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A PERSONAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE COMPLEXITY IN RESEARCH
PREPARED FOR: ME 501 SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH METHODS COURSE.
PREPARED BY: Osude Benedict
MAY 5, 2011.
Abstract. This term paper is centered on the complex nature of research. But we cannot have a clear understanding of this complexity without thoroughly reviewing the various processes that make up research itself. Research methodology is not just a list of processes coming after each other in a successive order but rather it’s like a programing language in which the processes are in a consequential order; that is each process comes as a result of the preceding process. Introduction The Encarta dictionary defines complexity as the condition of being made up of many interrelated parts. Research on the other hand is simply an organized study; that is a methodical investigation into a subject in order to discover facts to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based on the facts discovered. Research is said to be methodical because it is a process broken up into many steps that lead to a conclusion. That said; complexity in research can be seen to be the characteristics of a research process to be made up of many parts in an intricate arrangement. Methods The search for information’s for this term paper started off with internet-based information to get a general understanding of the subject. Keeping in mind that the web is an open source and every piece of information there isn’t necessarily true, I weighed the information from the web against the ones published in a text. Then, I made my own assessment after a thorough understanding of the subject.
Define reseash problem
Review the Literature
Design the research
Interpret and report
marks a reversible process Flow chart of the research process
As the saying goes; a picture is worth a thousand words. Merely looking at the figure above, we can have a basic understanding of the complex nature of the research process. The research process consists of a number of interrelated parts that overlap continuously rather than follow a strictly defined sequence, and the first step determines the nature of the last step to be undertaken. The various steps involved in a research process are not mutually exclusive, that is; they do not necessarily follow each other in any specific order and the researcher has to be constantly anticipating at each step in the research process the requirements of the subsequent steps. Devising the research problem: There are two steps involved in devising a research problem; the first is to understand the problem thoroughly and the best way of going ahead with this is to discuss it with either interest groups or people having some sort of expertise in the subject, and secondly rephrasing the same problem into meaningful terms. The first step is the most important. The problem to be investigated must be defined unambiguously because it will help separating relevant facts from the irrelevant ones. Finally, it is worth noting that the statement of the objective is of the utmost
importance because it determines the facts which are to be collected, their characteristic, their relations, the choice of techniques to be used in these explorations and the form of the final report. Broad survey of the literature: At this stage the researcher should write down a brief summary of the problem; the researcher must survey the literature connected with the problem extensively in other words at this juncture the research must start building up a literature for the subject which would require tapping into published or unpublished bibliographies, academic journals, and as many more books as possible. In this process one source always leads to another. Developing the subject hypotheses: Hypotheses serves as a guide for the researcher by delimiting the area of research and keep him on the right track, it sharpens his thinking and focuses his attention on more important facets of the subject and it indicates the type of data required and the type of approach to be used in analyzing the data. The researcher at this point should state in clear terms a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its empirical consequences. The development of a working hypotheses plays an important role, since hypotheses has been known to affect the manner in which tests are conducted in the analysis of the data and indirectly affect the quality of data which is required for the analysis, they should be very specific and limited to the piece of research in hand because it has to be tested. Working hypotheses arise as a result of prior thinking about the subject, examination of the available data and the counsel of interest groups or experts. Working hypotheses is more useful when it is stated in a precise term. Preparing the research design In this stage the researcher will have to state the conceptual structure within which the research would be conducted. The function of the research design is to provide for the collection of relevant evidence with minimal expenditure of effort and the achievement of
this is based mainly on the purpose of the research. The preparation of the research design appropriate for a particular research problem involves usually the consideration of the following; o The means of obtaining the information, o The availability and skills of the researcher, o Explanation of the way in which selected means of obtaining information will be organized and the reasoning leading to the selection, o The availability of time for the research o The cost factor relating to the research. Determining the sample design: The researcher has to decide a way of selecting a definite plan determined before any data actually collected for obtaining a sample from a given population, taking into consideration the nature of the inquiry. Collecting the data: There are several ways of collecting the appropriate data which differs considerably in context of cost and time. Data can primarily be collected by either through experiment; in which case he observes some quantitative measures with which he examines the truth contained in his hypothesis. Secondly the researcher can collect data through survey; in which case he collects his information by observation, through personal or non-personal interviews, by mailing of questionnaires. Execution of the project: This part of the research process is self-explanatory, but the researcher has to make sure that the project is executed in a systematic manner and on time. Analysis of data: At this stage in the research process, the researcher has to analyze the collected data. The data can be analyzed through establishing categories, applying these categories to raw data
through coding; which is usually done by transforming the data into symbols that can be tabulated and counted. Testing the hypothesis: The researcher is now in a position to test his hypothesis. Hypothesis testing will result in either accepting the hypothesis or in rejecting it. Generalizations and interpretation: After the hypothesis has be tested and upheld several times it may be possible for the researcher to build a theory or come up with a new question to answer. Finally, the researcher has to prepare a detailed report of what he has done. Discussion In my personal opinion, research is a scientific gamble; that is, taking a chance in the expectation of a desired result. The complexities being the many probabilities (that is the many different directions the research might go) available. To illustrate my personal take on the complexities in research; the researcher starts with the first process and based on his result he could either move onto the next one or review the information in the first part to get the desired results. This can also happen as far as in the fifth part, based on the result the researcher can move as far back as the first part to get the appropriate outcome. References Yogesh, K.S. (2006). Fundamental of research: Methodology and Statistics. India: New Age Publications. Kothari, C.R. (2004). Research methodology: Methods and Techniques. India: New Age Publications. Geoffrey M., David D., David F. (2004). Essentials of research: Design and Methodology. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
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