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An Introduction to Research Methodology

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1 An Introduction to Research Methodology
8 An Introduction to Research Methodology Research Methods – Bazara Barry

2 Introduction Research is defined as a process through which we attempt to achieve systematically and with the support of data the answer to a question, resolution to a problem, or greater understanding of a phenomenon. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

3 Approaches to research
Exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory research. Basic and applied research. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Qualitative and quantitative research. Mixed methods (mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods). The approach depends on the nature of the problem under investigation. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

4 Exploratory, descriptive and explanatory research
Exploratory research: a preliminary investigation of a relatively unknown field which aims to gain new insights. Descriptive research: an in-depth study of an individual, a situation, group, organization or phenomenon which aims to describe the object of study accurately. Explanatory research: a study which is designed to indicate causality. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

5 Basic and applied research
Basic research: research that advances knowledge of the fundamentals of how the social world works, and develops general theoretical explanation. Applied research: research that attempts to solve a concrete problem or address a specific question and that has a direct, practical application. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

6 Longitudinal and cross-sectional research
Longitudinal research: a study that takes place over time Cross-sectional research: a study that confines itself to taking a snapshot at a specific time. The fundamental difference between cross-sectional and longitudinal studies is that cross-sectional studies take place at a single point in time and that a longitudinal study involves a series of measurements taken over a period of time. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

7 Qualitative and quantitative research (1)
Research is conducted either to test a theory or to generate a new theory. The ‘generating theory’ mode is called inductive approach, whereas the other one is called the hypothetico-deductive approach. Both the hypothetico-deductive and the inductive approaches are associated with quantitative and qualitative research respectively. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

8 Qualitative and quantitative research (2)
Quantitative methods often seek causes and relationships which are demonstrated statistically in a process where hypotheses (theories) are tested. Qualitative methods aim at discovering meanings as experienced by the participants in the study which is achieved through inductive analysis. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

9 Mixed methods There are benefits of combining qualitative and quantitative methods: Allows the findings of one type to validate the findings of the other type. Quantitative studies can precede qualitative studies to investigate the context and background, and lay the conceptual ground. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

10 Planning your research
The research question or problem. The research proposal. The literature review. Research design. Research methodology. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

11 The research question or problem
Having an area of interest or research does not signify the actual research question that you will be addressing. The aim of a thesis is not mere description; its aim is to provide answers to a question and you need to formulate a question that needs answering. For example, a topic such as the Internet and Crime is broad. A number of different questions are possible: How should Internet crime be addressed. Should government be involved. Which are the most serious Internet crimes. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

12 The research question or problem
There are two types of research questions: Empirical questions: concerned with solving problems in the real world. Non-empirical questions: concerned with more abstract concepts or theories such as philosophical or conceptual analyses. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

13 The research proposal A research proposal is a planning document and essentially mirrors the basic phases in the research process. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

14 The literature review Important to identify the significant writers and works in your field of study. Try to find one or more review articles or a good introductory textbook to have a good idea of the scope of your subject. When relying on WWW sources, be careful to evaluate each source critically. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

15 Research design Important to explain what you intend to do and to ask questions such as: How will you structure your research? What approach will you be using (quantitative, qualitative)? Is this the best way to go about answering your question? What are the assumptions and limitations? Research Methods – Bazara Barry

16 Research methodology Methodology, which might be confused with research design, is the systematic, methodical and accurate execution of the design. Methodology is therefore concerned with exactly how you are going to work and what you will be doing. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

17 Collection and analysis of quantitative data
At a basic level, quantitative data is in the form of numbers and qualitative data is in forms other than numbers, such as words, pictures, or recorded sounds. Once you have decided on the research questions and the types of data required, you need to consider the details of data collection. Research Methods – Bazara Barry

18 Collection of quantitative data
Natural sciences  observation or experimentation Social sciences  surveys A few concepts to understand in dealing with quantitative data: The unit of analysis Variables (dependent, independent) Reliability of data Validity of data Research Methods – Bazara Barry

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