What is Research and its importance

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Title Module 9 : Introduction to Research Description Keywords Objectives Author Institute of Lifelong Learning Organisation University of Leicester Version 1.0 Date 12 November, 2009 Copyright Unit 1: Introduction to Research 1. What is research? This module considers the role, purpose, structure and process of research. It aims to answer the following questions: What is research? Why do research? What types of research are there? What ethical considerations are there when conducting research? How might research findings be used? 2. Research is a sign of intelligence Intelligence can be defined as the adaptation of an environment to suit needs, which is why humans can be acknowledged as the most 'intelligent' of species. Humans observe, identify, plan and then effect change. Humans have social gain through information as well as resource sharing. As apart from any other species, humans have complex language structures and the written word to share information from one person to another. Literate societies with well structured, permanent means of communicating information have immense evolutionary advantage. 3. We research everyday Humans are 'intuitive' scientists ....always asking questions and testing theories about themselves, others, events, the environment and the world around them. Research is asking a question and finding out the answer….. It is looking into something. It is looking for something. It is comparing and contrasting things. It is finding out more information…it is counting things …making enquiries…being curious…finding out what people think…finding out what people do….finding out what works.... finding out what doesn’t work…finding out what people want… What research have you conducted recently? What decisions have you made about your day? What decisions have you made today? What influenced your decision to take this course? How do you prepare and write assignments? How do you decide how to provide the best quality of service for your service users? We all engage in or do social research as we act on the basis and results of our own research and theorising, therefore, what we think affects the way we behave…. 4. What do we research? What do we research? We research people and their behaviour, opinions, attitudes, trends and patterns, also politics, animals, health and illness. Research can be conducted either informally for our own benefit, through asking questions, watching, counting or reading and formally, for medical or academic purposes, as a marketing strategy, to inform and influence politics and policy. Research may be carried out in our own lives, through the media, in our place of work, with our friends and family or through reading past research. Our views – personal, social, community and worldwide and our own identities are socially constructed through our own theorising. 5. What does research tell us? Research gives us information about: Thoughts and opinions Attitudes Habits Culture Norms Scientific facts Medical information What do we do with research? Have it as interesting fact Use it to make decisions Use it to persuade influence others Use it to affect change Use it to change behaviour Use it to better use…medical …improve customer care...write better funding applications....monitor and evaluate our provision.... We research in order to understand society and social processes, as well as to test and or create theories in order that we are better able to inform about social action and potentially ‘improve’ social conditions. 6. Knowledge, Interpretation and dissemination Research involves gaining knowledge, interpreting data and disseminating the findings. Gathering data from direct and indirect sources: observations questionnaires interviews experiments other research Processing data for interpretation numerically and or verbally: statistics themes or perspectives Dissemination of findings written reports presentations seminars supply to media 7. When we conduct research, it should be... Systematic Non-discriminatory Open to criticism Independent and free from and direct and or indirect censorship 8. Research Theory Research is approached in a variety of ways…in its methods, analysis and presentation…which may be influenced by the theoretical approach the researcher takes. The appendix of “Research theory” offers a brief introduction to some of the theoretical positions as well as some links which you can use to research further. 9. Conclusion All academic subjects require research to reach conclusions and establish theories, or simply to find out more about a particular situation or phenomenon. This module aims to give you the opportunity to learn more about research methods and data in both an academic context, for when you are researching for assignments as well as a professional context in order to give you a better understanding of the role and uses of research within the voluntary and community sector. 10. Working Practice Exercise Consider a working practice within your workplace. 1. How has this working practice developed? 