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School of Science and Technology, UMS

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1 School of Science and Technology, UMS
Philosophy of Research Methodology Felix Tongkul School of Science and Technology, UMS Outline of Presentation Introduction Structure of Research Methods of Reasoning Ethical Norms in Research Concluding Remarks

2 Introduction Definition of Philosophy: Doctrine - a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school Philosophy of research methodology is thus based on accepted norms in scientific methodology

3 Introduction Scientific Method Norms:
The method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypothesis. Scientific researchers propose hypothesis as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses. These steps must be repeatable in order to predict any future results. Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many hypotheses together in a coherent structure. This in turn may help form new hypotheses or place groups of hypotheses into context.

4 Introduction Scientific Method Norms:
Among other facets shared by the various fields of inquiry is the conviction that the process be objective to reduce a biased interpretation of the results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established.

5 Structure of Research Most research projects share the same general structure. You might think of this structure as following the shape of an hourglass. The research process usually starts with a broad area of interest, the initial problem that the researcher wishes to study. For instance, the researcher could be interested in how to use computers to improve the performance of students in mathematics. But this initial interest is far too broad to study in any single research project (it might not even be addressable in a lifetime of research).

6 Structure of Research The researcher has to narrow the question down to one that can reasonably be studied in a research project. This might involve formulating a hypothesis or a focus question. For instance, the researcher might hypothesize that a particular method of computer instruction in math will improve the ability of elementary school students in a specific district. At the narrowest point of the research hourglass, the researcher is engaged in direct measurement or observation of the question of interest.

7 Structure of Research Once the basic data is collected, the researcher begins to try to understand it, usually by analyzing it in a variety of ways. Even for a single hypothesis there are a number of analyses a researcher might typically conduct. At this point, the researcher begins to formulate some initial conclusions about what happened as a result of the computerized math program.

8 Structure of Research Finally, the researcher often will attempt to address the original broad question of interest by generalizing from the results of this specific study to other related situations. For instance, on the basis of strong results indicating that the math program had a positive effect on student performance, the researcher might conclude that other school districts similar to the one in the study might expect similar results.

9 Structure of Research Key Components of Research
Research Problem/ Statements Research Questions/ Objectives Literature Review Research Activity/Analysis Research Design Research Methodology Research Result Conclusions

10 Methods of Reasoning Two broad methods of reasoning: deductive and inductive approaches. Deductive reasoning works from the more general to the more specific. Sometimes this is informally called a "top-down" approach. We might begin with thinking up a theory about our topic of interest. We then narrow that down into more specific hypotheses that we can test. We narrow down even further when we collect observations to address the hypotheses. This ultimately leads us to be able to test the hypotheses with specific data -- a confirmation (or not) of our original theories Theory Hypothesis Observation Confirmation e.g. Chemistry, Physics

11 Methods of Reasoning Theory Tentative Hypothesis Pattern Observation
Inductive reasoning works the other way, moving from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories. Informally, we sometimes call this a "bottom up" approach. In inductive reasoning, we begin with specific observations and measures, begin to detect patterns and regularities, formulate some tentative hypotheses that we can explore, and finally end up developing some general conclusions or theories. Theory Tentative Hypothesis Pattern Observation e.g. Geology, Biology

12 Methods of Reasoning Theory Tentative Hypothesis Hypothesis Pattern
These two methods of reasoning have a very different "feel" to them when you're conducting research. Inductive reasoning, by its very nature, is more open-ended and exploratory, especially at the beginning. Deductive reasoning is more narrow in nature and is concerned with testing or confirming hypotheses. In fact, we could assemble the two graphs above into a single circular one that continually cycles from theories down to observations and back up again to theories. Even in the most constrained experiment, the researchers may observe patterns in the data that lead them to develop new theories. Theory Tentative Hypothesis Hypothesis Pattern Observation

13 Ethical Norms of Research
Honesty Strive for honesty in all scientific communications. Honestly report data, results, methods and procedures, and publication status. Do not fabricate, falsify, or misrepresent data. Do not deceive colleagues, granting agencies, or the public. Objectivity Strive to avoid bias in experimental design, data analysis, data interpretation, peer review, personnel decisions, grant writing, expert testimony, and other aspects of research where objectivity is expected or required. Avoid or minimize bias or self-deception. Disclose personal or financial interests that may affect research. Integrity Keep your promises and agreements; act with sincerity; strive for consistency of thought and action.

14 Ethical Norms of Research
Carefulness Avoid careless errors and negligence; carefully and critically examine your own work and the work of your peers. Keep good records of research activities, such as data collection, research design, and correspondence with agencies or journals. Openness Share data, results, ideas, tools, resources. Be open to criticism and new ideas. Respect for Intellectual Property Honor patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property. Do not use unpublished data, methods, or results without permission. Give credit where credit is due. Give proper acknowledgement or credit for all contributions to research. Never plagiarize. Confidentiality Protect confidential communications, such as papers or grants submitted for publication, personnel records, trade or military secrets, and patient records.

15 Ethical Norms in Research
Responsible Publication Publish in order to advance research and scholarship, not to advance just your own career. Avoid wasteful and duplicative publication. Responsible Mentoring Help to educate, mentor, and advise students. Promote their welfare and allow them to make their own decisions. Respect for colleagues Respect your colleagues and treat them fairly. Social Responsibility Strive to promote social good and prevent or mitigate social harms through research, public education, and advocacy. Non-Discrimination Avoid discrimination against colleagues or students on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or other factors that are not related to their scientific competence and integrity.

16 Ethical Norms of Research
Competence Maintain and improve your own professional competence and expertise through lifelong education and learning; take steps to promote competence in science as a whole. Legality Know and obey relevant laws and institutional and governmental policies. Animal Care Show proper respect and care for animals when using them in research. Do not conduct unnecessary or poorly designed animal experiments. Human Subjects Protection When conducting research on human subjects, minimize harms and risks and maximize benefits; respect human dignity, privacy, and autonomy; take special precautions with vulnerable populations; and strive to distribute the benefits and burdens of research fairly. * Adapted from Shamoo A and Resnik D Responsible Conduct of Research (New York: Oxford University Press).

17 Concluding Remarks We usually perceive research as something very abstract and complicated. However, if we understand the different parts or phases of a research project and how these fit together, it's not nearly as complicated as it may seem at first glance. A research project has a well-known structure -- a beginning, middle and end. Modern research methodology are based primarily on logical reasoning (deduction or induction). The conduct of researchers are guided by research ethics to ensure that the public trust their results.

18 Thank You

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