aiou course code 8604-1 assignment autumn 2022
Course: Research Methods in Education (8604) Semester: Autumn, 2022
ASSIGNMENT No. 1
Q.1 Discuss different methods used as a tool of acquiring knowledge. Compare the various steps in scientific method with steps in research process.?
The Scientific method is a process with the help of which scientists try to investigate, verify, or construct an accurate and reliable version of any natural phenomena. They are done by creating an objective framework for the purpose of scientific inquiry and analysing the results scientifically to come to a conclusion that either supports or contradicts the observation made at the beginning.
Scientific Method Steps
The aim of all scientific methods is the same, that is, to analyse the observation made at the beginning. Still, various steps are adopted per the requirement of any given observation. However, there is a generally accepted sequence of steps in scientific methods.
Scientists use a dynamic, open-ended process to investigate questions. Here are the five steps.
1. Define a Question to Investigate
As scientists conduct their research, they make observations and collect data. The observations and data often lead them to ask why something is the way it is. Scientists pursue answers to these questions in order to continue with their research. Once scientists have a good question to investigate, they begin to think of ways to answer it.
2. Make Predictions
Based on their research and observations, scientists will often come up with a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a possible answer to a question. It is based on: their own observations, existing theories, and information they gather from other sources. Scientists use their hypothesis to make a prediction, a testable statement that describes what they think the outcome of an investigation will be.
3. Gather Data
Evidence is needed to test the prediction. There are several strategies for collecting evidence, or data. Scientists can gather their data by observing the natural world, performing an experiment in a laboratory, or by running a model. Scientists decide what strategy to use, often combining strategies. Then they plan a procedure and gather their data. They make sure the procedure can be repeated, so that other scientists can evaluate their ﬁndings.
4. Analyze the Data
Scientists organize their data in tables, graphs, or diagrams. If possible, they include relevant data from other sources. They look for patterns that show connections between important variables in the hypothesis they are testing.
5. Draw Conclusions
Based on whether or not their prediction came true, scientists can then decide whether the evidence clearly supports or does not support the hypothesis. If the results are not clear, they must rethink their procedure. If the results are clear, scientists write up their ﬁndings and results to share with others. The conclusions they draw usually lead to new questions to pursue.
Q.2 Describe different types of research categorized on the basis of methods used and the purpose of research.
Research is the careful consideration of study regarding a particular concern or problem using scientific methods. According to the American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie, “research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict, and control the observed phenomenon. It involves inductive and deductive methods.”
Inductive methods analyze an observed event, while deductive methods verify the observed event. Inductive approaches are associated with qualitative research, and deductive methods are more commonly associated with quantitative analysis.
Research is conducted with a purpose to:
- Identify potential and new customers
- Understand existing customers
- Set pragmatic goals
- Develop productive market strategies
- Address business challenges
- Put together a business expansion plan
- Identify new business opportunities
What are the characteristics of research?
- Good research follows a systematic approach to capture accurate data. Researchers need to practice ethics and a code of conduct while making observations or drawing conclusions.
- The analysis is based on logical reasoning and involves both inductive and deductive methods.
- Real-time data and knowledge is derived from actual observations in natural settings.
- There is an in-depth analysis of all data collected so that there are no anomalies associated with it.
- It creates a path for generating new questions. Existing data helps create more research opportunities.
- It is analytical and uses all the available data so that there is no ambiguity in inference.
- Accuracy is one of the most critical aspects of research. The information must be accurate and correct. For example, laboratories provide a controlled environment to collect data. Accuracy is measured in the instruments used, the calibrations of instruments or tools, and the experiment’s final result.
What is the purpose of research?
There are three main purposes:
- Exploratory: As the name suggests, researchers conduct exploratory studiesto explore a group of questions. The answers and analytics may not offer a conclusion to the perceived problem. It is undertaken to handle new problem areas that haven’t been explored before. This exploratory process lays the foundation for more conclusive data collection and analysis.
