Programme: appropriate research methodology.The construction of a research

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Last updated: September 22, 2019


J. SHIVARAMAiTable of Contents:S. No. Title of Descriptions Page No.1 Introduction 12 Data Collection 1-22.1 Methods of Data Collection 2-32.2 Tools of Data Collection 33 Questionnaire 3-43.1Prerequisites For Designed AQuestionnaire4-53.

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2 Advantages of Questionnaire 53.3 Disadvantages of Questionnaire 63.4 Types of Questionnaire 6-73.5 Aspects of Questionnaire 74 Observation 7-84.1 Types of Observation 84.2 Advantages of Obervation 94.3 Disadvantages of Obervation 94.4 Problems with Using Obervation 105 Conclusion 106 References 11ii1.

INTRODUCTION:Data refers to the kinds of information researchers obtain on the subjects of theirresearch. Instrumentation refers to the entire process of collecting data in a researchinvestigation.(Sehgal, 1998)There are many ways to collect data.

For example, if we wanted to measure behaviorin children, we could collect data with observing them with our eyes, by surveyingparents and teachers, by interviewing parents and teachers, or by administering anaggression scale to children. However, these examples describe several differentmethods that can be used to collect data. A researcher should be prepared for apresupposes the careful choice and design of appropriate research methodology.The construction of a research instrument is the most important aspect of anyresearch endeavor as it determines the nature and quality of the information.

This isthe input of researchers study and the output, the relevance, and accuracy of yourconclusions is entirely dependent upon it. A research instrument in quantitativeresearch must be developed in light of the objectives of their study.(C. A. Asante)2. DATA COLLECTION:Data is an essential ingredient for any research.

No research can be carried outwithout data. Research is a means to resolve problems and to resolve a problem itmust be understood. The required data for library research can be collected fromvarieties of sources such as books, periodicals, letters etc.and it should be completeand accurate.(R. Kumbhar, 2014)In other way, data collection is the process of gathering and measuring informationon targeted variables in an established systematic fashion, which then enables one toanswer relevant questions and evaluate outcomes.

While deciding about the methodof data collection for research, the researcher should keep in mind two types of data,primary and secondary. The primary data are collected afresh and first time, and thushappen to be original in character. Interviewing, observation and the use ofquestionnaires comes under primary data. The secondary data are already collectedby someone else and which have already been passed through the statistical process.(P. S.

Daniel)The researcher would have to decide which sort of data he/she would be using fortheir research and accordingly they will have to select one or the other method of datacollection.1Basically a researcher follow five stages for collecting right data,Stage 1- Identifies research problem and explains the rationality for selecting thespecific research problem; formulates objectives and hypotheses.Stage 2- Prepares research proposal/synopsis.Stage 3- Selects samples.Stage 4- Selects research method and data collection tools.Stage 5- In this stage researcher collects the data required for research.(RajendraKumbhar, 2014)Any research begins with certain questions, which need to be answered.

Datacollection is the process of gathering the desirable information carefully, with leastpossible distortion, so that the analysis may provide answers that are credible andstand to logic (Sapsford & Jupp, 2006).2.1 METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION:Most methods of data collection can be used in both qualitative and quantitativeresearch and it is different for different types of research. The classification of amethod into the quantitative or qualitative category depends upon some answers tothe following questions:• How was the information collected?• Were the questions or issues developed during data collection?• How was the information you gathered recorded?• How was the information analyzed?• How do you propose to communicate the findings?• Do you want to write in a descriptive or analytical manner?For example, if an observation is recorded in a narrative or descriptive format, itbecomes qualitative information, but if it is recorded in categorical form or on ascale, it will be classified as quantitative information. Descriptive responses obtainedin reply to open-ended questions are all qualitative but if the responses are numeralsthey will be considered quantitative. If a researcher develop categories and quantifythe categorization as a part of an analysis of descriptive responses to an open-endedquestion, it becomes a quantitative analysis. Data generated by focus groups, oralhistories, narratives, group interviews are always qualitative in nature.2Major approaches to information gathering There are two major approaches togathering information about a situation, person, problem or phenomenon.

