Category: Research

Research related Posts on GMSTAT.COM

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

A research can be classified into two groups: Qualitative and Quantitative Research

  1. Qualitative Research
    Qualitative research involves collecting data from in-dept interviews, observations, field notes, and open-ended questions in questionnaire etc. The researcher himself is the primary data collection instrument and the data could be collected in form of words, images, and patterns etc.For Qualitative Research, data Analysis involves searching for patterns, themes and holistic features. Results of such research are likely to be context specific and reporting takes the form of a narrative with contextual description and direct quotations from researchers.
  2. Quantitative Research
    Quantitative research involves collecting quantitative data based on precise measurement using some structured, reliable and validated collection instruments (questionnaire) or through archival data sources. The nature of quantitative data is in the form of variables and its data analysis involves establishing statistical relationship. If properly done, results of such research are generalize able  to entire population.Quantitative research could be classified into two groups depending on the data collection methodologies

    1. Experimental Research
      The main purpose of experimental research is to establish a cause and effect relationship. The defining characteristics of experimental research are active manipulation of independent variables and the random assignment of participants to the conditions to be manipulated, everything else should be kept as similar and as constant as possible.To depict the way experiments are conducted, a term used is called design of experiment. There are two main types of experimental design.

      • Between Subjects Design
        In within subject design, the same group of subjects serves in more than one treatment
      • In between group design, two or more groups of subjects, each of which being tested by a different testing factor simultaneously.
    2. Non-Experimental Research
      Non-Experimental Research is commonly used in sociology, political science and management disciplines. This kind of research is often done with the help of a survey. There is no random assignment of participants to a particular group nor do we manipulate the independent variables. As a result one cannot establish a cause and effect relationship through non-experimental research. There are two approaches to analyzing such data

      1. Tests for approaches to analyzing such data such as IQ level of participants from different ethnic background.
      2. Tests for significant association between two factors such as firm sales and advertising expenditure.

What is research? Why do we conduct it?

Research is inquiry. It is a process of discovering some new knowledge, that involves multiple elements such as theory development and testing, empirical inquiry, and sharing the generated knowledge with others such as experts and colleagues. A short description about elements of theory is:

Theory is a set of ideas and perceptions that helps people to understand complex concepts and the relationships among these concepts. To develop and/or test a theory, researchers conduct empirical inquiries, collect and analyze relevant data, and discuss the findings from empirical results. Once theories have been through the research process, it is necessary to share the results of the studies with others such as researchers (related to study) present papers at conferences and publish reports in journals and other publications.

The results of a study (research) may be used in two ways.

  1. The results may contribute to researchers’ general understanding of the topic they have researched i.e. studied and may contribute to, understanding how economy works, why price inflation happens, which factors increase a candidate’s chances of winning an election etc. The generalizations of results that researchers draw from their studies on these issues can be shared with other researchers and general public to advance society for the understanding of the topic.
  2. The results of a study may contribute to solving particular problems in a nation, state, or community. For example, a study on the healthcare needs of the elderly in a community may discover that their primary need is finding vehicles for transportation when they want to visit their doctors. The leaders of the community (such as mayor, city council) may use this information from healthcare study, to allocate some money for the transportation needs of the elderly in the next year’s budget.

Therefore, research is a tool which builds blocks of knowledge that in turn contribute to the development of science.

Why conduct research?

  • We conduct research to understand a phenomenon, situation, or behavior under study.
  • We conduct research to test existing theories and to develop new theory on the basis of existing ones.
  • We conduct research to answer different questions of “how”, “what”, “which”, “when” and “why” about a phenomenon, behavior, or situation.
  • Research related activities contribute to forming (making) new knowledge and expand the existing knowledge base.

High-Quality Research

Now a days one can collect/ gather information about almost anything from the Internet Just do a Google search, but a question is, does every Google search good research? Not quite! Do remember, though you will find some of the information, but it may or may not be valid or high-quality information. A lot of the information available on the Internet is good and useful, but some is not. There may be misinformation too on the Internet. The information you find on internet may be someones pure opinion, have some fabrication in it, or based on some unsystematic research or unauthentic information. In short, the information may be valid (objective, true).

Therefor, a high-quality research project

  • is based on the scholarly work that has been already done by others in field,
  • can be replicated/ reproduced,
  • is generalization to other settings,
  • is based on some logical rationale and tied to other existing theory;
  • is doable can be done practically, i.e when deciding the scope of research, a researcher should consider availability of time and resources,
  • generates some new questions,
  • is incremental,
  • is an apolitical (politically neutral) activity that should be undertaken for the betterment of society.

Two Types/Purposes of Research

Typically, there are two types/purposes of research: Basic Research and Applied Research

  1. To find out about truths regarding human behaviors, societies, economy, etc., or to understand them better. This type is called a basic research.
  2. To answer practical questions and support making informed decisions. This type called applied research.

Note that, most of the public administration and public policy research projects are of the second kind.

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