Q.1 Define Research. Elaborate various classifications of Research.
Social Research is a method used by social scientists and researchers to learn about people and societies so that they can design products/services that cater to various needs of the people. Different socio-economic groups belonging to different parts of a county think differently. Various aspects of human behavior need to be addressed to understand their thoughts and feedback about the social world, which can be done using Social Research. Any topic can trigger social research – new feature, new market trend or an upgrade in old technology.
Social Research is conducted by following a systematic plan of action which includes qualitative and quantitative observation methods.
- Qualitative methods rely on direct communication with members of a market, observation, text analysis. The results of this method are focused more on being accurate rather than generalizing to the entire population.
- Quantitative methods use statistical analysis techniques to evaluate data collected via surveys, polls or questionnaires.
Social Research contains elements of both these methods to analyze a range of social occurrences such as an investigation of historical sites, census of the country, detailed analysis of research conducted to understand reasons for increased reports of molestation in the country etc.
A survey to monitor happiness in a respondent population is one of the most widely used applications of social research. The happiness survey template can be used by researchers an organizations to gauge how happy a respondent is and the things that can be done to increase happiness in that respondent.
Types of Social Research
There are four main types of Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Research, Primary and Secondary Research.
Qualitative Research: Qualitative Research is defined as a method to collect data via open-ended and conversational discussions, There are five main qualitative research methods- ethnographic research, focus groups, one-on-one online interview, content analysis and case study research. Usually, participants are not taken out of their ecosystem for qualitative data collection to gather information in real-time which helps in building trust. Researchers depend on multiple methods to gather qualitative data for complex issues.
Quantitative Research: Quantitative Research is an extremely informative source of data collection conducted via mediums such as surveys, polls, and questionnaires. The gathered data can be analyzed to conclude numerical or statistical results. There are four distinct quantitative research methods: survey research, correlational research, causal-comparative research and experimental research. This research is carried out on a sample that is representative of the target market usually using close-ended questions and data is presented in tables, charts, graphs etc.
For example, A survey can be conducted to understand Climate change awareness among the general population. Such a survey will give in-depth information about people’s perception about climate change and also the behaviors that impact positive behavior. Such a questionnaire will enable the researcher to understand what needs to be done to create more awareness among the public.
Primary Research: Primary Research is conducted by the researchers themselves. There are a list of questions that a researcher intends to ask which need to be customized according to the target market. These questions are sent to the respondents via surveys, polls or questionnaires so that analyzing them becomes convenient for the researcher. Since data is collected first-hand, it’s highly accurate according to the requirement of research.
For example: There are tens of thousands of deaths and injuries related to gun violence in the United States. We keep hearing about people carrying weapons attacking general public in the news. There is quite a debate in the American public as to understand if possession of guns is the cause to this. Institutions related to public health or governmental organizations are carrying out studies to find the cause. A lot of policies are also influenced by the opinion of the general population and gun control policies are no different. Hence a gun control questionnaire can be carried out to gather data to understand what people think about gun violence, gun control, factors and effects of possession of firearms. Such a survey can help these institutions to make valid reforms on the basis of the data gathered.
Secondary Research: Secondary Research is a method where information has already been collected by research organizations or marketers. Newspapers, online communities, reports, audio-visual evidence etc. fall under the category of secondary data. After identifying the topic of research and research sources, a researcher can collect existing information available from the noted sources. They can then combine all the information to compare and analyze it to derive conclusions.
Social Research Methods
Surveys: A survey is conducted by sending a set of pre-decided questions to a sample of individuals from a target market. This will lead to a collection of information and feedback from individuals that belong to various backgrounds, ethnicities, age-groups etc. Surveys can be conducted via online and offline mediums. Due to the improvement in technological mediums and their reach, online mediums have flourished and there is an increase in the number of people depending on online survey software to conduct regular surveys and polls.
There are various types of social research surveys: Longitudinal, Cross-sectional, Correlational Research. Longitudinal and Cross-sectional social research surveys are observational methods while Correlational is a non-experimental research method. Longitudinal social research surveys are conducted with the same sample over a course of time while Cross-sectional surveys are conducted with different samples.