2. What research was done and evidence collated that contributed to the decision being made that this way is the best way? Appendix – Research Theory Research Theory There are several theoretical positions, to include: Positivists and empirism Both positivists and empirisists believe it is possible to gather information about the social world and classify it in a way that makes sense. Auguste Comte, a positivist, believed that scientific knowledge about society could be gathered and understood, as in the natural sciences, in order to improve human experience and the running of society. Emile Durkheim, took a similar approach to his sociological understanding or research and society. Durkeim's 'Suicide' (read the attached link for more information http://durkheim.itgo.com/suicide.html) is used as a model of positivist research. The following links provide further reading regarding the positivist and empiricist approaches. http://www.skepdic.com/empiricism.html http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/6q.htm http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/help/mach1.htm http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/comte/1856/general-view.htm Phenomenology Phenomenologists 'reject' quantitative or statistical research, as it believes that research cannot produce a causal explanation of human behaviour. They believe that all humans make sense of the world by imposing their own, unique and individual meanings and classifications on it, which make up social reality, which, therefore, can only be subjective and measured accordingly. The following links provide you with the opportunity to explore this approach further. http://www.phenomenologyonline.com/ http://www.phenomenologycenter.org/phenom.htm Grounded Theory Grounded Theory originated with Glaser and Strauss who did research on the interactions between health care professionals and dying patients. This approach goes beyond the phenomenology approach because it produces new knowledge which is used to develop new theories about a phenomenon, therefore, this methodology is based on the collection and analysis of data about a phenomenon. An example of grounded theory is the theory of the stages of the grief process – denial, anger, acceptance and resolution – this is not a new phenomenon, but a theory that acknowledges and describes this experience – we now use this. We now use this knowledge of the grief process, which was derived from the grounded theory, to understand and help people through the grief process. The data collection techniques used to develop grounded theory includes: Interviews Observations The following information helps to make important contributions Literature reviews Relevant documentary analysis New theory develops as the researcher recognises new ideas and themes that emerge from what people have said and/or from events which have been observed. The researcher will review the raw data which will inform patterns. Hypotheses about the relationship between various ideas or categories are then tested out and constructs are formed which lead to new understandings and concepts – therefore, the theory is ‘grounded’ in the data. Ethnomethodology Ethnomethodology, an American sociological perspective, applies the phenomenological perspective on the study of society, therefore they go beyond what classifications and meanings individuals give to social facts and look at how groups and society add respond to meaning and classification. Read the attached link which offers further information about the ethnomethodology. http://www.sociologyencyclopedia.com/fragr_image/media/ethnomethodology Symbolic interactionism Symbolic interactionists do not believe that any form of statistical data can be used to give an insight into human behaviour. Symbolic interactionists believe that all individuals understand and experience their own life and world according to their own 'self-concept', which is constantly altering as a result of their social interactions. Symbolic interactionists attempt to research the role of 'labelling' on individuals, and associate labels with opinions, attitudes and behaviours, for example, does labelling in schools as successful or unsuccessful affect ones self-concept which affects behaviour, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? Interpretivist Interpretivists advocate qualitative research over quantitative research methods, as they believe that the basis of sociology is to interpret social action, which can only be understood by understanding the meanings and motives on which it is based through qualitative methods such as interview and observation. The link below takes a further look into this approach. http://www.sociology.org.uk/revgrm5.pdf Critical social science, which favours qualitative methods and takes the view that research should be used to make positive changes within society, as it views society as oppressive and wishes to use research to liberate groups from oppression. Feminists There are three main approaches feminist research takes. The first is the attack on 'malestream' research, which feminists identify as any previous research conducted by men. This research is deemed to be sexist with patriarchal principles and it is argued that it is therefore subjective and therefore biased. The development and use of feminist research methods, for example, those used by Ann Oakley (1981) in 'Subject Women' reject traditional, scientific methods and take on a more relaxed and open approach in order to gain a better understanding of social reality. And, finally, the feminist approach claims that feminist research, particularly in research regarding women and their experiences in the social world, can be better understood through a feminist approach. Postmodernists Post modernists do not believe that any form of research can be regarded as impartial and sees the role of research as a tool in which to examine the social world and to deconstruct or take apart existing explanations of society. Postmodernists believe that no approach is better than another and that research is essentially subjective. Unit 2 Research and the Voluntary and Community Sector 1. Research and the Voluntary and Community Sector The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) continually researches...from formal monitoring and evaluations or surveys used to influence policy to informal chats with service users that assist in affecting change, to influencing best practice and responding to need. This unit looks at the various ways in which the VCS uses research in its day to day work, in order to influence its own in-house policies and procedures, influencing its strategic plan and its standpoint in the sector as a whole. 