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Research design

Experimental Research Methods

❶The choice of how to group participants depends on the research hypothesis and on how the participants are sampled.

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What is a Research Method?

Selecting the correct type from the different research methods can be a little daunting, at first. There are so many factors to take into account and evaluate. The research question , ethics , budget and time are all major considerations in any design.

This is before looking at the statistics required, and studying the preferred methods for the individual scientific discipline. Every experimental design must make compromises and generalizations , so the researcher must try to minimize these, whilst remaining realistic. For biology, psychology and social sciences, there can be a huge variety of methods to choose from, and a researcher will have to justify their choice.

The first method is the straightforward experiment, involving the standard practice of manipulating quantitative, independent variables to generate statistically analyzable data.

Generally, the system of scientific measurements is interval or ratio based. The researcher is accepting or refuting the null hypothesis. The results generated are analyzable and are used to test hypotheses , with statistics giving a clear and unambiguous picture.

This research method is one of the most difficult, requiring rigorous design and a great deal of expense, especially for larger experiments. The other problem, where real life organisms are used, is that taking something out of its natural environment can seriously affect its behavior. It is also the biggest drain on time and resources, and is often impossible to perform for some fields, because of ethical considerations. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a prime example of experimental research that was fixated on results, and failed to take into account moral considerations.

In other fields of study, which do not always have the luxury of definable and quantifiable variables - you need to use different research methods. These should attempt to fit all of the definitions of repeatability or falsifiability , although this is not always feasible.

Opinion based research methods generally involve designing an experiment and collecting quantitative data. For this type of research, the measurements are usually arbitrary, following the ordinal or interval type. Questionnaires are an effective way of quantifying data from a sample group, and testing emotions or preferences.

This method is very cheap and easy, where budget is a problem, and gives an element of scale to opinion and emotion. These figures are arbitrary, but at least give a directional method of measuring intensity. By definition, this experiment method must be used where emotions or behaviors are measured, as there is no other way of defining the variables. Whilst not as robust as experimental research , the methods can be replicated and the results falsified. Observational research is a group of different research methods where researchers try to observe a phenomenon without interfering too much.

Observational research methods, such as the case study , are probably the furthest removed from the established scientific method. Observational research tends to use nominal or ordinal scales of measurement. Observational research often has no clearly defined research problem , and questions may arise during the course of the study.

Observation is heavily used in social sciences, behavioral studies and anthropology, as a way of studying a group without affecting their behavior. Whilst the experiment cannot be replicated or falsified , it still offers unique insights, and will advance human knowledge. Case studies are often used as a pre-cursor to more rigorous methods, and avoid the problem of the experiment environment affecting the behavior of an organism.

Key aspects of research design include: Choice of research methods and design should be thought of as a reciprocal process extending well into your study.

For example, it may arise over the course of your study that there is a flaw in the design. Changing the design of the study may lead to the choice or addition of a different method which, in turn, may lead to subsequent changes in the design to accommodate the new method s.

Matthew Lee has been writing professionally since Past and current research projects have explored the effect of a diagnosis of breast cancer on lifestyle and mental health and adherence to lifestyle-based i.

He holds a Master of Arts in psychology from Carleton University and is working toward his doctorate in health psychology. The database based on Word Net is a lexical database for the English Language. Research methods and design are critical to any research project. Research Methods Research methods are generalized and established ways of approaching research questions e.

Research Design Research design involves determining how your chosen method will be applied to answer your research question. Relationship Choice of research methods and design should be thought of as a reciprocal process extending well into your study. About the Author Matthew Lee has been writing professionally since

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Chapter 4: Research methodology and design whether these researchparadigms are necessarily opposed or whether they can be seen as contributing a different role in the same study. Positivism The positivist paradigm of exploring social reality is based on the philosophical ideas of the French Philosopher August Comte.

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Some authors consider research design as the choice between qualitative and quantitative research methods. Others argue that research design refers to the choice of specific methods of data collection and analysis.

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Research methods are loose framework or guidelines from which one has to select one and then apply a research design on that method to achieve desired results. Research methods focus mainly on data collection, but the research design provides an overall picture of the entire research project. Research Design and Research Methods 47 research design link your purposes to the broader, more theoretical aspects of procedures for conducting Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Research, while the following section will examine decisions about research methods as a narrower, more technical aspect of procedures.

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A research method is a general framework guiding a research project. Different methods can be used to tackle different questions. Research design is a specific outline detailing how your chosen method will be applied to answer a particular research . research design Burns and Grove () define a research design as “a blueprint for conducting a study with maximum control over factors that may interfere with the validity of the findings”.