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2013_session3_ Tasks to Methods_ Which way forward?_MA/MSc and MDes

This discussion aims to move the student from data requirements for research into a methods discussion.

Karen Bull

on 23 October 2014

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Transcript of 2013_session3_ Tasks to Methods_ Which way forward?_MA/MSc and MDes

Tasks to methods

It is important to indicate the structure of each of your research activities. Provide an outline of the following information in relation to each empirical research activity. (These will be written as short reports in your Appendices)

Empirical Research: Title

1.1Research Aim:
Aim of research activity and relevance to the project as a whole

1.2 Research Objectives:
What you want to find out

1.3 Method: How you intend to get the information

1.4 Tools: What tools such as questionnaire, interview structure,
focus group prompts & props. Perhaps including one completed
as an example.

1.5 Ethical Risk Assessment:
Explanation of any ethical risk factors e.g. risk to yourself or to others.

1.6 Results:
Expected results and how you might present frame them e.g.Graphs, Charts, Diagrams

1.7 Data Analysis:
How you plan to analyse results.

1.8 Conclusions:
How the outcomes of your research should inform a design specification, guideline, manifesto, design tool or other outcome.

If your research requires you to write questions for use by a participant/respondent consider the following:

•What is the goal of the question?
•What answer do you expect to get?
•Don’t have too many questions?
•Can the questions be answered in a set time period (specify time to participants)
How do they link to the others?
•Are the questions clear and specific?
•Is language and terminology appropriate to the participants?
•Should the question be written as an open, closed or prompt
•What form do you want the results in (numbers – for quantitative analysis, words or images for qualitative analysis) This will determine the question type e.g. open, closed etc.) so that you can ‘work’ the data later?

Writing a rationale/ (starts as a rationale and then can be formed into an abstract or research summary)

It will be very helpful to begin to write a rationale to support your design project. A good research rationale can be used as:

• a communication document to a participant in your research or your tutor
• as a way of understanding your own research goals, objectives, methods and how they inform a set of conclusions
• a development tool which through rewriting can be used to help develop your argument
• as the basis of your written summary/abstract that has to be included in your assignment

At rationale should be no more than about 300 words or one side of A4. Start it as a word file that you can update and revise throughout the project. As you gain more knowledge rewrite with this new understanding. You can start with bullet points or a free-writing approach e.g. continuous stream of thought.
Keep on writing your rationale?
The term 'pilot studies' refers to mini versions of a full-scale study (also called 'feasibility' studies), as well as the specific pre-testing of a particular research instrument such as a questionnaire or interview schedule.

Pilot studies are a crucial element of a good study design.
Pilot studies may influence the design and implementation of a study.

A pilot study is the pre-testing or 'trying out' of a particular research instrument and is useful for the following reasons:

- Developing and testing research tools
- Assessing the feasibility of a full study
- Designing a research protocol
- Assessing whether the research protocol is realistic and workable
- Establishing whether the sampling frame and technique are effective
- Identifying logistical problems which might occur using proposed methods
- Estimating variability in outcomes to help determining sample size
- Collecting preliminary data
- Assessing the proposed data analysis techniques to uncover potential problems
- Developing a research question and research plan
How do you order and select what is valuable?It is best to develop a personal strategy for organising information that fits your own style of working
Find a way to maintain an overview of your research
Regularly write up your progress
Keep track of targets and your achievements against them
A good technique is to make information maps – map out emerging ideas, connect them together and think about what is missing or what ideas are being generated from the data.

Data management is essential to conducting responsible research
Before starting a research project it is good practice to consider how you will organise your data in order to:

• Ensure research integrity
• Ensure data and records are accurate, complete, authentic and reliable
• Increase your research efficiency
• Save time and resources in the long run
• Minimise the risk of data loss
• To create an effective archive of your data and associated processes
• To minimise security of lost information and ensure anonymity of participants
How are you going to practically deal with your research?
• Prepare a list of the tasks you need to complete each day/week
• Prioritise – list and then tackle the tasks in order of importance
• Work out a time plan that shows deadlines, interim and actual, tasks and preparation time built in
• Set sensible targets – think through the tasks and be realistic about what can be achieved.
When proposing a a literature review or a review of published data then you will be required to show a similar structure.

