2Methods of research Survey is a non-experimental, descriptive research method. Surveys can be useful when a researcher wants to collect data on phenomena that cannot be directly observed (such as opinions on library services). Surveys are used extensively in library and information science to assess attitudes and characteristics of a wide range of subjects, from the quality of user-system interfaces to library user reading habits. In a survey, researchers sample a population.Basha and Harter (1980) state that "a population is any set of persons or objects that possesses at least one common characteristic
3Con…Data are usually collected through the use of questionnaires, although sometimes researchers directly interview subjects. Surveys can use qualitative (e.g. ask open-ended questions) or quantitative (e.g. use forced-choice questions) measures. There are two basic types of surveys: cross-sectional surveys and longitudinal surveys.
4Con… Cross-Sectional Surveys Cross-sectional surveys are used to gather information on a population at a single point in time. An example of a cross sectional survey would be a questionaire that collects data on how parents feel about Internet filtering, as of March of A different cross-sectional survey questionnaire might try to determine the relationship between two factors, like religiousness of parents and views on Internet filtering
5Con… Longitudinal Surveys Longitudinal surveys gather data over a period of time. The researcher may then analyze changes in the population and attempt to describe and/or explain them. The three main types of longitudinal surveys are trend studies, cohort studies, and panel studies
6Con…Trend StudiesTrend studies focus on a particular population, which is sampled and scrutinized repeatedly. While samples are of the same population, they are typically not composed of the same people.An example of a trend study would be a yearly survey of librarians asking about the percentage of reference questions answered using the Internet.
7Con…Cohort StudiesCohort studies also focus on a particular population, sampled and studied more than once. But cohort studies have a different focus. For example, a sample of 1999 graduates of GSLIS at the University of Texas could be questioned regarding their attitudes toward paraprofessionals in libraries.
8Con…Panel StudiesPanel studies allow the researcher to find out why changes in the population are occurring, since they use the same sample of people every time. That sample is called a panel. A researcher could, for example, select a sample of UT graduate students, and ask them questions on their library usage. Every year thereafter, the researcher would contact the same people, and ask them similar questions, and ask them the reasons for any changes in their habits.
9Observation methodwe all need to observe human behaviour in our personal and professional lives, we are all familiar with the need to come to conclusions based on our observation, to generate explanations and understandings and even to come up with predictions.
10Con…Observational research (or field research) is a social research technique that involves the direct observation of phenomena in their natural setting. This differentiates it from experimental research in which a quasi-artificial environment is created to control for spurious factors, and where at least one of the variables is manipulated as part of the experiment.
11Con…Observational research tends to be less reliable but often more valid. The main advantage of observational research is flexibility. The researchers can change their approach as needed. Also it measures behavior directly, not reports of behavior or intentions.The main disadvantage is it is limited to behavioral variables. It cannot be used to study cognitive or affective variables. Another disadvantage is that observational data is not usually general
12Types Covert observational research The researchers do not identify themselves. Either they mix in with the subjects undetected, or they observe from a distance. The advantages of this approach are: (1) It is not necessary to get the subjects’ cooperation, and (2) The subjects’ behaviour will not be contaminated by the presence of the researcher. Some researchers have ethical misgivings with the deceit involved in this approach.
13Con… Overt observational research The researchers identify themselves as researchers and explain the purpose of their observations. The problem with this approach is subjects may modify their behaviour when they know they are being watched. They portray their “ideal self” rather than their true self. The advantage that the overt approach has over the covert approach is that there is no deception (Holigrocki, Kaminski, & Frieswyk, 1999, 2002).
14Con… Researcher Participation The researcher participates in what they are observing so as to get a finer appreciation of the phenomena.
15Case study method Researcher Robert K. Yin defines the case study research method as an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used (Yin, 1984, p. 23).A case study is an intensive analysis of an individual unit (e.g., a person, group, or event) stressing developmental factors in relation to context.
16Con…Case studies are analyses of persons, events, decisions, periods, projects, policies, institutions, or other systems that are studied holistically by one or more methods.The researcher may gain a sharpened understanding of why the instance happened as it did, and what might become important to look at more extensively in future research.
176 steps in case study Determine and define the research questions Select the cases and determine data gathering and analysis techniquesPrepare to collect the dataCollect data in the fieldEvaluate and analyze the dataPrepare the report
18Strengths Provides detailed (rich qualitative) information • Provides insight for further research• Permitting investigation of otherwise impractical (or unethical) situationsCase studies are often used in exploratory research. They can help us generate new ideas (that might be tested by other methods). They are an important way of illustrating theories and can help show how different aspects of a person's life are related to each other. The method is therefore important for psychologists who adopt a holistic point of view
19ApplicationYin (1994) presented at least four applications for a case study model:To explain complex causal links in real-life interventionsTo describe the real-life context in which the intervention has occurredTo describe the intervention itselfTo explore those situations in which the intervention being evaluated has no clear set of outcomes
20MisconceptionsFlyvbjerg identified five common misunderstandings about case-study research:General, theoretical knowledge is more valuable than concrete, practical knowledge.One cannot generalize on the basis of an individual case and, therefore, the case study cannot contribute to scientific development.The case study is most useful for generating hypotheses, whereas other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building.The case study contains a bias toward verification, i.e., a tendency to confirm the researcher’s preconceived notions.It is often difficult to summarize and develop general propositions and theories on the basis of specific case studies.