In any research selecting a method of data collection, play an important role, aresearcher should know as much as possible about characteristics such as educationallevel, age structure, socioeconomic status and ethnic background. Some populations,for a number of reasons, may not feel either at ease with a particular method of datacollection or comfortable with expressing opinions in a questionnaire.Whatever method of data collection is used, make sure that respondents clearlyunderstand the purpose and relevance of the study. This is particularly importantwhen you use a questionnaire to collect data because in an interview situation youcan answer a respondent’s questions but in a questionnaire, you will not have thisopportunity.2.

2 TOOLS OF DATA COLLECTION:There are many tools for data collection in any research. These are:1. Questionnaires2. Observation3. Documents Review4. Interviews5. Focus Groups6. Case Studies, etc.

3. QUESTIONNAIRE:A questionnaire is widely used and useful instrument for collecting surveyinformation, providing structured, often numerical data. It was selected as a researchmethod for the thesis as it makes the quantification of information possible. It is awritten list of questions, the answers to which are recorded by respondents. In aquestionnaire, respondents read the questions, interpret what is expected and thenwrite down the answers. Nowadays it is easy to send the questionnaire by mail to therespondents who are expected to read and understand the questions and write downthe reply in the space meant for the purpose of the questionnaire itself.

(L. Cohen,2008)3In a questionnaire, a researcher should not ask a sensitive question that respondentsmay feel hesitant about answering, it should be prefaced by an interactive statementexplaining the relevance of the question. It is a good idea to use a different font forthese statements to distinguish them from the actual questions.

A researcher can be administering a questionnaire to obtain a captive audience likestudents in a classroom, people attending a function, participants in a programme orpeople assembled in one place. This ensures a very high response rate as you will findfew people refuse to participate in your study. Also, a researcher has personal contactwith the study population, they can explain the purpose, relevance, and importance ofthe study and can clarify any questions that respondents may have.The questionnaires methods of data collection is the ideal research tool. It verypopular method of data collection mainly in primary data.

It helps to get exactinformations in written format and free from the bias. “It is being adopted by privateindividuals, research workers, private and public organizations and even bygovernments. The respondents have to answer the questions on their own”(Kothari,2004).3.1 PREREQUISITES FOR DESIGNED QUESTIONNAIREBefore designing a questionnaire, a researcher should keep some importantconsiderations in mind for their research purposes. The following are someconsiderations:1. Always use simple and everyday language.

2. In a questionnaire always include questions that support the research.3. Provide clear directions and instructions on how to complete the questionnaire.4. Keep the format of the questionnaire neat and clear and include a briefcovering letter containing clear instructions on how to complete thequestionnaire.5. Keep all instructions simple and easy to understand.

6. To increase the response rate, the questionnaire should contain an element ofmotivation.7. The questions should be attractive and in a logical order.8.

Do not ask more than one question within a question.9. Avoid terms and concepts that are biased.410.Questionnaire items must reflect objectivity.

11.Questions should as far as possible ensure accurate feedback from therespondent.12.Avoid the use of unfamiliar abbreviations in questions.13.The pages of the questionnaire should be numbered clearly.

Before sending or distributing the questionnaires researcher need to decide what kindof information is required for the research topic. Before write it roughly, phrase andfinalized it. A researcher need to revised and re check the questions again and againbefore distributing the questionnaires.3.2 ADVANTAGES OF A QUESTIONNAIRE:A questionnaire has several advantages:1.

It is less expensive methods of data collection even when the universe is largeand is widely spread geographically..2. It provides greater anonymity.3. Administration is comparatively easy even when gathering data from largenumbers of people spread over wide geographic area.4.

Reduces chance of evaluator bias because the same questions are asked of allrespondents.5. Many people are familiar with this methods of data collection.6. Many people feel more comfortable responding to a questionnaire than othermethods of data collection.7.

Tabulation of closed-ended responses is an easy and straightforward process.8. Respondents have adequate time to give well thought out answers.9. Respondents, who are not easily approachable, can also be reachedconveniently.53.

