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Introduction

Unit 7: Research Skills

What is Research?

Researchis the application of the scientific method and a systematic process


of collecting and logically analyzing information (data)

Research may be defined as the systematic and objective analysis and


recording of controlled observations that may lead to the development of
generalizations, principles, or theories, resulting in prediction and possible
control of events
(Best and Kahn, 1998).

The main goal of research is the gathering and interpreting of information to


answer questions , in a systematic way
(Hyllegard, Mood, and Morrow, 1996).

What is Research?
Research is what we do when we have a question or a problem we
want to resolve
We may already think we know the answer to our question already

We may think the answer is obvious, common sense even


But until we have subjected our problem to rigorous scientific
scrutiny, our 'knowledge' remains little more than guesswork or at
best, intuition.

What is Research?
First priority is to formulate your question
Then figure out how you are going to answer
it
How have others answered it?
How does your proposal fit in with what others have
done?
How will you know when you have answered it?

Then you can present your answer

Research Methodology
Research Methods (Methodology)
the ways one collects and analyzes data
methods developed for acquiring trustworthy
knowledge via reliable and valid procedures

Classical scientific method


Observation of some phenomenon
Maybe systematic, occasional or accidental

Some idea of an explanation (hypothesis)


Induction, conjecture, intuition, guesswork
Usually informed by related work

Testing of the hypothesis


Test and revision cycle

Types of Research
Trochims Classifications
descriptive
e.g., percentage of regular exercisers

relational
e.g., link between age and exercise

causal
e.g., effect of behavior change intervention on exercise
participation

Types of Research
Other Common Classifications
basic vs. applied vs. evaluation
experimental vs. non-experimental
analytical vs. descriptive vs. experimental vs.
qualitative

Key Concepts and Issues in


Research

time in research
variables
types of relationships
hypotheses
types of data
fallacies
structure or research
deduction and induction
ethics
validity

Time in Research
cross-sectional vs. longitudinal
repeated measures

time series

Variables
variable
any observation that can take on different values

attribute
a specific value on a variable

Variable
Age
Gender or sex
Satisfaction

Attribute
18, 19, 20, etc...
Male, female
1 = very satisfied
2 = satisfied
3= somewhat satisfied
4 = not satisfied
5 = not satisfied at all

Types of Variables
independent variable (IV)
what you (or nature) manipulates in some way

dependent variable (DV)


what you presume to be influenced by the IV

Types of Relationships
correlational vs. causal relationships

variables perform in a
synchronized manner

one variable causes the other


variable

correlation does not imply causation!


(its necessary but not sufficient)

patterns of relationships
no relationship
positive relationship
negative relationship
curvilinear relationship