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Taught by Dr. Sng Bee • Singapore Bible College Files in many languages for free download at Bible. Study. Downloads. org Dr Sng Bee Research Aim, Questions and Methodology
Research Topic and Question • Three Kinds of Questions that Researchers ask: 1. Conceptual Questions: What should we think? 2. Practical Questions: What should we do? 3. Applied Questions: What must we understand before we know what to do? 4. Choosing the right kind of question. Examine your own research aim, which of these categories does it fit into?
Conceptual Questions: What Should We Think? I want to find out what Christians think about change. I am working on the topic of how should we thinking about changes in church Why? Because I want to know how people conceptualize change and evaluate the risk linked to making changes in church. So what if you do? Once I do, we might better understand how emotional and rational factors interact to influence the way church members and leaders think about risk in making changes in church.
Practical Questions: What Should We Do? I’m working on the topic of communicating changes in church effectively. Why? Because I want to find out what psychological factors affect the way people assess how they’re affected by changes in church. So what? So I can tell church leaders how they can communicate changes in church to members effectively.
Applied Questions: What Must We Understand before We Know What to Do? I want to find out how church members’ concept of change affect the way they make changes in church. Why? Then I can understand how members adapt to changes in church So What? Then I can understand how to help members to implement these changes.
Formulating a Research Question • A research question should: 2. Be significant – e. g. there’s a problem that affects a group of people or big groups of people that you want to investigate. Your results should be of interest to people out there.
Formulating a Research Question 3. You should be able to obtain results from your research. This means that your topic cannot be so subjective that you’ll not be able to get substantial conclusions to your study. This is also known as ‘feasibility’.
Research Questions • You should be able to draw conclusions related to the problem • You should be able to state the problem clearly and concisely Exercise: Use the table in the Handbook to evaluate your research aim. Does your research aim fulfill these criteria?
Research Questions • Research question is concerned with seeking solutions or answers to questions • It should be of great interest to you • The problem should be significant • It should be delineated clearly • You should be able to obtain the information required
Qualitative Research Questions Shank, G. D. Shank (2006), Qualitative Research – A Personal Skills Approach. U. S. A: Pearson • Qualitative research questions lead us to search for deeper meaning
HOW TO DECIDE ON A RESEARCH TOPIC • Issue – Factors to be considered • Relevance – Does it really matter whether the research takes place? • Feasibility – Can it be done? • Coverage – Are the right things included? • Accuracy – Will the research produce true and honest findings? Examine your own research topic and write brief notes on each of these criteria
HOW TO DECIDE ON A RESEARCH TOPIC? • Objectivity – What chance is there that the research will provide a fair and balanced picture? • Ethics – What about the rights and feelings of those affected by the research?
Developing a Research Strategy 1. Tapping into your own knowledge 2. Setting goals for sources - Library and Internet sources - Primary and Secondary sources - Scholarly sources
Stages in your Research (a) Stage 1: Exploring belief systems; (b) Stage 2: Initiating the literature review process; (c) Stage 3: Selecting a topic; (d) Stage 4: Exploring the literature: Identifying themes; (e) Stage 5: Formulating a focus: Selecting/deselecting themes;
Stages in your research (f) Stage 6: Analyzing/interpreting/integrating literature; (g) Stage 7: Closing the literature search: Reaching saturation; (h) Stage 8: Writing the review of literature; and (i) Stage 9: Evaluating the process and product (cf. Frels & Onwuegbuzie, 2010).
Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. ; Leech, Nancy L. ; Slate, John R. ; Stark, Marcella ; Sharma, Bipin ; Frels, Rebecca ; Harris, Kristin ; Combs, Julie P. Qualitative Report, v 17 n 1 p 1677 Jan 2012. 62 pp.