- Descriptive: It focuses on expanding knowledge on current issues through a process of data collection. Descriptive researchdescribe the behavior of a sample population. Only one variable is required to conduct the study. The three primary purposes of descriptive studies are describing, explaining, and validating the findings. For example, a study conducted to know if top-level management leaders in the 21st century possess the moral right to receive a considerable sum of money from the company profit.
- Explanatory: Causal or explanatory researchis conducted to understand the impact of specific changes in existing standard procedures. Running experiments is the most popular form. For example, a study that is conducted to understand the effect of rebranding on customer loyalty.
It begins by asking the right questions and choosing an appropriate method to investigate the problem. After collecting answers to your questions, you can analyze the findings or observations to draw reasonable conclusions.
When it comes to customers and market studies, the more thorough your questions, the better the analysis. You get essential insights into brand perception and product needs by thoroughly collecting customer data through surveys and questionnaires. You can use this data to make smart decisions about your marketing strategies to position your business effectively.
To make sense of your study and get insights faster, it helps to use a research repository as a single source of truth in your organization and manage your research data in one centralized repository.
Types of research methods and Examples
Research methods are broadly classified as Qualitative and Quantitative.
Both methods have distinctive properties and data collection methods.
Qualitative research is a method that collects data using conversational methods, usually open-ended questions. The responses collected are essentially non-numerical. This method helps a researcher understand what participants think and why they think in a particular way.
Types of qualitative methods include:
Quantitative methods deal with numbers and measurable forms. It uses a systematic way of investigating events or data. It answers questions to justify relationships with measurable variables to either explain, predict, or control a phenomenon.
Types of quantitative methods include:
Remember, it is only valuable and useful when it is valid, accurate, and reliable. Incorrect results can lead to customer churn and a decrease in sales.
It is essential to ensure that your data is:
- Valid – founded, logical, rigorous, and impartial.
- Accurate – free of errors and including required details.
- Reliable – other people who investigate in the same way can produce similar results.
- Timely – current and collected within an appropriate time frame.
- Complete – includes all the data you need to support your business decisions.
- Identify the main trends and issues, opportunities, and problems you observe. Write a sentence describing each one.
- Keep track of the frequency with which each of the main findings appears.
- Make a list of your findings from the most common to the least common.
- Evaluate a list of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats identified in a SWOT analysis.
- Prepare conclusions and recommendations about your study.
- Act on your strategies
- Look for gaps in the information, and consider doing additional inquiry if necessary
- Plan to review the results and consider efficient methods to analyze and interpret results.
Q.3 discuss the concept of educational research. Also examine the need and importance of research in education.
Educational research is a type of systematic investigation that applies empirical methods to solving challenges in education. It adopts rigorous and well-defined scientific processes in order to gather and analyze data for problem-solving and knowledge advancement.
- W. Best defines educational researchas that activity that is directed towards the development of a science of behavior in educational situations. The ultimate aim of such a science is to provide knowledge that will permit the educator to achieve his goals through the most effective methods.
The primary purpose of educational research is to expand the existing body of knowledge by providing solutions to different problems in pedagogy while improving teaching and learning practices. Educational researchers also seek answers to questions bothering on learner motivation, development, and classroom management.
Characteristics of Education Research
While educational research can take numerous forms and approaches, several characteristics define its process and approach. Some of them are listed below:
- It sets out to solve a specific problem.
- Educational research adoptsprimary and secondary research methods in its data collection process. This means that in educational research, the investigator relies on first-hand sources of information and secondary data to arrive at a suitable conclusion.
- Educational research relies on empirical evidence. This results from its largely scientific approach.
- Educational research is objective and accurate because it measures verifiable information.
- In educational research, the researcher adopts specific methodologies, detailed procedures, and analysis to arrive at the most objective responses
- Educational research findings are useful in the development of principles and theories that provide better insights into pressing issues.
- This research approach combines structured, semi-structured, and unstructured questionsto gather verifiable data from respondents.
- Many educational research findings are documented for peer review before their presentation.
- Educational research is interdisciplinary in nature because it draws from different fields and studies complex factual relations.
