Chapter 1. Introduction to Educational research. Research is a systematic process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting information in order to increase our understanding of a phenomenon about which we are interested or concerned. Research must start with a question or problem. It requires a clear articulation of a goal. Research requires a specific plan for proceeding. Research usually divides the principal problem into manageable subproblems. The scientific method. The scientific method targets to describe, explain, predict and or control phenomena. The scientific method is a systematic process of recognition and definition of a problem formulation of hypothesis collection and analysis of data and statement of conclusions regarding confirmation or disconfirmation of hypothesis. Limitations of Scientific Method. There are a few limitations of the scientific method. An inability to answer some types of questions, B Inability to capture the full richness of the research site, C Complexity of the participants, D Limitation of measuring instruments, E The need to address participants' needs in ethical and responsible ways.
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Applications of the scientific method in education Research is the formal systematic application of the scientific method to the study of the problem, education research is the formal systematic application of the scientific method to the study of educational problems. The research process involves four steps selection and definition of a problem execution of research procedures analysis of data drawing and stating the conclusion. Different approaches to educational Research Quantitative research. Quantitative research is the collection and analysis of numerical data to explain the predict and or control phenomena of interest. Hypotheses are an important key feature of quantitative research that predicts the results of the research before starting the study. Some more important features are contextual factors influencing the study collection of data from sufficient samples of participants and the use of numerical statistical approaches to analyze the collected data. The quantitative approach assumes the world is relatively stable uniform and coherent. Qualitative research. Qualitative research deals with collection analysis and interpretation of comprehensive narrative visual data to gain insights into a particular phenomenon interest.
Key features of qualitative research include defining the problem studying contextual factors in the participant's natural settings, collecting data from a small number of purposively selected participants and using nonnumeric interpretive approaches to provide narrative descriptions of the participants and their contacts. A qualitative approach is attached with the belief that the world is not stable, coherent nor uniform and therefore there are many truths. Classification of research by method. A research method comprises the overall strategy followed in collecting and analyzing data All educational research ultimately involves the decision to study and or describe something to ask questions and seek an answer. However, the approaches used to answer these questions can be broadly classified as quantitative and qualitative research. Chapter 2 Selecting and defining a Research Topic. The five main sources of research topics are theories, personal experiences, previous studies that can be replicated, electronic mailing lists and libraries.
A Theories are organized bodies of concepts generalizations and principles. Researchers often study particular aspects of the theory to determine its applicability or generalisability. B Existing studies are a common source of research topics. C Electronic mailing list services are designed by organizations to facilitate communication. D Library searches are generally not efficient ways to identify research topics. E Personal experience plays an important role to conclude the results Research Topic. After the initial topic is identified it often needs to be narrowed and focused on a manageable and topic to study. Qualitative research topics are not usually narrowed until the researcher has more information about the participants and their setting. Characteristics of a good topic. Two basic characteristics of a good research topic is that it is of interest to the researcher and that it is researchable using the collection and analysis of data Topics related to philosophical and ethical issues are not researchable. A Good topic has a theoretical or practical significance solution that contributes to improving the educational process. The topic statement is the first item in the introduction to a research plan and the introduction to the final research report. It provides direction for the remaining aspects of both. A well-written topic statement for the quantitative study generally indicates the variables of interest the specific relations among those variables and ideally the characteristic of the participants.
A Hypothesis is a researcher’s prediction of the research findings. Researchers do not set out to prove the hypothesis but rather collect data that either supports or does not support it. A hypothesis in quantitative study is formulated based on theory or knowledge gained while reviewing the related literature. A critical characteristic of a good hypothesis is that it is based on a sound rationale. A good hypothesis states clearly and concisely the expected relations or differences between the variables. Variables should be stated in measurable terms. A well stated and well-defined hypothesis must be testable. Types of hypotheses. An Inductive hypothesis is a generalisation made from a number of observations, B. A deductive hypothesis is derived from Theory and is aimed at providing evidence that supports expands or contradicts aspects of a given theory. A research hypothesis states the expected relation or difference between variables that the researcher expects to test through the collection and analysis of data.
C A Nondirectional hypothesis predicts only that relation or difference exists a directional hypothesis, indicates the direction of the difference as well D. A null hypothesis predicts that there is no significant relation or difference between variables Stating the hypothesis. A good hypothesis clearly explains the relationship between all of its variables. It helps to define the measurability of the variables. Testing the hypothesis. The researcher selects the sample measuring instrument design procedures that will enable him or her to collect the data necessary to test the hypothesis. This data is then analyzed to determine whether or not the hypothesis is supported. Qualitative researchers do not state a formal hypothesis prior to the study. However, the qualitative researcher may develop guiding hypotheses for the proposed research.
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