3 DISADVANTAGES OF A QUESTIONNAIRE:A questionnaire has several disadvantages these disadvantages are:1. A questionnaire is that application is limited to a study population that can readand write.2.

Response rate is low.3. There is a self-selecting bias.

4. Opportunity to clarify issues is lacking.5. Mailed questionnaires are inappropriate when spontaneous responses arerequired, as a questionnaire gives respondents time to reflect before answering.6. The response to a question may be influenced by the response to otherquestions.7. Items may not have the same meaning to all respondents.

8. Size and diversity of sample will be limited by people’s ability to read.9. Given lack of contact with respondent, never know who really completed thesurvey.10.

Good survey questions are hard to write and they take considerable time todevelop.11.The control over questionnaire may be lost once it is sent.12.It is difficult to know whether willing respondents are truly representative.3.4 TYPES OF QUESTIONNAIRE:There are two forms of questions -1. Open ended questionnaire, and2.

Closed ended questionnaireIn an open-ended question the possible responses are not given. In a questionnaire,open-ended questions provide respondents with the opportunity to express themselvesfreely, resulting in a greater variety of information. Thus respondents are not’conditioned’ by having to select answers from a list. The disadvantage of free choiceis that, in a questionnaire, some respondents may not be able to express themselves,and so information can be lost.6In a closed ended question the possible answers are set out in the questionnaire orschedule and the respondent or the investigator ticks the category that best describesthe respondent’s answer. In a questionnaire, the given response pattern for a questioncould condition the thinking of respondents, and so the answers provided may nottruly reflect respondents’ opinions. The ease of answering a ready-made list ofresponses may create a tendency among some respondents to tick a category withoutthinking through the issue.(R.

Kumbhar, 2014)It is usually wise to provide a category ‘Other/please explain’ to accommodate anyresponse not listed.3.5 ASPECTS OF A QUESTIONNAIRE:A questionnaire is considered as the heart of any research operation, that’s why itshould be very carefully constructed. This fact requires a researcher to study the mainaspects of a questionnaire such as the general form, question sequence and questionformulation and wording.

There are three main aspects of a questionnaire which aresearcher should note:1. General form: The general form of a questionnaire is concerned that it can eitherbe structured or unstructured questionnaire. Structured questionnaires are thosequestionnaires in which concrete and pre-determined questions are definite.The form of the question may be either closed (i.e., of the type ‘yes’ or ‘no’) or open(i.

e., inviting free response) but should be stated in advance and researcher should notbe constructed during questioning. When in a questionnaire these characteristics arenot present then the questionnaire can be termed as the unstructured or non-structuredquestionnaire.

2. Question sequence: A researcher should pay attention to the question-sequence inpreparing the questionnaire in order to make the questionnaire effective and to ensurequality to the replies received. The opening questions should be generated humaninterest.3. Question formulation and wording: With regard to formulating and wording ofquestionnaire, the researcher should note that each question must be very clear forany sort of misunderstanding can do irreparable harm to a survey.4.

OBSERVATION:The observation comes from primary methods of data collection. The observationmethod is the most commonly used method in studies relating to behavioral sciences.It is a purposeful, systematic and selective way of watching and listening to aninteraction or phenomenon.7In summary, when a researcher is more interested in the behavior than in theperceptions of individuals, or when subjects are so involved in the interaction thatthey are unable to provide objective information about it, observation is the bestapproach to collect the required information. Observation is systematically planned,recorded and subjected to checks and controls on validity and reliability then itbecomes a scientific tool for data collection for the researcher.

It provides the real-time or direct information. “While using this method, theresearcher should keep in mind things like What should be observed? How should theobservations be recorded? Or how the accuracy of observation can beensured ?”(Kothari, 2004).In observation method, every research topic starts with observing the content andbasic fundamental of the issues.