Types of Educational Research
Descriptive Educational Research
In this type of educational research, the researcher merely seeks to collect data with regards to the status quo or present situation of things. The core of descriptive research lies in defining the state and characteristics of the research subject being understudied.
Because of its emphasis on the “what” of the situation, descriptive research can be termed an observational research method. In descriptive educational research, the researcher makes use of quantitative research methods including surveys and questionnaires to gather the required data.
Typically, descriptive educational research is the first step in solving a specific problem. Here are a few examples of descriptive research:
- A reading program to help you understand student literacy levels.
- A study of students’ classroom performance.
- Research to gather data on students’ interests and preferences.
From these examples, you would notice that the researcher does not need to create a simulation of the natural environment of the research subjects; rather, he or she observes them as they engage in their routines. Also, the researcher is not concerned with creating a causal relationship between the research variables.
Correlational Educational Research
This is a type of educational research that seeks insights into the statistical relationship between two research variables. In correlational research, the researcher studies two variables intending to establish a connection between them.
Correlational research can be positive, negative, or non-existent. Positive correlation occurs when an increase in variable A leads to an increase in variable B, while negative correlation occurs when an increase in variable A results in a decrease in variable B.
When a change in any of the variables does not trigger a succeeding change in the other, then the correlation is non-existent. Also, in correlational educational research, the research does not need to alter the natural environment of the variables; that is, there is no need for external conditioning.
Examples of educational correlational research include:
- Research to discover the relationship between students’ behaviors and classroom performance.
- A study into the relationship between students’ social skills and their learning behaviors.
Experimental Educational Research
Experimental educational research is a research approach that seeks to establish the causal relationship between two variables in the research environment. It adopts quantitative research methods in order to determine the cause and effect in terms of the research variables being studied.
Experimental educational research typically involves two groups – the control group and the experimental group. The researcher introduces some changes to the experimental group such as a change in environment or a catalyst, while the control group is left in its natural state.
The introduction of these catalysts allows the researcher to determine the causative factor(s) in the experiment. At the core of experimental educational research lies the formulation of a hypothesis and so, the overall research design relies on statistical analysis to approve or disprove this hypothesis.
Examples of Experimental Educational Research
- A study to determine the best teaching and learning methods in a school.
- A study to understand how extracurricular activities affect the learning process.
Based on functionality, educational research can be classified into fundamental research, applied research, and action research. The primary purpose of fundamental research is to provide insights into the research variables; that is, to gain more knowledge. Fundamental research does not solve any specific problems.
Just as the name suggests, applied research is a research approach that seeks to solve specific problems. Findings from applied research are useful in solving practical challenges in the educational sector such as improving teaching methods, modifying learning curricula, and simplifying pedagogy.
Action research is tailored to solve immediate problems that are specific to a context such as educational challenges in a local primary school. The goal of action research is to proffer solutions that work in this context and to solve general or universal challenges in the educational sector.
Importance of Educational Research
- Educational research plays a crucial role in knowledge advancement across different fields of study.
- It provides answers to practical educational challenges using scientific methods.
- Findings from educational research; especially applied research, are instrumental in policy reformulation.
- For the researcher and other parties involved in this research approach, educational research improves learning, knowledge, skills, and understanding.
- Educational research improves teaching and learning methods by empowering you with data to help you teach and lead more strategically and effectively.
- Educational research helps students apply their knowledge to practical situations.
Educational Research Methods
A survey is a research method that is used to collect data from a predetermined audience about a specific research context. It usually consists of a set of standardized questions that help you to gain insights into the experiences, thoughts, and behaviors of the audience.
Surveys can be administered physically using paper forms, face-to-face conversations, telephone conversations, or online forms. Online forms are easier to administer because they help you to collect accurate data and to also reach a larger sample size. Creating your online survey on data-gathering platforms like Formplus allows you to.also analyze survey respondent’s data easily.
In order to gather accurate data via your survey, you must first identify the research context and the research subjects that would make up your data sample size. Next, you need to choose an online survey tool like Formplus to help you create and administer your survey with little or no hassles.
