Describe the main characteristics of research?

Describe the main characteristics of research?

Research is a process of

–collecting, –analyzing –interpreting information to answer questions.

But to qualify as research, the process must have certain characteristics: it must, as far as possible, –be controlled, –rigorous, –systematic, –valid, –verifiable, –empirical, –critical.

•Controlled–The concept of control implies that, in exploring causality in relation to two variables (factors), you set up your study in a way that minimizes the effects of other factors affecting the relationship. –This can be achieved to a large extent in the physical sciences, as most of the research is done in a laboratory. However, in the social sciences.

•Rigorous–you must be scrupulous in ensuring that the procedures followed to find answers to questions are relevant, appropriate and justified. Again, the degree of rigor varies markedly between the physical and social sciences and within the social sciences.

•Systematic–this implies that the procedure adopted to undertake an investigation follow a certain logical sequence. The different steps cannot be taken in a haphazard way. Some procedures must follow others.

•Valid and verifiable–this concept implies that whatever you conclude on the basis of your findings is correct and can be verified by you and others.

•Empirical–this means that any conclusion drawn are based upon hard evidence gathered from information collected from real life experiences or observations.

•Critical–critical scrutiny of the procedures used and the methods employed is crucial to a research enquiry. The process of investigation must be foolproof and free from drawbacks. The process adopted and the procedures used must be able to withstand critical scrutiny.


What are three classified perspectives of research?

•Research can be classified from three perspectives:

1. application of research study

2. objectives in undertaking the research

3. inquiry mode employed.

Application:

•From the point of view of application, there are two broad categories of research:

–pure research and

–applied research

•Pure research– involves developing and testing theories and hypotheses that are intellectually challenging to the researcher but may or may not have practical application at the present time or in the future.

•Applied research –is done to solve specific, practical questions; for policy formulation, administration and understanding of a phenomenon. It can be exploratory, but is usually descriptive. It is almost always done on the basis of basic research.

Objectives:

•From the viewpoint of objectives, a research can be classified as

•Descriptive – attempts to describe systematically a situation, problem, phenomenon, service or programme, or provides information.

•Correlational – attempts to discover or establish the existence of a relationship/ interdependence between two or more aspects of a situation.

•Explanatory – attempts to clarify why and how there is a relationship between two or more aspects of a situation or phenomenon.

•Exploratory – is undertaken to explore an area where little is known or to investigate the possibilities of undertaking a particular research study (feasibility study / pilot study).

Inquiry Mode:

•From the process adopted to find answer to research questions – the two approaches are:

–Structured approach

–Unstructured approach.

•Structured approach - It is more appropriate to determine the extent of a problem, issue or phenomenon by quantifying the variation. e.g. how many people have a particular problem? How many people hold a particular attitude?

•Unstructured approach - The unstructured approach to inquiry is usually classified as qualitative research. –This approach allows flexibility in all aspects of the research process.

–It is more appropriate to explore the nature of a problem, issue or phenomenon without quantifying it.


What are two categories of research?

The two basic research approaches are quantitative and qualitative research. Both types have different purposes.

Qualitative.This type of research methods involves describing in details specific situation using research tools like interviews, surveys, and Observations. Qualitative Research is primarily exploratory research. It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research. Qualitative Research is also used to uncover trends in thought and opinions, and dive deeper into the problem. Qualitative data collection methods vary using unstructured or semi-structured techniques. Some common methods include focus groups (group discussions), individual interviews,observations. The sample size is typically small, and respondents are selected to fulfill a given quota.



Quantitative.This type of research methods requires quantifiable data involving numerical and statistical explanations. Quantitative Research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into useable statistics. It is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables – and generalize results from a larger sample population. Quantitative Research uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research. Quantitative data collection methods are much more structured than Qualitative data collection methods. Quantitative data collection methods include various forms of surveys – online surveys, paper surveys, mobile surveys and kiosk surveys, face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, longitudinal studies, website interceptors, online polls, and systematic observations.

A dissertation is an extended piece of writing based on comprehensive research, written by an academic scholar at masters or post graduate level.

