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Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods TEACHING RESEARCH METHODS LTSN-BEST/ICS Workshop 3 rd October 2003 Gillian Livesey LTSN-ICS University of Ulster

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Overview Qualitative and Quantitative Research Purpose of Research Qualitative and Quantitative Methods Teaching Resources Assessment

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Research Methods Research methods are generally categorised as being either quantitative or qualitative. What matters is that the methods used fit the intended purposes of the research!

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Qualitative and Quantitative Paradigms The qualitative paradigm concentrates on investigating subjective data, in particular, the perceptions of the people involved. The intention is to illuminate these perceptions and, thus, gain greater insight and knowledge. The quantitative paradigm concentrates on what can be measured. It involves collecting and analysing objective (often numerical) data that can be organised into statistics.

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Qualitative and Quantitative Research Qualitative ResearchQuantitative Research Also known as interpretative / responsivepositivist /hypothetico-deductive Type of reasoning (usually) inductive(usually) deductive Link with concepts identifies conceptsidentified concepts and investigates relationships Action sometimes only describes a situation BUT in action- research openly intervenes tests relationships between concepts Outcome illuminates the situationaccepts or rejects proposed theory Approach to validity truth seen as context bound (socially constructed) truth seen as objective and universal

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Research The purposes of research can be categorised as: Description (fact finding) Exploration (looking for patterns) Analysis (explaining why or how) Prediction (forecasting the likelihood of particular events) Problem Solving (improvement of current practice)

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Descriptive Research Seeks to accurately describe current or past phenomena - to answer such questions as: a)What is the absentee rate for particular lectures? b)What is the pass rate for particular courses? c)What is the dropout rate on particular degree programmes? d)What effect does a particularly quality audit process have on teacher morale?

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Analytical Research Seeking to explain the reasons behind a particular occurrence by discovering causal relationships. Once causal relationships have been discovered, the search then shifts to factors that can be changed (variables) in order to influence the chain of causality. Typical questions are: a)Why is there a preponderance of female students on 1st level teacher training programmes? b)What factors might account for the high drop-our rate on a particular degree programme?

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Predictive Research Seeks to forecast the likelihood of particular phenomena occurring in given circumstances. It seeks to answer such questions as: a)Will changing the start time achieve a higher attendance rate at our lectures? b)Will introducing anonymous marking reduce the gender imbalance in the achievement of 1st class degrees? c)Will increasing the weighting for course work encourage students to adopt deep learning strategies?

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Problem Solving Research / Action Research Action-research is a form of problem solving based on increasing knowledge through observation and reflection, then following this with a deliberate intervention intended to improve practice. –Educational action-research describes a family of activities in curriculum development, professional development, school improvement programmes, and systems planning and policy development. –Participants in the action being considered are intricately involved with all of these activities.

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Typical Methods Descriptive Research Statistical Surveys Sampling Interviews Analytical Research Case Studies Attitude Surveys Observations Statistical Surveys Historical Analysis Predictive Research identifying and / or defining measurable (quantifiable) variables and manipulating them to cause measurable. Problem Solving/Active Research action-research spiral: observe reflect plan act observe reflect plan act ………

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Research Methods Categorised by Activity Experimental Research The causal effects of phenomena are tested on one group by comparison with a control group which is otherwise similar but upon which the phenomena is not allowed to act. Quasi- Experimental Research Causal effects of phenomena are investigated in a way similar to experimental research BUT full control is not possible Non- Experimental Research The investigation of conditions as they really are without an attempt to change any of them - at least while the research is in progress.

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Teaching: Elementary Concepts What is a Variable? Scales of Measurement Qualitative -v- Quantitative Continuous -v- Categorical / Dichotomous Independence -v- Dependence

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Teaching: Selecting Statistics Dependent Variable DichotomousContinuous Independent Variable Dichotomous Chi-square Logistic Regression Phi Cramer's V t-test ANOVA Regression Point-biserial Correlation Continuous Logistic Regression Point-biserial Correlation Regression Correlation

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William Gossett - nicknamedStudent was a chemist at the Guinness brewery in Dublin and developed the student t-test in 1908 to ensure that each batch of Guinness was as similar as possible to every other batch! The t-test is used to compare two groups and comes in at least 3 flavours.

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Teaching: Software Spreadsheets –EXCEL Statistical Software –SPSS (http://www.spss.com/) –MINITAB (http://www.minitab.com/) –SAS (http://www.sas.com/)

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Resources http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/

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Resources http:// www.socsciresearch.com /

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Assessment Written – a report, research proposal or evaluation Group Work – interdisciplinary groups VLE – internet Peer Tuition Peer Assessment Multiple Choice – maybe online Exam – written or using computer CAA, QTI

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Conclusion What matters is that the methods used fit the intended purposes of the research!

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