Fundamentals of Research Paper
Research and Statistics
August 9, 2010
This paper will define the scientific method and how it relates to human services research. It will describe the steps in the process of scientific inquiry and define quantitative research and qualitative research. This paper will also explain how they differ and relate each to the human services field and the scientific method and describe how to decide whether to use a quantitative or qualitative research methodology, and provide examples of what sort of study is appropriate for each methodology and explain why. Finally this paper will define mixed method research and describe its strengths as well provide an example of when it is appropriate to apply mixed method research in the human services field.
The scientific method is a process for experimentation that is used to explore observations and answer questions. Scientists use the scientific method to search for cause and effect relationships in nature (Steps of the Scientific Method, 2002-2010). Cross-sectional survey and longitudinal survey design are common scientific methods used in human services to gather information. A cross-sectional study can examine current attitudes, beliefs, opinions, or practices. Attitudes, beliefs, and opinions are ways in which individuals think about issues, whereas practices are their actual behaviors (Creswell, 2008). They are used to gather information on a population at a single point in time. An example of a cross sectional survey would be a questionnaire that collects data on how parents feel about Internet filtering, as of March of 1999. A different cross-sectional survey questionnaire might try to determine the relationship between two factors, like religiousness of parents and views on Internet filtering (Survey Methods). Both are very fast and can study a large number of people. The Longitudinal surveys gather data... [continues]
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