a certain structural process. Though step order may vary depending on the subject matter and researcher, the following steps are usually part of most formal research, both basic and applied:
1. Observations and Formation of the topic: Consists of the subject area of ones interest and

following that subject area to conduct subject related research. The subject area should not be randomly chosen since it requires reading a vast amount of literature on the topic to

eventually. and to the extent that the new hypothesis makes more accurate predictions than the old. reiteration if necessary A common misconception is that a hypothesis will be proven (see. Operational definition: Details in regards to defining the variables and how they will be measured/assessed in the study. 9. In this case a new hypothesis will arise to challenge the old. considered to be one of the founders of modern source-based history. determine the gap in the literature the researcher intends to narrow. As the accuracy of observation improves with time. The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use historical sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. If the outcome is inconsistent with the hypothesis. Analysis of data: Involves breaking down the individual pieces of data in order to draw conclusions about it. This careful language is used because researchers recognize that alternative hypotheses may also be consistent with the observations. 4. then the hypothesis is rejected (see falsifiability). Data Interpretation: This can be represented through tables. Null hypothesis). the experiment is said to support the hypothesis. gathering information from and/or about these samples by using specific research instruments.2. Test. rather. under the headings of external criticism. 6. In this sense. Conceptual definition: Description of a concept by relating it to other concepts. 8. The instruments used for data collection must be valid and reliable. revising of hypothesis Conclusion. a hypothesis can never be proven. if the outcome is consistent with the hypothesis. becoming widely thought of as true. Researchers can also use a null hypothesis. the prediction will be verified. figures and pictures. 7.[11] Historical method Main article: Historical method German historian Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886). Generally a hypothesis is used to make predictions that can be tested by observing the outcome of an experiment. A null hypothesis uses a sample of all possible people to make a conclusion about the population. Hypothesis: A testable prediction which designates the relationship between two or more variables. which state no relationship or difference between the independent or dependent variables. Gathering of data: Consists of identifying a population and selecting samples. the hypothesis may no longer provide an accurate prediction. the new will supplant it. A keen interest in the chosen subject area is advisable. There are various history guidelines commonly used by historians in their work. 3. The research will have to be justified by linking its importance to already existing knowledge about the topic. but rather only supported by surviving rounds of scientific testing and. and then described in words. 5. . However. A useful hypothesis allows prediction and within the accuracy of observation of the time.

which tests theories and proposes solutions to a problem or question.e.. the boundaries between them may be obscure): • • • Exploratory research. Though items may vary depending on the subject matter and researcher.internal criticism. Empirical research.e. an example of secondary research in progress. The research room at the New York Public Library. original documents and data. i. This process takes three main forms (although. or discussions about primary sources. This includes lower criticism and sensual criticism. Researchers choose one of these two tracks according to the nature of the research problem they want to observe and the research questions they aim to answer: . and synthesis.. a synthesis of. i. which helps to identify and define a problem or question. which tests the feasibility of a solution using empirical evidence. Constructive research. interpretation of. There are two major research designs: qualitative research and quantitative research. There are two ways to conduct research: Primary research Using primary sources. the following concepts are part of most formal historical research:[12] • • • • • • Identification of origin date Evidence of localization Recognition of authorship Analysis of data Identification of integrity Attribution of credibility Research methods The goal of the research process is to produce new knowledge or deepen understanding of a topic or issue. as previously discussed. Secondary research Using secondary sources.

