Lecture 6: Research & Methodology

Methods

  • Specific tasks to be used in research
  • Examples: analysis of documents, participant observation, interview…

Methodology:

  • Systematically solve the research problem
  • Is the science of research
  • Includes the methods, but also the logic behind the method, the justification of a method for a specific research type, the justification of certain analysis

Categorisation of research

There are many ways of categorising  research:

  • By scope
  • By source
  • By location
  • By goal

Basic:

  • Search for elementary principles, without concrete need for application, solely for advancement of human knowledge
  • Is sometimes called blue sky research

Applied research:

  • Search for solutions to real problems by applying these elementary principles.

Research types by sources:

  • Primary research: results in original findings.
  • Secondary research: using other existing research to derive new findings.

Research types by location

  • Library research: analysis of literature.
  • Lab research: Conduct research under controlled conditions.
  • Field research: Conduct research in the real environment.

Research types by Goal:

Exploratory research: Identify new problems.

Constructive research: Fund solutions to a problem.

Empirical/Conceptual Research:

  • Conceptual research: Is related to abstract idea or theory. Used by philosophers. Or theoretical physicists.
  • Empirical research: Relies on experience or observation alone.

Analytical/Descriptive research:

  • Analytical research  Analyse existing facrs to make critical evaluation of material.
  • Descriptive research  Find a descriptive of the ”state of affairs” (social science).
  1. Also called ex post facto research.
  2. Researcher has no controll over variables.

The scientific Method:

  • Observe
  • Predict
  • Test
  • Generalise

Inductive Reasoning

  • From observation to proposition.
  • From the specific to the general.
  • Creates generalisation from individual observation.

Deductive Reasoning

  • From general to specific.
  • From abstract to concrete.
  • Uses general principles to deduct predictions of specific behaviour.

Research Models

  • Qualitative research: In humanities and social sciences, observing human behaviour without quantifying the results
  • Constructivist, Naturalistic, Interpretive, Post postitivist, Postmodern.

What is the relationship of the reseacher to the topic?

  • Quantitative researcher is independent from what is researched
  • Qualitative researcher interacts with what is being researched

Subtypes of Quantitive Research

  • Inferential approach: Surveys of a subset, then infer characteristics to whole population.
  • Experimental approach: Manipulate variables, apply control over research environment
  • Simulation approach: Construct artificial environment and study system under controlled conditions.

Qualitative Research Methodologies

Triangulation:

  • Inclusion of multiple sources and several analysis methods.

Grounded Theory:

  • Interpretive research
  • Inductive approach: Develops theory from interviews by finding patterns.
  • Starts with data (observations), without a hypothesis.

Basis of Scientific Method

  • Relies on empirical evidence/
  • Utilises relevant concepts
  • Is committed to only objective considerations
  • Ethical neutrality: Making only adequate

Important

  • Objective
  • Logical
  • Systematic
  • Free from personal bias or prejudice

Hypothesis

  • A hypothesis cannot be proven to be true.
  • One can only find evidence which supports the hypothesis but no evidence that proves it.
  • Alternative hypotheses may also be true and could also explain the results.
  • But the hypothesis can be disproved.

More research designs

Phenomenology:

  • Inductive reasoning through grounded theory in focus groups.
  • Information gained may be limited in transferability.

Ethnographic research:

  • Qualitative research, exploring culture phenomenon.

 

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