Introduction to research
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Introduction to Research. Dr Gill Green. Overview. Defining research The practice of Research The research process Research language. Definition.

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Introduction to Research

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Introduction to Research

Dr Gill Green


Overview

  • Defining research

  • The practice of Research

  • The research process

  • Research language


Definition

“Research is an inquiry process that has clearly defined parameters and has as its aim the: discovery or creation of knowledge, or theory building; testing, confirmation, revision, refutation of knowledge and theory; and / or investigation of a problem for local decision making”

(Hernon, 1991)


Research is...

  • A process

  • Active

  • A means of gaining new knowledge

  • A way of structuring knowledge to make it comprehensible to others

  • Based on the work of others

  • ...


Research Traditions

  • Scientific

  • Interpretivist

  • Engineering

  • Empirical

  • Quantitative

  • Qualitative


Research Motivations

  • Pure Research

    • to extend abstract / conceptual thought

    • to contribute to theoretical knowledge

  • Applied Research

    • to extend understanding of the situation / environment / context

    • to contribute to effective activities / design interventions


Types of Research 1

  • Qualitative research

    • descriptive

    • looks at relationships between variables

  • Quantitative research

    • involves manipulating variables

    • seeks for cause and effect relationships


Types of Research 2

  • Exploratory research

    • builds on empirical research

    • novel theory creation

  • Application research

    • focuses on artefacts or applied situations

    • conceptualisation, prototyping, construction, demonstration, evaluation


Cause and effect relationships are NOT being researched

Is still active and can involve surveys, questionnaires, interviews, stats, etc.

Descriptive

Ethnographic

Correlational research

...

Tests for cause and effect

X causes Z to happen

Y does not cause Z to happen

Not simply that something has a relationship with something else

Involves empirical studies (Pre- , Quasi- and Experimental Research)

Uses numerical and statistical techniques

Qualitative research v Quantitative research


Open ended study

Frequently unguided by theory

Provides new body of empirical knowledge

Provides a basis from which theories can be postulated

Builds on engineering tradition

Focuses on artefacts

May impact on any stage of the lifecycle

Construction

of new artefact or technique

testing in relation to construction aims

Destruction

testing of technology to identify new information about uses of it

Exploratory Research v Application Research


The case for triangulation

  • Use of multiple methods

  • Mixture of qualitative and quantitative

  • Purpose of triangulation

    • increases breadth (possibility of addressing different aspects of same research issue)

    • improves quality (conclusions arrived at by using 2+ means more likely to be valid)

    • use of both interpretivist and positivist paradigms reduces inherent weaknesses


Asking the question

Asking new questions

Identifying the important factors

Reconsidering the theory

Formulating a hypothesis

or problem statement

Reviewing the hypothesis

Or problem statement

Collecting relevant information

Testing the hypothesis

Or problem statement

Steps in Research


Problem

Statement

Problem

Formulated

Literature

Review

Data

Collected

Research

Designed

Findings

Reported

Data

Analysed

Linear Research Process


Topic

selection

Selecting context

and subjects

Formulate

Research Plan

Problem

Description

Theoretical

Framework

Literature

Review

Findings

Reported

Analyse

Data

Collect

Data

Recursive Research Process


Pyramid Approach

Reporting findings

Analysing data

Narrowing data collection

Amending research plan

Collecting data

Focused

Activity

Developing and revising plan

Conducting Pilot Study

Location / subject identification

Broad

Exploration

Establishing theoretical framework

Literature review

Problem statement

Research question formulation

Focus / topic choosing

Preliminary

Preparation


Organisation

  • efficient time allocation

  • appropriate use of effort

  • internal structure of dissertation should be balanced and sound

  • logical and coherently organised arguments


Discipline

  • Central

  • Information gathering activities

  • Critiquing tasks

  • Time allocation

  • Closure

  • Completion


Convention

  • Writing not for self but for critical public

  • Audience known

  • Provide guidance

  • Offer entry to research world

  • Facilitate

  • Not limiting


Research Language

  • Does not need to be a barrier

  • Often off putting because of polysyllabic tendencies, often with greek / latin roots

  • Is elegant and sophisticated

  • Makes writing research easier

  • Offers one word where often you need 5…

  • Buy a dictionary :)


Summary

  • Consideration of different traditions

  • Categorisation of research

    • Qualitative

    • Quantitative

    • Exploratory

    • Application

  • Awareness of research process


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