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Understanding Research Methods
Transcript of Understanding Research Methods
& Lourdes Mata
, design by Kip Austin Hinton
Understanding Research Methods
Purpose of experiments is to estimate the extent to which the independent variables cause change in the dependent variables.
Independent variable- is a stimulus or input variable;
- giving a drug to some participants while giving a placebo to others
- providing computers to some students but not others
- group counseling vs. individual counseling
- in experiments are physically manipulated, that is, to physically administer treatments
- in nonexperiments independent variables are observed
Ex. observing health of smokers
Also known as the response, or outcome variable.
Example with two independent variables:
Providing free childcare or not;
Providing transportation money or not
Both childcare and transportation
Childcare but not transportation
No childcare but transportation
No childcare and no transportation
8. A teacher showed an educational film on daily nutrition needs to one group of students and gave a handout on the same material to another group. The purpose was to determine which method of instruction was more effective in increasing students’ knowledge of daily nutritional needs. In this experiment, what is the dependent variable?
9. In Question 8, what is the independent variable?
10. Name a variable that would be easy for a researcher to physically manipulate in an experiment. Then, name a variable that might be affected by manipulation.
11. Name a variable that you would be unwilling to physically manipulate due to ethical or legal concerns.
Hypothesis, Purpose, Questions
Research Hypothesis – prediction
Example 1- it is hypothesize that 1st grade girls have better reading comprehension than boys.
Experiment or Nonexperiment?
Two variables are:
Example 2- hypothesized children shown a video with mild violence will be more aggressive than those shown one with no violence
Experiment or Nonexperiment?
Independent variable = violence
Dependent variable = aggressiveness
Both examples have a directional hypothesis- researchers predict which group will be higher or have more of some attribute
Some research has
a nondirectional hypothesis.
child rearing practices of Tribe A are different than Tribe B
Researcher knows there’s a difference but does not predict the direction.
Instead, researchers state a research purpose.
To explore the differences in child-rearing between Tribe A and Tribe B
A research question can also be substituted for Nondirectional hypothesis in any type of study..
“ How do the child-rearing practices in Tribe A and Tribe B differ?” or
Only asks “Do they differ?”
Not as interesting
Only yes or no
Null Hypothesis - a statistical hypothesis, considered when analyzing results obtained from samples in quantitative research studies
9. Restate this hypothesis as a research purpose: “It is hypothesized that there is a difference in job satisfaction between those who receive regular feedback on their job performance and those who receive irregular feedback.”
10. Is the hypothesis in Question 9 “directional” or “nondirectional”? Explain.
11. Could an experiment be conducted to test the hypothesis in Question 9? Explain.
12. Restate the following hypothesis as research question: “It is hypothesized that those who exercise regularly and those who do not exercise regularly differ in other behaviors that affect health.”
Operational Definitions of Variables
Conceptual definitions- dictionary definition
ex. recite- “to repeat or speak aloud from or as from memory, especially in a
Operational definitions- redefining a variable in terms of physical steps
Treatments should be operationalized
Ex. verbal praise
Conditions when praise will be given
Ex. Spousal abuse
Without operational definition
Consumers will not know how to conduct program
8. Suppose you read a research report claiming that low-socioeconomic-status (SES) children have lower self-concepts than high-SES children do. In the report, the only definition of self-concept is “feeling good about oneself.” How much credence would you give the results in light of the definition? What additional information, if any, would you want about the definition if you were planning to replicate the study?
9. In a research report, job satisfaction is defined as “the number of times each participant said ‘yes’ to a set of questions such as ‘Do you look forward to going to work most mornings?’” Is this definition completely operational? If not, what is missing from the definition?
11. Write a highly operational definition of “success in college.”
Deals with numbers
Data can be measured
Length, ht., area, vol., time, temp. sound levels, age, members, etc.
