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The Research Process

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  1. The Research Process Lynda H. Crawford

  2. Designing a Research Project • I. Select an area of interest

  3. 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?

  4. Designing a Research Project • I. Select an area of interest • II. Explore what is already known about your area of interest

  5. Explore What is Known • Conduct a review of the literature to discover what is already known about your area of interest

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Identifying a Conceptual Context • Theories, models, and frameworks provide the contextual basis for conducting the study, developing the hypothesis, and explaining the findings

  12. 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

  13. Type of Study Designs Although there are many different designs to choose from, a research study design is determined by the research question.

  14. 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

  15. 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)

  16. Types of Study Designs Designs for exploring relationships among variables or groups of people: • Correlation (quantitative) • Predictive (quantitative) • Grounded theory (qualitative)

  17. Types of Study Designs Designs for findings causality or effects of interventions: • Experimental (quantitative) • Quasi-experimental (quantitative) • Case control (quantitative) • Time series analysis (quantitative)

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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)

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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.)

  31. Selecting Appropriate TestDescriptive Studies(Quantitative) • When dependent variables are interval numbers – means • When dependent variables are nominal or ordinal – frequencies, rates, proportions

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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