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Answer to Assignment 2

If you feel that any of the investigation carried out by the various groups conforms
to the criteria of a ‘scientific’ research, then they would be doing scientific
investigation. It is possible that a researcher in a research agency may do a poor
research, whereas a graduate student may carry out an excellent research. The
criteria to determine whether the research is ‘good’ is the research meet the criteria
of testability, replicability, accuracy and precision, generalizability, objectivity, and
parsimony.

Research organizations and agencies, research being the purpose of the org,
normally would have sufficient funding (though not unlimited) to conduct basic and
applied research which meet the scientific criteria in terms of data requirement,
sampling design, and data analysis.

Most professors in universities and colleges have research training and experience
to conduct scientific studies, but their research are usually constrained by budget
limitation, and other resources compared to the research organizations. The
limitation on the resources will usually force the professors to compromise
somewhat on their methodological rigor (have to use smaller sample) which affects
the possibility of making generalization based on the finding. Still, the research
done by academicians are usually scientific.

Doctoral dissertations which are supervised and guided must be done using
scientific approach in order to contribute to existing knowledge or may provide
valuable information to solve problems. Work from theses and dissertation are
usually publishable as journal articles, some are turned into books because of the
contributions to knowledge.

The purpose of asking students to do term papers and PTAs is mainly as training on
how to integrate materials and communicate the ideas in written form. Some of the
students research projects are of good quality and with some corrections or
modifications could be turned in publishable articles; these meet the scientific
criteria.

Newspaper reporters and journalists may use extensive primary or secondary data
but their investigations are confined to a narrow range of incidents, events, or
individuals which could be used to make generalization to other times or other
events or other individuals. So the work done by these groups can not be termed
scientific investigations. Some newspaper articles that are written based on data
that have been collected using acceptable technique and analyzed and produce
valid conclusions can be used as secondary data by other researchers. This may be
considered as scientific investigation.

Lawyers and doctors usually do investigations which are confined to single cases,
incidences, or individuals; these cannot be termed as scientific even if they are
useful. But if the these professionals carry out the investigations using methods that
are ‘scientific’ and the findings could be tested, replicated, generalized, accurate
and precise, objective and parsimony, these can be scientific. Compared to
researchers in universities and research organizations, investigations by
practitioners are less scientific in terms of rigor and generalizability.