Lecture7 (cs212)(research methods)
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Technical writing is the presentation of information that helps the reader solve a particular problem. ...

Technical writing is the presentation of information that helps the reader solve a particular problem.
Technical communicators write, design, and/or edit proposals, manuals, web pages, lab reports, newsletters, and many other kinds of professional documents.

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  • 1. Lecture 7 Research Methods (Technical Writing CS212) Abdisalam Issa-Salwe Taibah University College of Computer Science & Engineering Computer Science DepartmentTopic List 21. Definition of research2. Research key-terms3. Research process views 2 1
  • 2. Definition of Research Research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding (HEFCE) Good researcher is the one who struggles to find out what the right questions might be. Asking the right questions Original investigationTechnical Writing (CS212) 3 Research Ideas Where Do Ideas for Research Originate? A research project is the outgrowth of 4 factors:” The Researcher The Academic Environment The Literature The broader Culture 4 2
  • 3. Four Goals of Research/Four ResearchDesigns1. Describe 1. Observational2. Predict 2. Correlational3. Understand 3. Experimental4. Create Change 4. Quasi- experimental 5Formulating a Research Question The research question: a very specific, narrowly focused question, often a piece carved out of a bigger topic. Consult the literature to see what aspects of the topic have already been researched. Carefully word the research question to be precise and concise. 6 3
  • 4. Choosing a Research Design The nature of the research question will determine the type of research “design” to use. A research “design” is a plan for answering a research question. 7 Research Key-Terms Research key-terms: knowledge, originality, and contribution Relation between the three research constituents: Original investigation Gaining knowledge Contribution into knowledge may leadTechnical Writing (CS212) 8 4
  • 5. Knowledge analyze Data Information what? ability to practice Knowledge Wisdom how?Technical Writing (CS212) 9 Originality Exploring the unknown Exploring the unanticipated The use of dataTechnical Writing (CS212) 10 5
  • 6. Research Process Views Sequential – a series of activities performed one after another: 1. Select a research topic; 2. Decide on an approach; 3. Plan how you will perform the research; 4. Gather data and information; 5. Identify the broad area of study; 6. Analyze and interpret these data; 7. Present the results and findings;Technical Writing (CS212) 11 Research Process Views (cont…) Generalized – identical to the sequential process but not all stages are necessarily applicable. Circulatory – part of a continuous cycle of discovery and investigation. Evolutionary – research must evolve and change over time, not necessarily following a defined circulatory pattern or repeating the same forms of analysis and interpretation.Technical Writing (CS212) 12 6
  • 7. Reasoning Methods Deductive reasoning – top-down approach directed from the more general to the more specific.Technical Writing (CS212) 13 Reasoning Methods (cont…) Inductive reasoning – bottom-up approach directed from the more specific to the more general.Technical Writing (CS212) 14 7
  • 8. A Theory Theory is a set of ideas, formally stated, that seeks to explain how an aspect of nature works. Research cannot prove a theory, only support it. Why is this so? 153 Functions of a Theory Research findings then reflect back upon the theory, supporting it or suggesting a need for modification. To EXPLAIN a phenomenon or aspect of behavior. To ORGANIZE existing knowledge about a phenomenon. To GENERATE HYPOTHESES (PREDICTIONS) about a phenomenon, to be tested through research. 16 8
  • 9. What is a “good” theory? One that is… Parsimonious Clear & precise Logical Generates hypotheses for research 17Does All Research Test a Theory? Not necessarily: Most published research reports are not tests of a particular theory. Researchers do attempt to refer to and include theories in their write-up. 18 9
  • 10. Predicting An Outcome Not only does the researcher have to commit to a very specific question, he/she may have to commit to a predicted outcome for your study. This prediction is the research hypothesis. Research that is purely descriptive doesn’t need to state an hypothesis. 19The Research Hypothesis An hypothesis is a formal prediction of the study’s outcome (what will be found). It is an educated guess, based one or more of the following: Particular Knowledge Area Theories Researcher’s observations Previous published research 20 10
  • 11. Proceeding to Test the Hypothesis Proceeding to Test the Hypothesis means answering the research question Concepts must be defined in terms that are observable and measurable. This function is achieved through creating operational definitions for the concepts. 21Operational Definitions An operational definition transforms an abstract concept into something measurable, like scores on a test. How many operational definitions exist for a single concept? 22 11
  • 12. Variables A variable is: an aspect of reality that varies in its value or dimension – (either naturally or because the researcher caused it to vary.) Concrete variables: language aspect, duration (time) to finish the project, number of the research group, etc. Abstract variables: anxiety, motivation, communication style Operational definitions of concepts give the researchers the variables for the study. 23Two Types of VariablesResearchers work with variables in2 different ways:1. Variables can be measured.2. Variables can be manipulated (experimental designs only). 24 12
  • 13. Independent & Dependent Variables Independent Variable: a variable that is manipulated in an experiment to provide participants with different experiences. (Not all designs use independent variables) Dependent Variable: a variable that is measured in an experiment in order to see any effects of the independent variable. 25Reference Mohammad Alsuraihi, Technical Writing, CS212 Course notes, Taibah University, Madinah, KSA Abdisalam Issa-Salwe, Teaching Notes, College of Computer Science and Engineering, Taibah University, Madinah, KSA. 26 13