By using observation, the difficult topic can beexcluded to avoid researcher in doing the inappropriate finding. It involves recordingan event based on the personality or behavior of those to be questioned and thoseinvolved in the process. Observation method can change according to the situationand mood of the person which can lead to different results and be found in theresearch. The different methods of observation are through participation with thetarget community like in a football game and non-participation method like observingothers movement.4.1 TYPES OF OBSERVATION:There are two types of observation:1.

participant observation;2. non-participant observation.Participant observation is when a researcher, participate in the activities of thegroup being observed in the same manner as its members, with or without theirknowing that they are being observed. For example, we might want to examine thereactions of the general population towards people in wheelchairs. we can study theirreactions by sitting in a wheelchair ourselves.

Non-participant observation, when a researcher, do not get involved in theactivities of the group but remain a passive observer, watching and listening to itsactivities and drawing conclusions from this. For example, you might want to studythe functions carried out by nurses in a hospital.As an observer, a researcher could watch, follow and record the activities as they areperformed.

After making a number of observations, a researcher could be drawn aconclusion about the functions nurses carry out in the hospital.84.2 ADVANTAGE OF OBSERVATION:• It get a spontaneous picture of life and person.• It has a tendency to supply naturalness and completeness of behaviour.• By the observation a researcher can collect data where and when an event oractivity is occurring.

• Does not rely on people’s willingness to provide information.• Directly see what people do rather than relying on what they say they do.• The researcher is enabled to record the natural behaviour of the group.

• The researcher can even gather information which could not easily be obtainedif researcher observes in a disinterested fashion.• The researcher can even verify the truth of statements made by informants inthe context of a questionnaire or a schedule.• Observation is more suitable for studing subject who are unable to articulatemeaningfully; e.g., studies of childern, animals, birds etc.

• It is easier to cunduct disguised observation studies than disguised questioning.4.3 DISADVANTAGE OF OBSERVATION:• Susceptible to observer bias.

• People usually perform better when they know that they are being observed.• Does not increase understanding of why people behave the way they do.• The observer may lose the objectivity to the extent he participates emotionally.• The problem of observation-control is not solved.• It may narrow-down the researcher’s range of experience.• It is an expensive method.

• The information provided by this method is very limited.94.4 PROBLEMS WITH USING OBSERVATION:Observation is a careful and systematic watching of facts as they occur in nature withregard to the cause and effect mutual relations. When participent or groups becomeaware that they are being observed, they may change their behaviour.

The changecould be positive or negative with respect to the situation – it may increase ordecrease, and it is known as the Hawthorne effect. In this situation the use ofobservation, what is observed may not represent their normal behaviour. There isalways the possibility of observer bias. Sometimes a researcher’s observation mayaffect behavior of participants.

An observation is not very useful measuring attitute,motivation, awareness or knowledge.(D. O.

R. Krishnaswami, 1996)5. CONCLUSION:The collection of the exact information or the data is an essential part of the research.The systematic methods can lead research to run in very systematic manner. The datacollection methods can guide the researcher to study and help to complete theresearch.There are various methods of data collection. There is a considerable overlap in themethods of data collection between quantitative and qualitative research studies.

Thechoice of a particular method of collecting data depends upon the purpose ofcollecting information. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages andeach is appropriate for certain situations. The choice of a particular method forcollecting data is important in itself for ensuring the quality of the information but nomethod of data collection will guarantee 100 percent accurate information. Thequality of a researcher information is dependent upon several methodological,situational and respondent-related factors.

In modern times, can be conducted in such a manner that the data are amenable toquantification and statistical treatment. Possibly, this is also the reason why casestudies are becoming popular day by day. Data collection is the most importantprocess for the formulation of topic for the study. It also needs a very thoroughplanning, determination, patience and lot more to be able to excel in everything andmaintain good relation with the target population. The main purposes for thecollection of data are documentation, discovery or finding and interpretation.106. REFERENCES:1. Ahuja, R.

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, & Harter, S. P. (1980). Research Methods in Librarianship. In Techniques andInterpretations. New York: Academic Press.

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L. (2000). Social Research Methods. In Qualitative and QuantitativeApproaches (4 ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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Research Methods in Social Sciences. In(6 ed., pp. 56-60). New York: Worth Publishers..13.

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