An interview is a qualitative data collection method that helps you to gather information from respondents by asking questions in a conversation. It is typically a face-to-face conversation with the research subjects in order to gather insights that will prove useful to the specific research context.
Interviews can be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured. A structured interview is a type of interview that follows a premeditated sequence; that is, it makes use of a set of standardized questions to gather information from the research subjects.
An unstructured interview is a type of interview that is fluid; that is, it is non-directive. During a structured interview, the researcher does not make use of a set of predetermined questions rather, he or she spontaneously asks questions to gather relevant data from the respondents.
A semi-structured interview is the mid-point between structured and unstructured interviews. Here, the researcher makes use of a set of standardized questions yet, he or she still makes inquiries outside these premeditated questions as dedicated by the flow of the conversations in the research context.
Data from Interviews can be collected using audio recorders, digital cameras, surveys, and questionnaires.
Observation is a method of data collection that entails systematically selecting, watching, listening, reading, touching, and recording behaviors and characteristics of living beings, objects, or phenomena. In the classroom, teachers can adopt this method to understand students’ behaviors in different contexts.
Observation can be qualitative or quantitative in approach. In quantitative observation, the researcher aims at collecting statistical information from respondents and in qualitative information, the researcher aims at collecting qualitative data from respondents.
Q.4. What is an experiment and how you will conduct an experimental research? What will be the threats to internal and external validity and how you will minimize these threats?
Internal validity is a measure of how well a study is conducted (its structure) and how accurately its results reflect the studied group.
External validity relates to how applicable the findings are in the real world. These two concepts help researchers gauge if the results of a research study are trustworthy and meaningful.
- Conclusions are warranted
- Controls extraneous variables
- Eliminates alternative explanations
- Focus on accuracy and strong research methods
- Findings can be generalized
- Outcomes apply to practical situations
- Results apply to the world at large
- Results can be translated into another context
What Is Internal Validity in Research?
Internal validity is the extent to which a research study establishes a trustworthy cause-and-effect relationship.1 This type of validity depends largely on the study’s procedures and how rigorously it is performed.
Internal validity is important because once established, it makes it possible to eliminate alternative explanations for a finding. If you implement a smoking cessation program, for instance, internal validity ensures that any improvement in the subjects is due to the treatment administered and not something else.
Internal validity is not a “yes or no” concept. Instead, we consider how confident we can be with study findings based on whether the research avoids traps that may make those findings questionable. The less chance there is for “confounding,” the higher the internal validity and the more confident we can be.
In short, you can only be confident that a study is internally valid if you can rule out alternative explanations for the findings. Three criteria are required to assume cause and effect in a research study:
- The cause preceded the effect in terms of time.
- The cause and effect vary together.
- There are no other likely explanations for the relationship observed.
Factors That Improve Internal Validity
To ensure the internal validity of a study, you want to consider aspects of the research design that will increase the likelihood that you can reject alternative hypotheses. Many factors can improve internal validity in research, including:
- Blinding: Participants—and sometimes researchers—are unaware of what intervention they are receiving (such as using a placebo on some subjects in a medication study) to avoid having this knowledge bias their perceptions and behaviors, thus impacting the study’s outcome
- Experimental manipulation: Manipulating an independent variable in a study (for instance, giving smokers a cessation program) instead of just observing an association without conducting any intervention (examining the relationship between exercise and smoking behavior)
- Random selection: Choosing participants at random or in a manner in which they are representative of the population that you wish to study
- Randomization or random assignment: Randomly assigning participants to treatment and control groups, ensuring that there is no systematic bias between the research groups
- Strict study protocol: Following specific procedures during the study so as not to introduce any unintended effects; for example, doing things differently with one group of study participants than you do with another group
Internal Validity Threats
Just as there are many ways to ensure internal validity, there is also a list of potential threats that should be considered when planning a study.2
- Attrition: Participants dropping out or leaving a study, which means that the results are based on a biased sample of only the people who did not choose to leave (and possibly who all have something in common, such as higher motivation)
- Confounding: A situation in which changes in an outcome variable can be thought to have resulted from some type of outside variable not measured or manipulated in the study
