Presentation on theme: "Research Methods Overview of two day program. 2 Research methods: Overview Designing the study Developing the project Methodology: conceptual matters."— Presentation transcript:
Research Methods Overview of two day program
2 Research methods: Overview Designing the study Developing the project Methodology: conceptual matters Collecting the data Ethics Analysing the data, reporting & final matters
3 Research methods: Overview The nuts and bolts of the process BUT What are you bolting together? The framework rests very much on the questions you considered with Lyn
4 Research methods: Overview Each session will consist of three components: ?Recounting episodes from the PNG project ?An analysis of the issues ?Small group work for you to reflect on your project
5 Research methods: Overview Big picture The fine detail will vary considerably between members of the group The following aspects will need to be dealt with and appear in your thesis, somewhere
6 Research methods: Overview Four critical and sometimes crippling, problems for many students: 1. Slow start with problem formation & / or literature review 2. Perfectionism
7 Research methods: Overview 3. Distractions from the main research focus: read all sorts of interesting material which at best is marginally related to main issue of project 4. Inadequate collection of data often due to poor planning: note taking, referencing of data, awareness of context of data, etc.
Research methods Designing the study
9 Research methods: Designing the study PNG ?
10 Research methods: Designing the study
11 Research methods: Designing the study The issue This the crucial matter The one that prevents most students progressing at a reasonable speed
12 Research methods: Designing the study What do you want to know? What do others know? What are you assuming What do you believe? The hegemony of the scientific paradigm and numbers?
13 Research methods: Designing the study What do you want to find out? You can use a concise issue statement or a general question. What will be new to whom?
14 Research methods: Designing the study New: creating new ideas ?Absolutely new: ideas, results, methodology ?Investigating something in a new context ?Progression of a theory to a new stage Central component of your program
15 Research methods: Designing the study Why will you spend 2-5 years of your life thinking about this? Why will anyone be interested in what you are doing, and where you get to? Often it is the former that is the crucial issue to ensure you complete.
16 Research methods: Designing the study Review in a small group the issue that you plan to base your dissertation on Try to articulate it to each other in one sentence. Why do you want to write on this?
Research Methods Developing the proposal
18 Research Methods: Developing the proposal PNG ?
19 Research Methods: Developing the proposal What have others said about the issue? Developing the literature review >Sequencing and/or overlapping >How much is enough? >Stating your road map >Linking paragraphs, sub sections, & sections >Summary paragraphs: where have we come from & where are we going
20 Research Methods: Developing the proposal The research questions emerge from the literature review They speak to key issues that the relevant academic community think are relevant, or They identify gaps in the literature
21 Research Methods: Developing the proposal Defining the central problem or issue prevents reading material of marginal relevance and taking extensive notes that purpose of which is not clear
22 Research Methods: Developing the proposal Why am I reading this? How does this relate to the main issue? Is this note I am making directly relate to a research question, which in turn relates to the main issue?
23 Research Methods: Developing the proposal You need to continually be asking >yourself >your supervisor >your buddy group am I still hitting the main issue with what I am doing here?
24 Research Methods: Developing the proposal The central research problem does not spontaneously emerge from your copious reading. Your literature review is driven by the research issue (and bit by bit) the subsidiary problems you have set out to focus on
25 Research Methods: Developing the proposal Pay close attention to the methodology, both instruments, procedures and stance, that authors use when reporting in journals These may well give you guidance on possible methodology approaches you may wish to adopt
26 Research Methods: Developing the proposal What questions can you ask? What questions should you ask? What questions are useful to ask in the context of doing a doctoral program?
27 Research methods: Developing the proposal Review in a small group possible research questions (3-4) that might emerge for you Are they linked to the main issue? Why these and not others?
Research methods Methodology: Conceptual issues
29 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues PNG ? Nogat!
30 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues Are you looking for: – a description, –the truth, –possibilities, –an explanation, …
31 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues Are you looking for: –Differences over time? –Differences between groups? –Differences from some defined standard? –What will the differences tell you? –Why are they important? –How will you decide whether such differences are important? –May be difference is irrelevant?
