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Scientific Research Methods by lkay SALHOLU


LECTURE 1 INTRODUCTION
Adopted from the article Science of Wikipedia science portal; Beins, Bernard (2004) Research Methods, Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, ISBN: 0205327710; and N.J.Salkind, J.Neil (1997) Exploring Research, third ed., Prentice Hall, New Jersey, ISBN: 0-13-520636-7, Wissenschaftliche Methode - Scientific Method - Frank Wolfs Aus ELib.at Elektronischer Volltext
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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Books (available in the NEUs Grand Library):


Legendre, Louis (2008) Scientific Research and Discovery: Processes, Consequences and Practice, Excellence in Ecology 16, Ed.O.Kinne, Luhe, Germany, Abridged electronic edition Avialable at: http://www.intres.com/book-series/excellence-in-ecology/ee16/ Beins, Bernard (2004) Research Methods, Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, , ISBN: 0205327710 Booth, C.W., Gregory G.Colomb, and Joseph F.Williams (2008), The Craft of Research, Third Edition, The university of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, ISBN 0-226-06566-9 Daly Janesse (1996), Ethical Intersections, Allen & Unwin, ISBN: 1864480505 Davis Stephen, F., (2004), An Introduction to Statistics and Research Methods, Pearson/Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131505114 Deer Richardson Linda (1992), Techniques of Investigation, National Extension College Trust, ISBN: 1853561533 Gillham Bill (2000) Case Study Research Methods, Continuum, ISBN: 0826447961 N.J.Salkind, J.Neil (1997) Exploring Research, third ed., Prentice Hall, New Jersey, ISBN: 0-13-520636-7 Rosnow, L.Ralph and Rosenthal Robert (2004), Beginning Behavioral Research, fifth ed., Pearson (International Edition), New Jersay, ISBN: 013- 114730-7

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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1. Introduction 2. Science 2.1 Philosophy of Science 2.2 Scientific Research and discovery 2.3 The Scientific Method 2.4 Fields of Sciences 3. Engineering 3.1 A Brief History of Engineering 3.2 Relationship With Science 3.3 Methodology 3.4 Problem Solving 3.5 Limitations 3.6 Diciplinary Connections
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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3.7 Tools 3.8 Methods 3.9 Main Branches 4. Research Methodology and Research Varieties 4.1 What is Methodology 4.2 Social psychology and sociology of science 4.3 The methodology of engineerin 4.4 Scientific research method of engineering

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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4.5 The measure of generality and applicability 4.6 The level of ordering 4.7 The measure of control by researchers 5. Literature Review 6. The Experimental Method

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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7. Other Research Methods 7.1 Natural Observation 7.2 Survey 7.3 Case Study 7.4 Correlational Research 7.5 Simulation and Modelling 7.6 Integrated Research 8. Data Validation and Evaluation

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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9. A Practical Guide Writing Research Proposals 10. Report Writing and Presentation 11. Guidelines for Thesis Writing and Dissertation 12. Research Ethics 13. Consequences: Science and Public Responsibilities

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

Course Assessment The two components of the class participation are; Term Paper: A topic related to a research method will be assigned to you throughout the course. You will be requested to write a term paper which will not exceed six pages written in Word format with 1.5 line space. Class Presentation: A topic for each participant will be chosen during the course for presented and discussed in the class. Circa 15 minutes oral presentation and a written document of the presentation). Among the others, one of the major aim is to encourage the class to participate in discussions during the oral presentations.
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

Grading: 20% Research Paper 40% Class Presentation and Report 40% Final Exam

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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From: http://www.educatorscorner.com/index.cgi?CONTENT_ID=539 http://www.educatorscorner.com/images/cartoon_finaltstb-lg.gif

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From: http://www.educatorscorner.com/index.cgi?CONTENT_ID=539 http://www.educatorscorner.com/images/cartoon_finaltstb-lg.gif

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RESEARCH
Olin Levi Warner, Research holding the torch of knowledge (1896). Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

RESEARCH Scientific research


In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge. Generally, research is understood to follow a certain structural process. Though step order may vary depending on the subject matter and researcher, the following steps are usually part of most formal research, both basic and applied:

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

Formation of the topic Hypothesis Conceptual definitions Operational definition Gathering of data Analysis of data Test, revising of hypothesis Conclusion, iteration if necessary

Simply RESEARCH is defined as human activity based on intellectual application in the investigation of matter.

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A common misunderstanding is that by this method a hypothesis can be proven or tested. Generally a hypothesis is used to make predictions that can be tested by observing the outcome of an experiment. If the outcome is inconsistent with the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is rejected. However, if the outcome is consistent with the hypothesis, the experiment is said to support the hypothesis. This careful language is used because researchers recognize that alternative hypotheses may also be consistent with the observations.
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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In this sense, a hypothesis can never be proven, but rather only supported by surviving rounds of scientific testing and, eventually, becoming widely thought of as true (or better, predictive), but this is not the same as it having been proven. A useful hypothesis allows prediction and within the accuracy of observation of the time, the prediction will be verified.

