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School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science,

University of KwaZulu-Natal,

South Africa

6/1/2013

Now on Research

Principles.

- The actual talk

6/1/2013

What is Research?

A systematic process of solving a problem to

increase knowledge on phenomenon under

investigation

Research is all about addressing an important

issue, asking and answering a question to solve

a non-trivial problem

Research is done for the following reasons

Explore

an idea

Probe an issue

Solve a problem

6/1/2013

Breakthrough in Research

People

Passion

Priority

Personal

Development

Perspectives - focus

6/1/2013

Papers access to

written articles

Provisions

Persistence

Productivity

Publication beware

of hungry publishers

Promotions of work,

career

4

Linkage

Important of Information

Personal determination & dedication

Contacts

General Information

EU/ME

Explore world ranking of universities

Sponsorship

Azure

6/1/2013

Preparation SAQA

5

Academic revolutions

In IT and CS

The most difficult aspect of any JOURNEY

is the BEGINNING.

START

SOMEWHERE

6/1/2013

Basic Research ???

Applied Research ???

6/1/2013

Types of Research-Basic

Basic Research is a process for undertaking

experimental and theoretical work of a

fundamental scientific nature for acquiring new

knowledge

It is motivated by curiosity and not necessarily

by a foreseeable practical need for the research

output

6/1/2013

Applied Research is a process for

undertaking experimental work of a practical

nature with a foreseeable application of the

research output in view.

It is to determine application for the findings of

basic research or to establish new ways for

attaining some specific and predetermined

objectives

6/1/2013

Dimensions of Research

Topic what are you researching?

Novelty Create new knowledge or review

existing published information

Technology develop new method or use

existing methods in a new (innovative) way

Scope

Study

situation (qualitative)

Study a sample that will allow to generalize to a

larger population (quantitative)

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10

Observational, or descriptive, gather data about the world as it is,

Interventionists or experimental, gather data before and after the

intervention and look for changes, for example controlled trial.

Methodology

Quantitative gathers data with instrument like stopwatch,

questionnaire for the purpose of investigating relationships among

variables and determine errors by validity and reliability

Qualitative gather themes from texts, conversations or interviews

to tell a coherent story

PS: In CS (e.g. Optimization), we rely on either real life dataset,

online datasets, randomly generated or published dataset (each

with its advantage and disadvantage)

6/1/2013

11

Mixed/hybrid

qualitatively and then code information into

values to make inferences about a population

Ideology

Positivist

solve them without disagreement about the

nature of meaning or reality

Interpretivist or subjectivity, part of the truth of

a situation can be found in researchers

interpretation of the self-understanding of

participants

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12

Utility

Pure,

of understanding the cause or mechanism of a

phenomenon

Applied or practical that impact directly on

peoples well-being

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13

Research Process

Research is

a

create new knowledge

a process of solving a problem to enhance

existing solution or to discover new solution

namely Exploration, Proposal, Preparation,

Execution, Analysis and Publication

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14

Research Strategy

Identify area of

interest

Exploration, Proposal

gap/unresolved problem

Research the

problem

Develop method to solve the

unresolved problem

Preparation, Execution

Solve the problem

paper

Analysis, Publication

Publish the result

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15

Conducting Exploration

reading, writing and consultation with study leader or

people who need your study

Prepare to solve a problem in an ingenious way or model

a problem in a manner that yields new insights

Investigate what already exist on identified issue,

question or problem. Talk to experts, read and

summarize their reviews and original research on the

topic

Develop feeling for how problems are generally solved in

the chosen field

Plan your work, know exactly what you want to do and

how you will attempt to do it

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16

Writing Proposal

Proposal is a statement of your current

position and your intended destination

It deals with all the important questions,

including what you want to do, why it is

important and how you are going to do it

It focuses on perninent questions and

answers

It helps you to organize your ideas and to

plan your problem solving strategy

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17

Components of Proposal

Title and author

Abstract

Introduction

Problem Statement, Research Questions

and Objectives

Literature Review or Related Work

Research Methodology

Project Plan, Work plan or Timeline

References

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18

short

Avoid

too long title, (max 4 words), usually 312 words title is better

contributions

Content of your proposal should speak

directly to your topic

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Abstract

project

Abstract has four main components (not necessarily explicit)

Motivation/problem statement why the problem is

important? what practical, scientific or theoretical gap your

research is filling?

Method/procedure/approach what will you actually do to

obtain your result? (for example analyze three novel

methods to solve a problem)

Result/finding/product as a result of completing the

method, what did you learn, invent or create?

Conclusion/implication what are the large implications of

your findings, especially for the problem/gap identified

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Introduction

Should be brief, relevant to the topic/study

Should state the problem being studied,

background that explains the problem and

reasons for conducting the research (not

necessarily explicitly)

Sometimes related research can be

introduced if no separate section is given

to literature review.

6/1/2013

21

Problem Statement

What is the problem you want to solve?

Why should the problem be studied?, why do

we need to spend time and resources to solve

the problem?

What has been done that is not well done?.