There are two types of research:

Practical Research: The practical approach consists of the empirical study of the topic under research and chiefly consists of hands on approach. This involves first hand research in the form of questionnaires, surveys, interviews, observations and discussion groups.[1]

Theoretical Research: A non empirical approach to research, this usually involves perusal of mostly published works like researching through archives of public libraries, court rooms and published academic journals.

Every research study has two aspects:

1. Study population-

– People: individuals, organizations, groups, communities ( theу provide you with the information)

2. Subject area-

– Problems: issues, situations, associations, needs, profiles – Program: content, structure, outcomes, attributes, satisfactions, consumers, Service providers, etc.

– Phenomenon: cause-and-effect relationships, (Information that you need to collect to find answers to your research questions)

What are four objective classification of research?

Four Main Types of Research

Historical Research

A systematic process of searching for information and fact to describe analyze or interpret the past

Value - can provide prospective for decision making about current problems -issues are often better understood if we understand

the historical perspective

Sources -must have good backed sources to protect from criticism

-most common sources are past records.

Descriptive Research

Describes, interprets, and clarifies what in the present -often done with surveys; -may be done by observation or an observational instrument.

Developmental Research is one common type of descriptive research which involves the study of changes in behavior over a period of time.

Correlation Research

The purpose is to find relationships between two or more variable so to:

- Better understand the conditions and events that we encounter (what goes with what) - To predict future conditions and events. - Correlations do not show cause and effect

Coefficients of Correlation

-range from –1 to 1; -the farther the number is away from 0 the higher the correlation; -a negative correlation suggest an inverse effect; -a 1 or -1 shows a perfect correlation;

-a correlation of 0 indicates no relationship

Experimental Research

An experiment is a research situation where at least one independent variable, called the experimental variable, is deliberately manipulated or varied by the researcher.

Variable –element or characteristic being studied. Parameter-element that remains unchanged (age, number of subjects).


Study population-

–People: individuals, organizations, groups, communities ( they provide you with the information or you collect information about them)

Subject area-

–Problems: issues, situations, associations, needs, profiles

–Program : content, structure, outcomes, attributes, satisfactions, consumers, Service providers, etc.

–Phenomenon: cause-and-effect relationships, the study of a phenomenon itself.


Structured approach

–The structured approach to inquiry is usually classified as quantitative research.

–Here everything that forms the research process- objectives, design, sample, and the questions that you plan to ask of respondents- is predetermined.

–It is more appropriate to determine the extent of a problem, issue or phenomenon by quantifying the variation. e.g. how many people have a particular problem? How many people hold a particular attitude?

Unstructured approach

–The unstructured approach to inquiry is usually classified as qualitative research.

–This approach allows flexibility in all aspects of the research process.

–It is more appropriate to explore the nature of a problem, issue or phenomenon without quantifying it.

–Main objective is to describe the variation in a phenomenon, situation or attitude. e,g, description of an observed situation, the historical enumeration of events, an account of different opinions different people have about an issue, description of working condition in a particular industry.

Both approaches have their place in research. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

•In many studies you have to combine both qualitative and quantitative approaches.

•For example, suppose you have to find the types of cuisine / accommodation available in a city and the extent of their popularity.

•Types of cuisine is the qualitative aspect of the study as finding out about them entails description of the culture and cuisine.


The value of the study

•You may motivate the study at a practical and/or theoretical level.

•This section provides an opportunity to introduce some essential background information by indicating how the proposed research will help to address social needs in a community.


Design

•What kind of study is best suited to solve the research problem

•You can use a purely literary approach

•You need an empirical component

•The chosen design largely dictates the logic and structure of the study.

•In large projects, such as theses or dissertations, the proposal needs to include proposed timeframes; these serve as a progress agreement between student and supervisor.

Research methodology

•Assess the validity of a research project, one must know exactly how the researcher will conduct the study.

•Explain step by step how you intend to do the research.

•Describing the research tools (methods) you will deploy and indicating what data you will collect, how you will collect it and how it will be analyzed.

Annotated bibliography

•Assess

•End your proposal with an annotated bibliography of at least 20 good entries.

•The majority of the entries should be recent scholarly works.

