Research Methodologies


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Quantitative & Qualitative Methods in Research

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Research Methodologies

  1. 1. Seminário e Projecto em Software de Código Aberto Manuela Aparicio Carlos J. Costa Quantitative and Qualitative Reseach Methods Since 2009
  2. 2. Key Concepts (1/3) Research- refers to the activity of a diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation in an area, with the objective of discovering or revising facts, theories, applications Methodological Phases- is the all process of the research Method- represents the means, procedure or technique used to carry out some process in a logical, orderly, and systematic way. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 2
  3. 3. Key Concepts (2/3) (Method/Scientific Method) Method- In the context of a research project, a method refers to an organized approach to problem-solving that includes: (1) collecting data, (2) formulating a hypothesis or proposition, (3) testing the hypothesis, (4) interpreting results, (5) stating conclusions that can later be evaluated independently by others. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 3
  4. 4. Key Concepts (3/3) Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 4 Tools- are the various instruments that are used during the scientific method Techniques- are the various ways of undertaking data collection, interpreting data, and analyzing collected data Most methods have some common characteristics, including: – the existence of a problem that needs to be formulated, – aims and objectives to be met, – phase where the problem will be investigated
  5. 5. Actors Involved & Roles Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 5
  6. 6. Project Proposal Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 6
  7. 7. Quantitative versus Qualitative Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 7
  8. 8. Quantitative Methods The goal of quantitative research and methods is to develop models, theories, and hypotheses pertaining to natural phenomena. The quantitative aspect is to emphasize that measurement is fundamental since it gives the connection between observation and the formalization of the model, theory and hypothesis. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 8
  9. 9. Quantitative research methods - Quantitative research methods were originally developed in the natural sciences to study natural phenomena. - Examples of quantitative methods now well accepted in the social sciences include: – survey methods, – laboratory experiments, – formal methods (e.g. econometrics) and – numerical methods such as mathematical modeling. Straub, Gefen and Boudreau (2004). Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 9
  10. 10. Quantitative research methods - for qualitative research, the basic epistemological positions to choose from are threefold: – positivist, – interpretive, – or critical. - In the case of quantitative research, however, the interpretive and critical positions are not meaningful; only the positivist one is. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 10
  11. 11. Quantitative research methods Positivist Philosophy - At the heart of positivism is Karl Popper's dichotomous differentiation between "scientific" theories and "myth". - A scientific theory is a theory whose predictions can be empirically tested & verified - In theory, it is enough, for one observation that contradicts the prediction of a theory to falsify it and render it incorrect. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 11
  12. 12. Qualitative Methods Typically used in specific social contexts Qualitative research is often associated with fieldwork and analysis in a limited number of organisational settings Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 12
  13. 13. Qualitative research methods - Qualitative research methods were developed in the social sciences to enable researchers to study social and cultural phenomena. - Examples of qualitative methods – are action research, – case study research and – ethnography. - Qualitative data sources include – observation and participant observation (fieldwork), – interviews and questionnaires, – documents and texts, and – the researcher's impressions and reactions Myers (2009). Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 13
  14. 14. Qualitative research methods Philosophical Perspectives Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 14
  15. 15. Philosophical Perspectives - Positivists generally – assume that reality is objectively given and can be described by measurable properties which are independent of the observer (researcher) and his or her instruments. – generally attempt to test theory, in an attempt to increase the predictive understanding of phenomena. In line with this Orlikowski and Baroudi (1991) classified IS research as positivist if: – there was evidence of formal propositions, – quantifiable measures of variables, – hypothesis testing, – and the drawing of inferences about a phenomenon from the sample to a stated population. Examples of a positivist approach to qualitative research include Yin's (2002) and Benbasat et al's (1987) work on case study research. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 15