Quantitative research Systematic empirical investigation of quantitative properties and phenomena and their relationships. If the intent is to generalize from the research participants to a larger population.Maurice Hilleman is credited with saving more lives than any other scientist of the 20th century. Academic publishing describes a system that is necessary in order for academic scholars to peer review the work and make it available for a wider audience. correlational. and publish work from several distinct fields or subfields. participants may be randomly assigned to different treatments (this is the only way that a quantitative study can be considered a true experiment). This type of research looks to describe a population without attempting to quantifiably measure variables or look to potential relationships between variables. technology. The system varies widely by field. Asking a narrow question and collecting numerical data to analyze utilizing statistical methods. and is also always changing. compare. If this is not feasible. A study suggests that . if often slowly. Quantitative research is concerned with testing hypotheses derived from theory and/or being able to estimate the size of a phenomenon of interest. from the print to the electronic format. Qualitative research is often used as a method of exploratory research as a basis for later quantitative research hypotheses. variable. though many academic journals are somewhat interdisciplinary.[15] Publishing Cover of the first issue of Nature. the researcher may collect data on participant and situational characteristics in order to statistically control for their influence on the dependent. and medicine. The kinds of publications that are accepted as contributions of knowledge or research vary greatly between fields. The quantitative research designs are experimental. and generalize. Asking a broad question and collecting word-type data that is analyzed searching for themes. There is also a large body of research that exists in either a thesis or dissertation form. or outcome.[14] Statistics derived from quantitative research can be used to establish the existence of associative or causal relationships between variables. These forms of research can be found in databases explicitly for theses and dissertations. Most academic work is published in journal article or book form.[13] Qualitative research Understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. It is viewed as more restrictive in testing hypotheses because it can be expensive and time consuming. The Quantitative data collection methods rely on random sampling and structured data collection instruments that fit diverse experiences into predetermined response categories. Most established academic fields have their own journals and other outlets for publication. STM publishing is an abbreviation for academic publications in science. These methods produce results that are easy to summarize. Depending on the research question. the researcher will employ probability sampling to select participants. and typically limited to a single set of research subjects. 4 November 1869. In publishing. and survey (or descriptive).

or offers a novel interpretation of previous results. As such. has been very common.[20][21] Different forms Original research can take a number of forms. where the author makes a copy of their own work freely available on the web. depending on the discipline it pertains to.. The purpose of the original research is to produce new knowledge. Original research is research that is not exclusively based on a summary. there are typically some new (for example) mathematical results produced.[28] (http://en. methods and criticality. In experimental work. the insights gained shall be placed in a context. and conclusions of an experiment or set of experiments.researchers should not give great consideration to findings that are not replicated frequently. particularly with respect to scholarly journals.g. results.. or a new way of approaching an existing problem.org/wiki/Research) .[23] Graduate students are commonly required to perform original research as part of a dissertation. licensing of electronic resources.[24] Artistic research The controversial trend of artistic teaching becoming more academics-oriented is leading to artistic research being accepted as the primary mode of enquiry in art as in the case of other disciplines. In analytical work.wikipedia.[17] Business models are different in the electronic environment. In some subjects which do not typically carry out experimentation or analysis of this kind.[16] It has also been suggested that all published studies should be subjected to some measure for assessing the validity or reliability of its factors in order to prevent the publication of unproven findings. DOCH). review or synthesis of earlier publications on the subject of research. particularly journals. a major trend. summarized or classified).[22] The degree of originality of the research is among major criteria for articles to be published in academic journals and usually established by means of peer review."[27] Artistic research aims to enhance knowledge and understanding with presentation of the arts. Presently. is open access. It is based on artistic practices. Stockholm in the following manner . the originality is in the particular way existing understanding is changed or re-interpreted based on the outcome of the work of the researcher. in which the articles or the whole journal is freely available from the time of publication. it typically involves direct or indirect observation of the researched subject. in the laboratory or in the field.g. it is similar to the social sciences in using qualitative research and intersubjectivity as tools to apply measurement and critical analysis.[25] One of the characteristics of artistic research is that it must accept subjectivity as opposed to the classical scientific methods. e. documents the methodology."Artistic research is to investigate and test with the purpose of gaining knowledge within and for our artistic disciplines.[18] There are two main forms of open access: open access publishing.[26] Artistic research has been defined by the University of Dance and Circus (Dans och Cirkushögskolan. Through presented documentation. rather than to present the existing knowledge in a new form (e. This material is of a primary source character. and self-archiving. Since about the early 1990s.