32 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues Is the data: –Reliable? –Valid? –Authentic? –Generalisable? –Robust? What do these terms mean in your context?
33 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues What will you do with the different data banks? Are you after triangulation? Are you wanting to layer the databanks? What’s common, what’s not? Does it matter?
34 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues PNG ? We didn’t pretend our findings would be objective and neutral. We attempted to find validation for our findings in that they seemed to be trustworthy in their own context and for people who should know.
35 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues We worked in the social world of dynamic change A world that was constructed in and through our and our colleagues discourse and actions, though our joint praxis
36 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues The validity arose from the cyclic layering of description, analysis and testing of possible explanations by reference again and again to the data and experience of members of the team –Read for yourselves Ken Smith may well differ (e reserve material)
37 Research methods: Methodology: Conceptual issues How will you interpret these terms? What is demanded by your issue? What will be the better way to think through your research questions? Listen carefully to what your colleagues suggest.
Research methods Collecting the data
39 Research methods: Collecting the data PNG ?
40 Research methods: Collecting the data Operationalising your research questions if needs be? –What data can be collected that will illuminate the question? Setting up the data collecting process –From who or what and why these? –With what? –How? –When? –Will it cost too much?
41 Research methods: Collecting the data Data collection techniques –surveys / questionnaires –focus groups –interviews (structured, semi structured, unstructured) –tests –document analysis –participant observation –journals
42 Research methods: Collecting the data Are you there? Do you make a difference? May be you are part of the data set?
43 Research methods: Collecting the data Do your research questions need tweaking? What type of data will help you to illuminate your questions? What data collection devices might give you data? What limitations do they have for your project?
Research methods Ethics
45 Research methods: Ethics PNG ?
46 Research methods: Ethics Ethics forms –available from At least two platforms to think about ethics; –the official one: read through the guidelines carefully do what they say you can submit the final form of interview questions, etc. later –the personnel one: do you feel comfortable with what you are doing?
47 Research methods: Ethics and other administrative matters What ethical issues may confront you with your project?
Research methods Analysing the data, reporting & other matters
49 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters PNG ?
50 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters The analysis will be structured by the research questions This is not a fishing trip for what might be there This is directive looking for what might be there When possible link back directly to studies referred to in the literature review
51 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters Look at each set of data individually Is this set clean? Are there any provisos in reading this set of data? Are you interested in the middle ground, the edge, both of these? Repeat for other sets
52 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters Bring the different sets together in a way that progresses your investigation What is demanded by the research questions? What techniques have others used who have worked in your area? What techniques have others used who have worked outside of your area, but they might be applicable? You must justify what you do!
53 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters Narrative data: –Do you chose to impose a structure (we did in PNG)? –Do you wish to look for the emergent (but there are limits)? –Can you do both?
54 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters Items in … –Do they link to something in the literature reviewed? –If not, why is this item there? –Do you request the gender of the respondent? –WHY?
55 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters Case studies –A case study is not, “just because you are working with a small number of …” –The structure you give to reporting each study will allow generalities across the contexts to emerge
56 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters Reporting –Who is your audience? –A thesis is not an essay, a novel, a journal article, a conference paper, an undergraduate paper –You are advised to either stick to the normal style, or clearly justify departures (these can be exciting!) –Linkage, clarity, linkage, clarity, linkage, clarity
57 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters The above discussion on ‘analysing the data and reporting it’ is still in the methodology chapter You need to discuss in that chapter how you will do the analysis You do not collect the data and then start wondering what to do with it
58 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters What types of data are you likely to have? What options are open to you for an analysis of these data? How will you draw links between different data banks?
59 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters The other matters
60 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters Changing involving the Office of Research: –thesis title –status: ie. leave, sick & other types Changing involving the Faculty: –campus, specialisation, School –supervisor and getting him / her –monetary support
61 Research methods: Analysing the data, reporting & other matters Working with your supervisor –Ask for 2 good theses to look at (Lyn’s & Andrea’s) –Ask for 2 good thesis proposals to look at Be part of a buddies’ group Feel free to call me up if you think I might help