  16. 16. Philosophical Perspectives Interpretive researchers start out with the assumption that access to reality (given or socially constructed) is only through social constructions such as – language, – consciousness and – shared meanings. Interpretive research does not predefine dependent and independent variables, but focuses on the full complexity of human sense making as the situation emerges. Examples of an interpretive approach to qualitative research include Boland's (1991) and Walsham's (1993) work Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 16
  17. 17. Philosophical Perspectives - Critical researchers assume that social reality is historically constituted and that it is produced and reproduced by people. - Critical research focuses on the oppositions, conflicts and contradictions in contemporary society, and seeks to be emancipatory i.e. it should help to eliminate the causes of alienation and domination. - One of the best known exponents of contemporary critical social theory is Jurgen Habermas. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 17
  18. 18. Qualitative research methods The four research methods that will be discussed here are – action research, – case study research, – ethnography and – grounded theory Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 18
  19. 19. Qualitative research methods •Action research Action research aims to contribute both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate problematic situation and to the goals of social science by joint collaboration within a mutually acceptable ethical framework (Rapoport, 1970). Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 19
  20. 20. Qualitative research methods •Case Study - Case study research is the most common qualitative method used in information systems - A case study is an empirical inquiry that (Yin 2002): – investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when – the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident . - Is particularly well-suited to IS research, since the object of our discipline is the study of information systems in organizations, and "interest has shifted to organizational rather than technical issues" (Benbasat et al. 1987). - Can be positivist, interpretive, or critical, depending upon the underlying philosophical assumptions of the researcher. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 20
  21. 21. Qualitative research methods •Case Study - A case study project is undertaken as an in-depth exploration of a phenomenon in its natural setting – involves a limited number of cases, sometimes even a single case – suitable when there is a desire to understand and explain a phenomenon in a field which is not yet well understood – a case can be: ● an organisation, ● a department ● a group, ● an individual, ● any other “unit” Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 21
  22. 22. Qualitative research methods •Ethnography - Ethnographic research comes from the discipline of social and cultural anthropology where an ethnographer is required to spend a significant amount of time in the field. Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 22
  23. 23. Qualitative research methods •Case Study vs Ethnographic Research - In a case study, the primary source of data is interviews, supplemented by documentary evidence such as annual reports, minutes of meetings and so forth. In an ethnography, these data sources are supplemented by data collected through participant observation. - Ethnographies usually require the researcher to spend a long period of time in the “field” and emphasize detailed, observational evidence Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 23
  24. 24. Qualitative research methods •Grounded Theory - Grounded theory is a research method that seeks to develop theory that is grounded in data systematically gathered and analyzed. - The major difference between grounded theory and other methods is its specific approach to theory development - grounded theory suggests that there should be a continuous interplay between data collection and analysis. - Grounded theory approaches are becoming increasingly common in the IS research literature because the method is extremely useful in developing context-based, process-oriented descriptions and explanations of the phenomenon Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 24
  25. 25. Tipos de Investigação Adpatado (Patton, 1990) Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 25 Tipos de investigação Finalidade Foco da investigação Resultados desejados Nível de generalização Pressupostos Investigação Básica / Fundamental Conhecer, descobrir a verdade Questões fundamentais em qualquer disciplina Aumentar o conhecimento disponível; teorizar Idealmente no espaço e no tempo É possível conhecer, explicar e padronizar os fenómenos   Investigação aplicada Conhecer a natureza dos problemas humanos e da sociedade   Questões importantes para a sociedade Contribuir para teorias que visam solucionar problemas e intervir na sociedade   O mais possível no espaço e tempo, mas limitadas pelo contexto aplicacional Os problemas humanos e da sociedade podem ser resolvidos pelo conhecimento Investigação de avaliação Determinar a eficiência da intervenção humana (programas, política, produtos)   Objectivos da intervenção   Julgamento da intervenção, recomendações Limitado a intervenções com objectivos semelhantes O que é válido em determinadas circunstâncias específicas pode ser válido noutras Investigação Acção Resolução de problemas (organizações, comunidades) Problemas organizacionais e da comunidade Acção imediata; resolução rápida de problemas Aqui e agora As pessoas podem resolver problemas num contexto, estudando-os