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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As the accuracy of observation improves with time, the hypothesis may no longer provide an accurate prediction. In this case a new hypothesis will arise to challenge the old, and to the extent that the new hypothesis makes more accurate predictions than the old, the new will supplant

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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From: http://www.experiment-resources.com/ (March 7, 2011)

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1. Basic research Basic (aka fundamental or pure ) research is driven by a scientist's curiosity or interest in a scientific question. The main motivation is to expand man's knowledge , not to create or invent something. There is no obvious commercial value to the discoveries that result from basic research. For example, basic science investigations probe for answers to questions such as: How did the universe begin? What are protons, neutrons, and electrons composed of?
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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Most scientists believe that a basic, fundamental understanding of all branches of science is needed in order for progress to take place. In other words, basic research lays down the foundation for the applied science that follows. If basic work is done first, then applied spin-offs often eventually result from this research. Most of the scientists beleives that, "People cannot foresee the future well enough to predict what's going to develop from basic research. If we only did applied research, we would still be making better spears."
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

2. Applied research Applied research is designed to solve practical problems of the modern world, rather than to acquire knowledge for knowledge's sake. One might say that the goal of the applied scientist is to improve the human condition . For example, applied researchers may investigate ways to: improve the energy efficiency of homes, offices, or modes of transportation, reduce carbon-dioxide emission of ordinary car engines, develop renewable energy resources etc.

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lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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Some scientists feel that the time has come for a shift in emphasis away from purely basic research and toward applied science. This trend, they feel, is necessitated by the problems resulting from global overpopulation, pollution, and the overuse of the earth's natural resources.

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerogel

A 2.5 kg brick is supported by a piece of aerogel weighing only 2 grams.

Aerogel's insulating properties displayed From: http://www.lbl.gov/Education/ELSI/research-main.html

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Examples of question asked in applied research: How can the CO2 emission of automibiles be reduced? How can the enrgy coonsumption of dish washers be reduced? What is the most efficient curing method for cancer? How can the input-ouput of a production complex be improved? How can a policy on time use increase transit services to low-income neighbourhoods?
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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There are many instances when the distinction between basic and applied research is not clear. Some say that the difference between basic and applied research lies in the time span between research and reasonably foreseeable practical applications.

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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Research methods The scope of the research process is to produce some new knowledge. This, in principle, can take three main forms: Exploratory research: a new problem can be structured and identified Constructive research: a (new) solution to a problem can be developed Empirical research: empirical evidence on the feasibility of an existing solution to a problem can be provided
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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Research methods used by scholars:

Action research Case study Classification Experience and intuition Experiments Eye tracking Interviews Map making

Mathematical models and simulations Participant observation Physical traces analysis Semiotics Statistical data analysis Statistical surveys Content or Textual Analysis
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What Reasearch is, and What it isnt Good research has its ultimate aim the benefit of society. High-quality research is characterizsd by many different attributes: 1. It is based on the work of the others. 2. It can be replicated. 3. It is generalizable to other settings. 4. It is based on some logical rationale and tied to theory.
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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(What Reasearch is, and What it isnt, cont.)

5. It is doable. 6. It generates new questions or is cyclical in nature. 7. It is incremental. 8. It is an apolitical activity that should be understood for the betterment of society.

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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First research is an activity based on the others work: this does not mean copying the work done by the others (thats plagmarism), but always looking work done by to provide a basis for what and how a new work can be done. Second, while talking about the work done by the others, research is an activity that can be replicated. When the result of research can be replicated, the researchers argument are stronger.
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

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Third, a good research is generalizable to other settings. This means that for example, if the power of a cars engine follows the thermodynamic rules and laws, engines used for other purposes, i.e. aircraft engines, also should fit the same settings. Fourth, research is based on some logical rationale, and tied to theory. Research ideas do not stand alone as just interesting question. Rather research activity provides answers to the questions that help fill in pieces to what can be a large and complicated puzzel.
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

Fifth, by all means, research is douable. The challenge to come up with a new idea, sometimes my lead to an unrealistic and nonmanagable research topic! An unrealistic umbiguity and lack of conceptual framework may make a almost useless and certainly not douable. Sixth, research generates new questions or is cyclical in nature. What goes around comes around. Answering to days scientific questions leads tomorrows scientific questions.

lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

Seventh, research is incremental, this issue is self explanatory! Finally, at its best, research is an apolitical activity that should be undertaken for the betterment of society. Contradictory examples (i) Fritz Haber (1868-1934) was in charge of production of war gas. (ii) Manhattan Project (Los Alamos Lab.) Project director Robert Oppenheimer.
lkay SALHOLU, FAS-NEU

From: http://vadlo.com/cartoons.php?id=360 (March 9, 2012)