Introduction to Research

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Last updated: May 20, 2019
Research
A process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue.
Scientific Method
·         Identify a problem that defines the goal of research·         Make a prediction that, if confirmed, resolves the problem·         Gather data relevant to this prediction

  

  • Analyze and interpret data to see if it supports prediction and resolves question that initiated the research
Process of research
·         Identifying a research problem·         Reviewing the literature·         Specifying a purpose for research·         Collecting data·         Analyzing and interpreting data

 

  • Reporting and evaluating research
Quantitative Research
A type of educational research:·         researcher decides what to study; ·         asks specific , narrow questions; ·         collects quantifiable data from participants;·          analyzes these numbers using statistics,

 

  • conducts the inquiry in an unbiased, objective matter.

Qualitative Research
A type of educational research:·         researcher relies on views of participants·         describes and analyzes these words for themes

 

  • conducts inquiry in a subjective, biased manner
Research problems
The educational issues, controversies, or concerns that guide the need for conducting a study.
Statement of problem
  • Includes actual research problem and 4 aspects:·         the topic·         the research problem·         justification of the importance of problem as found in past research and practice·         deficiencies in our existing knowledge about the problem

  audiences that will benefit from a study of the problem

Audience
*in statement of the problem

  *Individuals and groups who will read and potentially benefit from the information provided in your research study.

Literature review
A written summary of journal articles, books, and other documents that describes the past and current state of information***It organizes literature into topics

 ***documents a need for a proposed study

Primary Source literature
Literature reported by the individual(s) who actually conducted the research or who originated the ideas.
Secondary source literature
Literature that summarizes primary sources. (handbooks, encyclopedias, summarized research, etc.)
Purpose Statement
Statement that advances the overall direction or focus for the study.
Research questions
Questions in quantitative or qualitative research that narrow the purpose statement to specific questions that researchers seek to answer.
Hypotheses
Statements in quantitative research in which the investigator makes a prediction or a conjecture about the outcome of a relationship among attributes or characteristics.

Variable
A characteristic or attribute of an individual or an organization that researchers can:·         measure or observe

 varies among individuals or organizations studied.

Dependent Variables
An attribute or characteristic that is dependent on or influenced by the independent variable.
Independent Variable
An attribute or characteristic that influences or affects an outcome or dependent variable.
Null Hypotheses
Make predictions that of all possible people whom researchers might study, there is no relationship between independent and dependent variables or no difference between groups of an independent variable or a dependent variable.
Central Phenomenon
The concept or a process explored in qualitative research.  

 The central component of both purpose statement and research question.

Representative (sampling)
The selection of individuals from a sample of a population such that the individuals selected are typical of the population under study
Population
A group of individuals who have the same characteristic.
Target Population
A group of individuals with some common defining characteristic that the researcher can identify and study.

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Sample
A subgroup of the target population that the researcher plans to study for generalizing about the target population.
Simple Random Sampling
The researcher selects participants for the sample so that any researcher selects participants (or units such as schools) for the sample so that any individual has an equal probability of being selected from the population.
Systemic Sampling
You choose every nth individual or site in the population until you reach your desired sample size.  Not as precise but more convenient.
Stratified Sampling
Researchers divide the population on some specific characteristic and then using simple random sampling, sample from each subgroup of the population. 

 **this guarantees that the sample will include specific characteristics that the researcher wants included in the sampling.

Convenience Sampling
The researcher selects participants because they are willing and available to be studied.  (individuals are not truly representative of the population)
Snowball Sampling
The researcher asks participants to identify others to become members of the sample. 
Sampling Error
Depends on sample estimate and population score.
Instrument
A tool that will measure your variables
Reliability
Scores from an instrument are stable and consistent.
Validity
An individual’s scores from an instrument make sense, are meaningful and enable you (as the researcher) to draw good conclusions from the samples you are studying to the population.
Nominal scales
Provide response options where participants check one or more categories that describe their traits, attributes, or characteristics.  These traits don’t have any order.

Interval Scales
Provide continuous response options to questions with assumed equal distances between options.  (strongly agree, agree, etc.)

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