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Research Principles

adapted

Aderemi Adewumi, PhD


School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science,
University of KwaZulu-Natal,
South Africa

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Now on Research
Principles.
- The actual talk

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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
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Essentials for Sustainable


Breakthrough in Research

People
Passion
Priority
Personal
Development
Perspectives - focus

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Papers access to
written articles
Provisions
Persistence
Productivity
Publication beware
of hungry publishers
Promotions of work,
career
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Linkage

Important of Information
Personal determination & dedication
Contacts

First impression matters a lot

General Information
EU/ME
Explore world ranking of universities

Sponsorship

A lot out there DAAD, Microsoft research, UN, TWAS, Window


Azure

Opportunity in South Africa

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Preparation SAQA
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Suggestions for way forward

Academic revolutions

In IT and CS

Forum for young intellectual minds


The most difficult aspect of any JOURNEY
is the BEGINNING.

START

SOMEWHERE AND YOU WILL GET


SOMEWHERE

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Broad Types of Research


Basic Research ???
Applied Research ???

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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

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Types of Research -Applied


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

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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

a single case of something in a particular


situation (qualitative)
Study a sample that will allow to generalize to a
larger population (quantitative)
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Mode mode of enquiry


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)

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Mixed/hybrid

analyzes a sample of cases


qualitatively and then code information into
values to make inferences about a population

Ideology
Positivist

or objectivity, identifies problems and


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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Utility
Pure,

basic or theoretical research with the aims


of understanding the cause or mechanism of a
phenomenon
Applied or practical that impact directly on
peoples well-being

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Research Process

Research is
a

process of applying existing knowledge to


create new knowledge
a process of solving a problem to enhance
existing solution or to discover new solution

This process entails SIX important phases,


namely Exploration, Proposal, Preparation,
Execution, Analysis and Publication

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Research Strategy
Identify area of
interest
Exploration, Proposal

Read looking for a


gap/unresolved problem
Research the
problem
Develop method to solve the
unresolved problem

Preparation, Execution
Solve the problem

Write your discovery in a


paper

Analysis, Publication
Publish the result

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Conducting Exploration

Identify exciting issue, question or problem by intensive


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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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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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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Title and Author

Make your title captivating, interesting but


short
Avoid

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

Title must reflect your intended


contributions
Content of your proposal should speak
directly to your topic

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Abstract

Abstract provides a succinct description of the research


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.

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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

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Formulating Research Questions


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.

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Might not be explicit in mathematical sciences


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Purpose of Specific Questions


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

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Formulating Research Objectives


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?

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Literature Review

Use of existing ideas to justify the particular approach to the


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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Literature (2)

Quality review is determined by appropriate breath and


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

Springer, ieee xplore, sciencedirect etc.

Broadens ones horizon, increases knowledge and


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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Research Methodology

A science of studying how research is to be done


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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Materials and Methods

Provide enough details for your work to be replicated


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.

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Standard Research Methods


Models, Languages, Patterns
Arguments, Mathematical proofs, Theories
Prototypes, Algorithms
Surveys, Case Studies
Experiments, Simulations

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Technical Research Methods


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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Models

Captures the essential aspects of a system or


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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Why Use Models


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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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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Modeling by Design

Designing systems and processes is a


common activity in IT and IS
Identify

components of the system to achieve the


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
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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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There is also a research demand for better


algorithms to solve problems with unacceptable
algorithms
E.g.

Computationally complex problems such as NP-hard


problems like Travelling Salesperson Problem (TSP),
Vertex Cover Problem (VCP), Graph Coloring Problem
(GCP), Game Move Selection (GMS), Constraint
Satisfiability Problem (CSP)

New computing paradigms like grid and cloud


computing reopen problems previously solved

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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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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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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

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Use a recognized or recommended citation


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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Preparing for Research


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

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Empirical Method

Prepare a detailed protocol that states exactly how


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

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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

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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

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Analyzing Research Results


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

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Variables Scales of Measurement

Constructs or factors being studied are usually


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

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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)

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Types of Discrete Variables


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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Ordinal (or ranked data) categorization in


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)

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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

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Types of Continuous Variables


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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Ratio is like interval data, but there is a true


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

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Statistical Data Analysis


Quantify samples of objects, events
Two groups descriptive and inferential
Method to use depend on nature of research
Categories of data analysis

Narrative

(use in arts and laws)


Descriptive (use in social science and education)
Mathematical/Statistical (use in pure/apply
sciences, engineering and technology)
Audio-optical (telecommunication)

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Descriptive statistics
Use

sample information to explain abstract things


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

Inferential statistics
Use

sample statistics to infer some events of


population parameters
Use in parametric analysis

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Statistical Analysis Methods

Correlation, ANOVA, MANOVA


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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Basic Statistical Concepts


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

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Publishing Results

Policy on manuscripts
Who

to contact for submission of articles (editor or


electronic system)
Editing styles and format
Publishing frequency (annually, quarterly, )
Peer-review
Instruction to the authors
Scope and coverage
Referencing style

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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
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Determination determines destiny


The sky is not only the limit,
YOU DETERMINE THE LIMIT

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