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WELNS 670: Wellness Research Design. Session 2. Review. 8 Characteristics of Research. Originates with a question or problem Requires a clear articulation of a goal Follows a specific plan of procedure Divides the principle problem into more manageable sub-problems.

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8 characteristics of research
8 Characteristics of Research
  • Originates with a question or problem
  • Requires a clear articulation of a goal
  • Follows a specific plan of procedure
  • Divides the principle problem into more manageable sub-problems.
  • Is guided by the specific research problem, question, or hypotheses
  • Accepts certain critical assumptions
  • Requires the collection and interpretation of data in an attempt to resolve the problem that initiated the research
  • Is cyclical, by nature…

From Leedy and Ormrod (2001). Practical Research: Planning and Design.

the research cycle
The Research Cycle

From Leedy and Ormrod (2001). Practical Research: Planning and Design.

research is not
Research is not…
  • Information gathering by itself (information discovery, reference skills)
  • Transporting facts from one location to another (fact discovery, fact reporting)
  • Rummaging for information (self-enlightenment)
  • Catchword to get attention (sales-pitch)

From Leedy and Ormrod (2001). Practical Research: Planning and Design.

thinking about research
Thinking about research…
  • Describe an example of the word “research” being used inappropriately.
  • In the most rigorous tests of hypotheses, researchers set out to fail to support a hypothesis. Why might fail to support be a more rigorous test of a hypothesis than trying to support it?
  • As a Masters’ student,
    • Think of at least one personal benefit that the you would get from completing a thesis
    • Think of at least one societal benefit that follows from your completing a thesis
where does the data come from
Where does the Data Come From?

Always try to site the primary data collector.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Actual Source: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey… by way of CPR, Series P-60.

in class activity groups of 3 4
In Class Activity (groups of 3-4)
  • Look through your group’s collection of articles.
  • How are these articles similar?
  • How are they different?
  • Which articles represent true research articles as described in Chapter 1 of your text?
2 primary functions of research methodology
2 Primary Functions of Research Methodology
  • To control and dictate the acquisition of data
  • To corral the data after their acquisition and extract meaning
  • Research methodology – the general approach the researcher takes in carrying out the research project.
tools of research
Tools of Research
  • Research tool – a specific mechanism or strategy the researcher uses to collect, manipulate, or interpret data.
    • The library and its resources
    • The computer and its software
    • Techniques of measurement
    • Statistics
    • The human mind
    • Facility with language
the library and its resources
The Library and its Resources


computer and it s software
Computer and It’s Software
  • Planning the Study
  • Literature Review
  • Study Implementation and Data Gathering
  • Analysis and Interpretation
  • Discussion
  • Reporting
  • Do recent technological advances (WWW, electronic databases) assure that future research will be of higher quality, or of greater utility, than past research?
measurement as a tool of research
Measurement as a tool of research
  • “Measurement is limiting the data of any phenomenon – substantial or insubstantial – so that those data may be interpreted and, ultimately, compared to an acceptable qualitative or quantitative standard.”
four scales of measurement
Four Scales of Measurement
  • Nominal
  • Ordinal
  • Interval
  • Ratio
  • The scale of measurement will ultimately dictate the statistical procedures used to analyze the data.
nominal measurement scale
Nominal Measurement Scale
  • Divides data into discrete categories
  • Has no values assigned to the various categories
  • Examples: Boy/Girl, Red/White/Blue/Green, None/Dial op/Cable/DSL/Other, Ball State/Purdue/IU/IUPUI, yes/no
  • Only a few statistics are appropriate for analyzing nominal data (mode, percentage, chi-square tests)
  • Usually described using frequency distributions
ordinal measurement scale
Ordinal Measurement Scale
  • Again, divides data into discrete categories
  • However, this level of measurement allows us to rank-order data in terms of one being greater or higher than another
  • Examples: small/medium/large, elementary/middle school/high school/college, 20-29/30-39/40-49/50+
  • Extends the range of statistical techniques (median, percentile rank, Spearman’s correlation)
  • Usually described using frequency distributions
interval measurement scale
Interval Measurement Scale
  • Has equal units of measurement and the “zero point” is established arbitrarily
  • Examples: Likert and Likert-type scales (strongly agree to strongly disagree), Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales
  • Again extends the statistical procedures available for analysis (means, standard deviations, Pearson Correlations)
  • Usually described using means and standard deviations
ratio measurement scale
Ratio Measurement Scale
  • Has equal measurement units and an absolute zero such that the ) on the scale reflects a total absence of the quantity being measured
  • Examples: Age, distance, weight, velocity
  • Allows you to conduct virtually any statistical analysis
  • Usually described using means and standard deviations
summary measurement scale
Summary: Measurement Scale

If you can say that…

  • One object is different from another, you have a nominal scale;
  • One object is bigger or more anything than another, you have an ordinal scale;
  • On object is so many units more than another, you have an interval scale;
  • One object ti so many times bigger, brighter, heavier, or as tall as another, you have a ratio scale.
question items issues
Question Items Issues
  • Response categories should be mutually exclusive and exhaustive (for the audience).
  • Think carefully about “forced responses” and “neutral options” and overall, the number of options you will offer.
validity and reliability of a measurement tool
Validity and Reliability of a Measurement Tool

Validity and reliability influence…

  • The extent to which you can learn something from the phenomenon you are studying
  • The probability that you will obtain statistical significance in your data analysis
  • The extent to which you can draw meaningful conclusions from your data
  • “Psychometric measures”
  • “the extent to which the instrument measures what it is suppose to measure”
  • Face validity
  • Content validity
  • Construct validity
  • “the consistency with which a measuring instrument yields a certain result when the entity being measured has not changed.”
  • Test-retest, internal consistency
  • Reliability is a necessary but insufficient condition for validity
statistics as a tool of research
Statistics as a Tool of Research
  • Statistics give information about the data and “help the human mind comprehend disparate data as an organized whole”
  • This information can be used to help give meaning to the data (interpretation)
  • Descriptive statistics – summarize the general nature of the data
  • Inferential statistics – help make decisions about the data (i.e., are the results statistically significant)
the human mind as a tool of research
The Human Mind as a Tool of Research
  • The mind of a researcher must use all of the information available to them to interpret the data to arrive at logical conclusions to their meaning
  • Deductive Logic
  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Scientific Method (identifying a problem, positing a hypothesis, gather data, analyze and interpret the data)
  • Critical thinking – evaluation information or arguments in terms of their accuracy or worth
facility with language as a tool of research
Facility with Language as a Tool of Research
  • “Learning the specialized terminology of your field is indispensable to conducting a research study, grounding it in prior theory and research, and communicating your results to others.”
group work small groups
Group Work (small groups)
  • Find articles that include detailed information about measurement tools and identify the level of measurement of those items.
  • Explore whether and how information about reliability and validity of measurement tools is conveyed. If absent, what information is needed to convince readers that high quality measurement instruments were employed in the study.
question for next session
Question (for next session)…
  • The authors include a relatively lengthy section on writing the research report. Why is it important that research results are carefully written up and made available to the scientific community?