If instrumentation is involved.").g. In other words. Depending on the outcomes of the experiment. Through quantifying the evidence or making sense of it in qualitative form.g. From these hypotheses predictions about specific events are derived (e. a researcher can answer empirical questions. Based on this theory some statements. Usage The researchers attempts to describe accurately the interaction between the instrument (or the human senses) and the entity being observed. it describes the research that has not been taken place before and their results. In some fields. Several typographies for such designs have been suggested."). which should be clearly defined and answerable with the evidence collected (usually called data). What early philosophers described as empiricist and empirical research have in common is the dependence on observable data to formulate and test theories and come to conclusions.Empirical research is a way of gaining knowledge by means of direct and indirect observation or experience. "People who study a word list while listening to vocal music will remember fewer words on a later memory test than people who study a word list in silence. a researcher has a certain theory regarding the topic under investigation. and academic rigor plays a large part of judging the merits of research design. the researcher is expected to calibrate his/her instrument by applying it to known standard objects and documenting the results before applying it to unknown objects. quantitative research may begin with a research question (e.g. In scientific use the term empirical refers to the gathering of data using only evidence that is observable by the senses or in some cases using calibrated scientific instruments.[1 Terminology The term empirical was originally used to refer to certain ancient Greek practitioners of medicine who rejected adherence to the dogmatic doctrines of the day.. preferring instead to rely on the observation of phenomena as perceived in experience.. Research design varies by field and by the question being investigated. will be proposed (e. the accumulation of evidence for or against any particular theory involves planned research designs for the collection of empirical data. Later empiricism referred to a theory of knowledge in philosophy which adheres to the principle that knowledge arises from experience and evidence gathered specifically using the senses. Usually. or hypotheses. "Listening to vocal music has a negative effect on learning a word list. . the theory on which the hypotheses and predictions were based will be supported or not. Many researchers combine qualitative and quantitative forms of analysis to better answer questions which cannot be studied in laboratory settings. particularly in the social sciences and in education. In practice. Empirical evidence (the record of one's direct observations or experiences) can be analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively.. These predictions can then be tested with a suitable experiment. "Does listening to vocal music during the learning of a word list have an effect on later memory for these words?") which is tested through experimentation in a lab.

Field Notes. The focus group technique involves a moderator facilitating a small group discussion between selected individuals on a particular topic. who argues that qualitative methods and case study research may be used both for hypotheses-testing and for generalizing beyond the particular cases studied.[2] Qualitative researchers may use different approaches in collecting data. This view has been disputed by Oxford University professor Bent Flyvbjerg. (http://en. experimental. or setting. They are responsible for popularizing the widely cited distinction among pre-experimental. pictures.one of the most popular of which comes from Campbell and Stanley (1963). such as action research or actornetwork theory. and Analysis of documents and materials. storytelling. smaller but focused samples are more often needed than large samples. motivations and emotions. but also in market research and further contexts. In doing so. Hence. narratology. qualitative methods produce information only on the particular cases studied. not just what. and quasiexperimental designs and are staunch advocates of the central role of randomized experiments in educational research. Qualitative methods are also loosely present in other methodological approaches. observation and reflection field notes. Semi-structured Interview.[3] The ways of participating and observing can vary widely from setting to setting. It is argued that the researchers' ability to understand the experiences of the culture may be inhibited if they observe without participating[citation needed]. where. traditionally in the social sciences. or shadowing. and any more general conclusions are only propositions (informed assertions). Reflexive Journals. and adopt roles to conform to that setting. group.[1] Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. when. and other materials. . Quantitative methods can then be used to seek empirical support for such research hypotheses. not a single method of observing. various texts. Non-participant Observation. the aim is for the researcher to gain a closer insight into the culture's practices. Qualitative research often categorizes data into patterns as the primary basis for organizing and reporting results. Participant observation is a strategy of reflexive learning.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical_research) Qualitative research is a method of inquiry employed in many different academic disciplines. classical ethnography. such as the grounded theory practice. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making. Forms of the data collected can include interviews and group discussions. Structured Interview. Unstructured Interview. Some distinctive qualitative methods are the use of focus groups and key informant interviews. In the conventional view.[4] In participant observation[5] researchers typically become members of a culture. This is a particularly popular method in market research and testing new initiatives with users/workers.[citation needed] Qualitative researchers typically rely on the following methods for gathering information: Participant Observation.