For example: It has been observed in recent times, that there is an increase in the number of divorces, or failed relationships. The number of couples visiting marriage counselors or psychiatrists is increasing. Sometimes it gets tricky to understand what is the cause for a relationship falling apart. A screening process to understand an overview of the relationship can be an easy method. A marriage counselor can use a relationship survey to understand the chemistry in a relationship, the factors that influence the health of a relationship, the challenges faced in a relationship and expectations in a relationship. Such a survey can be very useful to deduce various findings in a patient and treatment can be done accordingly.
Another example for the use of surveys can be to gather information on the awareness of disasters and disaster management programs. A lot of institutions like the UN or the local disaster management team try to keep their communities prepared for disasters. Possessing knowledge about this is crucial in disaster prone areas and is a good type of knowledge that can help everyone. In such a case, a survey can enable these institutions to understand what are the areas that can be promoted more and what regions need what kind of training. Hence a disaster management survey can be conducted to understand public’s knowledge about the impact of disasters on communities, and the measures they undertake to respond to disasters and how can the risk be reduced.
Experiments: An experimental research is conducted by researchers to observe the change in one variable on another, i.e. to establish the cause and effects of a variable. In experiments, there is a theory which needs to be proved or disproved by careful observation and analysis. An efficient experiment will be successful in building a cause-effect relationship while proving, rejecting or disproving a theory. Laboratory and field experiments are preferred by researchers.
Interviews: The technique of garnering opinions and feedback by asking selected questions face-to-face, via telephone or online mediums is called interview research. There are formal and informal interviews – formal interviews are the ones which are organized by the researcher with structured open-ended and closed-ended questions and format while informal interviews are the ones which are more of conversations with the participants and are extremely flexible to collect as much information as possible.
Examples of interviews in social research are sociological studies that are conducted to understand how religious people are. To this effect, a Church survey can be used by a pastor or priest to understand from the laity the reasons they attend Church and if it meets their spiritual needs.
Observation: In observational research, a researcher is expected to be involved in the daily life of all the participants to understand their routine, their decision-making skills, their capability to handle pressure and their overall likes and dislikes. These factors and recorded and careful observations are made to decide factors such as whether a change in law will impact their lifestyle or whether a new feature will be accepted by individuals.
Q.2 What is the difference between a research question and hypothesis? Why is it important to formulate a hypothesis in research?
A hypothesis is used to explain a phenomenon or predict a relationship in communication research. There are four evaluation criteria that a hypothesis must meet. First, it must state an expected relationship between variables. Second, it must be testable and falsifiable; researchers must be able to test whether a hypothesis is truth or false. Third, it should be consistent with the existing body of knowledge. Finally, it should be stated as simply and concisely as possible. Hypotheses are of different types and kinds and it is not easy to develop a good hypothesis. But a question arises as to what is its utility in social research. There is not one but many advantages of hypothesis in social research. These are:
- It is with the help of hypothesis, that it becomes easy to decide as to what type of data is to be collected and what type of data is simply to be ignored.
- Hypothesis makes it clear as what is to be accepted, proved or disproved and that what is the main focus of study.
- It helps the investigator in knowing the direction in which he is to move. Without hypothesis it will be just duping in the dark and not moving in the right direction.
- A clear idea about hypothesis means saving of time money and energy which otherwise will be wasted, thereby botheration of trial and error will be saved.
- It helps in concentrating only on relevant factors and dropping irrelevant ones. Many irrelevant factors which otherwise get into the study can easily be ignored.
- A properly formulate hypothesis is always essential for drawing proper and reasonable conclusions.
Hypothesis in brief, is the pivot of the whole study. Without well formulated hypothesis the whole study will be out of focus and it will be difficult to drawn rights and proper conclusions. In fact, hypothesis is a necessary link between theory and investigation which will result in the addition of existing knowledge.
Limitations of Hypothesis testing in Research
We have described above some important test often used for testing hypotheses on the basis of which important decisions may be based. But there are several limitations of the said tests which should always be borne in mind by a researcher. Important limitations are as follows:
- The tests should not be used in a mechanical fashion. It should be kept in view that testing is not decision-making itself; the tests are only useful aids for decision-making. Hence “proper interpretation of statistical evidence is important to intelligent decisions.”
