Describe the key elements of research methodology
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Task One. Describe the key elements of Research Methodology. There are many different ways of undertaking research and all involve the use of Primary and Secondary research. A key part of research is the primary research. This is research which is undertaken first hand. The researcher can carry out primary research in a number of ways which include: * Questionnaires * Interviews * Questions on message boards * Observations * Analysis of the text. The method or methods chosen for the research will depend on what the researcher thinks will generate the most useful information. The researcher will consider carefully what it is he/she hopes to gain from the primary research and the information needed for the project. It is also important to consider the time available and the limitations of completing the research. There are some things that should be done before beginning to do primary research: * Be realistic about the amount of information that can be collected. * Think about how it will fit in with the overall project. * Be prepared to follow up any requests for interviews/meetings with a telephone call. * Be prepared for the request to be turned down.
Multiple choice exams are an obvious example. You have to chose one answer from a number of examples. A variation is the "bipolar" question where the respondent must chose yes/no, true/false or agree/disagree. The benefits of there questions are ease, speed and concrete data which can be readily collated. * Probe questions - A probe or "follow-up" question goes beyond an initial answer to get more meaning, to clarify and to draw out and expand on the interviewee's point. A probe is often necessary to get beyond an initial superficial or opinionated response. Follow-up probes come quite naturally after a closed question. Probes can be taken by the interviewee as a sign that the interviewer is listening to what has been said, thinking it through and responding appropriately. Secondary Research: Another key element of research is the secondary the secondary research. This is research that other people have done that other researchers can use. The choice of secondary research available especially research can be found in the following places: * Books * The Internet * Magazines * Journals * Documentaries * Articles. Each source has its advantages and disadvantages.
The results section of research papers including quantitative data analysis often contains descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics include measures of central tendency, (averages; mean, median and mode) and measures of variability about the average (range and standard deviation) These all give the reader a picture of the data collected and used in the research project. Inferential statistics are the outcomes of statistical tests helping deductions to be made from the data collected, to test hypotheses and relating the findings to the sample or population. Qualitative Research: Qualitative research is often contrasted with quantitative research. In general terms quantitative research is concerned with understanding the meaning of human action from the perspective of those studied, whilst quantitative research seeks to establish and explain casual relationships among variables and predict future outcomes. Qualitative research is therefore less concerned with measurement and more concerned with evaluating qualities. For example an evaluation of patients perceptions of their health following different treatment regimes would focus on the patients subjective interpretations of their health. Qualitative research is not a single approach to research but includes a variety of different approaches which have in common their theoretical underpinning in interpretive methodologies. The data produced through qualitative research is usually textual data or visual data which can be analysed in a variety of ways.
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