According Webster(1985), to research is to search or investigate exhaustively. It is a careful or diligent search, studious inquiry or examination especially investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws, it can also be the collection of information about a particular subject.
A focus group is used as a preliminary research technique to explore peoples ideas and attitudes. It is often used to test new approaches (such as products or advertising), and to discover customer concerns. A group of 6 to 20 people meet in a conference-room-like setting with a trained moderator. The room usually contains a one-way mirror for viewing, including audio and video capabilities. The moderator leads the group's discussion and keeps the focus on the areas you want to explore. Focus groups can be conducted within a couple of weeks and cost between two and three thousand dollars. Their disadvantage is that the sample is small and may not be representative of the population in general.
Reliability and Validity: What's the Difference?
Definition: Reliability is the consistency of your measurement, or the degree to which an instrument measures the same way each time it is used under the same condition with the same subjects. In short, it is the repeatability of your measurement. A measure is considered reliable if a person's score on the same test given twice is similar. It is important to remember that reliability is not measured, it is estimated. There are two ways that reliability is usually estimated: test/retest and internal consistency. Test/Retest
Test/retest is the more conservative method to estimate reliability. Simply put, the idea behind test/retest is that you should get the same score on test 1 as you do on test 2. The three main components to this method are as follows: 1.) implement your measurement instrument at two separate times for each subject; 2). compute the correlation between the two separate measurements; and 3) assume there is no change in the underlying condition (or trait you are trying to measure) between test 1 and test 2. Internal Consistency
Internal consistency estimates reliability by grouping questions in a questionnaire that measure the same concept. For example, you could write two sets of three questions that measure the same concept (say class participation) and after collecting the responses, run a correlation between those two groups of three questions to determine if your instrument is reliably measuring that concept. One common way of computing correlation values among the questions on your instruments is by using Cronbach's Alpha. In short, Cronbach's alpha splits all the questions on your instrument every possible way and computes correlation values for them all (we use a computer program for this part). In the end, your computer output generates one number for Cronbach's alpha - and just like a correlation coefficient, the closer it is to one, the higher the reliability estimate of your instrument. Cronbach's alpha is a less conservative estimate of reliability than test/retest. The primary difference between test/retest and internal consistency estimates of reliability is that test/retest involves two administrations of the measurement instrument, whereas the internal consistency method involves only one administration of that instrument.
Definition:Validity is the strength of our conclusions, inferences or propositions. More formally, Cook and Campbell (1979) define it as the "best available approximation to the truth or falsity of a given inference, proposition or conclusion." In short, were we right? Let's look at a simple example. Say we are studying the effect of strict attendance policies on class participation. In our...
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