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Understanding the Research Process

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding the Research Process"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding the Research Process

2 Bachelor = learn how to learn
Master = learn how to teach Ph. D = learn how to do research

3 Creative work undertaken systematically to increase the stock of knowledge (of humanity, culture and society), and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications (OECD) What is Research?

4 activity classified as research is characterised by originality
investigation is a primary aim results are sufficiently general for humanity's stock of knowledge (theoretical and/or practical) to be recognisably increased includes empirical and non-empirical work What is research?

5 The classical thesis structure
INTRODUCTION What I want to do LITERATURE What others say about it DESIGN My plan for doing it RESULTS What happened when I did it DISCUSSION What this means CONCLUSIONS What I found out

6 Focus of Literature Learning what is known and unknown
Learning how field of knowledge was developed (history) Showing you understand your field Confirming your own research is worthwhile Explaining how knowledge is developed over time Justifying your research Identifying how you will make a contribution

7 What do you believe? - Is knowledge invented? Is knowledge discovered? - Can I write something that is understandable and independent of me? Is this impossible? Do I have to share who I am? Why are you doing research? - A job? Something more? What is it? Why do you want to write it all down?

8  Research philosophy  ‘Research philosophy is an over-arching term relating to the development of knowledge and the nature of that knowledge’ A paradigm is ‘a basic set of beliefs that guide action.

9 “Refers to the progress of scientific practice based on people’s philosophies and assumptions about the world and the nature of knowledge” Paradigms offer a framework comprising an accepted set of theories, methods, and ways of defining data Paradigm

10 Ontology: ways of constructing reality, “how things really are” and “how things really work”.. Denzin and Lincoln, (1998; 201) Epistemology: different forms of knowledge of that reality, what nature of relationship exists between the inquirer and the inquired? How do we know? Methodology: What tools do we use to know that reality? Research Paradigms

11 Ontology Epistemology Methodology Research Paradigm

12 Research Paradigms Positivism - Quantitative ~ discovery of the laws that govern behavior Constructivist - Qualitative ~ understandings from an insider perspective Critical - Postmodern ~ Investigate and expose the power relationships Pragmatic - interventions, interactions and their effect in multiple contexts

13 The Positivistic approach
Define your research topic Literature review Define your research question(s) i.e. hypothesis Deductive Design data collection Pilot study Design data analysis Collect data Analyse data Interpret results Report your findings Adapted from Maylor and Blackmon (2005)

14 The Phenomenological approach
Define your research topic Literature review Define your research question(s) Inductive Design data collection Collect data Analyse data Literature review Interpret data Research question answered? Report your findings Adapted from Maylor and Blackmon (2005)

15 Comparing approaches Characteristic Positivism Phenomenology
Questions that can be answered What? How much? Why? How? Associated methods Survey, Experiment Direct observation, Interviews, Participant observation Data type Predominantly numbers Predominantly words Finding Measure Meaning Adapted from Maylor and Blackmon (2005)

16 Why does the approach matter?
Whether you take a scientific (positivistic) or phenomenological approach will influence: What research questions you ask What methods you use to collect your data What type of data you collect What techniques you use to analyse your data Maylor and Blackmon (2005)

17 The research ‘onion’ Source: © Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill 2006

18 Theoretical Framework
“…identifies a set of variables and relationships that should be examined in order to explain the phenomena”; “…need not specify the direction of relationships or identify critical hypotheses” (Kitson et al, 2008) Theoretical Framework

19 The Use of a Theoretical Framework as a Guide in a Research Study
The theoretical framework plays an important role in guiding the entire process of the research study Theories are constructed in order to explain, predict and master phenomena (e.g. relationships, events, or the behavior). In many instances we are constructing models of reality. A theory makes generalizations about observations and consists of an interrelated, coherent set of ideas and models.

20 The Use of a Theoretical Framework as a Guide in a Research Study
If the framework is logically sound and substantiated by previous research studies, there is a strong possibility that the predictions or hypotheses evolving from that framework will be supported

21 Theoretical Framework
Having examined the different kinds of variables that could operate in a situation and how the relationships among these can be established, it is now possible to see how we can develop the conceptual model or the theoretical framework for our research. Theoretical Framework

22 The components of the theoretical framework
The variables considered relevant to the study should be clearly defined. A conceptual model that describes the relationships between the variables in the model should be given. A clear explanation of why we expect these relationships to exist. The components of the theoretical framework

23 Conceptual Framework/ Model
A conceptual framework is used in research to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to an idea or thought. Conceptual Framework/ Model

24 The theoretical framework elaborates the relationships among the variables, explains the theory underlying these relations, and describes the nature and direction of the relationships. The theoretical framework provides the logical base for developing testable hypotheses. The Relationship Between the Literature Survey and the Theoretical Framework

25 Model Represents a specific situation Narrower in scope
More precise in their assumptions – including relationships (Kitson et a, 2008) May be used interchangeably with “framework” (Sales, et al., 2006) Model

26 Hypotheses Development
Definition of Hypotheses: Is a logical relationship between two or more variables expressed in the form of a testable statement. Hypotheses Development

27 The research Process For Applied and Basic Research

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