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Research Methods Categories of Research
Categories of Research n There are many different ways to classify research: ¡ ¡ By type By objective By form By reasoning
Categories of Research n By type: ¡ ¡ Primary research, collection of data that does not yet exist Secondary research, summary, collation and/or synthesis of existing research
Categories of Research - Type Primary Research n n Also called field research. It involves the collection of data that does not already exist, which is research to collect original data. Primary Research is often undertaken after the researcher has gained some insight into the issue by collecting secondary data. This can be through numerous forms of data collection, including questionnaires, direct observation and interviews amongst others.
Categories of Research - Type Secondary Research n n n Also called desk research. It involves the summary, collation and/or synthesis of existing research rather than primary research, where data is collected from, for example, research subjects or experiments. The principal methodology in secondary research is the systematic review, commonly using meta-analytic statistical techniques, although other methods of synthesis, like realist reviews and meta-narrative reviews, have been developed in recent years. Secondary research can come from either internal or external sources. The proliferation of web search engines has increased opportunities to conduct secondary research.
Categories of Research n By objective: ¡ ¡ ¡ Qualitative research, understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern such behaviour Quantitative research, systematic empirical investigation of quantitative properties and phenomena and their relationships Mixed methods research, uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis.
Categories of Research – Objective Qualitative Research (1/2) n n n It aims to gather an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern such behaviour. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often needed. Qualitative methods produce information only on the particular cases studied, and any more general conclusions are only hypotheses (informative guesses). Quantitative methods can be used to verify which of such hypotheses are true.
Categories of Research – Objective Qualitative Research (2/2) n n Helps us flesh out the story and develop a deeper understanding of a topic. Often contrasted to quantitative research. Together they give us the ‘bigger picture’. Good examples of qualitative research are face-to-face interviews, focus groups and site visits.
Categories of Research – Objective Quantitative Research (1/2) n n n It refers to the systematic empirical investigation of quantitative properties and phenomena and their relationships. The objective of quantitative research is to develop and employ mathematical models, theories and/or hypotheses pertaining to phenomena. The process of measurement is central to quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between empirical observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships.
Categories of Research – Objective Quantitative Research (2/2) n n Involves information or data in the form of numbers. Allows us to measure or to quantify things. Respondents don’t necessarily give numbers as answers - answers are analysed as numbers. Good example of quantitative research is the survey.
Categories of Research – Objective Mixed Methods Research n n n Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. Capitalises on the strengths of each approach and offsets their different weaknesses. Also provides a more comprehensive answer to research questions, going beyond the limitations of a single approach.
Categories of Research n By form: ¡ ¡ ¡ Exploratory research, which structures and identifies new problems Constructive research, which develops solutions to an existing problem Empirical research, which tests the feasibility of a solution using empirical evidence
Categories of Research - Form Exploratory Research n n It is a type of research conducted for a problem that has not been clearly defined. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data collection method and selection of subjects. It should draw definitive conclusions only with extreme caution. Given its fundamental nature, exploratory research often concludes that a perceived problem does not actually exist.
Categories of Research - Form Constructive Research n n n It is very commonly used in computer science research. The term “construct” is often used in this context to refer to the new contribution being developed. The “construct” can be a new theory, algorithm, model, software, or a framework. This type of approach demands a form of validation that doesn’t need to be quite as empirically based as in other types of research like exploratory research. Nevertheless the conclusions have to be objectively argued and defined. This may involve evaluating the “construct” being developed analytically against some predefined criteria or performing some benchmark tests with the prototype.
Categories of Research - Form Empirical Research n n A way of gaining knowledge by direct observation or experience. It is used to answer empirical questions, which must be precisely defined answerable with data (e. g. , "Does listening to music during learning have an effect on later memory? "). Usually, a researcher has a certain theory regarding the topic under investigation. Based on this theory some statements, or hypotheses, will be proposed (e. g. , "Listening to music has a negative effect on learning. "). From these hypotheses predictions about specific events are derived (e. g. , "People who study while listening to music will remember less on a later test than people who study in silence. "). These predictions can then be tested with a suitable experiment. Depending on the outcomes of the experiment, theory on which the hypotheses and predictions were based will be supported or not.
