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QUALITATIVE RESEARCH SOCIAL METHODS. SP20062 Leah Wild Week Two. WEEK TWO-OVERVIEW. Formulating a research question. Research aim and objectives Doing the literature review Ethical issues Ethical approval/proposal form. RESEARCH QUESTION- AIMS AND OBJECTIVES.

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qualitative research social methods

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH SOCIAL METHODS

SP20062

Leah Wild

Week Two

week two overview
WEEK TWO-OVERVIEW
  • Formulating a research question.
  • Research aim and objectives
  • Doing the literature review
  • Ethical issues
  • Ethical approval/proposal form
research question aims and objectives
RESEARCH QUESTION- AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
  • Overall aim encapsulates point of research
  • More specific objectives relate to areas for exploration.
  • Relate to theory and policy literature
a research question is a statement that identifies the phenomenon to be studied
A Research Question is a statement that identifies the phenomenon to be studied.

For example,

‘What resources are helpful to students studying Qualitative methods?’

  • How you phrase the question partly determines your research design.
  • Think about other ways you might frame the question.
  • Is your question ‘do-able’?
  • Not too wide not too narrow.
things to consider
Things to consider
  • Do I know the field and its literature well?
  • What are the important research questions in my field?
  • What areas need further exploration?
  • Could my study fill a gap? Lead to greater understanding?
  • Has a great deal of research already been conducted in this topic area?
  • Has this study been done before? If so, is there room for improvement?
  • Is the timing right for this question to be answered? Is it a hot topic, or is it becoming obsolete?
  • If you are proposing a service program, or policy, is the target community interested?
  • Most importantly, will my study have a significant impact on the field?
so what why how
SO WHAT? WHY? HOW?
  • A strong research idea should pass the “so what” test. Think about the potential impact of the research you are proposing. What is the benefit of answering your research question? Who will it help (and how)? You need to be able to formulate a definitive statement about the purpose of your research.
  • Your research focus should be fairly narrow, not broad-based. For example, “What can be done to help students study research methods?” is too large a question to answer. It would be better to begin with a more focused question such as “What is the relationship between practice based learning and successful outcomes in research methods training?”
formulating a hypothesis
Formulating a hypothesis
  • A well-thought-out and focused research question leads directly into your hypotheses. What predictions would you make about the phenomenon you are examining? This will be the foundation of your research proposal.
  • Hypotheses are specific predictions about the nature and direction of the relationship between two variables. For example, “Those students who learn research methods through conducting primary research will achieve higher grades than those who learn through lectures and tutorials.”
  • Strong hypotheses:
  • Give insight into a research question;
  • Are testable and measurable by the proposed methods;
  • Relate logically to the experience of the informants;
  • Normally, no more than three primary hypotheses should be proposed for a research study. A proposal that is hypothesis-driven is more likely to be ‘do-able’, and more focused, than a “fishing expedition” or a primarily descriptive study.
make sure you
Make sure you:
  • Provide a rationale for your hypotheses—where did they come from, and why are they strong?
  • Provide alternative possibilities for the hypotheses that could be tested—why did you choose the ones you did over others?
  • If you have good hypotheses, they will lead into your Specific Aims. Specific aims are the steps you are going to take to test your hypotheses and what you want to accomplish in the course of your research.
specific aims
Specific Aims.

Specific aims are the steps you are going to take to test your hypotheses and what you want to accomplish in the course of your research. Make sure:

  • Your objectives are measurable and focused;
  • Each hypothesis is matched with a specific aim.
  • The aims are feasible, given the time and word limit.
  • Two examples of specific aims would be;

1). “Conduct a rigorous empirical evaluation of student experiences of research methods training at undergraduate level.

