Research Methods

Topics: Sampling, Scientific method, Research Pages: 68 (20576 words) Published: March 21, 2013
NOTES BASED ON RESEARCH METHODOLOGY BY WELMAN, KRUGER AND MITCHELL, 3RD EDITION. THE AIMS OF RESEARCH   Research is a process that involves obtaining scientific knowledge by means of various objective methods and procedures. The term objective indicates that these methods and procedures do not rely on personal feelings or opinions and that the specific methods are used at each stage of the research process. These methods include procedures for drawing samples (e.g. simple random sampling), measuring variables, collecting information and analysing the information. Research methodology considers and explains the logic behind research methods and techniques.

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Sources of non – scientific knowledge   The sources include authority, opinion of peers, traditions, debating and accidental observation. Under authority, non – scientific knowledge is often merely accepted on the basis of the authority of some or other source. In contrast, with scientific approach, one should check the way in which findings are acquired and not accept them merely because they originate from a so – called expert. Non –scientific knowledge can also be acquired by asking the opinion of peers. Traditions refer to knowledge which is carried over from one generation to the next. Under debating, people attempt to obtain knowledge and insight by arguing in a seemingly logical manner. Accidental observation – this is where we notice something happening in one situation, but do not investigate the phenomenon in a systematic and planned manner

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Core features of scientific knowledge     They include systematic observation, control and replication. Systematic observation – scientific approach requires that we plan an investigation in which we use the results of two groups that have applied the methods. Control – scientific knowledge can be obtained in a controlled manner. Control means that alternative explanations for the obtained results should be eliminated systematically. Replication – it must be possible to replicate the research results. It means that similar results should be obtained by other researchers including other research participants in other circumstances.


Quantitative and Qualitative Research Cycles  Qualitative implies an emphasis on processes and meanings that are not rigorously examined or measured (if measured at all) in terms of quantity, amount, intensity or frequencies. The aims of qualitative research are to establish the socially constructed nature of reality, to stress the relationship between the researcher and the object of study, as well as to emphasize the value – laden nature of the inquiry. Quantitative research methods do not involve the investigation of processes but emphasize the measurement and analysis of casual relationships between variables within a value – free context.

Differences between quantitative and qualitative research 1. The purpose of quantitative research is to evaluate objective data consisting of numbers while qualitative research deals with subjective data that are produced by the minds of respondents or interviewees. 2. Quantitative researchers use a process of analysis that is based on complex structured methods to confirm or disapprove hypothesis. Flexibility is limited to prevent any form of bias in presenting the results. In contrast, qualitative research is based on flexible and explorative methods because it enables the researcher to change the data progressively so that a deeper understanding of what is being investigated can be achieved. 3. Quantitative researchers try to understand the facts of a research investigation from an outsider’s perspective. Qualitative researchers try to achieve an insider’s view by talking to subjects or observing their behaviour in a subjective way. 4. Quantitative researchers try to keep the research process as stable as possible. They focus on the causal aspects of behaviour and the collection of facts that wouldn’t...
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