etc. In the social sciences. ( http://en. analysis and interpretation of observations for the purpose of discovering . percentages. this means that the quantitative researcher asks a specific. (http://en. originating in both philosophical positivism and the history of statistics.org/wiki/Qualitative_research) Quantitative Research refers to the systematic empirical investigation of social phenomena via statistical. Quantitative research is generally made using scientific methods.[1] In layman's terms. mathematical or computational techniques. theories and hypotheses The development of instruments and methods for measurement Experimental control and manipulation of variables Collection of empirical data Modeling and analysis of data In the social sciences particularly. The researcher looks for themes and describes the information in themes and patterns exclusive to that set of participants. which can include: • • • • • The generation of models. Qualitative methods produce information only on the particular cases studied. theories and/or hypotheses pertaining to phenomena. economics. narrow question and collects numerical data from participants to answer the question. asks broad questions and collects word data from participants. Quantitative data is any data that is in numerical form such as statistics.One traditional and specialized form of qualitative research is called cognitive testing or pilot testing which is used in the development of quantitative survey items. Quantitative research is used widely in social sciences such as psychology. Survey items are piloted on study participants to test the reliability and validity of the items. Quantitative methods can be used to verify which of such hypotheses are true.org/wiki/Quantitative_research) A comprehensive analysis of 1274 articles published in the top two American sociology journals between 1935 and 2005 found that roughly two thirds of these articles used quantitative methods. quantitative research is often contrasted with qualitative research which is the examination. Research in mathematical sciences such as physics is also 'quantitative' by definition. The process of measurement is central to quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between empirical observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships. and less frequently in anthropology and history. though this use of the term differs in context. The researcher is hoping the numbers will yield an unbiased result that can be generalized to some larger population. the term relates to empirical methods. which contrast qualitative research methods. The researcher analyzes the data with the help of statistics. sociology.[1] The objective of quantitative research is to develop and employ mathematical models. and any more general conclusions are only hypotheses.wikipedia. on the other hand.wikipedia. Qualitative research. and political science.

[1] The choice of method often depends largely on what the researcher intends to investigate. structure and agency). or analysis of texts. The methods rooted in classical sociology and statistics have formed the basis for research in other disciplines. to the in-depth analysis of a single agents' social experiences. which follows a systematic plan. These disputes relate to the historical core of social theory (positivism and antipositivism. the following concepts are part of most formal historical research:[12] • • • • • • Identification of origin date Evidence of localization Recognition of authorship Analysis of data Identification of integrity Attribution of credibility (http://en.org/wiki/Social_research) . internal criticism. Qualitative designs emphasize understanding of social phenomena through direct observation. media studies. from census survey data derived from millions of individuals. and synthesis. While very different in many aspects. and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases (or across intentionally designed treatments in an experiment) to create valid and reliable general claims. such as political science. There are various history guidelines commonly used by historians in their work. and may stress contextual and subjective accuracy over generality.wikipedia. to the investigation of ancient historical documents. both qualitative and quantitative approaches involve a systematic interaction between theory and data. Social scientists are divided into camps of support for particular research techniques. and market research. Though items may vary depending on the subject matter and researcher. under the headings of external criticism. This includes lower criticism and sensual criticism. Historical method The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use historical sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. in a manner that does not involve mathematical models. (http://en.org/wiki/Historical_method) Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists. from monitoring what is happening on contemporary streets. Social research methods may be divided into two broad categories: • • Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence. including classifications of types of phenomena and entities. communication with participants. Social scientists employ a range of methods in order to analyse a vast breadth of social phenomena.wikipedia.underlying meanings and patterns of relationships.

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