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Flashcards in Research Methodology Deck (14):
1

Research Fundamentals
The purpose of research, (E.g. advance knowledge, increase understanding, educate others, inform practice) (AD IN ED IN)

Advance Knowledge: Research explains things (what, when, why, how)
Increase Understanding: Research can find new info, increase knowledge of topic, experience etc
Educate Others: Data results used in education programs
Inform Practice: Research results may be used to develop preventative strategies

E.g. Research collecting data on crime rates in different cities: Identify why some cities have higher rates, advance knowledge and increase understanding about incidence of crime. Use data in education program, adopt policing preventative strategies that might reduce crime

2

The focus of research (E.g. Question/ Hypothesis)

Research question: Does relationship exist between variables? E.g. Will using entertainment technologies have an impact on the social wellbeing of school aged children?

Hypothesis: Problem, question, statement that will be tested through research; researcher discovers if hypothesis is true or not. E.g. Using entertainment technologies every day will have a negative impact on the social wellbeing of school aged children.

3

Sampling
Methods, Sample group, Sample size

Sampling: The process of choosing the people, place and time to collect primary data
Individuals selected included as representative of total pop who form focus of study
Large group is ideal, but not always possible (limited time, money, access to people)

Simple random sampling
People have equal chance of being selected, free from bias
Drawing names out of a hat of who to interview

Systematic random sampling
Selecting one person on random basis and choosing others at evenly spaced intervals until number desired.
Selecting house number 2 and every 3rd house in street after that to distribute questionnaire to

Cluster sampling
Divide pop into clusters and then random selection in cluster
Each high school in Western Sydney is cluster. Interviewing teachers from 5 schools in this cluster

Convenience sampling
Selecting people from pop who are easy to access. Saves time, money, effort.
Bias, unreliable. Relevant data may not be collected
Interview 1st 10 people you meet, or select 10 closest friends to interview

Stratified random sampling
Pop divided into strata (layers) and then random selection in each strata
Group A= people with less than 5 yrs of education
Group B= people with 5-10 yrs of education
Group C= people with 10-15 years of education
(Stratified sample obtained by selecting simple random sample from each group)

4

Types of data
Primary and secondary, Qualitative and quantitative

Primary
Collecting ‘new’ data that does not exist before research is undertaken.
E.g. Researcher interviews to collect data. Data not previously collected and interpreted

Secondary
Collecting data from existing research and interpreting (look for recurring arguments, themes, conclusions)
Might be collected from books, journals etc

Qualitative
Data that includes opinion, responses and reflection
Produce large amount of info; new perspectives/beliefs of others
Susceptible to bias from researchers own values/interpretations

Quantitative
Can be measured (e.g. statistics)
Ideal for researcher who wants info easily categorised (E.g. Male/Female data)
Objective, reliable and specific (less subject to bias)
Only states facts/figures (not opinions/feelings)

5

Sources of data
Individuals and groups, Print and digital

Individuals
Provide current, real time data, provide data from their experiences
E.g. family, friends, experts, specialists, neighbours
E.g. Essay on eating disorders may interview a specialist

Groups
Provide current, real time data. Data of their actions/ works being recorded and analysed.
Can be professional organisations, not for profit groups, specialist groups, medical authorities, government agencies
E.g. Police (Govt agency) is source of data as number of crimes they have stopped can be analysed by individuals

Print
Books, journals, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers
Researched before published. Likely to be accurate, reliable
E.g. Research famous historian may access autobiography to collect data

Digital
Data stored in multimedia resources, e.g. internet, tv, radio, statistics etc
E.g. Statistics of average people in NSW household, can access ABS website

6

Discuss the advantages and limitations of each of the sources of data

INDIVIDUALS
Strengths:
First hand data and opportunity to network with others

Weaknesses:
May not want to help, or bias comes across
Limited time available

GROUPS
Strengths:
First hand data→ wide range of knowledge and skills accessed

Weaknesses:
May be biased or political views (depends on interest group)
Conflicting opinions

PRINT
Strengths:
Secondary data (Generally reliable if published)
Wide range of resources on many subjects

Weaknesses:
May be out of date compared to digital
May be censored or biased
Resources may generalised rather than specialised

DIGITAL
Strengths:
Up to date info from wide range of resources
Easy to access and overcome problems of distance

Weaknesses:
Skill, time, cost involved with accessing technology
Sometimes difficult to validate info, as many people able to put out info easily

7

Reliability and validity

Reliability: How consistent. If used by others under same conditions, produce same or similar results

Validity: How well it measures what its supposed to. Only achieved if results obtained correctly.

8

Explain how sampling contributes to reliable and valid research

Careful, appropriate sampling important for reliable research outcomes
Reliability means an accurate representation of pop being studied is achieved→ only occurs if appropriate representative sample was selected at beginning of research process

9

Ethical behaviour (B.I.R.P)
Bias , Integrity, Respect, Privacy

Ethics:
System of moral principles or standards governing appropriate conduct (judge right or wrong)
In research protects rights and wellbeing of participants & researcher. Assist in producing good research outcomes
Ethical issues often identified during planning research

BIAS
Research always influenced by personal values; important to stay objective in methods, how methods are implemented,and how results are interpreted and presented.
Bias; when range of factors unfairly influence outcome of results and distorts them
Must be open minded and not have no pre-determined ideas.
Results must be interpreted as they are, not what they would like to be.