- Test do not explain the reasons as to why does the difference exist, say between the means of the two samples. They simply indicate whether the difference is due to fluctuations of sampling or because of other reasons but the tests do not tell us as to which is/are the other reason(s) causing the difference.
- Results of significance tests are based on probabilities and as such cannot be expressed with full certainty. When a test shows that a difference is statistically significant, then it simply suggests that the difference is probably not due to chance.
- Statistical inferences based on the significance tests cannot be said to be entirely correct evidences concerning the truth of the hypothesis. This is specially so in case of small samples where the probability of drawing erring inferences happens to be generally higher. For greater reliability, the size of samples be sufficiently enlarged.
All these limitations suggest that in problems of statistical significance, the inference techniques (or the tests) must be combined with adequate knowledge of the subject-matter along with the ability of good judgement.
Q.3 Examine the significance of Notes Taking in historical research.
Research on research? If you find this idea rather peculiar, know that nowadays, with the huge amount of information produced daily all around the world, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep up to date with all of it. In addition to the sheer amount of research, there is also its origin. We are witnessing the economic and intellectual emergence of countries like China, Brazil, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates, for example, that are producing scholarly literature in their own languages. So, apart from the effort of gathering information, there must also be translators prepared to unify all of it in a single language to be the object of the literature survey. At Elsevier, our team of translators is ready to support researchers by delivering high-quality scientific translations, in several languages, to serve their research – no matter the topic.
A literature review is a study – or, more accurately, a survey – involving scholarly material, with the aim to discuss published information about a specific topic or research question. Therefore, to write a literature review, it is compulsory that you are a real expert in the object of study. The results and findings will be published and made available to the public, namely scientists working in the same area of research.
First of all, don’t forget that writing a literature review is a great responsibility. It’s a document that is expected to be highly reliable, especially concerning its sources and findings. You have to feel intellectually comfortable in the area of study and highly proficient in the target language; misconceptions and errors do not have a place in a document as important as a literature review. In fact, you might want to consider text editing services, like those offered at Elsevier, to make sure your literature is following the highest standards of text quality. You want to make sure your literature review is memorable by its novelty and quality rather than language errors.
Writing a literature review requires expertise but also organization. We cannot teach you about your topic of research, but we can provide a few steps to guide you through conducting a literature review:
- Choose your topic or research question:
It should not be too comprehensive or too limited. You have to complete your task within a feasible time frame.
- Set the scope:
Define boundaries concerning the number of sources, time frame to be covered, geographical area, etc.
- Decide which databases you will use for your searches:
In order to search the best viable sources for your literature review, use highly regarded, comprehensive databases to get a big picture of the literature related to your topic.
- Search, search, and search: Now you’ll start to investigate the research on your topic. It’s critical that you keep track of all the sources.
Start by looking at research abstracts in detail to see if their respective studies relate to or are useful for your own work. Next, search for bibliographies and references that can help you broaden your list of resources. Choose the most relevant literature and remember to keep notes of their bibliographic references to be used later on.
- Review all the literature, appraising carefully it’s content:
After reading the study’s abstract, pay attention to the rest of the content of the articles you deem the “most relevant.” Identify methodologies, the most important questions they address, if they are well-designed and executed, and if they are cited enough, etc.
If it’s the first time you’ve published a literature review, note that it is important to follow a special structure. Just like in a thesis, for example, it is expected that you have an introduction – giving the general idea of the central topic and organizational pattern – a body – which contains the actual discussion of the sources – and finally the conclusion or recommendations – where you bring forward whatever you have drawn from the reviewed literature. The conclusion may even suggest there are no agreeable findings and that the discussion should be continued. Literature reviews constantly feed new research, that constantly feeds literature reviews…and we could go on and on. The fact is, one acts like a force over the other and this is what makes science, as a global discipline, constantly develop and evolve. As a scientist, writing a literature review can be very beneficial to your career, and set you apart from the expert elite in your field of interest. But it also can be an overwhelming task, so don’t hesitate in contacting Elsevier for text editing services, either for profound edition or just a last revision. We guarantee the very highest standards. You can also save time by letting us suggest and make the necessary amendments to your manuscript, so that it fits the structural pattern of a literature review. Who knows how many worldwide researchers you will impact with your next perfectly written literature review?
