C H A P T E R 1 – Research and research vocabulary C H A P T E R 2 – Choosing and writing a research topic C H A P T E R 3 – Research design, methods and strategies C H A P T E R 4 – Sampling and sample selection C H A P T E R 5 – Data collection instruments C H A P T E R 6 – Presenting, reporting and analysing findings C H A P T E R 7 – Putting an SBA project together C H A P T E R 8 – Review test for private candidates C H A P T E R 9 – Glossary of research terms you should know
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This handbook provides guidance for students doing School Based Assessment (SBA) projects in social studies, geography, principles of business and other CSEC subjects and for private candidates preparing for CXC examinations, Alternative Papers. In addition, teachers and students pursuing undergraduate study programmes at tertiary institutions in the region and persons interested in the acquisition of basic research skills and methodologies would find this book helpful. Some guidelines for school candidates doing research projects for CSEC examinations: ■ ■ ■
Select a problem to investigate and write it in question form Select suitable methods to collect data Write out the exact questions that you would ask on questionnaires or in interviews; seek the assistance of your teacher Select a sample from a particular locality, school or group; state the characteristics of the sample chosen and the method used to select the sample Present and display data using tables, graphs, maps, photographs, diagrams and text Interpret and explain the data you have displayed State what the data mean in relation to the problem being investigated Write out what you have found from investigating the problem Write out recommendations based on the findings and state how you would implement these recommendations
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The questions on the Alternative Paper (Paper 03/2) for private and non-school candidates test their ability to: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Choose a topic and state the problem in the form of a question Select appropriate methods of investigation Design instruments to collect data Describe procedures to collect data and for the selection of samples Present and display data in several forms Explain the data presented in these forms of display Interpret the data in terms of the topic chosen and the problem stated State findings from the information presented in case studies Make recommendations based on findings and suggest ways to implement these recommendations
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Research and research vocabulary
At the end of this chapter you should be able to:
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Define research Recognize the importance of research Know the purpose of research Be familiar with some research vocabulary
What is research?
Research may be defined as a systematic way of searching for, finding and gathering knowledge. It may be regarded as a systematic way of asking questions. Some sources see research as a systematic method of inquiry and others regard it as a systematic and scientific way of investigating and studying a phenomenon. Research has some special vocabulary. Once this vocabulary is understood, research will seem less complex and bewildering. If research were never done, a lot of the things we do, say, use and enjoy would be done merely through guesswork and speculation. The systematic and scientific approach minimizes biases in research. In this regard research depends on the scientific method to collect evidence, to present data, to analyse findings, to give explanations and to make recommendations and predictions.
Why research uses the scientific method
Science helps to provide accurate answers to questions and is therefore attractive to researchers. Some of the main features of the scientific approach are: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
It follows general rules...