That is what is the current situation and what

gap is left in completely solving the problem

6/1/2013

22

Research question can be specific or

overall, but the statement of the problem

to draw the research questions from must

be provided

If a research question is too broad,

consider having a set of specific questions

to guide study implementation. However,

make sure the question is neither too

broad or too narrow.

6/1/2013

23

To give an abridge statement, which is

closely related to problem statement and

overall question of what will be achieved by

the study

To help focus and organise the study in a

more clearly defined way

To help facilitate the development of the

research methodology

To uncover the deeper layers of the problem

investigated

6/1/2013

24

Task objectives and Research objectives

Task objectives set stage for the research.

They are preparatory objectives that help

researchers begin the research.

Research objectives are goals to be

achieved through the research

Why do we want to conduct the research?

What do we hope to achieve or what

contributions do we intend to make?

6/1/2013

25

Literature Review

topic.

Helps to discover what information is available to help conduct

the research

Summarize relevant research to provide context for current

work.

State how your work differs from published work and most

importantly what questions you are answering.

Explain what findings of others, if any, you are challenging or

extending.

Briefly describe your experiment, hypothesis, research

question, experimental design or method.

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26

Literature (2)

depth of knowledge provided, rigor, consistency, clarity,

brevity, effective analysis, synthesis, validity and

reliability of information provided

Keyword search of quality scholarly databases helps to

conduct literature review or scoping review

understanding of the subject,

Prevents reinventing the wheel as it is always a good

principle to build on the work of others

It establishes and concretizes need for the research

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27

Research Methodology

A way to systematically solve exciting problems

Defines how data are collected and analyzed in a

research project

Develops discipline thinking to objectively make

observation

Develops an analytic and scientific attitude

Develops ones skills to do research effectively

But different types of research questions require

different solution methods or approaches

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Explain how you studied the problem, identify the

procedures followed in chronological order

If your methods are new, they will be explained in details,

otherwise name the method and cite previously published

work, unless you have modified the method, in which case

refer to the original work and include the amendment.

Identify the equipment and describe materials used with

sources specified if there is variation in quality of materials.

Include frequency of observations, what types of data were

recorded, describe measurements and their errors.

Name any statistical tests used so that your numerical

results can be validated.

6/1/2013

29

Models, Languages, Patterns

Arguments, Mathematical proofs, Theories

Prototypes, Algorithms

Surveys, Case Studies

Experiments, Simulations

6/1/2013

30

Arguments, prototypes, case studies and

experiments are sometimes used,

Surveys are hardly ever used, but often used

in social sciences

Often used methods include

Models

Languages

Mathematical

proofs

Algorithms

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31

Models

process, but ignores nonessential aspects

Can serve as a blueprint for new systems or

processes or may be used to evaluate existing

system or processes

Can be expressed clearly and concisely and

sometimes mathematical notations can be used

Examples are database models (relational,

network, hierarchical or object) and ISO OSI model

(ISO for Open System Interconnection)

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32

Simplicity possible to understand the

essence of the modeled concept

Comprehensiveness addresses all aspects

of a model

Generality addresses more variations of a

problem

Exactness fits the perceived problem closely

Clarity guides against ambiguity

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33

How to Model

By Design

By Metaphor (analogy with the real-world,

think in terms of actors, brokers, clients)

By Formalization (representing a model

formally is straightforward, but choose the

right tools like set theory, logic, algebra,

formal languages, automata theory)

By Genius (by chance or luck)

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34

Modeling by Design

common activity in IT and IS

Identify

goals of the model

Use standard modeling tools (dataflow, UML) to

identify the events of a process and use them to

construct a model

Write a program with the required characteristics,

abstract essential properties from this prototype

and use the properties to construct a new model

6/1/2013

35

Algorithms

Useful if the goal of a research is to realize.,

proof or establish theories to guide the

construction of automated systems.

Unambiguous, detailed and machine

verifiable

Search is on for new algorithms to solve

problems that have not been solved by

algorithmic procedures

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36

algorithms to solve problems with unacceptable

algorithms

E.g.

problems like Travelling Salesperson Problem (TSP),

Vertex Cover Problem (VCP), Graph Coloring Problem

(GCP), Game Move Selection (GMS), Constraint

Satisfiability Problem (CSP)

computing reopen problems previously solved

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37

Timeline/Work Plan

Who will do what task and at what time will

the task be done

What human resources and time are needed

to conduct the research

Outline what activities or tasks will be

performed and at what time

Identify critical tasks if possible using suitable

project management tools like PERT analysis

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38

Budget

Some research (funded research) requires

you to present budget

What resources (human expertise, materials,

equipment and money) do we need to conduct

the research

What resources do we have in place for the

research

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39

References

Give the bibliographic details of all works that

you have referenced to elsewhere in your

proposal

Adapt a particular referencing style

depending on the choice of your sponsor

There are several referencing style including

IEEE, Harvard, ARPA and so on

6/1/2013

40

method (Harvard, APA, IEEE, )

