Selecting the Research Method Research Methodologies
Descriptive Research Purpose: To describe systematically the facts and characteristics of a given population or area of interest, factually and accurately.
Used in the literal sense of describing situation or events
It is the accumulation of a data base that is solely descriptive-but may also aim at more powerful purposes like it:
Seeks or explains relationships
Makes prediction or
Gets meanings and implications
Many researchers often broaden the term descriptive research to include all forms of research except historical and experimental.
In this broader context the term survey studies is often used
Characteristics: Descriptive Research
Specifically, survey studies have the following purposes:
To collect detailed factual information that describes existing phenomena
To identify problems or justify current conditions and practices
To make comparisons and evaluations
To determine what others are doing with similar problems or situations and benefit from their experience in making future plans and decisions.
Characteristics: Descriptive Research
Historical Research If descriptive research describes what is , historical research describes/ verifies/ analyzes and interprets what was .
Historical Research by Definition is: The systematic collection and objective evaluation of data related to past occurrences in order to test hypothesis concerning causes, effects, or trends of those events that may help to explain present events and anticipate future events.
Ethnographic Research Ethnography is one of the anthropological methods which provides us with descriptive data on the people’s way of life-that is, their culture.
Its purpose is to investigate patterns and sequences of growth and/or change as a function of time. Developmental Research
Appropriate where variable are very complex and do not lend themselves to the experimental method and controlled manipulation
Permits the measurement of several variables and their interrelationships simultaneously and in a realistic setting.
Its chief limitation is it only identifies what goes with what. It does not necessarily identify cause and effect relationships
Characteristics Its purpose is to investigate the extent to which variations in one factor corresponds with variations in one or more factors based on correlation coefficients. Correlational Research
Its purpose is to study intensively the background, current status and environmental interactions of a given social unit: an individual, group, institution or community. Case Study Research
Case studies are in-depth investigations of a given social unit resulting in a complete well-organized picture of that unit.
Depending upon the purpose the scope of the study may encompass an entire life cycle or only a selected segment.
Compared to a survey study, which tends to examine a small number of variables across a large sample of units, the case study tends to examine a small number of units across a number of variables and conditions.
Case study data provide useful anecdotes or examples to illustrate more generalized statistical findings.
Case studies are particularly useful as background information for planning major investigations in the social and behavioral sciences.
However, because of their narrow focus on a few units, case studies are limited in their representativeness
Case studies are particularly vulnerable to subjective biases. The case itself maybe selected because of its dramatic rather than typical attributes or because it neatly fits the researchers preconceptions
To develop new skills or approaches and to solve problems with direct application to the classroom or workplace. Action Research
Practical and directly relevant to an actual situation in the working world. The subjects are the classroom students, the staff or others with whom the researcher is primarily involved.
Flexible and adaptive allowing changes during the trial period and sacrificing control in favor of on the spot experimentation and innovation.
However, it lacks scientific rigor because its objective is situational, its sample is restricted and unrepresentative and it has little control over independent variables.
Experimental research is one of the most powerful research methodologies researchers can use. It enables researchers to go beyond description and prediction, beyond the identification of relationships, to at least a partial determination of what causes them.
An experiment usually involves two groups of subjects, an experimental group and a control group or a comparison group. Essential Charcateristics of Experimental Research The Comparison of Groups This means that the researcher deliberately and directly determines what form the independent variable will take and then which group will get which form. Manipulation of the Independent Variable
Random assignment is an important ingredient in the best kinds of experiments. It means that every individual who is participating in the experiments has an equal change of being assigned to any of the experimental or control conditions that are being compared. Three things to consider about the random assignment of subjects to groups are the following: Randomization
It takes place before the experiments begins
It is a process of assigning or distributing student to groups not a result of such distribution.
The use of random assignment allows the researcher to form groups, that, right at the beginning of the study are equivalent, that is, they differ only by chance in any variables of interest.
Groups Designs in Experimental Research The design of an experiment can take a variety of forms. Some of the designs are better because of the way they handle threats to internal validity. Good designs control many of these threats while weak designs control only a few.