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THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Methods of Research and Scientific Writing


CHRISTINE S. BAUTISTA, RN Masters of Science in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

RESEARCH
- the systematic, rigorous investigation of a situation or problem in order to generate new knowledge or validate existing knowledge - the finding of solutions to a problem after thorough study and analysis of the situational factors - gathering information needed to answer a question, and thereby help in solving a problem

Purpose of Research
1. Exploratory/ Formulative Research
- first stage in a sequence of studies - researcher formulate more precise questions that future research can answer - done when researcher has a limited amount of experience or knowledge about an issue - addresses the WHAT question Ex: experience surveys, secondary data analysis, case studies and pilot studies

2. Descriptive Research - describe characteristics of a population or phenomenon - determine the answers to WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and HOW questions Ex: Labor Force Surveys, Population Census, Educational Census, Field Research and Content Analysis
3. Explanatory Research - looks for causes and reason - answers the question WHY

What is SCIENTIFIC METHOD?


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A method which is very systematic in nature and plays a very critical role in the field of investigation, evaluation, experimentation, interpretation and theorizing. A very effective method in the cases of physical sciences as the various physical phenomenon can be easily verified and also evaluated but in case of the managerial factors cannot be absolutely verified and evaluated physically.

George A. Lundberg (1946)


Method which consists of the systematic observation, classification and interpretation of the data. The main difference between our day to day generalization and the conclusions usually recognized as a scientific method lie in the degree of the formality, rigorousness, verifiability and the general validity of the latter.

Characteristics Of Scientific Method


Empirical Realities that are observed through sensory experiences Generates knowledge which are verifiable by experience or observation Objective Researcher should test the hypothesis and not prove it and should eliminate personal bias and refrain from seeking only such data that will prove the hypothesis. How to be objective? Standardize research instruments and analytical tools (Lal Das, 2005) Verifiable If a study is based on objective facts, thus it can be verified. Ways to verify studies: Analyze data on same sample using other statistical

REPLICATION

the key to the support of any worthwhile theory involves the process of repeating a study using the same methods, different subjects, and different experimenters It can also involve applying the theory to new situations in an attempt to determine the generalizability to different age groups, locations, races, or cultures. Why is it important? assurance that results are valid and reliable determination of generalizability or the role of extraneous variables application of results to real world situations inspiration of new research combining previous

STEPS IN Scientific Method


GENERAL QUESTION formulate a general question about an area of research and begin the process of defining it NARROWING DOWN research stage, through a process of elimination, will narrow and focus the research area DESIGNING THE EXPERIMENT designing the steps that will test and evaluate the hypothesis, manipulating one or more variables to generate analyzable data OBSERVATION observing and recording the results of the research, gathering the findings into raw data. The observation stage involves looking at what effect the manipulated variables have upon the subject, and recording the results

STEPS IN Scientific Method (cont)


ANALYSIS The scope of the research begins to broaden again, as statistical analyses are performed on the data, and it is organized into an understandable form. The answers given by this step allow the further widening of the research, revealing some trends and answers to the initial questions. CONCLUSIONS AND PUBLISHING This stage is where, technically, the hypothesis is stated as proved or disproved. results are usually published and shared with the scientific community, allowing verification of the findings and allowing others to continue research into other areas CYCLE generates data and ideas to recycle into the first stage. Process of verification/ replication

RESEARCH DESIGN
A master plan specifying the methods and procedures for collecting and analyzing the data A strategy or blueprint that plans the action for carrying through the research project data Involves a series of rational decisionmaking choices depending upon the various options available to the researchers

Elements of Research Design


Purpose of the Study


Descriptive or Explanatory

Unit of Analysis
Also called as the units of observations; level of aggregation of the data collected during the subsequent data analysis stage

Time Dimension
Cross Sectional Studies are carried out once and represent a snapshot of one point in time. Longitudinal Studies are repeated over an extended period. The advantage of longitudinal studies is. that it can track changes over time

Researcher Control of Variables


In an experiment, the researcher attempts to control and /or manipulate the variables in the study. It is enough that we can cause variables to be changed or held constant in keeping with our research objectives

Elements of Research Design (cont)

Choice of Research Design: Mode of Observation

survey, experiment, communication analysis (content analysis), field observation, case study, focus group discussion

Sampling Design

Unit of analysis; selecting some of the elements in population, we may draw conclusions about the entire population

Observation Tools

questionnaire, interview schedule, Interview guide, and check list

Field Data Collection

How the data will be collected? Who will be responsible for the collections of data? What training will be imparted t o the field functionaries? How will the quality control of data be maintained?

Data Processing and Data Analysis

Researcher is required to tell how the data shall be processed (manua lly, mechanically), and analysis plans explicated; The research design should also say something about the analysis plan, the use of statistics, and the inferences to be drawn

TYPES OF RESEARCH

Applied Research Basic Research Correlational Research Descriptive Research Ethnographic Research Experimental Research Explanatory Research Exploratory Research Grounded Theory Research Historical Research Phenomenological Research Qualitative Research Quantitative Research

DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH

Refers to research that provides an accurate portrayal of characteristics of a particular individual, situation or group. Also known as statistical research Means of discovering new meaning, describing what exists, determining the frequency with which something occurs, and categorizing information Deals with everything that can be counted or studied which has an impact on the lives of people it deals with.

EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH
An objective, systematic, controlled investigation for the purpose of predicting and controlling phenomena and examining probability and causality among selected variables Has two groups of participants

Control vs. Experimental group


Researcher randomly assigns respondents in these group Control no manipulation in Independent Variable Experimental receives manipulation in IV

TYPES OF EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH

Blind Experiment The idea is that the groups studied, including the control, should not be aware of the group in which they are placed. A blind experiment reduces the risk of bias from this effect, giving an honest baseline for the research, and allowing a realistic statistical comparison. Ideally, the subjects would not be told that a placebo was being used at all, but this is regarded as unethical. The Double Blind Experiment The double blind experiment takes this precaution against bias one step further, by ensuring that the researcher does not know in which group a patient falls. This always gives a chance that a scientist might manipulate results, and try to show the research in a better light. Proving that the researcher carried out a double blind experiment reduces the chance of criticism.

VARIABLES
INDEPENDENT VARIABLE presumed cause treatment, factor, and predictor is a variable that is manipulated to examine its impact on a dependent variable. DEPENDENT VARIABLE presumed effect outcome, result, effect, and criteri on variable that indicates that wheth er the manipulation of the independent variable had an effect.

varied or manipulated by the the response that is measured Confounding variable 'get in the way' of the comparison between researcher, groups that we want to make. Confounding is defined as "a situation in which the effects of two process are not separated".

Strategies to reduce confounding:

Randomization
aim is random distribution of confounders between study groups

Restriction
restrict entry to study of individuals with confounding factors - risks bias in itself

Matching
of individuals or groups, aim for equal distribution of confounders

Stratification
confounders are distributed evenly within each stratum

Adjustment
usually distorted by choice of standard

Multivariate analysis
only works if you can identify and measure the confounders