Hypothesis Shank, G. D. Shank (2006), Qualitative Research – A Personal Skills Approach. U. S. A: Pearson • In qualitative research, hypothesis is appropriate in leading us to expand our understanding of a particular subject • Example: if you are doing a research on how homeless mother educate their children, you may form the hypothesis that the education is informal, since homeless mothers do not have the resources to send their children to formal education
Hypothesis Shank, G. D. Shank (2006), Qualitative Research – A Personal Skills Approach. U. S. A: Pearson • As researchers, we have to keep an open mind and expand our thinking on our research topic as we carry out our research
Group Discussion Shank, G. D. Shank (2006), Qualitative Research – A Personal Skills Approach. U. S. A: Pearson Individually: 1. Write the hypothesis for your research topic 2. Write brief notes on your research rationale 3. If you haven’t done so, generate a list of research questions or topics. Do not worry about whether they are good questions. Just brainstorm as many questions as you can. In groups: Share briefly: Your research aim, rationale and hypothesis Each group to volunteer one topic to share in class.
Process of Carrying Out A Study Step 1 Study: Report: You decide on subject matter of study and how to carry it out. Aim or Objective of your study
Process of Carrying Out A Study Step 2 Research Study: Report: You see your tutor about the experiment you want to do. He informs you about what has been done in the topic and give you a few references to read. Background of your study and gap in research
Process of Carrying Out A Study Step 3 Study: Report: You read up on the topic and find out experts have to say about it. You can use internet sources, journals, books or database in the library. E. g. You check out on the references and find more on your own. You write down information you’ve read. Literature Review
Process of Carrying Out A Study Step 4 Study: Report: You decide on the procedure to carry out your study. You decide on the methods and procedures You carry out the study. Methodology
Process of Carrying Out A Study Step 5 Study: Once you’ve carried out your study, you observe and record your results. You then decide how to present your results, e. g. in tables, graphs or diagrams. Report: Results
Process of Carrying Out A Study Step 6 Study: Report: You analyze and interpret your results. You review your aim again and evaluate what your results show you about your aim. Discussion – Interpretation of Results Conclusions – Deductions of Results
OBJECTIVES • 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. By the end of this course, you should be able to answer the following questions: What is research? What constitutes a research question? What research methods and strategies are available? How do I analyze and interpret my data? How do I draw conclusions from my data? How do I address the ethical issues surrounding my research?
Report Therefore, the Chapters in your report are: Chapter 1 – Introduction Chapter 2 – Literature Review Chapter 3 – Research Methods Chapter 4 – Results Chapter 5 – Discussion and Conclusions
Planning Your Research • Plan a Schedule – refer to Handbook, p. 560. • Add the following parts after No. 10 ______ 11. Plan methodology ______ 12. Collect data ______ 13. Compile data ______ 14. Analyse data ______ 15. Interpret and Draw Conclusions from data
Keep a Research Journal Handbook, p. 559 v Purpose: to keep track of your activities and ideas during research v Use a portable diary or notebook so that you can carry it around with you v Keep a record of: 1. sources you consult, 2. leads you want to pursue, deadends, new directions, the procedure by which you carry out your method/s, analyse data and draw conclusions. v Your journal is due in the last week of the course.
Assignment 1 – Group Assignment • Review your Research Proposal. Review Ø Your Research Topic Ø The background of your topic Ø Your Research Aim Ø Your Research Questions Ø A Brief Literature Review – 200 words Ø Brief Description of Research Methodology Ø Expected Findings
Nature of Theories and their relationship with Practice Influences Epistemology Theoretical Perspectives Methodology Methods
Epistemology • Epistemology tries to understand what it means to know • It provides a philosophical background for deciding what kinds of knowledge are legitimate and adequate Source: Gray, D. E. (2009), Doing Research in the Real World (2 nd ed. ). London: Sage
Ontology • Ontology is the study of being, that is, the nature of existence. Gray, D. E. (2009), Doing Research in the Real World (2 nd ed. ). London: Sage
Nature of Theories and their relationship with Practice Influences Epistemology • Objectivism • Constructivism • Subjectivism Theoretical Perspectives • • • Methodology Positivism Interpretivism Critical Inquiry Feminism Postmodernism Gray, D. E. (2009), Doing Research in the Real World (2 nd ed. ). London: Sage Methods
Objectivism and Positivism Closely linked Objectivism • Reality exists independently of consciousness, i. e. there is an objective reality out there. • Research is about discovering this objective truth. Gray, D. E. (2009), Doing Research in the Real World (2 nd ed. ). London: Sage Positivism • Reality consists of what is available to the senses – what can be seen, touched, smelt etc. • Inquiry should be based upon scientific observation (i. e. , on empirical inquiry). • The natural and human sciences share common logic and methodological principles, i. e. dealing with facts and not with values.