•Avoid sources that are out of date (older than 25 years) and those classified as ‘popular’ instead of ‘academic’; do not clutter your bibliography with irrelevant books (those not directly related to your topic) or with online articles.


Five stages

1.Statements about the field of research to provide the reader with a setting or context for the problem to be investigated and to claim its centrality or importance.

2.More specific statements about the aspects of the problem already studied by other researchers, laying a foundation of information already known.

3.Statements that indicate the need for more investigation, creating a gap or research niche for the present study to fill.

4.Statements giving the purpose/objectives of the writer’s study or outlining its main activity or findings.

5.Optional statement(s) that give a positive value or justification for carrying out the study.

Stage 1- Locating your project within

an existing field of scientific research

• For example:

– One way to think about this is to begin

• Begin in a selected country and imagine you are moving from that country (the broad area where the Introduction begins)

• Zoom in on a province in that country

• Focus on a particular city, which represents the topic area of research to be presented in the paper.

In Stages 2 and 3 of an Introduction.

• Authors

– use selected literature from their field to justify their study and

construct a gap or niche for their own work.

– write sentences supported by references to the literature they

have selected

• Reference literature

– refers to all the published research articles, review articles, and

books in a given field.

– includes information published on websites that have been

peer-reviewed or belong to organizations with appropriate

scientific reputations.


The Method section: purpose

•It is generally accepted that methods that have been published previously can be cited and need not be described in detail, unless changes have been made to the published procedures.

•However, if the previous publication is not readily available to your international audience (e.g. the original journal is written in a language other than English), it is recommended that you give the details in your paper, as well as the citation to the original source.

•Include the language of its publication in brackets in the reference list, if appropriate.

•Any novel method should be described in full.

What are criteria for choosing effective examples and analogies? What are the main tools to present quantitative information (numbers)? How to use of technical language and vocabulary in quantitative writing?

Choose effective examples and analogies

•As accomplished speakers know, one strong intuitive example or analogy can go a long way toward helping your audience grasp quantitative concepts.

•The choice of a fitting example or analogy is often elusive. Finding one depends on both the audience and the specific purpose of your example.

•For introductory information, a couple of numerical facts gleaned from another source usually will do.

•For a detailed scientific report, examples often come from your own analyses and appropriate contrasts within your own data or comparisons with findings from other sources become critical issues.

•The main tools for presenting quantitative information—prose, charts, and tables, diagrams

–How Many Numbers?

–How Much Time?

–Are Precise Values Important?

•Mixing Tools - a combination of tables, charts, and prose

–You might include a few statistics on current unemployment rates in your introduction, a table to show how current unemployment varies by age group and region, and some charts to illustrate 10-year trends in unemployment by age group and region.

•Why Define Terms?: Quantitative writing often uses technical language. To make sure your audience comprehends your information, define your terms, acronyms, and symbols.

•Unfamiliar Terms:

– abbreviations such as “SES,” “LBW,” or “PSA

•Terms That Have More Than One Meaning:

–The acronym PSA means “public service announcement” to people in communications, “prostate specific antigen” to health professionals, “professional services automation” in the business world, among 81 other definitions according to an online acronym finder.

•Different Terms for the Same Concept:

–People from different fields of study sometimes use different terms for the same quantitative concept. For example, the term “scale” is sometimes referred to as “order of magnitude,” and what some people call an “interaction” is known to others as “effect modification.”

•Do You Need Technical Terms?

–One of the first decisions to make when writing about numbers is whether quantitative terminology or mathematical symbols are appropriate for a particular audience and objective.


Explain the meaning of direction and size of an association between variables? What are three patterns (Generalization, Example, Exceptions) involving many numbers in writing quantitative information?

Writing about numbers often involves describing relationships between two or more variables. To interpret an association, explain both its shape and size rather than simply stating whether the variables are correlated.

•Direction of Association

–Variables can have a positive or direct association—as the value of one variable increases, the value of the other variable also increases — or a negative or inverse association—as one variable increases, the other decreases.

•Size of Association

–An association can be large—a given change in one variable is associated with a big change in the other variable— or small—a given change in one variable is associated with a small change in the other.