Categories of Research n By reasoning: ¡ ¡ Deductive reasoning, is going from the general to the specific Inductive reasoning, is going from the specific to the general
Categories of Research – Reasoning Deductive Reasoning n n Going from the general to the specific E. g. ¡ n 1. All men are mortal. (premise) 2. Socrates was a man. (premise) 3. Socrates was mortal. (conclusion) Thus, the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises and inferences. In this way, it is supposed to be a definitive proof of the truth of the claim
Categories of Research – Reasoning Inductive Reasoning n n Going from the specific to the general e. g. ¡ 1. Socrates was Greek. (premise) 2. Most Greeks eat fish. (premise) 3. Socrates ate fish. (conclusion) n An inductive argument is one in which the premises are supposed to support the conclusion in such a way that if the premises are true, it is probable that the conclusion would be true. n BUT WE WILL RECALL. . .
Categories of Research – Reasoning Inductive Reasoning n n General statements (theories) have to be based on empirical observations, which are subsequently generalized into statements which can either be regarded as true or probably true. The classical example goes from a series of observations: ¡ Swan no. 1 was white, Swan no. 2 was white, Swan no. 3 was white, … ¡ to the general statement: All swans are white. ¡ Proof by Induction ¡ ¡
Research Paradigms John W. Creswell, Research Methods, Chapter 1, pages 5 -11.
Research Paradigms n n Before a researcher starts to develop an experiment they must first make a declaration and indicate what their philosophical views are on the nature and purpose and research. Different researchers even within the same discipline have very distinct views what the point of doing research is, and how to interpret the results of an experiment, so they have to be up front about their views.
Research Paradigms n There are various terms to describe these differences in views, including; ¡ “Paradigm” ¡ “Worldview” ¡ “Epistemologies and ontologies” ¡ “Broadly conceived research methodologies” n Since we’ve already looked at Kuhn’s work, we’ll stick with the term “paradigm”.
Research Paradigms n The four main paradigms we will consider for this class are; ¡ ¡ Postpositivism Social Constructivism Advocacy and Participatory Pragmatism
n n n Karl Popper Born: 28 July 1902 Died: 17 September 1994 Born in Vienna, Austria Philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics
Postpositivism n n n This is closest to the traditional scientific method. Specifically as viewed by Karl Popper. You can use experiments to measure and analyse how the objective world around us works, but the results are subject to considerations.
Postpositivism n n If the positivists believe that using science we can measure, classify and understand, then the postpositivists suggest that this is true to a certain extent, but that we must be carful not to forget that a lot of our interpretation may be based on assumptions and conjectures, and that we need to be aware of this. This approach focuses on the quantitative descriptors.
Postpositivism n n n Postpositivists focus on cause and effect and are thus deterministic. So they focus of finding the causes that could have produces the specific outcomes of an experiment They also have a reductionistic view in the sense that they want to reduce the causes to into a small, discrete set of ideas to test.
Postpositivism n n The postpositivists inherently believe that there are laws and theories that govern the world and that they can be identified and tested using the scientific method. So the postpositivist starts with a theory, collects data and this either supports or refutes theory, which may then result in theory being revised before additional tests are made.
n n n Karl Mannheim Born: March 27, 1893 Died January 9, 1947 Born in Budapest, Hungary Sociologist who was one of the founding fathers of classical sociology.
Social Constructivism n n n This view is typically seen in qualitative research The key assumption is that individuals seek understanding of the world the live and work in This view comes from the work of Karl Mannheim and others.
Social Constructivism n n n These individuals develop subjective meanings of their experiences – meanings directed towards certain objects and things. These meanings are varied and multiple, which leads the researcher to look at a range of views rather than reducing things down to a few categories. This approach focuses on the qualitative descriptors.
Social Constructivism n n n Thus the researcher’s main goals is to allow the participants to construct their own “meaning” of the situation, often negotiated socially and historically. The “social” element means that meanings are constructed through interaction with others. The researcher also acknowledges that they themselves are shaped by their backgrounds and their interpretation flows from their personal, cultural and historical experiences.
Social Constructivism n n The more open-ended the questioning is, the better. The researcher listens carefully to what the participants do in their life settings. The research process is qualitative and largely inductive. The objective is to interpret others’ meanings of the world, rather than to start out with a theory (as in postpositivism).
Advocacy and Participatory
n n n Jürgen Habermas Born: June 18, 1929 Age: 81 Born in Düsseldorf, Germany Sociologist and philosopher. He is best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'.
