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SCIENTIFIC METHOD OF ENQUIRY

Ch. Peidu

Dept of Library and Info. Science


Univ. of Delhi

PRESENTATION OUTLINE
Introduction Scientific Method of Inquiry (SMI) Basic Steps in SMI Characteristics of SMI Why SMI in LIS Research? Implications of SMI in LIS Research S. R. Ranganathan Scientific

Conclusion
References Qs Related to SMI asked in the Course Work Examination
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INTRODUCTION
Considering research in general sense, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defined it as studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and implementation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical applications of such new or revised theories or laws. The term research can be defined in a broad or narrow sense. If one were to define it too narrowly to include only those areas where the scientific method of inquiry is used to establish or disestablish the truth of a given relationship one would run the risk of excluding a vast reservoir of library literature. On the other hand, if one were to give it too broad such as any conscious premeditated inquiry any investigation which seeks to increase ones knowledge of a given situation one also runs the risk of opening the floodgates for all kinds of library literature masquerading as research.
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SCIENTIFIC METHOD OF INQUIRY (SMI).


From about 15th century, mans attempt to acquire knowledge and to ascertain truth gave rise to a new type of approach which emphasized more than ever before the verification in the real world (and not only in logic) of relationships which were thought, presumed, or deduced to exist. This method of acquiring knowledge is called scientific method of inquiry, and is characterized by the use of induction, which in brief is the formulation of general principle from a number of specific individual cases. Babbie sees the SMI as a combination of the inductive and deductive methods. Charles Darwin developed this modern combination of inductive and deductive methods, with the constant movement from data to an hypothesis, to implication of the hypothesis, and back to the data again.
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SCIENTIFIC METHOD OF INQUIRY (SMI).


The terms scientific method here should not be misunderstood. for a method that is applied only used by scientist in their research, laboratory work and writings. This method is very much used in social sciences and humanities also. Essentially any method of objective research that attempts to investigate causeeffect relations between two entities is scientific one. This method can be applied to any research methodology. In other words, it means that if SMI is not applied to the research it is not research at all. There is not a concrete definition of SMI !!! It is better defined by its characteristics.

BASIC STEPS IN SMI


There is general consensus among researchers regarding the basic pattern of the scientific method of enquiry, but specific elements do sometimes vary. Peter Henon has very comprehensively grouped the steps involve in SMI into five components: 1st of which is reflective inquiry (problem statement, literature review and theoretical framework, logical structure, objectives, and, as appropriate, research questions and hypotheses). 2nd component is procedures, or research design and method(s) of data collection, and

3rd component centers on gathering, processing, and analyzing data.


4th component relates to issues of reliability and validity (quantitative study) or credibility, trustworthiness, transferability, dependability, and confirmability (qualitative study). 5th component is an extension of the third component: presentation of research findings.
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BASIC STEPS IN SMI


Step 1: Reflective Inquiry Step 1.1: Problem Statement - A problem statement indicates that a study has some uniqueness, has a clear focus, and addresses the value of that research being conducted. Step 1.2: Literature Review - The literature review identifies and describes key works relevant to the problem under investigation. Step 1.3: Theoretical Framework - ensures that the search for relevant literature

that concepts central to the problem under investigation are understood, and that known research
is not confined to LIS, (regardless of discipline), as appropriate, is applied. Step 1.4: Research Questions/Hypotheses the Hypothesis is a scientific guess at the nature of that relationship, established before the empirical investigation takes place and developed from the theoretical framework.

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BASIC STEPS IN SMI


Step 2: Procedures
What steps will be involved in accomplishing the study objectives? The procedures, which refer to the study design and the methods by which the researchers will study the problem, are the operational blueprint that answers the above-mentioned question. The procedures grow out of the reflective inquiry and deal with the how not the what or why of the research.

Step 2.1: Research Design - Researchers might use experimental, descriptive, correlational, or other approaches, and they might employ case studies to probe a situation in-depth and to identify variables and propositions that can serve to direct additional research.
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BASIC STEPS IN SMI


Step 3: Data Gathering, Processing and Analysing It refers to data collection, processing, analysis, and interpretation within the context of the studys objectives, research questions, and hypotheses. Be sure what you are doing before entering the field.

Make connection with the field site.


