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## The Research Process

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**The Research Process**Lynda H. Crawford**Designing a Research Project**• I. Select an area of interest**Select an Area of Interest**• What are you curious about? • Do you have questions about the best way to do something? • Are there conflicting opinions about the best way to do something? • Do you wonder if an intervention works for the patient? • Do have an idea for doing something a better way?**Designing a Research Project**• I. Select an area of interest • II. Explore what is already known about your area of interest**Explore What is Known**• Conduct a review of the literature to discover what is already known about your area of interest**Designing a Research Project**• I. Select an area of interest • II. Explore what is already known about your area of interest • III. Identify the need for further research**Identify the Need for Further Research**• Further research is indicated when: • There is little or no research on the topic • There are published data from small studies that do not build on each other • Findings from previous studies are inconclusive • Replicated studies are recommended**Designing a Research Project**• I. Select an area of interest • II. Explore what is already known about your area of interest • III. Identify the need for further research • IV. Develop a purpose statement, research question, or hypothesis as appropriate**Purpose Statements, Research Questions, Hypotheses**• Purpose statements are important for clarifying the problem to be addressed • Research questions specify the question to be answered • Hypotheses predict the findings. Hypotheses are appropriate for quantitative studies only.**Designing a Research Project**• I. Select an area of interest • II. Explore what is already known about your area of interest • III. Identify the need for further research • IV. Develop a purpose statement, research question, or hypothesis as appropriate • V. Identify conceptual context**Identifying a Conceptual Context**• Theories, models, and frameworks provide the contextual basis for conducting the study, developing the hypothesis, and explaining the findings**Designing a Research Project**• I. Select an area of interest • II. Explore what is already known about your area of interest • III. Identify the need for further research • IV. Develop a purpose statement, research question, or hypothesis as appropriate • V. Identify conceptual context • VI. Design the study**Type of Study Designs**Although there are many different designs to choose from, a research study design is determined by the research question.**Types of Study Designs**The research question will do one of three things: • ask for a description of a phenomenon or group of people • question the relationships among variables or subjects • look for causality or for effects of interventions**Types of Study Designs**Designs for describing phenomena or groups of people: • Surveys (quantitative) • Cross-sectional (quantitative) • Longitudinal (quantitative) • Case Study (quantitative) • Phenomenology (qualitative) • Ethnography (qualitative)**Types of Study Designs**Designs for exploring relationships among variables or groups of people: • Correlation (quantitative) • Predictive (quantitative) • Grounded theory (qualitative)**Types of Study Designs**Designs for findings causality or effects of interventions: • Experimental (quantitative) • Quasi-experimental (quantitative) • Case control (quantitative) • Time series analysis (quantitative)**Study Designs**The research question suggests the variables to be measured, the degree of control over extraneous variables necessary, and the type of analysis needed.**Study Designs (cont)**Do cancer patients with strong family support systems have fewer side effects from chemotherapy than those without strong family support systems? Variables: family support systems, side effects from chemotherapy Degree of control over extraneous variables necessary: high Type of analysis: correlation**Study Designs (cont)**What are the long-term coping strategies of teens diagnosed with cancer? Variables: coping strategies, time Degree of control over extraneous variables necessary: medium Type of analysis: longitudinal**Study Designs (cont)**What is the lived experience of teens diagnosed with cancer? Variables: n/a Degree of control over extraneous variables necessary: n/a Type of analysis: phenomenological**Designing a Research Project**• I. Select an area of interest • II. Explore what is already known about your area of interest • III. Identify the need for further research • IV. Develop a purpose statement, research question, or hypothesis as appropriate • V. Identify conceptual context • VI. Design the study • VII. Decide on sample selection methodology**Sample Selection:**• In qualitative research, the focus is on the phenomenon of interest, not on being able to generalize findings to a larger population • Therefore, the sample consists of participants best able to answer the research question.**Sample selection (cont)**• In quantitative research, the focus is on learning something about an entire population. • A researcher rarely has the ability to sample an entire set of subjects that are of interest. • Therefore, a subset (sample) of the entire set of subjects (population) is chosen.**Sample Selection (cont)**• In quantitative research, measures from a sample cannot be as accurate as those drawn from an entire population and will never match the entire population perfectly. • Statistics are used to measure the differences between samples and the entire population. If sampling error is small, the sample represents the population well. (inferential statistics)**Designing a Research Project**• I. Select an area of interest • II. Explore what is already known about your area of interest • III. Identify the need for further research • IV. Develop a purpose statement, research question, or hypothesis as appropriate • V. Identify conceptual context • VI. Design the study • VII. Decide on sample selection methodology • VIII. Choose method of data analysis**Selecting Appropriate TestQualitative Studies**• Phenomenology • Investigates the meaning of an experience • Data collected through interview • Ethnography • Studies the features and interactions of a culture • Researcher becomes an active observer • Grounded theory • Aimed at developing theory based on systematic collection of data about a phenomenon**Inferential Statistics(Quantitative Studies)**• Inferential statistics determine if the results obtained by a sample will also be obtained in the larger population. • Differences between groups are examined to see if the difference occurred because of the sampling process (standard error) and not because of the variables under study. • When standard error is small, the differences are assumed to be due to the effect of the intervention.**Hypothesis Testing(Quantitative Studies)**• Research hypothesis: • A prediction about what is true • May be different from the null hypothesis • Null hypothesis: • A hypothesis that states that no differences exist between groups • The testable statement**Errors in Hypothesis Testing**• Type I error: • A false positive – the researcher rejects a true null hypothesis. (There is no relationship among variables, but the research claims that there is.) • Type II error: • A false negative – the researcher accepts a false hypothesis. (There is a relationship among variables, but the researcher concludes that there isn’t.)**Selecting Appropriate TestDescriptive Studies(Quantitative)**• When dependent variables are interval numbers – means • When dependent variables are nominal or ordinal – frequencies, rates, proportions**Selecting Appropriate TestRelationship Studies(Quantitative)**• When dependent variables are interval or ratio level data – Pearson product moment correlation (Pearson’s r) • When dependent variables are nominal or ordinal level data – Spearman’s rank order correlation**Selecting Appropriate TestStudies to Determine Causality or**Effect(Quantitative) • When the dependent variables are interval – z test (for more than 30 subjects) or t test (for fewer than 30 subjects) • When the dependent variables are nominal or ordinal – Chi square**Selecting Appropriate TestStudies with More than 2**Groups(Quantitative) • Studies with more than two groups and one dependent variable – ANOVA • Studies with more than two groups and more than one dependent variable - MANOVA