Thursday, March 5, 2009

Research Method Process

The Research Process Barbara Newton
March 2009

Research is the investigation of new ideas to an important question that has been identified. The process begins by obtaining some understanding of the concept by locating and looking at theories and other research findings prior to the carrying out of the actual investigation in a procedural manner. The data that is collected is then analyzed and interpreted and formulated to reach a conclusion that is presented to share with colleagues and peers.
The research process, as defined by our lecturer consists of 8 steps: an idea; literary review; methodology; method; analysis of data; interpretation of data; conclusion and discussion.

The steps are as follows:

1) An idea or belief.
The process begins with a question formulated by the researcher(s) from a hypothesis that comes from your own experience or that of someone else. The question must identify the main concepts &/or contain keywords obtained through brainstorming the idea, which is then revised numerous times and re drafted to form a specific question with realistic parameters. The question needs to be simple, clear and worded in concise language
To be tested the question needs to have a high degree of probability, yet not be a yes or no type of question, be important, relevant, measurable and above all ethical.

2) Literature review.
The researcher needs to read a wide range of material as possible and learn what other researchers have to say about the topic. If they have whether or not they have answered the question in a convincing manner or not. ie: Is it a considered opinion, or a statement based on a stated interpretation of collected data in an orderly and scientific way? And on what basis did they make their conclusions. Sources of such literature may include reference texts, periodicals, journals, unpublished papers, or the internet. Another factor to take into consideration
is with regard to the author of the material and whether they are an acknowledged,respected and reliable source.
Information gathering should follow from general to specific as the process progresses and every opportunity should be made to discuss this material with others, whether they be colleagues or friends,to get their insight on the subject.
Bibliographies from any of the above also provide an excellent source of possible information as it is important to go to the primary source of information where ever possible to ensure you get the thoughts and facts in the correct context.

3) Methodology
This ties in closely with the methods to be used for the study and concentrates on developing or deciding just how the data is to be collected to test the question. It needs to be ethical, relevant, verifiable and valid with no variables.

4) Methods
Once the methodology has been ascertained the actual collection of data can begin via any number of different methods or procedures to find out if the question can be answered convincingly. These may include one or more of a variety of methods such as: interviews, questionnaires among a fixed gender, age or specific interest group relating to the question. During this collection process every effort must be made to ensure the anonymity and confidentiality of all participants.

5) Data analysis
Once all the data has been collected it is the researcher’s job is to evaluate it from all angles- both of a positive or negative nature, and then make their judgment and consequent interpretation.
The collected data may be illustrated by way of graphs, charts, tables or figures for easier analysis, interpretation and discussion presentation.

6) Interpretation of data
Once analyzed with a critical eye, the researcher will make their interpretation, in an unbiased manner with regard to the question. It may include what the data didn’t say and whether or not the data was as expected or different.

7) Conclusion
The analysis and interpretation of the factual data is expressed clearly and understandably in a written statement relating to any generalizations that are made and demonstrate its [data] consistency in warranting such a conclusion.
It must be remembered that the researcher has no control over how the research is interpreted by other parties so it is important to ensure the conclusion is expressed clearly and easily understood to avoid misinterpretation.

8) Discussion
The conclusions would then be communicated and shared with colleagues via;
blogs; presentations, meetings, newsletters or other publications etc as seen fit and appropriate.

So in essence the research process, as described above, involves identifying, locating, assessing, analyzing and then development and expression of your ideas.

Bill Robertson Library
Class Notes

Payton, O. (1994). Research: The validation of clinical practice (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company.

Polit, D.F., Beck, C.T., (2006). Essentials of nursing research. Methods, appraisal and utilization(6th ed.).Philadelphia; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Polit,D.F., Beck, C.T., (2004). Nursing research. Principles and methods (7th ed.). Philadelphia; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Class notes/ elluminate session: Molloy,F., March 2nd 2009.

Cornell University Library, retrieved March 4th 2009 from

Suffolk University, retrieved March 4th 2009, from

University of Alaska Fairbanks, retrieved March 4th 2009 from

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