Pilot the data collection instrument. Prepare a detailed timetable of the fieldwork. Enjoy the fieldwork. Thanks the participants. Remember research and measurement are susceptible to error.
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BASIC STEPS IN SMI


Step 4: Quality/ Generalizability Issues

Step 4.1: Quantitative Study - Reliability and validity are concepts of measurement. Reliability deals with the consistency of the data; consistency is the extent to which the same results are produced from different samples of the same population. Reliability means freedom from random error; if a measure repeatedly produces the same response, it is considered reliable.
A question or a data collection instrument is valid to the extent that it measures what it is supposed to measure. Validity centres on removing systematic influences that move responses in another direction. Step 4.2: Qualitative Study - Qualitative research tends to apply to a more holistic and natural approach to the resolution of a problem than does quantitative research. It also tends to give more attention to the subjective aspects of human experience and behaviour.
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BASIC STEPS IN SMI


Step 5: Presentation of Findings

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S u m m a r y o f

S M I
S t e p s Leedy & Ormrod (2005)
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CHARACTERISTICS OF SMI
SMI is just more than induction, or induction-deduction. For one thing it relies on careful observations of nature and on the recording of these observations. It utilizes the situations in-situ but even more sets of circumstances resulting form controlled experiments and the precise manipulation or suppression of the various factors in the situation being studied.
SMI is characterized by a concern for correlating all known facts in an effort to arrive at a generalization. ........ and is in turn to be tested against further cases. SMI has the power to stimulate further studies leading to an improvement and extension of the generalization in question. Thus it is not a closed but an open system.
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CHARACTERISTICS OF SMI
Induction Induction-Deduction Instruments Reliability

Controlled Experiment
Assumptions Generalizability Evidence

Open System
Systematic Definitions

Observation and Recording Replicability

Measurement
Measuring Devices and
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WHY SMI IN LIS RESEARCH?


As stated Mouly stated, it is the purpose of Scientific research to go beyond experience and common sense, which frequently are quite limited and adequate and often quite incorrect .. for advancing knowledge, for promoting progress, and for enabling man to relate more effectively to his environment, to accomplish his purposes, and to resolve his conflicts. To test the various myths, assumptions, rule-of-thumb, and other conventions by which it has operated do long a time, to link concepts which have been proven through the testing to be valid, and theories indigenous to the field itself. For Putting Knowledge to Work i.e. in library management and administration. SMI will allow one to understand and critically evaluate the research report of others.
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IMPLICATIONS OF SMI IN LIS RESEARCH


Librarianship is too complex in nature than in natural sciences. Perturbations are not easily ascertain, extraneous factors are not easily isolated or measured.
A second possible difficulty is that research in librarianship cannot be successful in many of the cases because it is studying the work of man and is subjected to bias, and because the act of observing my influence the phenomenon in question.

A third objection which might be leveled against the application of research in librarianship is that there is less possibility to conduct experiments.
The laboratories of LIS are usually too extreme i.e. too natural or too unnatural that effect the research question.

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S. R. RANGANATHANS SPIRAL OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD


To demonstrate that librarianship is a science S.R. Ranganathan in the second edition of his classic Five laws of library science (1957) added a chapter entitled Spiral of Scientific Method to silence or convince the skeptics of the scientific nature of library science discipline. It is an overview and visual presentation of the method of science, which he says, moves like a spiral. That is it moves clockwise in a circle yet keeps moving onto new places. It means science is always progressive scaling new heights and discovering new knowledge. It accounts for the continuous growth of knowledge. It is summarized in the table below:
Quadrant Span/Situation Phase Method

I II
III IV

NA AZ
ZD D-N

Empirical Hypothesizing
Deductive Verification

Exp / Obs / Lit Revw Intuition / Imagination


Intellection / Logic Appln / Obs
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II

III

IV

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CONCLUSION
Scientific Method is crucial if the field of library and information science is to solve professional problems, develop tools and methods for the analysis of organization, services, and behavior, to determine cost and benefits of our services, and most importantly, to establish or a develop a body of theory of knowledge on which to base our practice. Busha and Harter argued that if librarianship is to merit the covet designation science a significant number of scholars and research workers must regularly apply scientific method to analyse relationship among the problems which librarian are obligated to explore and which they are qualified to serve.

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QS ASKED IN THE EXAMINATION


(2011) Describe the various characteristics of scientific method of research. Discuss by giving examples, how scientific method of research is helping Library and Information Science to be called a Science. (2010) What do you understand by scientific method of research? Explain Ranganathan's spiral of scientific method as a method of research. Also explain how scientific method is helping LIS to be called a science. (2005) Describe the characteristics of scientific method of research. Discuss, by giving examples. How far scientific method is applicable to research in Library and Information Science?

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