To describe a pattern involving many numbers, summarize the overall pattern rather than repeating all the numbers

What is the meaning of highlighting your findings? What are eleven approaches in highlighting of findings? What does it mean using bullets and headings in highlighting? What does it mean using more dynamic language and specific terms and avoiding plat phrases in highlighting?

Your findings may be extremly valid and important. However if the referees are not able to see or understand your findings because you have neither highlighted nor described them clearly enough, then your paper may not be published. Your contribution to the community may thus vanish into oblivion. In the words of English botanist, Sir Francis Darwin: –In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurred.

Eleven approaches in highlighting of findings:

1.Help your findings to stand out visually on the page by beginning a new paragraph

2. Make your sentences shorter than normal

3. Present your key findings in a very short sentence and list the implications

4. Consider using bullets and headings

• We tend to notice bullets (bulleted or numbered) more than blocks of text. So if

your journal’s style guide allows, occasionally use bullets to summarize

important points.

5. Use tables and figures to attract attention

6.Using more dynamic language

•Adverbs at the beginning of a sentence, are effective in signaling to readers that you are now going to tell them something important:

–importantly, intriguingly interestingly surprisingly, incredibly, remarkably, significantly, unfortunately

•Adjectives that add a positive feeling to what you are saying, for example:

–advanced, attractive, convincing, cutting-edge, effective, favorable, important, novel, productive, profitable, successful, superior, undeniable, valuable.

7.Only use specific terms when describing your key findings

•Readers are more interested in reading specifics than general concepts

•Particularly when you give your key findings, you need to use the most concrete and specific words and phrases possible.

•If you don’t, you are in danger of losing the attention of the reader.

8. Avoid flat phrases when discussing key findings

• Readers are more interested in reading specifics than general concepts

• If you don’t, you are in danger of losing the attention of the reader.

9. Be explicit about your findings

10. Convincing readers to believe your interpretation of your data

11. Summary


Highlighting and hedging

•Highlighting means, for example:

–helping the reader to see your findings on the pages of your manuscript (e.g. not hiding key findings in the middle of a long paragraph)

–using shorter sentences when giving important information

–using more dynamic language when drawing attention to key findings than when talking about standard issues

•You can do all the above and still hedge where appropriate.

–S1. This is a very important finding.

–S2. These results suggest that this is a very important finding.

•S1. *Although many authors have investigated how PhD students write papers, this is the first attempt to systematically analyze all the written output (papers, reports, grant proposals, CVs etc.) of such students.

•S2. *Our results demonstrate that students from humanistic fields produce longer written texts than students from the pure sciences and this is due to the fact humanists a re more verbose than pure scientists.

Effects

• Effects or consequences are handled much the same as reasons. But now the topic idea is regarded as causing the consequences discussed in the remainder of the paragraph.

• The paragraph may treat only a single effect, as in this passage about the moon affecting the tides:

Describe the main characteristics of research?

Research is a process of

–collecting, –analyzing –interpreting information to answer questions.

But to qualify as research, the process must have certain characteristics: it must, as far as possible, –be controlled, –rigorous, –systematic, –valid, –verifiable, –empirical, –critical.

•Controlled–The concept of control implies that, in exploring causality in relation to two variables (factors), you set up your study in a way that minimizes the effects of other factors affecting the relationship. –This can be achieved to a large extent in the physical sciences, as most of the research is done in a laboratory. However, in the social sciences.

•Rigorous–you must be scrupulous in ensuring that the procedures followed to find answers to questions are relevant, appropriate and justified. Again, the degree of rigor varies markedly between the physical and social sciences and within the social sciences.

•Systematic–this implies that the procedure adopted to undertake an investigation follow a certain logical sequence. The different steps cannot be taken in a haphazard way. Some procedures must follow others.

•Valid and verifiable–this concept implies that whatever you conclude on the basis of your findings is correct and can be verified by you and others.

•Empirical–this means that any conclusion drawn are based upon hard evidence gathered from information collected from real life experiences or observations.

•Critical–critical scrutiny of the procedures used and the methods employed is crucial to a research enquiry. The process of investigation must be foolproof and free from drawbacks. The process adopted and the procedures used must be able to withstand critical scrutiny.





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