Q.4 Define qualitative research. Discuss its benefits and limitations.
Quantitative and qualitative research use different research methods to collect and analyze data, and they allow you to answer different kinds of research questions.
|Qualitative vs. quantitative research|
|Quantitative research||Qualitative Research|
|Focuses on testing theories and hypotheses||Focuses on exploring ideas and formulating a theory or hypothesis|
|Analyzed through math and statistical analysis||Analyzed by summarizing, categorizing and interpreting|
|Mainly expressed in numbers, graphs and tables||Mainly expressed in words|
|Requires many respondents||Requires few respondents|
|Closed (multiple choice) questions||Open-ended questions|
|Key terms: testing, measurement, objectivity, replicability||Key terms: understanding, context, complexity, subjectivity|
Quantitative and qualitative data can be collected using various methods. It is important to use a data collection method that will help answer your research question(s).
Many data collection methods can be either qualitative or quantitative. For example, in surveys, observations or case studies, your data can be represented as numbers (e.g. using rating scales or counting frequencies) or as words (e.g. with open-ended questions or descriptions of what you observe).
However, some methods are more commonly used in one type or the other.
Quantitative data collection methods
- Surveys: List of closed or multiple choice questions that is distributed to a sample (online, in person, or over the phone).
- Experiments: Situation in which variables are controlled and manipulated to establish cause-and-effect relationships.
- Observations: Observing subjects in a natural environment where variables can’t be controlled.
Qualitative data collection methods
- Interviews: Asking open-ended questions verbally to respondents.
- Focus groups: Discussion among a group of people about a topic to gather opinions that can be used for further research.
- Ethnography: Participating in a community or organization for an extended period of time to closely observe culture and behavior.
- Literature review: Survey of published works by other authors.
A hypothesis is used to explain a phenomenon or predict a relationship in communication research. There are four evaluation criteria that a hypothesis must meet. First, it must state an expected relationship between variables. Second, it must be testable and falsifiable; researchers must be able to test whether a hypothesis is truth or false. Third, it should be consistent with the existing body of knowledge. Finally, it should be stated as simply and concisely as possible.
Q.5 Elaborate the major steps of scientific method in research.
The scientific method is essentially a step-by-step process that researchers can follow to determine if there is some type of relationship between two or more variables.
Psychologists and other social scientists regularly propose explanations for human behavior. On a more informal level, people make judgments about the intentions, motivations, and actions of others on a daily basis.
While the everyday judgments we make about human behavior are subjective and anecdotal, researchers use the scientific method to study psychology in an objective and systematic way. The results of these studies are often reported in popular media, which leads many to wonder just how or why researchers arrived at the conclusions they did.
In order to truly understand how psychologists and other researchers reach these conclusions, you need to know more about the research process that is used to study psychology and the basic steps that are utilized when conducting any type of psychological research. By knowing the steps of the scientific method, you can better understand the process researchers go through to arrive at conclusions about human behavior.
Reasons to Use the Steps of the Scientific Method
The goals of psychological studies are to describe, explain, predict and perhaps influence mental processes or behaviors. In order to do this, psychologists utilize the scientific method to conduct psychological research. The scientific method is a set of principles and procedures that are used by researchers to develop questions, collect data, and reach conclusions.
What are the goals of scientific research in psychology? Researchers seek not only to describe behaviors and explain why these behaviors occur; they also strive to create research that can be used to predict and even change human behavior.
Before you begin exploring the scientific method steps, there are some key terms and definitions that you should be familiar with.
- Hypothesis: An educated guess about the possible relationship between two or more variables.
- Variable: A factor or element that can change in observable and measurable ways.
- Operational Definition: A full description of exactly how variables are defined, how they will be manipulated, and how they will be measured.
While research studies can vary, these are the basic steps that psychologists and scientists use when investigating human behavior.
