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Understanding the Basics of Research Methods Part I.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding the Basics of Research Methods Part I."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding the Basics of Research Methods Part I

2 What is Research ? The main motivation of research is to expand mans knowledge, to answer questions or to solve problems. It involves any gathering of data, facts and information for the advancement of knowledge, and improvements to life.

3 Informal Research Using this definition even reading a factual book of any sort is a kind of informal research. Surfing the internet or watching the news is also a type of research. Even just watching the way someone acts is research. This is Informal research is only a review of information and not true scientific research.

4 Review vs. Research Science does not use the word research in the same way that most of us do. The word review is more often used to describe informal research, the type we do when writing a paper for example. The strict definition of scientific research is performing a methodical study in order to prove a hypothesis or answer a specific question.

5 Scientific Research Good research always involves the scientific method. Scientific research answers specifically designed questions. Research is driven by a scientist's or researchers curiosity or interest in answering that question in a way that can be scientifically proven.

6 Research is an ORGANIZED and SYSTEMATIC way of FINDING ANSWERS to QUESTIONS. Scientific Research…

7 Research Methodology QUESTIONS are central to research. If there is no question, then the answer is of no use. Research is focused on relevant, useful, and important questions. Without a question, research has no focus, drive, or purpose. SYSTEMATIC -definite set of procedures and steps which you will follow. There are certain things in the research process which are always done in order to get the most accurate results.

8 Scientific Research ORGANIZED in that there is a structure or method in going about doing research. It is a planned procedure, not a spontaneous one. It is focused and limited to a specific scope. FINDING ANSWERS is the goal, the end of all research. Research is successful when we find answers. Whether it is the answer to a hypothesis or even a simple question, Some- times the answer is no, but it is still an answer.

9 Research can be misleading and even harmful. When bias is built into the study. When study subjects are harmed. The study is poorly designed or designed to come out a certain way. The purpose of the study is questionable (profits, political, ethical, etc.)

10 Bias??? Poor Design??? Take a poll in a hunting magazine about gun rights and then use it to say something like 97% of people polled believe everyone has a right to own an assault rifle. Polling people who are listed in the white pages. Ending up excluding people too poor to have a phone, people who have enough $ to have an unlisted #, and young people who pretty much use mostly cell phones. (This happened during the last presidential election with the telephone polling… Mc Cain was predicted to win by a small margin)

11 Ethical Considerations???? All research is not ethical. Care needs to be taken especially when it comes to experiments Keep in mind…. - Is there a possibility that this experiment will harm the subjects? - Who is doing or funding the study (will they benefit in anyway from this study?) - What is the true purpose of this study?

12 Ethics & The Tuskegee Experiment For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. Informed that they were being treated for bad blood, 1 their doctors had no intention of curing them of syphilis at all.

13 Tuskegee Experiment The data for the experiment was to be collected from autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphiliswhich can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. As I see it, one of the doctors involved explained, we have no further interest in these patients until they die.

14 The Tuskegee Experiment

15 Tuskegee Experiment The sharecroppers' grossly disadvantaged lot in life made them easy to manipulate. Pleased at the prospect of free medical carealmost none of them had ever seen a doctor. The study was meant to discover how syphilis affected blacks as opposed to whitesthe theory being that whites experienced more neurological complications from syphilis whereas blacks were more susceptible to cardiovascular damage.

16 Tuskegee Experiment How this knowledge would have changed clinical treatment of syphilis is uncertain. Although the PHS touted the study as one of great scientific merit, from the outset its actual benefits were hazy., nothing learned will prevent, find, or cure a single case of infectious syphilis.

17 Tuskegee Experiment In 1973, A $9 million settlement was divided among the study's participants. On behalf of the country, President Clinton apologized in 1997 to Charlie Pollard, pictured here, and other Tuskegee survivors.

18 The Internet and Research Flaws The Internet is widely used as a research tool. Unfortunately it is easily manipulated as well. The Internet is useful for informal research if it is used with skepticism. Be wary of the source. Check your sources.

19 Research from the Internet Plagiarism abounds Search engine sabotage Exaggeration & Lying False Testimonials Unregulated Many unsubstantiated claims Poor peer review

20 Helpful websites to detect fraud

21 Parameters Of a Well Designed Study

22 Research Concepts & Terms Study Question- What question or phenomenon are you trying to answer? Study Design- The parameters How, What, where, whom, when, why?

23 Research Concepts & Terms Type of study- How the data is being gathered… Experimental, Co-relational, Survey, Case study, Observation, etc? Subjects- Who is being studied. What is the population? How big is the sample? Is it representative? How did you choose the subjects?

24 The Sample A subset of the population whom you are studying. You must choose a sample because it would be next to impossible to study every single subject.

25 Sampling Representative Sample- A sample that closely resembles the population. Random Sample- A sample chosen according to a random procedure in which every element in the population has an equal chance of being selected.

26 Sampling What populations are you studying/comparing? How big is your sample? How was the sample selected? Were they randomly selected? Are they representative? Or is there a bias? Are there any confounders? (things that can sway your sample). Do you have a control group?

27 Sampling

28 Common Research Terms Longitudinal Study- Observing subjects over time Cross sectional Study- Observing subjects from different locations and backgrounds Cohort Study - Observing the same age group

29 Variables Variables- A variable (dependent) that changes in response to another variable (independent). Dependent Variable- A measure or outcome that is assumed to vary or respond as a result the influence of the independent variable. Independent Variable-The variable manipulated or observed by the researcher.

30 Research Concepts & Terms Control Group- The group of subjects in a controlled study that received no treatment, a standard treatment or a placebo. A control group helps to validate the findings of a study.

31 Placebos Placebo= fake treatment (placebos are meant to control for the placebo effect) Placebo Effect= When a person experiences effects of a treatment during a study when not receiving the actual treatment because they expect to feel different.

32 Placebo Effect * If someone thinks a certain compound or food will make them feel better, usually they do feel better, because they expect to. * Nutritional studies are especially at risk for the placebo effect.

33 Hawthorne Effect Changes that occur in peoples behavior because they know they are being studied.

34 Common Research Terms Validity Do the study findings reflect the true relationship between variables… or are the findings just coincidental, or was the study flawed, manipulated or biased in any way?

35 Bias I think my dog is the best dog in the world…..but I am bias!

36 Common Research Terms Study Flaws/Study Confounders Any Problem with the study that can change the results. An unaccounted for variable that can bias or change the outcome of a study. I

37 Nutrition, Food and Diet-Studies Many are epidemiological studies, research which focuses on the association between disease and human health. In nutrition, studies usually analyze if a compound found in food can prevent disease or if the lack of a compound or nutrient causes disease.

38 Common Research Terms Peer Review-The process of subjecting research to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field usually by publishing the study in Peer Publications- which are academic Journals and newsletter read and reviewed by experts in the field. *** This leads to quality control.

39 Scientific Research A well designed study can stand up to peer review and many times the findings lead to more studies. This is how many new discoveries, new medicines, cures for diseases, etc have been found.

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