2) Compare the experiences of two groups—

a). Those who undertake their own research project.

b). Those who learn through lectures and tutorials.

aims and objectives general aims
Aims and Objectives . General Aims
  • Why are you doing this research?
  • What are the long-term implications?
  • What other avenues are open to explore?
  • What is the ultimate application or use of the research?
  • These questions all relate to the long-term goal of your research, which should be an important undercurrent of the proposal. Again, they should be a logical extension of the research question, hypotheses, and specific aims.
  • Does the research you are proposing relate to any personal long term aims or goals?
the process of designing a research proposal
THE PROCESS OF DESIGNING A RESEARCH PROPOSAL.

RESEARCH QUESTION

WHY IS MY

RESEARCH

IMPORTANT?

WHAT HAVE OTHER

RESEARCHERS DONE?

WHAT HAVE THEY

FOUND?

HYPOTHESIS

HYPOTHESIS

HYPOTHESIS

SPECIFIC AIMS- THE STEPS YOU ARE

GOING TO TAKE TO TEST HYPOTHESIS.

doing a literature review
DOING A LITERATURE REVIEW
  • Relate to research aim and objectives
  • From general to specific
  • Substantive, theoretical and policy literature
  • Follow up references in books/articles
  • Use library catalogue
  • Use internet
search for literature 1
SEARCH FOR LITERATURE (1)
  • Library catalogue.
  • Broadening your search criteria.
  • Books.
  • Journals.
  • Videos.
  • Look in unlikely places.
  • Don’t forget methods literature.
search for literature 2
SEARCH FOR LITERATURE (2)

Internet

  • General web sites
    • General search engines, ‘sociological links’ on web page
    • Electronic journals & resources on library web page
    • Make use of secondary data and statistical data.
useful sociology links
Sociosite http://www2.fmg.uva.nl/sociosite/

Sociowebhttp://www.socioweb.com/~markbl/socioweb/

SOSIG (Social Science Information Gateway)http://sosig.ac.uk/

The SocioLoghttp://www.sociolog.com/

Sociological Tour Through Cyberspace www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/index.html

World Sociology Lecture Hallhttp://wnt.cc.utexas.edu/~wlh/

WWW Virtual Sociology Libraryhttp://socserv2.mcmaster.ca/w3virtsoclib/

REGARD - database for social science researchhttp://www.regard.ac.uk/regard/home/index_html

The Question Bankhttp://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk/

Office for National Statisticshttp://www.statistics.gov.uk/

Sociological Research Onlinehttp://www.socresonline.org.uk/

Reviewing Sociologyhttp://www.rdg.ac.uk/RevSoc/home.htm

Organisations

British Sociological Associationhttp://www.britsoc.org.uk/

European Sociological Associationhttp://www.valt.helsinki.fi/esa/

American Sociological Associationhttp://www.asanet.org/

Australian Sociological Associationhttp://www.tasa.org.au/

International Sociological Associationhttp://www.ucm.es/info/isa/

Useful Sociology Links
ethical issues
ETHICAL ISSUES
  • Confidentiality
  • Avoiding harm
    • To interviewees
      • What you ask
      • How you ask
      • Power relations
    • To self
  • Involving interviewees in your research
  • Informed consent
basic ethical practice
BASIC ETHICAL PRACTICE
  • Letter of consent
  • Avoid risk
  • Advise people where to get help.
  • Ensure confidentiality
involving interviewees in the research at what stage
INVOLVING INTERVIEWEES IN THE RESEARCH - at what stage?
  • Clarifying aim and objectives
  • Finalising sample (week 4)
  • Designing topic guide (week 6)
  • Analysing results (week 8)
  • Commenting on findings
  • Helping to formulate policy implications
involving interviewees
Advantages

Check salient points

Clarify analysis

Feeling of involvement

Disadvantages

Time and effort

Interviewee bias

Negative reactions

INVOLVING INTERVIEWEES
ethical approval proposal form
ETHICAL APPROVAL/PROPOSAL FORM
  • Title/aim
  • Type of people to be interviewed
  • Method of finding people
  • Informed written consent
  • Possible harm
  • Interviewee collaboration
  • Formal permission required?
  • Hand in by March 14th.