Research methods


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Research methods

  1. 1. Slide 1 Research Methods
  2. 2. Slide 2 Research definition and principles Research: A diligent and systematic enquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover, or revise facts, theories or applications. Research leads to discoveries, inventions eg. penicillin, automobile, computer Facts: Population of Ghana; price elasticity of demand for food in Ghana;
  3. 3. Slide 3 Research definition and principles • Theories Theory is a plausible or scientifically proven general principle ( or body of principles) offered to explain a phenomenon. E.g. theory of demand • Applications: e.g. drugs, chemicals (e.g. Atersunate amodiaquin in the control of malaria, food preservatives; pesticides on fresh produce)
  4. 4. Slide 4 Where do research topics come from? From the research problem • Practical problems in the field • Literature in your specific field • Request for proposals • Think up research problem
  5. 5. Slide 5 Every research arises from a problem • Fertiliser subsidy in Africa: is it the answer? (What is the level of fertilizer usage in Ghana) • Brokers in fresh fruit marketing: are they helpful to Ghanaian fruit farmers? ( Efficiency of fresh fruit marketing in Ghana) • Does contract farming improve market access of smallholders? (Accessibility of smallholder farms to markets) • Does ICT use have a potential to promote agricultural development? (Effect of ICT on the development of agric in Ghana?)
  6. 6. Slide 6 Research Feasibility • Key consideration after identifying an initial research problem • is the study feasible (how practical will it be) in terms of: – Time – Needed cooperation – Ethical issues – Costs
  7. 7. Slide 7 Types of Research • Descriptive: Percentage of women poultry farmers • Explanatory: Factors affecting the productivity of the poultry industry in Ghana; factors affecting fertilizer use in Ghana. • Evaluation: The effect of subsidies on the profitability of poultry farming
  8. 8. Slide 8 Other categorization of Research • Descriptive vs. Analytical research: In the descriptive research, the researcher has no control over the variables. He or she can only report what has happened and what is happening. In the case of analytical research, researcher has to use facts and information for analyzing and then make a critical evaluation of the material. • Applied vs. Basic research: Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society to an industrial/business organization (or some other scientific problem). Whereas Basic or fundamental research mainly concerned with generalizations and with the formulation of a theory. It adds information to the already existing organized body of scientific knowledge.
  9. 9. Slide 9 Other categorization of Research • Quantitative vs. Qualitative research: Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomena, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. • Conceptual vs. Empirical research: Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. Empirical research relies on experience or observation often in the context of a system of knowledge or theory. It is data based research coming up with conclusions which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment.
  10. 10. Slide 10 How do we conduct research • Approach/strategy  Methodology • General principles underlying the choice of a research approach or methodology are: – Validity – (sound) – Reliability (results should be reproducibly) – (trustworthiness) • Principles are important because recommendations are made from research findings.
  11. 11. Slide 11 The Scientific Method of Enquiry Real world hypothesis Experimental Abstraction to test phenomenon postulation hypothesis (3) research (2) problem Design (1) experiment (3a) Conduct experiment Evaluate (3b) conclusion against conclusion reached by postulation (7) Conclusion Statistical Sample interpretatio observations n (4) (6) (5)
  12. 12. Slide 12 The Scientific method of Enquiry in Business & economics research • Researcher has no control over the experimentation phase. The research only observes the outcome. The experiment itself is conducted by society. • The social science researcher is restricted to the process of Non- Experimental Model Building. • Researcher has to find out the relationship or experimental design that generated a set of observed data. • There is uncertainty about the economic and statistical model used for estimation and inference purposed as well as the sampling method that was the basis of the data generated because postulation can provide many economic or social relationships for a real world problem.
  13. 13. Slide 13 Scientific Research Process Introduction •Identify Research Problem (would normally include some literature review) •Determine and state Objectives of your research (Main/broad objective and specific objectives). •Give justification for research
  14. 14. Slide 14 Scientific Research Process Conduct a literature search. •Literature review is designed to identify related research, to set the current research project within a context of existing work. – Outcome of literature review – More information about the nature of the research problem – Previous work on issues related to problem and information gap they present – Methodologies applied in investigating similar problems – Review should be critical! Are methods valid? Are results reliable?