Advocacy and Participatory n n This position highlights the view that imposed structural laws and theories does not take account of marginalised individuals in society or issues of social justice that need to be addressed. Draws on the works of Jürgen Habermas, as well as Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and Paulo Freire.
Advocacy and Participatory n n n Advocates of this perspective feel that the constructivist view does not go far enough in terms of advocating an action agenda for the marginalised. Research needs to be tied in with politics and a political agenda. It should also create an action agenda for reform. The researchers begins with a social issue of the day as the focal point of the study.
Advocacy and Participatory n n The researcher must proceed collaboratively so as not to further marginalise participants. In this way the participants may help design questions, collect data, analyze information, and reap the rewards of the research. This approach creates a united voice for reform and change. It is often recursive or dialectical and focuses on bringing about change that is emancipatory.
Advocacy and Participatory n n This type of research focuses on the needs of groups in society that are marginalised The research will be analysed using a specific theoretical perspective (or “theoretical lens”) such as feminist perspectives, racialised discourses, critical theory, queer theory, and disability theory.
n n n Charles Sanders Peirce Born: September 10, 1839 Died: April 19, 1914 Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts Philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist. He is known for his contributions to logic, mathematics, philosophy, and semiotics, and as the father of pragmatism.
Pragmatism n n n A view that arises out of action, situations, and consequences. The key focus is what works, and getting solutions to problems. Derives from the work of Peirce, as well as William James, George Mead, and John Dewey.
Pragmatism n n n Instead of focussing on methods, the researcher focuses on the problem and uses a range of approaches that help understand it. It is used often with mixed methods research. In this way researchers are free to choose the methods, the techniques, and the procedures of research that best meet their needs and purpose.
Pragmatism n n n The researcher proceeds from the basic premise that the human capability of theorizing is integral to intelligent practice. Theory and practice are not separate spheres; rather, theories and distinctions are tools or maps for finding our way in the world. As John Dewey put it, there is no question of theory versus practice but rather of intelligent practice versus uninformed, stupid practice.
Pragmatism n n n The researcher does not have to focus on an absolute unity, there are many ways to collect data and analyse it. The “truth” is what works at the time, not based on the duality between independent reality and what is in the mind. So researchers should stop wondering about the nature or reality and get on with what works.
Summary Postpositive Social Constructivism Advocacy and Participatory Pragmatism Reality View Singular reality Multiple realities Political reality Single or Multiple realities Research Distance and impartiality Sympathetic and close Collaboration Practical Values Unbiased Biased and negotiated Multiple stances Process Deductive Inductive Participatory Combining Language Formal Informal Advocating change Formal or informal
Research Methods Planning your research
Planning your research: Key questions n n n What do you want to know? How do you find out what you want to know? Where can you get the information? Who do you need to ask? When does your research need to be done? Why? (Getting the answer)
"I Keep Six Honest Serving Men. . . " I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who. I send them over land sea, I send them east and west; But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest. I let them rest from nine till five, For I am busy then, As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea, For they are hungry men. But different folk have different views; I know a person small. She keeps ten million serving-men, Who get no rest at all! She sends'em abroad on her own affairs, From the second she opens her eyes. One million Hows, two million Wheres, And seven million Whys! - Rudyard Kipling
Six Honest Serving Men n n n What? How? Where? Who? When? Why?
Six Honest Serving Men n n n What? How? Where? Who? When? Why?
Step 1: What? n PLANNING YOUR RESEARCH n What do I want to know? When developing your research question, keep in mind: n Who your research is for; What decisions your research will inform; What kind of information is needed to inform those decisions. n n Conduct a local information scan Take another look at your research question
Step 2: How? Where? Who? n PLANNING YOUR RESEARCH n How do I find out what I want to know? Where can I get the information I need? Who do I need to ask? Choose your methodology n n n n quantitative or numbers information qualitative in-depth explanatory information case studies site visits or observation participatory research
Step 3: When? n PLANNING YOUR RESEARCH n When do all the different parts of the research need to be done? List all your research work areas Map them against a timeline Develop a work plan n
Step 4: Why? n GETTING THE ANSWER n Collect your data Keep returning to your research question Organize your research results to answer the question Keep in mind who you are doing the research for Focus on what research results do tell you Be creative, methodical and meticulous n n n