The case against positivism Studies on Arts and Social Science, e. g. education, sociology etc. embody human values, not just objective facts. People’s subjective views, experiences, values, beliefs and feelings are important in evaluating situations and problems which are being researched. Decisions about education, social systems etc. which are implemented based on research results affect people. Therefore, the views of people are important considerations in the research.
Constructivism and Interpretivism Closely linked Constructivism Interpretivism
Constructivism Gray, D. E. (2009), Doing Research in the Real World (2 nd ed. ). London: Sage • Constructivism rejects Positivism • Truths and meaning do not exist in external world, but are created by people’s interaction with the world. • Meaning is constructed, not discovered. • People construct their own meanings in different ways, even in relation to the same phenomenon.
Subjectivism Gray, D. E. (2009), Doing Research in the Real World (2 nd ed. ). London: Sage • In contrast to constructivism, for subjectivism, meaning does not emerge from interplay between the subject and outside world • Subjects do construct meaning, but do so from within collective unconsciousness, from dreams, religious beliefs etc. • Postmodernism can be said to be linked to subjectivism
Role of Epistemological Perspectives in Research Methodology Helps clarify issues of research design • Kinds of evidence gathered • How it is interpreted • Which designs will work and which will not
Perspectives and Methodology How would you view the following research questions if you were adopting a positivistic/objectivistic, constructivistic or subjectivistic perspectives? Ø Stresses experienced by pastors/missionaries etc. Ø Problems of the unemployed and responses of the gospel to this group of people Ø Attitudes of teenagers towards Christianity and other faiths Ø Influence of computer games on teenagers and how to influence teens in the cyberspace Ø Music preference of church-going christians in a particular community
Interpretivism Gray, D. E. (2009), Doing Research in the Real World (2 nd ed. ). London: Sage • Major anti-positivist position = interpretivism. • Interpretivism Culturally derived and historically situated interpretations of No direct, one-to-one social world. relationship between ourselves and the world. The world is interpreted through the schemas of the mid. Interpretivism states that natural sciences is different from social science. Social world – unique, individual and qualitative.
Example of interpretivist approach: Phenomenology
A Comparison of Positivist and Phenomenological Paradigm Gray, D. E. (2009), Doing Research in the Real World (2 nd ed. ). London: Sage Basic beliefs Positivist Paradigm Phenomenological Paradigm The world is external and objective The observer is independent The world is socially constructed and subjective The observer is a party to what is being observed Science is driven by human interests Science is value free The researcher should Focus on facts Locate causality between variables Formulate and test hypothesis Focus on meanings Try to understand what is happening Construct theories and models from the data Methods include Operationalizing concepts so that they can be measured Using large samples from which to generalize to the population Quantitative methods Using multiple methods to establish different views of a phenomenon Using small samples researched in depth or over time Qualitative methods
Which Research Methods? • Observation – specific factors are observed and recorded without the observer becoming involved • Examining Records – looks at information already collected in order to uncover new relationships or features. The information can take the form of historical descriptors, developmental patterns, or forecasting trends. Examples: census findings, police records, minutes of meetings, etc.
Which Research Methods? • Experiments – involve manipulating different factors, called variables, in order to see what happens. Usually involve at least two representative samples. The experiment is done to the first group called the “experimental group. ” Nothing is done to the second group, the “control group. ” The two groups are compared.
Matching Methods • What are the research methods that you are going to use to investigate your topic? • Will you use triangulation of methods in your examination of your topic?
Are the Samples Representative? • Population – group being studied in a piece of research • Sample – part of the population actually investigated • It is essential that the sample is representative, i. e. typical of the population as a whole Practice: What constitutes the population of your research topic? What are your samples types and size?
Checking Reliability and Validility • Reliability – whether or not the findings are constant and unchanging. That is the results are not dependent on which samples are chosen, who the researcher is, or how the research questions are interpreted. In summary, you can rely on the results to describe the population.
Checking Reliability and Validility • Validity – whether or not the results describe what they say they describe. In other words, do the methods used affect the results, and what populations can the results realistically be attributed to? • Practice: Analyze a research study, ‘Video Games’
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