Primary and Secondary Research: Title

1.2Research Aim:
Aim of research activity and relevance to the project as a whole

1.2 Research Objectives:
What you want to find out

1.3 Method:
How you intend to get the information

1.4 Sources: What sources you expect to consult e.g. papers, journals, internet, marketing statistics etc.

1.5 Results:
Expected results and how you might present frame them e.g.Graphs, Charts, Diagrams

1.6 Data Analysis:
How you plan to analyse results. E.g. a coded analysis of the text.

1.7 Conclusions:
How the outcomes of your research should inform a design specification, guideline, manifesto, design tool or other outcome.
What to do with data
Sort – what have you got and what its for?
Order – code/label/theme – how does data relate to tasks and objectives
Prioritise – what is the importance of information
Reflect – write about data as you collect it – observe connections?
Conclude – what discoveries have you made.
Do you need more work?
what have you learn't?
was it what you expected?
are there alternative explanations?
what were the key themes?
what patterns emerged?
what does it all mean?
are there any gaps?
doing research
Define your methods
The strength of your research
(rigour, reliability, validity and value) is dependent on the good design of your research methods. The three core aspects to consider are:
•What data is needed (type)
•Why will it be useful – what do you expect from the data? (overall aim for collecting it)
•Where will the data be found (where/who will the data be extracted from)
•How will the data be collected (interview, focus group, survey etc)
•How long do you think you need to organise your research (e.g. get printouts, write questions, send out questionnaires)
•How would you ensure that the results would be impartial/not biased by opinion
•Will this require ethical approval
•What would be a sensible timescale for planning and implementing the task?
•How will data be recorded (physical, digital, audio, video etc)
•How will data be analysed (how will it be coded/sorted/interpreted)
Managing your time
Have good questions
What do you like to eat? (open)
Which fruit do you purchase for packed lunches? (closed – but limited choices)
Do you prefer apples or pears? (closed)
Fruit in lunch diet (prompt)
Be mindful of how the research will inform the bigger picture. e.g. will you need to do any joining up of different data to conduct a ‘meta’ analysis or ‘triangulation’ of your results for a particular objective or purpose.
Project management timescale, resources, review dates
Critical engagement with your methodology
creative writing up as you go
design of your data-gathering instruments and approaches
Why manage research data?
Present your methodology
Deconstructing data
A rationale should include key references and a reference list at the back – use the CU Harvard style. It can be either a free-flowing text or broken down under key headings but it should include:

• Project context: e.g. why the project is relevant, needed, important, current, of value.
• Overall aim
• Key objectives
• Research methods (design and implementation)
• Key findings from each research activity
• Limitations and known issues relating to research e.g. time, expected bias, limited information accessibility.
• Conclusions drawn from the study
• How the study is/has informed an outcome e.g. a specification, guideline or philosophy
Get someone to proofread. Spend time revising and editing. Use the spell and grammar check.
What is the expected outcome and how is it relevant or valuable e.g. a particular design focus within a specification, guideline or philosophy
Why do a pilot study?
Writing exercise: in a short sentence
What is your research question
Explain the value/relevance of your project
What are your objectives
Explain Research methodology and methods (design of whole strategy and each key activity)
What are your expected findings from each research activity
Discuss limitations and known issues relating to research e.g. time, expected bias, limited information accessibility
Planning your research
You have just drafted your first version of your rationale - just needs editing, linking and developing as you become more informed about your research!
Reflection should not be underestimated. It is often where the Eureka moment occurs - transformation of knowledge happens often when you step back and change your activities

Take a moment to relax after the main effort
Look at things afresh after an activity like sport or playing music
Get a friend to make observations about your data and discuss it with them
Let the subconscious do some work

Reflection is associated with the 'incubation stage' of the creative cycle

Alex Osborne, creative expert and adverstising specialist said:
‘I lie like a wet leaf on a log of wood and allow the current to carry me where it will.’

‘When I am thus involved in doing nothing, I receive a constant stream of telegrams from my subconscious.’ He feels that he has done his best work when he has really been doing nothing.
Incubation and reflection
case study

appendices: small 'numbered' summaries of supporting evidence, research method write ups, charts, diagrams, tables, transcripts, examples, mind maps etc.
introducing the submission structure
MDes: 1,000 plus appendices sections

MA/MSc 8,000 or 6,000 approx plus appendices sections

Session 3:
Getting ready for discovery

can you tell what it is yet?
for MA/MS written work will be defined as a research report
Online submission via TurnItIn
Example Research Posters:
Narrative/story is clear
Data is organised and visually presented
Connections between research and outcomes made clear.
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