Highlights only the essential aspects of

related work, usually in a sentence or less

than 5 sentences

Critically contrast results and important facts

given by other researchers

Avoid direct quotation of other researchers,

except where necessary and when not too

long

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41

Preparation depends on the methods to be

used in the research project

The selection of these methods can have

significant effect on the results of the research

Two important methods, empirical and

modeling are often used to solve a research

problem

The most important aspect/problem of any

research endeavour is to START

6/1/2013

42

Empirical Method

the research will proceed, who will make the

observation, who will conduct the interview or

administer questionnaire

What are acceptable observation or responses

How to deal with unexpected observation or

responses

How will the data be processed or analyzed

Identify the instrument such as questionnaire to be

used

6/1/2013

43

Modeling Method

Review the existing literature to show that a

new model is a necessity

Decide on how results will be evaluated

Identify criteria that will be used to determine

how suitable or good is the new model once

developed

Try to compare the new solution with an

existing popular solution to discover the

differences

6/1/2013

44

Executing Research

This also depends on the method used

Conduct experiments, administer

questionnaire, propose a model or do

whatever work is implied by the research

methods being used

The research proposal will actually guide you

during the execution phase

6/1/2013

45

Analyze data or other research results using

appropriate statistical tools and techniques

Usually descriptive statistics, hypothesis test,

correlation test, analysis of variance and a lot of

statistical data analysis techniques are used for

data or result analysis

Interpret result of your analysis in a simple

language and using appropriate graphs or

tables for illustrations

6/1/2013

46

represented by variables.

Variables are also called events, factors, criteria

used to represent important information

Variables have values, levels or states and they

summarize and reduce data

Variables can be classified as discrete or continuous

Variables can also be classified as dependent or

independent

6/1/2013

47

Discrete Variable

Takes on certain values between its minimum

and maximum values (e.g., the set of all

rational numbers is countable though unlimited

in number).

Each measurement leads to a whole number

and not fractional (e.g., number of children,

number of students in a class)

6/1/2013

48

Nominal (or categorical data) describes

categories, no inherent ordering, values are

arbitrary and could be replaced by any others

without affecting results, arithmetic operations

cannot be applied, only frequency analysis is

possible

For example ABO blood group, clinic number,

ethnicity, female, male), can be dichotomous

(two categories, e.g., gender) or polytomous

(more than two categories, e.g., colors)

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49

which values can be ordered or ranked, coded

values

Reflect the ranking, can be replaced by any

others with the same relative ranking, use in

categorizing responses to Likert scale

questions, differences or interval between

each rank are unknown

For examples, economic status (low, medium,

high) and educational experience (elementary

school, high school, College)

6/1/2013

50

Continuous variable

Takes on all values within its permissible range,

so that for any two allowable values there are

other allowable values in between

Sometimes called measurement variable and

can be used to answer the question how

much

Measurements such as weight, height and

blood pressure can be represented by

continuous variables

6/1/2013

51

Interval (or proportionate data) differences or

intervals between values are meaningful, but

ratios of values are not

Is like ordinal data, but measurements are

made against a quantitative scale where the

differences or interval, between points of the

scale are the same

For example, difference between calendar

years 2000 and 2004 is the same as that

between 1914 and 1918

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52

zero to the measurement scale being used.

For example, in ratio someones age, annual

turnover and number of employee can be 0,

unlike in calendar year (interval data) there is

no true 0 because there is no such thing as 0

years

For ratio data arithmetic operations (addition,

subtraction, multiplication and division) are

possible

6/1/2013

53

Quantify samples of objects, events

Two groups descriptive and inferential

Method to use depend on nature of research

Categories of data analysis

Narrative

Descriptive (use in social science and education)

Mathematical/Statistical (use in pure/apply

sciences, engineering and technology)

Audio-optical (telecommunication)

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54

Descriptive statistics

Use

Use in non-parametric analysis like Chi-test, ttest, 2-way ANOVA

Inferential statistics

Use

population parameters

Use in parametric analysis

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55

Regression (logistics, linear, non-linear)

Clustering (k-means, expectation maximization)

Factor analysis

Structural equation modeling

Quasi design

Rasch analysis

Log-Linear

Bayesian

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56

Population the whole set of a universe, e.g.

South Africa

Sample a subset of population, e.g. Durban

Parameter an unknown fixed value of

population characteristics

Statistics a known calculable value of

sample characteristics representing

population, e.g. rho=mean of population and

xbar=mean of sample. Question what is the

mean price of houses in Durban

6/1/2013

57

Publishing Results

Policy on manuscripts

Who

electronic system)

Editing styles and format

Publishing frequency (annually, quarterly, )

Peer-review

Instruction to the authors

Scope and coverage

Referencing style

6/1/2013

58

Types of publications

Conference

proceeding

Books and book chapter

Journal manuscripts

Departmental technical reports

Workshop presentation

Invited presentation

Letter/note articles

Essay articles

Magazine articles

6/1/2013

59

6/1/2013

The sky is not only the limit,

YOU DETERMINE THE LIMIT

60

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