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LESSON 1

Research is a careful, systematic and objective investigation conducted to obtain valid facts, draw conclusions, and establish principles
regarding an identifiable problem in some field of knowledge.
"Research is a diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover facts or principles."
Research comprises “creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of
man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.”
•It is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data that can be transformed into useable statistics.
•Quantitative Research uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research.
•It is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables – and generalize results from a larger sample population.
The data is usually gathered using structured research instruments.
•The results are based on larger sample sizes that are representative of the population.
•The research study can usually be replicated or repeated, given its high reliability.
•Researcher has a clearly defined research question to which objective answers are sought.
•All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected.
•Data are in the form of numbers and statistics, often arranged in tables, charts, figures, or other non-textual forms.
•Project can be used to generalize concepts more widely, predict future results, or investigate causal relationships.
•Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or computer software, to collect numerical data.
Methods or procedures of data gathering include items like ages, gender, educational status, among others, that call for measurable
characteristics of the population.
Standardized instruments guide data collection, thus, ensuring the accuracy, reliability and validity of data.
Figures, tables or graphs showcase summarized data collected in order to show trends, relationships or differences among variables. In sum,
the charts and tables allow you to see the evidence collected.
A large population yields more reliable data, but principles of random sampling must be strictly followed to prevent researcher’s bias.
Quantitative methods can be repeated to verify findings in another setting, thus, reinforcing validity of findings.
Quantitative research puts emphasis on proof, rather than discovery.
STRENGTHS OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
•Allows for a broader study, involving a greater number of subjects, and enhancing the generalization of the results;
•Allows for greater objectivity and accuracy of results.
•Applying well established standards means that the research can be replicated, and then analyzed and compared with similar studies;
•You can summarize vast sources of information and make comparisons across categories and over time; and,
•Personal bias can be avoided by keeping a 'distance' from participating subjects and using accepted computational techniques.
LIMITATIONS OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
•The development of standard questions by researchers can lead to "structural bias" and false representation, where the data actually reflects
the view of the researcher instead of the participating subject;
•Results provide less detail on behavior, attitudes, and motivation;
•Researcher may collect a much narrower and sometimes superficial dataset;
•Results are limited as they provide numerical descriptions rather than detailed narrative and generally provide less elaborate accounts of
human perception;
•The research is often carried out in an unnatural, artificial environment so that a level of control can be applied to the exercise.
•Present answers will not necessarily reflect how people really feel about a subject and, in some cases, might just be the closest match to
the preconceived hypothesis.
Strengths and weaknesses of Quantitative Research
Quantitative research design is the most reliable and valid way of concluding results, giving way to a new hypothesis or to disproving it.
Because of bigger number of the sample of a population, the results or generalizations are more reliable and valid.
Quantitative experiments filter out external factors, if properly designed, and so the results gained can be seen, as real and unbiased.
Quantitative experiments are useful for testing the results gained by a series of qualitative experiments, leading to a final answer, and
narrowing down of possible directions to follow.
Quantitative research can be costly, difficult and time-consuming-difficult because most researchers are non-mathematicians.
Quantitative studies require extensive statistical treatment, requiring stringent standards, more so with confirmation of results. When
ambiguities in some findings surface, retesting and refinement of the design call for another investment in time and resources to polish the
results.
Quantitative methods also tend to turn out only proved or unproven results, leaving little room for uncertainty, or grey areas. For the social
sciences, education, anthropology and psychology, human nature is a lot more complex than a simple yes or no response.
Research design- refers to the overall strategy that you choose in order to integrate the different components of the study in a coherent and
logical way. Furthermore, a research design constitutes the blueprint for the selection, measurement and analysis of data. The research
problem determines the research design you should use.
Experimental research is commonly used in sciences such as sociology and psychology, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine etc. It is
a collection of research designs which use manipulation and controlled testing to understand causal processes. Generally, one or more
variables are manipulated to determine their effect on a dependent variable.
The experimental method is a systematic and scientific approach to research in which the researcher manipulates one or more
variables, and controls and measures any change in other variables.
TYPES OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
Experimental Designs, often called true experimentation, use the scientific method to establish cause-effect relationship among a group of
variables in a research study. Researchers make an effort to control for all variables except the one being manipulated (the independent
variable). The effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable are collected and analyzed for a relationship.
A Quasi-Experimental Design (often referred to as Causal-Comparative)-Quasi-experimental design involves selecting groups, upon which
a variable is tested, without any random pre-selection processes.
For example, to perform an educational experiment, a class might be arbitrarily divided by alphabetical selection or by seating arrangement.
The division is often convenient and, especially in an educational situation, causes as little disruption as possible.
After this selection, the experiment proceeds in a very similar way to any other experiment, with a variable being compared between different
groups, or over a period of time.
Types of Quasi-Experimental Design
1. Non-equivalent control group design-refers to the chance failure of random assignment to equalize the conditions by converting a
true experiment into this kind of design, for purposes of analysis.
2. Research is a careful, systematic and objective investigation conducted to obtain valid facts, draw conclusions, and establish
principles regarding an identifiable problem in some field of knowledge.
A Descriptive Design seeks to describe the current status of a variable or phenomenon. The researcher does not begin with a hypothesis,
but typically develops one after the data is collected. Data collection is mostly observational in nature.
Types of Descriptive Research Designs
1. Survey - a research design used when the researcher intends to provide a quantitative or numeric description of trends, attitudes
or opinions of a population by studying a sample of that population (Creswell, 2003). For example, universities regularly float surveys
to determine customer satisfaction, that is, the students‘ attitudes toward or opinions regarding student services like the canteen,
clinic, security, the guidance and counseling services, and the like.
2. Research is a careful, systematic and objective investigation conducted to obtain valid facts, draw conclusions, and establish
principles regarding an identifiable problem in some field of knowledge.
- Bivariate correlational studies- obtain scores from two variables for each subject, then use them to calculate a correlation
coefficient. The term bivariate implies that the two variables are correlated (variables are selected because they are believed to be
related).
3. Ex-Post Facto Research Design- These are non-experimental designs that are used to investigate causal relationships. They examine
whether one or more pre-existing conditions could possibly have caused subsequent differences in groups of subjects. Researchers attempt
to discover whether differences between groups have results in an observed difference in the independent variables.
4. Comparative design - involves comparing and contrasting two or more samples of study subjects on one or more variables, often at a
single point of time. Specifically, this design is used to compare two distinct groups on the basis of selected attributes such as knowledge
level, perceptions, and attitudes, physical or psychological symptoms.
5. Evaluative Research - seeks to assess or judge in some way providing information about something other than might be gleaned in mere
observation or investigation of relationships.
Formative evaluation is used to determine the quality of implementation of a project, the efficiency and effectiveness of a program,
assessment of organizational processes like procedures, policies, guidelines, human resource development and the like.
6. Methodological - in this approach, the implementation of a variety of methodologies forms a critical part of achieving the goal of developing
a scale-matched approach, where data from different disciplines can be integrated.
Experimental research design allows the researcher to control the situation. In so doing, it allows the researcher to answer the question,
“What causes something to occur?” This kind of research also allows the researcher to identify cause and effect relationships between
variables and to distinguish placebo effects from treatment effects.
Further, this research design supports the ability to limit alternative explanations and to infer direct causal relationships in the study; the
approach provides the highest level of evidence for single studies.