  26. 26. Quantitative Research Methods Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 26
  27. 27. Quantitative, Positivist Research Methods in Information Systems - Is a set of methods and techniques that allow IS researchers to answer research questions about the interaction of humans and computers. - There are two cornerstones in this approach to research. – the emphasis on quantitative data. – the emphasis on positivist philosophy. Straub, Gefen and Boudreau (2004). Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 27
  28. 28. What it is Not Quantitative, Positivist Research Analytical Modeling (ex: of a user requirement information system needs-requirement specification) Design Research (ex: information system conceptual modeling) Qualitative Research Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 28
  29. 29. What it is Not Quantitative, Positivist Research: Analytical Modeling, Math or analytical modeling – This methodology models the "real world" and states the results as mathematical equations. – It is a closed deterministic system in which all of the independent and dependent variables are known and included in the model. – Intervening variables simply are not possible and no human subject is required – typically depends on mathematical derivations and assumptions. – Empirical data gathering or data exploration is part and parcel of QPR (Jenkins, 1985) Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 29
  30. 30. Quantitative, Positivist Research Methods Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 30 QPR Methods Non-QPR Methods Field experiment Math Modeling (analytical modeling) Lab experiment Group feedback Free simulation experiment Participative research Experimental simulation Case study Adaptive experiment Philosophical research Field study   Opinion research   Archival research  
  31. 31. Quantitative, Positivist Research Methods Type of Research, General Research Approaches, Data Collection Techniques, & Data Analysis Techniques Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 31
  32. 32. Design Research Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 32
  33. 33. Design research - Design research involves the analysis of the use and performance of designed artifacts to understand, explain and very frequently to improve on the behavior of aspects of Information Systems. - Such artifacts include (but certainly are not limited to): – algorithms (e.g. for information retrieval), – human/computer interfaces and – system design methodologies or languages. Vaishnavi and Kuechler (2004) Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 33
  34. 34. Design research - Research can be very generally defined as an activity that contributes to the understanding of a phenomenon. - In the case of design research, all or part of the phenomenon may be created as opposed to naturally occurring. Vaishnavi and Kuechler (2004), Kuhn (1996) Lakatos (1978), Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 34
  35. 35. Design research - Design means "to invent and bring into being" Thus, design deals with creating something new that does not exist in nature. - The design of artifacts is an activity that has been carried out for centuries. - This activity is also what distinguishes the professions from the sciences. - "Schools of architecture, business, education, law, and medicine, are all centrally concerned with the process of design" (Simon, 1996) Vaishnavi and Kuechler (2004) Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 35
  36. 36. Can Design Be Research - Can design (i.e. artifact construction) ever be considered an appropriate technique for conducting research into Information Systems? - Discussion... See Vaishnavi and Kuechler (2004) Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 36
  37. 37. The Outputs of Design Research Vaishnavi and Kuechler (2004) Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 37 1 Constructs The conceptual vocabulary of a domain 2 Models A set of propositions or statements expressing relationships between constructs 3 Methods A set of steps used to perform a task – how-to knowledge 4 Instantiations The operationalization of constructs, models and methods. 5 Better theories Artifact construction as analogous to experimental natural science
  38. 38. The Outputs of Design Research Vaishnavi and Kuechler (2004) Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 38
  39. 39. Design Research Perspectives and Outputs by Community Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 39 Community Perspective Knowledge Derived HCI; IS CORE; Decision science Artifact as experimental apparatus What database visualization interfaces reveal about the cognition of complex data relationships Database; Decision science Software engineering Artifact as focused design principle exploration Principles for the construction of data visualization interfaces Database; Software engineering Artifact as improved instance of tool. A better data visualization interface for relational, business oriented databases.
  40. 40. Design vs. Positivist and Interepretative Perspectives Manuela Aparicio & Carlos J. Costa 40