Step 1. Make an Observation
Before a researcher can begin, they must choose a topic to study. Once an area of interest has been chosen, the researchers must then conduct a thorough review of the existing literature on the subject. This review will provide valuable information about what has already been learned about the topic and what questions remain to be answered.
A literature review might involve looking at a considerable amount of written material from both books and academic journals dating back decades. The relevant information collected by the researcher will be presented in the introduction section of the final published study results. This background material will also help the researcher with the first major step in conducting a psychology study — formulating a hypothesis.
Step 2. Ask a Question
Once a researcher has observed something and gained some background information on the topic, the next step is to ask a question. The researcher will form a hypothesis, which is an educated guess about the relationship between two or more variables
For example, a researcher might ask a question about the relationship between sleep and academic performance. Do students who get more sleep perform better on tests at school?
In order to formulate a good hypothesis, it is important to think about different questions you might have about a particular topic. You should also consider how you could investigate the causes. Falsifiability is an important part of any valid hypothesis. In other words, if a hypothesis was false, there needs to be a way for scientists to demonstrate that it is false.
Step 3. Test Your Hypothesis and Collect Data
Once you have a solid hypothesis, the next step of the scientific method is to put this hunch to the test by collecting data. The exact methods used to investigate a hypothesis depend on exactly what is being studied. There are two basic forms of research that a psychologist might utilize – descriptive research or experimental research.
Descriptive research is typically used when it would be difficult or even impossible to manipulate the variables in question. Examples of descriptive research include case studies, naturalistic observation, and correlation studies. Phone surveys that are often used by marketers are one example of descriptive research.
Correlational studies are quite common in psychology research. While they do not allow researchers to determine cause-and-effect, they do make it possible to spot relationships between different variables and to measure the strength of those relationships.
Experimental research is used to explore cause-and-effect relationships between two or more variables. This type of research involves systematically manipulating an independent variable and then measuring the effect that it has on a defined dependent variable. One of the major advantages of this method is that it allows researchers to actually determine if changes in one variable actually cause changes in another.
While psychology experiments are often quite complex, a simple experiment is fairly basic but does allow researchers to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. Most simple experiments use a control group (those who do not receive the treatment) and an experimental group (those who do receive the treatment).
Step 4. Examine the Results and Draw Conclusions
Once a researcher has designed the study and collected the data, it is time to examine this information and draw conclusions about what has been found. Using statistics, researchers can summarize the data, analyze the results, and draw conclusions based on this evidence.
So how does a researcher decide what the results of a study mean? Not only can statistical analysis support (or refute) the researcher’s hypothesis; it can also be used to determine if the findings are statistically significant.
When results are said to be statistically significant, it means that it is unlikely that these results are due to chance.
Based on these observations, researchers must then determine what the results mean. In some cases, an experiment will support a hypothesis, but in other cases, it will fail to support the hypothesis.
So what happens if the results of a psychology experiment do not support the researcher’s hypothesis? Does this mean that the study was worthless? Just because the findings fail to support the hypothesis does not mean that the research is not useful or informative. In fact, such research plays an important role in helping scientists develop new questions and hypotheses to explore in the future.
After conclusions have been drawn, the next step is to share the results with the rest of the scientific community. This is an important part of the process because it contributes to the overall knowledge base and can help other scientists find new research avenues to explore.
Step 5. Report the Results
The final step in a psychology study is to report the findings. This is often done by writing up a description of the study and publishing the article in an academic or professional journal. The results of psychological studies can be seen in peer-reviewed journals such as Psychological Bulletin, the Journal of Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and many others.
The structure of a journal article follows a specified format that has been outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA). In these articles, researchers:
- Provide a brief history and background on previous research
- Present their hypothesis
- Identify who participated in the study and how they were selected
- Provide operational definitions for each variable
- Describe the measures and procedures that were used to collect data
- Explain how the information collected was analyzed
- Discuss what the results mean
Why is such a detailed record of a psychological study so important? By clearly explaining the steps and procedures used throughout the study, other researchers can then replicate the results. The editorial process employed by academic and professional journals ensures that each article that is submitted undergoes a thorough peer review, which helps ensure that the study is scientifically sound.