- Diffusion: This refers to the results of one group transferring to another through the groups interacting and talking with or observing one another; this can also lead to another issue called resentful demoralization, in which a control group tries less hard because they feel resentful over the group that they are in
- Experimenter bias: An experimenter behaving in a different way with different groups in a study, which can impact the results (and is eliminated through blinding)
- Historical events: May influence the outcome of studies that occur over a period of time, such as a change in the political leader or a natural disaster that occurs, influencing how study participants feel and act
- Instrumentation: This involves “priming” participants in a study in certain ways with the measures used, causing them to react in a way that is different than they would have otherwise reacted
- Maturation: The impact of time as a variable in a study; for example, if a study takes place over a period of time in which it is possible that participants naturally change in some way (i.e., they grew older or became tired), it may be impossible to rule out whether effects seen in the study were simply due to the impact of time
- Statistical regression: The natural effect of participants at extreme ends of a measure falling in a certain direction due to the passage of time rather than being a direct effect of an intervention
- Testing: Repeatedly testing participants using the same measures influences outcomes; for example, if you give someone the same test three times, it is likely that they will do better as they learn the test or become used to the testing process, causing them to answer differently
What Is External Validity in Research?
External validity refers to how well the outcome of a research study can be expected to apply to other settings. This is important because, if external validity is established, it means that the findings can be generalizable to similar individuals or populations.
Population validity and ecological validity are two types of external validity. Population validity refers to whether you can generalize the research outcomes to other populations or groups. Ecological validity refers to whether a study’s findings can be generalized to additional situations or settings.
Another term called transferability refers to whether results transfer to situations with similar characteristics. Transferability relates to external validity and refers to a qualitative research design.
External Validity Example
An example of a study with good external validity would be if, in the above example, the participants used the mindfulness app at home rather than in the laboratory. This shows that results appear in a real-world setting.
To further ensure external validity, the researcher clearly defines the population of interest and chooses a representative sample. They might also replicate the study’s results using different technological devices.
Q.5 Define descriptive research What are its major forms? Strengthen your answer with the example of Case Studies, Causal Comparative studies and correlation studies?
An important goal of the research scientist is the publication of the results of a completed study. Scientific journals do not allow for literary embellishments and expressions, often seen in other journals, as the purpose is to communicate the scientific findings as clear as possible, in a highly stylized, distinctive fashion. This often makes it difficult for the applied professional to grasp all that the article has to offer. The purpose of this article is to help bridge much of that communication breach in scientific writing.
In almost every research article you read you will see a definite methodology develop that will help you understand the study. Fortunately, most research journals begin each article with an Abstract that summarizes the study for you. In the Introduction the researchers will define their problem or question that was studied, briefly review related research, and perhaps even hypothesize (make a tentative assumption) possible outcomes of their study. Important to the authenticity and replicability of any scientific finding is how it is studied. This is referred to as the Methods and Procedures section in which the researchers will painstakingly explain how they studied their problem: who the subjects were, how and why they were selected, how many subjects were there, how they were tested, what type of equipment was used, what type of research and statistical design was employed, and how they controlled for all extraneous factors that might effect the study results. Of great interest to all readers are the findings. These are presented in a most direct manner in the Results section. This section is invariably the most difficult to understand because it is a straight forward recounting of the statistical results. The Discussion and Conclusions section explains, discusses and concludes the meaning of the study findings and often parallels these findings to similar studies for comparison. Some journals now have a Practical Applications section which synthesizes the applied usefulness to be gained from the study. If not apparently defined in the article, usually the practical application will be addressed in the last couple of paragraphs by the researchers. The challenge to the reader is to evaluate the methodology of the researchers in order to best ascertain the credibility of the study. Fortunately, most primary research journals (a journal where research is first disclosed) have a very strict peer-review process where two or more specialists in the field of study related to the article critically review the article and recommend whether the article should be accepted or rejected for publication. The next sections of this article will delineate the different types of research and define common terminology presented in studies.