2. Some uses for research in the voluntary and community sector Some of the uses for research in the VCS include: market research meeting and responding to need funding monitoring evaluation lobbying (to include the use of research to bring about change) regeneration quality assurance Customer Care (Complaint, Acknowledge, Recover, Evolve) Sustainability The following links to documents on the web offer examples of how research may be used in monitoring and evaluating services. Pay particular attention at this stage to its points on how research influences the monitoring and evaluation process of a project. http://www.ncvo- vol.org.uk/uploadedFiles/NCVO/Events/Events_Archive/2008/Justin%20Davis %20Smith.pdf http://www.artscouncil- ni.org/departs/all/report/VoluntaryCommunityArtsEvalToolkit.pdf 3. Research and the VCS The individuals making up the VCS also benefit from research: better informed understand my job and those around me better find and evaluate good practices see ways for making job easier and myself more effective greater self confidence feeling in more control through deeper and better knowledge acquiring new skills of analysis and appraisal generating strategies based on reasoned arguments to implement as needed rather than react in crisis improve forward planning professional development 4. Research and its Influence of Third Sector Policy http://www.ncvo- vol.org.uk/uploadedFiles/NCVO/Events/Events_Archive/2008/Justin%20Davis%20Smith.pdf The above link to, 'Bridging the Gap? Research and its Influence on Third Sector Policy', is the speech Justin Davis Smith, Chief Executive of Volunteering England delivered to the September 2008 Researching the Voluntary Sector Conference. The speech provides an overview of the history of research and the VCS, its role, impact and potential on third sector policy. 5. The ESRC The ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) is an independent research organisation which funds research into social and economic issues. Research funded by the ESRC has impacted on public policy and the work of the private, public and third sectors. The link below provides further information about the role of the ESRC and how it serves to help third sector organisations. http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/Images/Third%20Sector%20Broc hure_tcm6-30420.pdf 6. ESRC Third Sector Engagement Strategy For a more developed understanding of how the ESRC proposes to work with the third sector, read the following document which provides an overview of its engagement strategy. http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/index_voluntary.aspx 7. Research and the VCS The following links report the findings of some government led and sponsored research into the third sector and provide you with an overview of the plethora of areas in which they research and the ways in which findings are used. http://www.communities.gov.uk/archived/general- content/communities/citizenshipsurvey/ http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/research_and_statistics.aspx 8. NCVO Research The NCVO conducts and facilitates research within the VCS and support voluntary and community organisations through research findings. The attached link offers you the opportunity to research further into some of the findings of research supported by the NCVO. http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/ 9. What can research do for you? E-tivity- What can research do for you? Task: Reflect on the work you undertake within the Voluntary and Community Sector. Identify an area of research that could be conducted that would benefit your work. Consider its value and explain its needs and how you would go about making use of its findings. Post your thoughts onto a discussion board. Respond: Review the responses of your course colleagues and respond to at least one other posting. Length: Please try to fit your responses within a two to three paragraph limit. Completion date for this e-tivity is… add deadline Unit 3 Primary and Secondary Sources 1. Primary and Secondary Sources and Triangulation Researchers need to consider the sources on which to base and confirm their research and findings. They have a choice between primary data and secondary sources and the use of both, which is termed triangulation, or dual methodology. Primary data is the data collected by the researcher themselves, i.e. interview observation action research case studies life histories questionnaires ethnographic research longitudinal studies Secondary sources are data that already exists Previous research Official statistics Mass media products Diaries Letters Government reports Web information Historical data and information 2. Primary Research When choosing and developing primary research, one must consider the most appropriate method, to include its reliability, validity and practicality. Reliability There are many debates over what is and is not reliable within research. Within the natural sciences, data are seen to be reliable, as they can be tested by different researchers at different times to find out the same or similar information. Researching society and the people, systems and institutions that make up society does not offer the same guarantee for the same standard of reliability, however, when choosing which research method, one can go about being as reliable as possible - in the methods one chooses, being as objective as possible and applying and demonstrating rigorous collection and analysis methods and systems. 