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Research Methods Nanda Ganesan, Ph.D. Professor of Information Systems California State University, Los Angeles.

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Presentation on theme: "Research Methods Nanda Ganesan, Ph.D. Professor of Information Systems California State University, Los Angeles."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Methods Nanda Ganesan, Ph.D. Professor of Information Systems California State University, Los Angeles

2 Purpose Outline the steps that may be followed to select and conduct a final year applied or research project Provide suggestions on an approach to write the project report

3 Objective Overview of the research process Selecting a research topic Conducting literature survey Writing the research

4 Research Process

5 Before Starting Write down all the ideas Obtain and retain copies of all related material obtained Store all the information –Carry a flash drive for the purpose Focus on selecting a good research topic

6 Overview of Research Process Obtain a general idea of the research topic Read scholarly papers to refine and define the topic Identify the research community currently involved in research under the same topic Discuss ideas with colleagues Expand the research theme and write an initial outline paper Revise the paper and define clearly the research theme Implement the chosen research theme Reference

7 Writing the Report Review of sample reports Modularizing the topics Initial writing of report Writing techniques Refining the report

8 Some Resources for Getting Started If one is new, do a Google search for articles on how to start the research Some examples: –How to start the researchHow to start the research –Instruction to select a research topicInstruction to select a research topic –Research guideResearch guide –Web guide to start searching for research topicWeb guide to start searching for research topic

9 Exploring a Research Topic

10 Research Topic Orientation Pure research Applied research –Must be differentiated from development of applications Extensive survey of literature on a topic and its application to a local scenario

11 Notes on Research Topics Note that all research need not be pure research Applied research with new ideas are also widely accepted Research with extensive literature survey on a topic and its expansion to provide incremental addition to knowledgebase may also be considered

12 Undergraduate Projects Applied research Extensive literature survey based projects

13 Using the Areas of Strength to Select a Topic The actual selection must now be determined by the areas of strength of the candidate along with the area of interest –Database design –Network applications Strengths –Analytical –Applied –Literature comprehension Following the in-house research pattern may not be the best choice –Eg: MySQL and php based application development –Venture into other areas as well

14 Importance of Literature Survey in Finalizing the Research Topic An extensive literature survey is important to fine tune the research topic

15 Literature Survey

16 Initial Identification of Emerging Areas Internet search Magazine search –Will provide an indication about emerging areas Visit the nearest computer book store –or search Review of trade magazines and trade articles Review industry websites –http://www.Microsoft.com –Trade publications Review of academic publications

17 Abstraction Read Abstracts Goolge Search is a good starting point –Google scholar search –Key words are everything Make copies of all the important documents with an abstract stored separately Shortlist the possible topics

18 More Specific Literature Survey Scholarly journals Access associations in the field for more information Library databases Thesis topic search Literature survey articles Basic reference listings –Eg: Agre’s summary of basic

19 Scholarly Journals Identify journals in the field –List of journalsList of journals Narrow down to target journals –Target journalsTarget journals Store journal information –Journal of Technology EducationJournal of Technology Education

20 Associations in the Field Distance Education Association –Obtain information about the journals published by the association

21 Identifying Journals in the Field: Library Searches Library database searches –Eric search –Other search –Example Expanding on the journal search –Obtain information on additional journals –Example Loop back to Google search with the new information –Example

22 Expanding the Literature Survey It is that one article that can expand the literature base Obtain additional names of journals and topics from the references of the most relevant articles Many a times, it would be one group of authors who will be talking about a particular topic –Do more search based on the author’s name

23 Current Work-in Progress Keep information on current work in progress that may contain bits of pieces of different papers or chapters –Example Keep copies of all the references –Example

24 Other Searches Thesis topic search Literature survey articles Basic reference listings –Eg: Agre’s summary of basic

25 The Search Process

26 Search Engines Google –Basic and advanced search Other search engines

27 Google Search General search Advanced search –Advance search operators Google Scholar search

28 Other Search Iterate between Google search and the search of other material such as journal searches etc. Library databases, if available, can be exceptionally useful in finding related research work

29 Demonstrations Google search Library database search

30 Writing the Thesis

31 Modularize the topic Start writing under each of the modules –Good starting points are introduction, literature survey, description of the process divided possibly into multiple chapter, presentation of results, discussion, reference to future work and conclusion Feel free to move from one module to another –At the early stages, the flow of information must be the prime objective –Effort to maintain continuity should not hinder the flow of thoughts while initially writing the thesis

32 Getting Started Start writing the introduction and the literature survey in skeleton form Have an outline of the thesis –It must be in modular form

33 General Modular Format 1.Introduction 2.Literature survey 3.Hypotheses and/or experimental background 4.Experimental or Procedural design 5.Module 1: Details of experiment and presentations of findings 6.Module 2: Details of experiment and presentation of findings etc. 7.Discussion of findings 8.Conclusion and reference to future work 9.List of References 10.Appendix

34 Starting to Write Modularize the chapters into sub-topics Start writing under each module as the thoughts flow Do not focus on continuity or grammar at this time Include additional sections and/or remove current sections as appropriate

35 Some Writing Techniques Leave writing when writing block occurs Before ending a writing session make short notes on the next session to start Think about the topic the night before the day of writing Mornings are the best time to write

36 Refining the Thesis Establish continuity Do additional literature survey Continue to improve continuity Give the thesis to be read by a technical and a non-technical person and make changes accordingly Leave a gap of time before the final reading and editing of the thesis Perform final editing and submit the thesis

37 Important Consideration Always be nice to the supervisor Thesis research teaches you more than scientific research –It extols the virtue of human relationship, patience etc.

38 A Sample Format Research Paper

39 Examples of Local Papers Some examples will be provided that follows the suggested outline, in general Career advise expert system

40 A Final Suggestion Select a topic that would help in applying the theory learned in the course Select a topic that has some practical value Select a topic that would be of interest to others as well

41 The End

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