Monday, August 21, 2006

RESEARCH METHODS ............Part 12

Again and again I've haunted by my students seeking for approval on which method to use in their research proposal. There is no one right answer to this, because it depends very much on your research title and your research hypothesis. If you are seeking for an understanding, an explaination about something not yet known, then the Qualitative method will be your consideration. If knowledge about it is already known, but you need to proof, clarify, validate or predict, than Quantitative Method will be more appropriate. Some research titles might require the application of both methods. Discuss this further with your supervisors.



Survey Research
- A common method used in business, sociological and government. Surveys are used to describe the incidence, frequency, and distribution of certain characteristics in a population.
- Purpose is to explore and describe

Developmental research
- An observational-descriptive type of research that either compares people in different age groups (a cross-sectional study) or follows a particular group over a lengthy period of time (a longitudinal study). Such studies are particularly appropriate for looking at developmental trends.
- includes longitudinal studies (goes forward in time) such as trend (from general population), cohort (random from a group of people) and panel studies (from same selected samples)
- Documentary analysis, and follow-up studies (goes back in time)

Case Studies
- A type of qualitative research in which in-depth data are gathered relative to a single individual, program, or event, for the purpose of learning more about an unknown or poorly understood situation.
- involves direct observation or interviews

- A type of qualitative inquiry that involves an in-depth study of an intact cultural group in a natural setting
- The scientific description and classification of the various cultural and racial groups of humankind. The study of observed behaviour in a natural context

Historical Research
- An attempt to solve certain problems arising out of a historical context through the gathering and examining relevant data
- deals with the past, from informations recorded in the past, in order to draw conclusions about the past and past events.
- Deals with Critical and Interpretive Sciences, and draws conclusions about the past

Philosophical Research
- Ask value questions
- Deals with Critical and Interpretive Sciences.

Action Research
- A type of applied research that focuses on finding a solution to a local problem in a local setting. For example, a teacher investigates whether a new spelling program she has adopted leads to improvement in her student’s achievement scores.
- A deliberate, solution-oriented investigation that is group or personally owned and conducted. The process through which practitioners study their own practice to solve their personal practical problems.
- Characterized by spiraling cycles of problem identification, systematic data collection, reflection, analysis, data-driven action taken, and, finally, problem redefinition.

Content analysis
- A detailed and systematic examination of the contents of a particular body of material (e.g., television shows, advertisements, textbooks) for the purpose of identifying patterns, themes, or biases within that material.

Grounded theory research
- A type of qualitative research aimed at deriving theory through the use of multiple stages of data collection and interpretation.

Observational study
- A type of quantitative research in which a particular aspect of behavior is observed systematically and with as much objectivity as possible.

Phenomenological research
- A qualitative method that attempts to understand participant’s perspectives and views of social realities


Correlational research
- A statistical investigation of the relationship between two or more variables. Correlation research looks at surface relationships but does not necessarily probe for causal reasons underlying them. For example, a researcher might investigate the relationships amongst high school seniors’ achievements test scores and their grade point average a year later when they are first-year college students.
- Compares two or more different characteristics from the same group of people
- Shows how two characteristics vary together (explain), and how well one can be predicted (predict) from knowledge of the other
- Two types:
- Current correlational studies
- Predictive correlational studies

Experimental Research
- A study in which participants are randomly assigned to groups that undergo various researcher- imposed treatments or interventions, followed by observations or measurements to access the effects of the treatments.
- Purpose is to probe cause and effects (“if/then”), establish casualty; its purpose is to control
- Research deliberately manipulates a treatment (independent variables) to see if it causes a change in the dependent variables (effects).
- Two types:
- True experiment research
- Quasi-experimental research
- A method similar to experimental research but without random assignment to groups.

Ex post facto (relational / associational)
- An approach in which one looks at conditions that have already occurred and then collects data to investigate a possible relationship between these conditions and subsequent characteristics or behaviors
- a relational study (explain/predict) which substitute for an experimental study
- Look for natural “cause” without researcher manipulation of the independent variables (treatments)

Phew! That is quite a bit to swallow in one gulp!!!!


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