UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH METHODS
Doc File 48.00KByte
UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH METHODS
by Mildred Patten
WHY STUDY RESEARCH METHODS?
Leaders rely on research to make decisions
Must be able to sort/evaluate info
Often conduct research in job
Lifestyle decisions based on research
Need to read/report research for classes
Simple observations can be misleading
Plan systematic observation (so not misled)
Why observe - need for study (purpose/significance)
Who observe - population or a sample of one, not biased against any subgroup (subjects)
How observe - tests, interviews, surveys, direct observation (measurement in numbers or words)
When observe - existing groups or experimental ones (descriptive or cause and effect research design)
Process is to describe existing situation (literature), produce new data (empirical data collection), draw conclusions
Experimental Versus Non-Experimental Studies
Experiments – treat then observe changes in behavior – to establish cause and effect
Two groups assigned at random (equal chance to be in either group)
Treatment group (experimental group) behavior observed versus control group behavior
Quasi-experimental (causal-comparative) has no randomization
Randomization essential in TRUE experiments!!!
No treatments given
Observe and describe
Often called descriptive research
The type of measurement used does not indicate whether or not research is experimental
Cause and effect determined by true experiments, only suggested by quasi
Experimental Versus Causal Comparative Studies
Experiments establish cause and effect
Often unable to experiment due to legal, ethical, physical, financial reasons
Alternatives ► Quasi-Experimental
See an effect that has occurred
Look at past to determine cause
(ex post facto research)
Use controls such as matching
Dangers in Quasi-Experimental Studies (aka Causal-Comparative)
Common cause for both the cause and the effect being investigated
stress causes smoking and cancer
Difficult to establish that experimental and control groups are equivalent
Essentially observational or descriptive, BUT goes a step further to explore causality
Types Of Non-Experimental Research
Causal Comparative (quasi-experimental) – describe existing differences, try to identify cause
Survey/poll (descriptive) – observe and describe attitudes, opinions, behaviors (can be self-observation)
Case study – in depth study of one case (individ/group)
Longitudinal research – observe same subjects over a long time period
Correlational – observe relationships, make predictions
Historical – examine existing data to test hypotheses
What does empirical research mean?
What is the purpose of experimental research?
What is the difference in experimental and causal comparative (or quasi-experimental) research?
What is the difference between experimental and non-experimental research?
If I conduct a study of students to determine their attitudes toward tuition rates, what type of study is this?
Variables In Non-Experimental Research
Variable – A trait that can vary/change
Categorical variables (gender)
Mutually exclusive (no overlapping categories)
Exhaustive (all possible choices provided)
Quantitative (grade point average)
Measure in real numbers
Independent versus dependent (in causal investigations)
Cause is independent
Variables In Experimental Studies
Experiments have AT LEAST one independent variable (IV) and one dependent variable (DV)
Experiments investigate how a change in the IV affects the DV
IV is manipulated and change in the DV is measured
Non-experimental studies have no manipulation
Simple experiment = one IV and one DV
Complex = more than one IV or DV
What type of variable (Categorical or Quantitative) is gender? test score? race? times logged on to the library site?
Gender test score race times logged
What is an independent variable (IV)?
What is a dependent variable (DV)?
If I want to examine whether incentives affect productivity, what variable is the IV (and DV)?
Research Hypotheses, Purposes, And Questions
Research hypothesis predicts the outcome of a study
Directional (one group will score higher)
Direction is based on previous research
Null hypothesis tested statistically
Non-directional (a difference will be found)
Research purpose or research question often used here
Research questions should be interesting
(how groups differ, not simply do they differ)
Conceptual or constitutive – dictionary meaning
Operational – specific steps used to measure the variable
A matter of degree
Strive to allow replication of the study
Replication by other researchers enhances confidence in results
What is a research hypothesis?
It is hypothesized that athletes will have higher GPAs than non-athletes. Is this a research question or a hypothesis?
Explain the difference between operational and conceptual or constitutive definitions.
If I define intelligence as the number of minutes it takes a person to solve a puzzle, is this a conceptual or operational definition?
Quantitative v. Qualitative Research (Part I)
Deductive (read literature, deduce hypothesis, test)
Structured measures (surveys use numbers)
Large sample (subjects); generalize to population
Researcher removed from process
Inductive (observe local situation, propose theory)
Unstructured data collection (words/themes)
Small sample; limit conclusions to group studied
Researcher involved (participants); individual quotes
Quantitative v. Qualitative Research (Pt. II)
Research Questions (RQ) dictate type
If RQ unclear or little is known in literature, may need qualitative
Limited subject availability means quantitative
Qualitative takes more time and money
Often combine both
Initial qualitative investigation leads to quantitative
If I want to determine how much people tend to pay for new cars, is this likely to be quantitative or qualitative research?
