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Research methods

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Experimental Research Methods

Types of research
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Interviews are usually carried out in person i. It is important for interviewees to decide whether they are comfortable about inviting the researcher into their home and whether they have a room or area where they can speak freely without disturbing other members of the household. The interviewer which is not necessarily the researcher could adopt a formal or informal approach, either letting the interviewee speak freely about a particular issue or asking specific pre-determined questions.

This will have been decided in advance and depend on the approach used by the researchers. A semi-structured approach would enable the interviewee to speak relatively freely, at the same time allowing the researcher to ensure that certain issues were covered.

When conducting the interview, the researcher might have a check list or a form to record answers. This might even take the form of a questionnaire. Taking notes can interfere with the flow of the conversation, particularly in less structured interviews.

Also, it is difficult to pay attention to the non-verbal aspects of communication and to remember everything that was said and the way it was said. Consequently, it can be helpful for the researchers to have some kind of additional record of the interview such as an audio or video recording.

They should of course obtain permission before recording an interview. Case studies usually involve the detailed study of a particular case a person or small group. Various methods of data collection and analysis are used but this typically includes observation and interviews and may involve consulting other people and personal or public records.

The researchers may be interested in a particular phenomenon e. Case studies have a very narrow focus which results in detailed descriptive data which is unique to the case s studied. Nevertheless, it can be useful in clinical settings and may even challenge existing theories and practices in other domains. Studies which involve observing people can be divided into two main categories, namely participant observation and non-participant observation.

In participant observation studies, the researcher becomes or is already part of the group to be observed. This involves fitting in, gaining the trust of members of the group and at the same time remaining sufficiently detached as to be able to carry out the observation. The observations made might be based on what people do, the explanations they give for what they do, the roles they have, relationships amongst them and features of the situation in which they find themselves.

In non-participant observation studies, the researcher is not part of the group being studied. The researcher decides in advance precisely what kind of behaviour is relevant to the study and can be realistically and ethically observed. The observation can be carried out in a few different ways. For example, it could be continuous over a set period of time e. Observation does not only include noting what happened or was said but also the fact that a specific behaviour did not occur at the time of observation.

Observational trials study health issues in large groups of people but in natural settings. Longitudinal approaches examine the behaviour of a group of people over a fairly lengthy period of time e. In some cases, the researchers might monitor people when they are middle-aged and then again after 15 years and so on. The aim of such studies is usually to determine whether there is a link between one factor and another e.

The group of people involved in this kind of study is known as a cohort and they share a certain characteristic or experience within a defined period.

Within the cohort, there may be subgroups e. In some cases, rather than following a group of people from a specific point in time onwards, the researchers take a retrospective approach, working backwards as it were. They might ask participants to tell them about their past behaviour, diet or lifestyle e.

This is not always a reliable method and may be problematic as some people may forget, exaggerate or idealise their behaviour. For this reason, a prospective study is generally preferred if feasible although a retrospective pilot study preceding a prospective study may be helpful in focusing the study question and clarifying the hypothesis and feasibility of the latter Hess, The Delphi method was developed in the United States in the s and s in the military domain.

It has been considered particularly useful in helping researchers determine the range of opinions which exist on a particular subject, in investigating issues of policy or clinical relevance and in trying to come to a consensus on controversial issues.

The objectives can be roughly divided into those which aim to measure diversity and those which aim to reach consensus. There is no limit to the number of panellists involved but between 10 and 50 might be considered manageable. The panellists are chosen on the basis of their expertise which could take many forms e. Is Alzheimer's disease hereditary? Is there a test that can predict Alzheimer's disease? How is Alzheimer's disease diagnosed? This is before looking at the statistics required, and studying the preferred methods for the individual scientific discipline.

Every experimental design must make compromises and generalizations , so the researcher must try to minimize these, whilst remaining realistic. For biology, psychology and social sciences, there can be a huge variety of methods to choose from, and a researcher will have to justify their choice. The first method is the straightforward experiment, involving the standard practice of manipulating quantitative, independent variables to generate statistically analyzable data.

Generally, the system of scientific measurements is interval or ratio based. The researcher is accepting or refuting the null hypothesis. The results generated are analyzable and are used to test hypotheses , with statistics giving a clear and unambiguous picture. This research method is one of the most difficult, requiring rigorous design and a great deal of expense, especially for larger experiments.

The other problem, where real life organisms are used, is that taking something out of its natural environment can seriously affect its behavior. It is also the biggest drain on time and resources, and is often impossible to perform for some fields, because of ethical considerations. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a prime example of experimental research that was fixated on results, and failed to take into account moral considerations.

In other fields of study, which do not always have the luxury of definable and quantifiable variables - you need to use different research methods. These should attempt to fit all of the definitions of repeatability or falsifiability , although this is not always feasible. Opinion based research methods generally involve designing an experiment and collecting quantitative data.

For this type of research, the measurements are usually arbitrary, following the ordinal or interval type. Questionnaires are an effective way of quantifying data from a sample group, and testing emotions or preferences. This method is very cheap and easy, where budget is a problem, and gives an element of scale to opinion and emotion. These figures are arbitrary, but at least give a directional method of measuring intensity.

By definition, this experiment method must be used where emotions or behaviors are measured, as there is no other way of defining the variables. Whilst not as robust as experimental research , the methods can be replicated and the results falsified. Statistical methods are used extensively with in fields such as economics and commerce. In sum, the research using the normative approach conducts why may be called quantitative research as the inferences from it are largely based on quantitative data.

Moreover, objectivity is the primary guard so that the research may be replicated by others, if necessary. Qualitative research presents non-quantitative type of analysis. Qualitative research is collecting, analyzing and interpreting data by observing what people do and say. Qualitative research refers to the meanings, definitions, characteristics, symbols, metaphors, and description of things. Qualitative research is much more subjective and uses very different methods of collecting information,mainly individual, in-depth interviews and focus groups.

The nature of this type of research is exploratory and open ended. Small number of people are interviewed in depth and or a relatively small number of focus groups are conducted. Qualitative research can be further classified in the following type. A culture is the shared attributes, values, norms, practices, language, and material things of a group of people. In addition to the above, we also have the descriptive research.

Fundamental research, of which this is based on establishing various theories. From Wikibooks, open books for an open world.

Research Questions and Hypothesis.


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Opinion based research methods generally involve designing an experiment and collecting quantitative data. For this type of research, the measurements are usually arbitrary, following the ordinal or interval type.

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Types of Research Methods Adapted from Edvantia SBR Rating for Technical Assistance Programs and Services form () and Carter McNamara Overview of Methods to Collect Information handout.

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Research methods Types of research. The most straightforward type (the “one shot survey”) is administered to a sample of people at a set point in time. Another type is the “before and after survey” which people complete before a major event or experience and then again afterwards. Types of Research Methods According to Nature of the Study. Types of the research methods according to the nature of research can be divided into two groups: descriptive and analytical. Descriptive research usually involves surveys and studies that aim to identify the facts.

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Descriptive research methods are pretty much as they sound -- they describe situations. They do not make accurate predictions, and they do not determine cause and effect. There are three main types of descriptive methods: observational methods, case-study methods and survey methods. Qualitative research refers to the meanings, definitions, characteristics, symbols, metaphors, and description of things. Qualitative research is much more subjective and uses very different methods of collecting information,mainly individual, in-depth interviews and focus groups. The nature of this type of research is exploratory and open ended.