  15. 15. Slide 15 Scientific Research Process Develop methodology (set of rules, methods, principles applied in the design of the investigation; methodology of research depends on the type of research) – Theoretical framework & Empirical application – Data requirements: • Who or what to study; • Concepts and definitions; • Operationalizing concepts – Data sources: • Primary or secondary data • Cross-sectional or time series – Data collection methods • Number of cases or observations to study (sample size) • What sampling method – Techniques of data analysis – analytical tools – Excel, Econometric software
  16. 16. Slide 16 Scientific Research Process Data Analysis – Cleaning and organizing the data for analysis (Data Preparation) – Describing the data (Descriptive Statistics) – Testing Hypotheses and Models (Inferential Statistics)
  17. 17. Slide 17 Data Preparation • involves checking or and validating the questionnaire; checking the data for accuracy; entering the data into the computer; transforming the data; and developing and documenting a database structure that integrates the various measures. • Descriptions of how the data were prepared tend to be brief and to focus on only the more unique aspects to your study, such as specific data transformation that are performed.
  18. 18. Slide 18 Descriptive Statistics • They are used to describe the basic features of the data in a study. They provide simple summaries about the sample and the measures. Together with simple graphical analysis, they form the basis of virtually every quantitative analysis of data. • The descriptive statistics that you actually look at can be voluminous. Therefore carefully select and organize into summary tables and graphs that only show the most relevant or important information.
  19. 19. Slide 19 Inferential Statistics • investigate questions, models and hypotheses. In many cases, the conclusions from inferential statistics extend beyond the immediate data alone. • For instance, we use inferential statistics to try to infer from the sample data what the population thinks. Or, we use inferential statistics to make judgments of the probability that an observed difference between groups is a dependable one or one that might have happened by chance in this study.
  20. 20. Slide 20 CAUTION: • In most analysis write-ups it is especially critical not to “miss the forest for the trees.” YOU WANT TO SHOW THE BIG PICTURE!!
  21. 21. Slide 21 Write-up of Research Report • TITLE PAGE (Includes title of research project, Your name; Project work submitted to the Department of Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. • DEDICATION • DECLARATION and SIGNATURE page • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT • ABSTRACT • TABLE OF CONTENTS • LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES • LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS • Number all pages by Roman numerals up to this point
  22. 22. Slide 22 CHAPTER 1 • INTRODUCTION – Background to research – Research Problem and research questions – Motivation for research – Research objectives – Limitations of research – Organization of research
  23. 23. Slide 23 CHAPTER 2 • LITERATURE REVIEW – Introduction (What you have reviewed and how the chapter is organized) – ……. – ……. (Provide a conclusion to each topic of review) – Always prepare an outline of the chapter. It should be structured around the main issues of the research but should include • Theory • Empirical applications • Methods, • Findings • Gaps
  24. 24. Slide 24 CHAPTER 3 • METHODOLOGY – Organize sections according to the objectives in the proposal
  25. 25. Slide 25 CHAPTER 4 • RESULTS AND ANALYSIS or ANALYSIS OF RESULTS – Organize sections according to the study objectives
  26. 26. Slide 26 CHAPTER 5 • CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS – Summary – Conclusions – Implications of findings – Policy Recommendations
  27. 27. Slide 27 References • Citing of references (in text) and listing references cited at the end of report. – ….. Onumah and Acquah (2010) – (Onumah and Acquah, 2011). – ..... Onumah et al. (2010) – (Onumah et al., 2010) • Citing – Surname only, year of publication
  28. 28. Slide 28 References • Citing – Surname only, year of publication – Onumah, E. E. and H. D, Acquah (2011). A Stochastic Production Investigation of Fish Farms in Ghana. Agris on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, 3(2): 55-65. – – Acquah, H. D, and E. E. Onumah. (2010). A comparison of the Different Approaches to Detecting Asymmetry in Retail-Whole Sale Price Transmission. American Eurasian Journal of Scientific Research. 5(1): 60-66.
  29. 29. Slide 29 References • Citing – Surname only, year of publication – Onumah, E.E., Brummer, M. and Hörstgen-Schwark, G. (2010): Elements Which Delimitate Technical Efficiency of Fish Farms in Ghana. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, 41(4): 506-518. – Coelli, T. J., D. S. P. Rao, C. J. O’Donnell, and G. E. Battese. (2005). An introduction to efficiency and productivity analysis, 2nd edition. Springer Publishers, USA.