If I want to see why police officers fail to give DUI tickets to drivers who are obviously impaired, is this better suited to qualitative or quantitative?
Surveys tend to what kind of research?
What type of research has the greatest potential for researcher bias?
Evaluation Research (not usually experimental)
Applied (not basic) research
Includes needs assessment (of those served)
Formative – evaluate (modify) during program
Process is evaluated (how implementing)
Progress is evaluated (goal attainment)
Summative – end of program goal attainment (may have comparison group)
Ethical Considerations in Research
Standards followed in research community
Protect subjects from physical/psychological harm
Review committees used for legal protection
Subjects have rights (privacy, confidentiality, knowledge of purpose)
Informed consent required (tell general purpose/benefits; procedures used; potential harm; right to withdraw/refuse without penalty)
Debriefing needed after study (review purpose; offer to share results; assure confidentiality)
Hidden purpose often needed (ethical dilemmas)
Role of Theory in Research
Theory – unified explanation for discrete observations
Researchers test theories
Deduce hypotheses from theories and test with observations (confirm/reject hypothesis – quantitative mainly)
Induce theory from observations (called grounded theory – used in qualitative)
What is the difference between formative and summative evaluation?
What are the rights of subjects in research?
Explain the concept of informed consent:
Deducing hypotheses to test theories is done in quantitative or qualitative research?
PART B- REVIEWING LITERATURE
(first step in planning research)
Start with broad problem area
Review both theoretical and research literature
Helps narrow scope and develop research questions or hypotheses to test
Can replicate other studies (mimic original)
Modified replication (new/modified population/instrument)
Focus on conflict identified in literature
Benefits to Reviewing Literature
Identify measurement instruments to use
Avoid dead-ends and wasted efforts
Learn how to write research reports
Cite relevant literature in the Introduction
provides context for reader and justifies doing study
Reviewing literature demonstrates your expertise (located it, used it in planning, cited it correctly)
Locating Literature Electronically
Articles are more up-to-date than books
ERIC, PsychLit, SocioFile (discussed in textbook)
Infotrac I (OneFile), ABI-Inform (our library)
Each article is a record, made of fields (title, author, date, descriptors)
Best searching requires good descriptors (use a thesaurus to find them)
Use of Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) helps to narrow searches
Organizing a Literature Review
Describe broad problem area and define major terms
Establish importance of topic by
Citing other research that shows it is important enough to study
Citing statistics showing broad application of topic
Write topic-by-topic description (w/ headings/subhds)
Group references together when about a common topic
Include both methods used and results found in previous studies
Sometimes need to trace the history of topic
Summarize the topic at the end and indicate relevance to your study
Move from least related to most related topics
Preparing to Write a Critical Review
(Note that this is NOT a series of reports on articles/books)
The lit. review is a CRITICAL assessment of literature on a topic
Your assessment of the studies reviewed should show through in your discussion of them
Discuss both weak and strong points of studies reviewed (incl. sampling/instrument/limitations)
See Examples in textbook
Creating a Synthesis (in writing Lit. Review)
Provide a whole picture of what is known about the topic
An outline of subtopics is useful
Move from subtopic to subtopic…each paragraph should be organized around a topic (first sentence of each paragraph is the topic sentence!)
Cite together numerous authors making the same point
Might devote a whole paragraph to important and central sources
Give limited details on research methods to explain differences in findings, but criticize such things as small or biased samples
Provide specific definitions for technical terms
Use quotations sparingly
Use transitional terms/phrases (As a consequence…; therefore…)
Follow style manual for citing references carefully and consistently (APA)
Harvard method (using author, date referencing) is the most common
APA uses it and gives guidelines in APA manual
Key characteristics (see text Examples 1-5)
Last name can be subject of sentence (emphasizes authorship)
Content can be subject (authors not emphasized)
Use authors as subject when compare/contrast
Reference list includes only those cited in text!
Topics 14-18 REVIEW QUESTIONS
What’s the first step in reviewing the literature?
What are the benefits of reviewing the literature
What purpose do citations serve?
Why are refereed articles so important in reviewing the literature?
Explain the difference between an annotated bibliography and a written literature review:
To fulfill the demand for quickly locating and searching documents.
It is intelligent file search solution for home and business.
- food culture project research questions
- steps in the research and writing process
- understanding research methods
- article summary worksheet
- introduction to the ideas of hypothesis testing
- chapter 1 the what and the why of statistics
- kl katie linder oregon state ecampus osu degrees online
- statistics 112 final project statistics department
- spea k 300 statistical techniques 3 cr
- the theoretical basics of the theil index covered in the
- research methods data analysis
- historical research methods examples
- sociology research methods examples
- research methods and techniques pdf
- research methods vs methodology pdf
- research methods pdf
- types of research methods psych
- research methods and methodology pdf
- research methods vs methodology
- research methods and methodology ppt
- ap psych research methods frq
- definition of research methods pdf