INTEGRITY
Researcher must be honest about research purpose, clearly state what research will be used for, who will have access to findings
Should offer individuals a copy of published, final report
Sources must be acknowledged
Researchers mustn’t deceive individuals, falsify research findings, plagiarise. Must be honest with no bias

RESPECT
Researchers treat individuals with respect (so participants provide honest, accurate, reliable data)
Welfare of individuals is important; researcher must ensure no harm comes to those who take part

PRIVACY
Researcher should protect confidences, identity of all involved in research and have consent or permission to use views of those who take part.
All involved have right to anonymity, confidentiality, feel no risk to their wellbeing, withdraw anything that was intended to be used in research project, refuse to be involved at all

10

Assess the importance of ethical behaviour when conducting research by considering the following:
Sensitive research topics, Confidentiality, Research bias, Crediting sources of data

Participants shouldn’t be selected with bias, should have wide range of participants for data
Every source used must be credited, and participants and resources correctly identified
Participants must know their right to anonymity and can withdraw at any time
Researchers must say if it’s a sensitive topic and inform they don't have to answer or word question carefully

11

Research methods
Questionnaires, Interviews, Case studies, Observations, Literature reviews
Describe each research methodology and evaluate the suitability of each for different research topics

QUESTIONNAIRES
Written questionnaires are left with respondents to complete and are collected later
Advantages:
Respondents able to complete at their leisure
Can send to more people (wide range of data)
Weaknesses:
May not able to get them back before due date

STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS
Set questions asked in same sequence to all respondents
Advantages:
Easy to compare answers fairly and reliably
Open and closed questions (wide range of data) → qualitative and quantitative
Weaknesses:
Formal (respondents may not be truthful as they may feel intimidated)
Time consuming to construct and conduct

UNSTRUCTURED INTERVIEWS
Informal questions, like a conversation between interviewer and participant
Advantages:
Respondents able to express themselves more openly through discussion
Questions can be adapted to meet needs of respondents or suit the setting
Weaknesses:
Data harder to interpret and interviewer has to listen carefully to all answers to make changes as necessary

CASE STUDIES
Detailed investigation of one issue (person, event, community group)
Advantages:
Useful in finding out why and how (detailed examination)
Study of real life situations
Weaknesses:
Require supporting research from other sources (limited info possible)
Generalisations often not possible (can be subjective, bias)

OBSERVATIONS
Watching and recording what is seen
Advantages:
Can reveal characteristics about groups/individuals not always possible with other methods
Weaknesses:
Might not act naturally if people know they are being watched
Hard to prove exactly what happened (bias can occur)
Gender may restrict access to certain info

LITERATURE REVIEWS
Description, summary and critical evaluation of each work (books, articles, websites, other secondary sources) to show that an insightful study of what is already known about that topic has been made
Advantages:
Gives reader some background info about topic so research presented makes more sense
Provides info about topic and any gaps that exist in the research
Weaknesses:
Time consuming
High literacy skills needed and can be demanding reading others research and making sense of it
Data not about current, actual behaviours

12

Select and utilise appropriate research methods to conduct research

Using questionnaires for hypothesis “Using entertainment technologies can have negative impact on social wellbeing of school aged children.” As its easier to gain quantitative data than observing

Using interviews for hypothesis, “Physical disability can hinder access to education and services” as issue needs to be investigated by gaining opinions and thoughts of people with disability. Some may be physically unable to answer questionnaire

13

Research process

PLANNING FOR RESEARCH:
Formulating a research proposal
Select research focus and select appropriate sampling method, size and group
Develop IRP plan

Managing resources, (E.g. time, materials)
Timeline of tasks to be completed
Keep data organised (Have IRP diary), Back up sources of data

CONDUCTING RESEARCH
Accessing sources of data
Search secondary data for what’s already written about topic. Preliminary readings help formulate questions you want to ask
Complete literature review

Collecting and recording data
Use suitable research methods to collect and record primary data (E.g. interviews, questionnaires)
Create draft questions and pilot them, and arrange for individuals or groups to be interviewed or surveyed etc
Conduct the data collection, E.g. Carry out interviews and record ,

Documenting actions and issues
Write in diary problems encountered and steps taken to solve them
Write personal opinions and comments and decisions you have made

INTERPRETING RESEARCH
Presenting research findings
Presented quantitatively or qualitatively (Quantitative- Graphs, or tables with statistics etc)
(Qualitative- Present as a written report, include main ideas, quotes etc)

Analysing research results
Need to describe what evidence can be seen in tables and in written reports. Identify trends
Interpret findings by making comparisons, describing patterns and relationships that relate to research question or hypothesis
Identify possible reasons for the patterns and relationships you have found

Drawing conclusions from research
Must draw conclusions in relation to initial research question or hypothesis
Need to write a summary that states what the data shows and how it relates to the research in general as well as future recommendations or possible implications of findings.
Credit sources of data by means of bibliography or appendix

14

Apply the research process to a chosen topic by:

Selecting a research focus
Selecting appropriate sampling methods
Proposing how the research will be conducted
Creating a timeline for research goals
Accessing relevant sources of secondary data
Using suitable research methods to collect and record primary and secondary data
Recording actions and proposing solutions to any research issues
Presenting primary data in graphs, tables or written reports
Comparing key findings from primary and secondary data
Forming research- based conclusions and making recommendations
Crediting sources of data by means of bibliography and appendix