(46 cm tables)
Deals with words
Data can be observed
Colors, textures, smells, tastes
(green, oak, tables)
About the Freshman Class
• friendly demeanors
• civic minded
• positive school spirit
• 672 students
• 394 girls, 278 boys
• 68% on honor roll
• 150 students accelerated in mathematics
Literature is reviewed (bases for planning the research)
Hypothesis is developed
Research is done to test the hypothesis.
Quality observations/informal interviews are conducted
Preliminary findings are used as a basis for planning what additional data to collect and how.
THEORY-Begins with a theory about the topic
HYPOTHESIS- Theory is narrowed down into
hypothesis that can be tested
OBSERVATION-Observations are collected to address the hypothesis
CONFIRMATION-Hypothesis is tested with specific data…(Confirms/does not confirm theory)
OBSERVATION-Begins with specific observation/measures
PATTERN- Detect patterns/regularities
TENT. HYPOTHESIS- Formulate tentative hypothesis that can be explored.
THEORY-General Conclusions or theories are developed
THE USE OF LITERATURE
Literature is used by both, quantitative and qualitative researchers.
Quantitative Researchers use literature as the basis for planning research
Qualitative Researchers do not use literature as the basis for planning research
The use of instruments
Quantitative-prefer those that produce data that can be easily reduced to numbers (structured questionnaires, interview schedules with objective formats, multiple choice questions)
Sample Quantitative Questions:
1. How many computers do you own?
More than two
2. How many computers do you wish you owned?
More than two
3. How do you feel about laptops?
The use of instruments
Qualitative-prefer those instruments that yield words that are not easily reduced to numbers. (Unstructured interviews or direct, unstructured observations.)
Sample Qualitative Questions:
1. What is your favorite internet page?
2. What is the most awesome thing about owning a computer?
3. How can computers be improved?
Quantitative: Researchers tend to select LARGE samples. They are able to work with large samples because large, anonymous questionnaires are easy to administer in a short amount of time.
Qualitative: Qualitative researchers tend to use Smaller samples because of the of the amount of time required to use their instruments. (Extended, in depth, one-on-one interviews, extensive observations.)
Quantitative researchers prefer to select a random sample.
Qualitative researchers prefer to select purposive sample.
Quantitative researchers seldom make adjustments/changes to instruments.
Qualitative researchers are open to the possibility of adjustments/changes to instruments.
Quantitative researchers emphasize objectivity.
Qualitative researches emphasize subjectivity.
Quantitative: Summarize responses with statistics and seldom report on the actual responses. They tend to generalize the results.
Qualitative: Cite individuals’ responses. Limit conclusions to only the individuals who were directly studied.
9. In general, are you more likely to believe research that are presented as themes and trends expressed in words OR results described with statistics? Explain.
10. Do you believe that both qualitative and quantitative research have valuable roles in advancing knowledge in your field of study? Why? Why not?
Some questions lend themselves more to the quantitative than to the qualitative approach.
Quantitative: “What proportion of students are benefiting from power points in my classroom?”
Qualitative: "Which teaching method is more suitable for my students?”
Quantitative vs. Qualitative, part 2
When little is know about a subject, it is best to use qualitative research.
Qualitative research results may be tested with quantitative research.
Qualitative research should be favored when dealing with a closed or secretive culture.
Quantitative researchers spend less time interacting with participants.
Availability of money, time,, participants?
Each approach contributes a different type of information.
Researchers sometimes use a blend of the two.
8. Suppose the team of researchers wants to identify the characteristics of professors whom students perceive as being excellent. Would you advise them to conduct “Qualitative” or “Quantitative” research? Why?
9. Name a problem in your field of study that would probably lend itself more to the quantitative than the qualitative approach.
An "instrument" is anything which measures or gathers data.
" means you express a concept is a way that can be measured -- a way that can be used to "operate" variables.
Qualitative studies often use a research question.
A research question allows the process to be more open -- focused on the unknown, without specific expectations.