- Slides: 21
Introduction to Research Methodology András István KUN associate professor, University of Debrecen
The scientific method • In its broadest sense science is any systematic knowledge that is capable of resulting in a correct prediction or reliable outcome. • A scientific method seeks to explain the events of nature in a reproducible way, and to use these findings to make useful predictions. • Scientific thinking is one of the ways to find answers (besides practical thinking, professional thinking, religious thinking, ideological thinking…).
Possible definitions of research • A way of thinking: a habit of questioning what you do a systematic examination to find answers • search for knowledge via systematic investigation • investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws
Why doing research? • • A quest for knowledge and understanding An interesting and useful experience A course for qualification A career A style of life A way to improve quality of life An ego boost
Different fields of research • The everyday research • Professional research: – Economic – Management • Development, R&D (applied research) • Academic research („blue sky” research)
Everybody is a researcher • • Looking for job Looking for housing Searching a real bargain …
Typical research questions in marketing • How much is the reservation price of the costumers? • Which features of the product is not needed and which features should be improved? • How much should I spend on advertising? • …
Development • Apply scientific, engineering or technological knowledge in a systematic manner to improve performance – Exploits knowledge created elsewhere – Has a final product, service or process – Usually strict time constraints – Budget constraints – Targeting profit increase
Research & Development • Term used in the industrial/business sector • Research is a process creating new knowledge • Development is a process that applies knowledge
Academic research vs. R&D • Academic research seeks truth vs. R&D seeks utility • Industry can’t afford luxury of research vs. Academics don’t want to be bothered with financial problems • Scientific vs. effective methodology
The scientific research • The aim of scientific research is to establish facts. • The classical model of scientific inquiry that forms of approximate and exact reasoning in a threefold scheme (Aristotle) : – Abductive reasoning – Deductive reasoning – Induction (inductive reasoning)
Abductive reasoning • It is a process of choosing the hypothesis, which would best explain the available evidence. • Usually a natural and instinctive process. • Its role in the scientific research: it offers appropriate hypotheses built on observations and/or previous studies. • Abduction is not necessarily correct, but enhancing or exploring different hypotheses will allow a systematic approach to scientific research. • Occam’s Razor: the rule of thumb known as ‘Occam’s Razor’, where the simplest explanation is likely to be the correct one.
Deductive reasoning • • …is reasoning which constructs or evaluates deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises. An example of a deductive argument: 1. All men are mortal 2. Socrates is a man 3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal
Induction (inductive reasoning) • • • ‘the real science is inductive’ – positivist paradigm reasoning from a specific case or cases and deriving a general rule. It draws inferences from observations in order to make generalizations. Stages: – – Observation: collect facts, without bias. Analysis: classify the facts, identifying patterns o of regularity. Inference: From the patterns, infer generalizations about the relations between the facts. Confirmation: Testing the inference through further observation.
Definition of scientific research • A research process is scientific, if it is – undertaken within the framework of a set of philosophies (according to the specific field of science), – using procedures, methods and techniques that have been tested for their validity and reliability, – designed to be unbiased and objective. – It is empirical.
Some notions form the definition • • Set of philosophies: paradigm Reliability: the quality of measurement Validity: ‘Do we measure the right thing? ’ Unbiased: a built in error in sampling or in the method of analyzing • Objective: independent from the personal characteristics and attitudes of the researcher
Some specifications of the social sciences • Hardness of controlling variables: the role of experiences is very limited. • Subjectivity is harder to be eliminated.
Characteristics of research • Controlled: to link the effect to the cause (and vice versa) one should minimize the effect of factors other than want to measure. Or in social sciences, you have to measure as many factors as you can. • Rigorous • Systematic: one should follow a certain logical sequence. • Valid and verifiable • Empirical • Critical: process, procedures and conclusions have to be able to withstand critical scrutiny.
Types of research • Application: – Pure/basic/fundamental/‘blue sky’ research – Applied research • Objectives: – Exploratory: explores a research field that is undiscovered. If it succeeds, other types of research could follow. – Descriptive: describes the research object systematically – Correlational: discovers relationship/association/interdependence between research objects or factors – Explanatory: explains the relationship between variables – Evaluative: how well something is working • Inquiry mode: – Qualitative: unstructured, flexible process, more able to explore or explain – Quantitative: structured, strict process, more able to measure, quantify, compare and describe
Academic or practical?