3. Primary Research Validity The validity of data refers to the truth that it tells about the subject or phenomenon being studied…a valid statement provides a true measurement, description and / or explanation of what it is claiming to measure or describe. It is possible for data to be reliable without being valid. Bryman in Social Research Methods (2001) identifies four types of validity: 1. measurement validity or construct validity: whether a measure being used really measures what it claims … i.e. do statistics regarding church attendance really measure the strength of religious beliefs? 2. internal validity: refers to causality and whether a conclusion of the research or theory developed is a true reflection of the causes…i.e. is it a true cause that being unemployed causes crime or are there other explanations? 3. external validity: considers whether the results of a particular piece of research can be generalised to other groups – i.e. if one form of community development approach works in London, will it necessarily have the same impact in Leeds? 4. ecological validity: considers whether ‘…social scientific findings are appropriate to people’s everyday natural setting’ (Bryman, 2001) – i.e. if a situation is being observed in a false setting, how may that influence people’s behaviour? Respondent validity also needs to be considered… i.e may question the validity of a questionnaire about people’s happiness if they have just had an argument. Both qualitative and quantitative methods need to consider their approaches and the validity of their methods and findings. Practicality The practicalities of the research needs to be carefully considered when developing the research design, for instance: cost and budget time scale size of sample required Primary research sources will be discussed in units five and six. 4. Secondary Research Secondary sources consist of data that has already been produced and can be contemporary or historical, qualitative or quantitative. Secondary sources include Documents Letters Diaries Autobiographies Referencing other forms of research and using quotes The benefits of the use of secondary sources include: Save time and money May provide information and access to historical data May be used to prove or disprove an argument or theory May be used to offer general background information Can be used to set the scene of the research and its findings May be useful for putting the research into context Researchers must always carefully consider the reliability and validity of secondary sources. 5. Official Statistics Since 1801, government have collated and produced a vast range of statistical data which has been coordinated and produced by the Government Statistic Service, visit the Publication Hub, Gateway to UK National Statistics www.statistics.gov.uk for more information. Data collected include: Birth rates Death rates Marriage patterns Fertility patterns Divorce patterns Crime rates Suicide rates Economic information Employment and unemployment details Strikes Productivity Figures are collected and published at various times, for example unemployment figures are produced monthly, while crime figures are published annually and the census is produced once per decade. The above statistics are available freely through publications such as: Social Trends – (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_social/Social_Trends39/ST39_ Overview.pdf ) is the 2009 overview. The reliability and validity of official statistics must be considered by researchers when referring to them. 6. Historical sources The use of historical documents can help researchers with both qualitative and quantitative information if they are seeking to find out the context of a situation or to look at how things have or have not changed, as well as seeking cause and affect answers. They are often useful in providing information or descriptions about social life. As with all sources, historical sources have questions over reliability and validity, they: are subject to a number of interpretations may be subjective Life Documents Life documents include: Diaries Letters Photos Memos Biographies Graffiti Memoirs Suicide notes Memorials of tombstones Films and videos Paint pictures Make music Generally, life documents are any form of record that detail the accounts and experiences of a person’s life. They are predominantly qualitative and can be contemporary or historical. Life documents are open to subjective interpretation, therefore it is useful to consider who the audience was intended to be when reading through life documents, as this may influence what is written and the context in which it is intended. Whilst there are obvious limitations to life documents and their validity may be questionable, they are, none the less, useful, as they offer a great insight into the subjective perspective of individuals in both their own lives and that of wider society. 7. Mass media and content analysis The mass media is a useful source of information about current and historical affairs and events and public opinions and attitudes, however, researchers must always bear in mind that they are often inaccurate and there is a degree of subjectivity…personal, political…of both the author and the audience, therefore, its reliability and validity is obviously questionable. There are four approaches to carrying out content analysis (which may be qualitative or quantitative) which Pawson in Developments in Sociology, vol. 8 (1995) identifies: 1) Formal content analysis A systematic sample of texts is used in the study, and classification systems are devised to identify different features of the text, which are then counted with an emphasis on objectivity and reliability. 2) Thematic analysis ‘The idea is to understand the encoding process, especially the intentions that lie behind the production of mass media documents. The usual strategy is to pick on a specific area of reportage and subject it to a very detailed analysis in the hope of unearthing the underlying purposes and intentions of the authors of the communication.’ (Pawson, R., 1995) The weaknesses of thematic analysis is that researchers can choose themes that suit them and that there may be a lack of understanding behind the reasons for using themes. 3) Textual analysis The analysis of the use of words and phrases within a text – and the consideration of if and how words and phrases may be used to influence the reader. Textual analysis often involves semiology or semiotics, which is the analysis of signs. For more information, visit the link http://www.ucalgary.ca/rseiler/semiolog.htm 4) Audience analysis Considers the response of the audience of mass media – whether they accept or reject the content and what it means to them. 8. Evaluating Secondary Sources In Matter of Record: Documentary Sources in Social Research (1990), Scott offers some useful guidelines for evaluating secondary sources. The four criteria are: 1. Authenticity: consideration of how genuine the document or source is with regards to its soundness and authorship. 2. Credibility: consideration must be given to the amount of distortion to the document or source, which will affect its sincerity and accuracy. i.e. has the author given a true account of the situation, or has it been distorted in some way to make the situation look better? 3. Representativeness: Scott states that ‘…sampling documents must be handled carefully and as systematically as the sampling of respondents in a survey’ and a researcher must give careful consideration to how typical or untypical the documents being sourced are in order that they can recognise limits to the conclusions they can drawn from them. Scott identifies survival and availability as two of the factors which may limit the representation of documents. 4. Meaning: concerned with how well the researcher will be able to understand the document. In order to keep up with the advances of modern technology and to make sense of the newest source, the internet, Stein in Sociology on the Web (2002) highlights six criteria for consideration: Authorship Authority of the author Authority of the material Authority of the site/organisation Currency (i.e. is it up to date) Pressure groups/objectivity 9. Triangulation ‘The rather partisan, either/or tenor of debate about quantitative and qualitative research may appear somewhat bizarre to an outsider, for whom the obvious way forward is likely to be a fusion of the two approaches so that their respective strengths might be reaped.’ Bryman in Quantity and Quality in Social Research, 1988 The combination of qualitative and quantitative and primary and secondary research is known as triangulation or methodological pluralism. Triangulation offers the benefits of: The ability to cross check May be used in the facilitation or to assist in research design…i.e. the data gathered from interviews or observations may be used to assist with the design of a questionnaire or survey May complement or support the research conducted…i.e. findings show that most people are satisfied with the services provided as 8 out of 10 people asked …. 10. Uses of multi-strategy research Bryman offers 10 ways in which multi-strategy research can be used: 1) The logic of triangulation: it may be used to offer support 2) Qualitative research facilitates quantitative research: qualitative research can be used to generate quantitative studies 3) Quantitative research facilitates qualitative research: quantitative research may tell how many or how often, and the qualitative research may seek to answer why 4) Filling in the gaps 5) Statistic and processual features: ‘In some circumstances quantitative methods are used to study the more stable aspects of social life while qualitative methods are employed to study changes’. 6) Researchers’ and participants’ perspectives: qualitative data may give a view to the perspectives of the people, while the quantitative information may tell researcher what they are trying to find 7) The problem of generality: a small sample may be used for the qualitative element, while the quantitative element may be used to include a wider sample, therefore increasing the generality of the findings 8) Qualitative research facilitating the interpretations of the relationship between the variables: i.e. quantitative research may identify patterns, while qualitative research can offer to explain the patterns 9) Studying different aspects of a phenomenon: i.e. quantitative methods might help one research what people thought of religion and qualitative research might research how religious beliefs and rituals affected behaviour 10) Solving a puzzle: i.e. if the results of a research do not make sense and there is a need to clarify what has been found 11. Careful consideration When embarking on research then, one must carefully consider the source of their research, and the issues of reliability and validity, whether that research is primary or secondary. References A Bryman, Quantity and Quality in Social Research (1988) Routledge A Bryman, Social Research Methods (2001) OUP R Pawson (1992) 'Feminist Methodology' in M. Haralambos (ed.) Developments in Sociology Vol. 8, pp. 113-135, Ormskirk: Causeway Press. J Scott, Matter of Record: Documentary Sources in Social Research(1990) Polity Press S Stein, Sociology on the web (2002) Pearson Education Unit 4 Research Design 1. Introduction to Research Design Research is the study of materials, sources and data in order to get conclusions. Getting the research design right is the first step towards organised research, which is more likely to be good research. The research design provides the structure of the research and links all of the elements of the research together. It provides the researcher the opportunity to carefully consider the research and to plan the way in which they will approach the research, for example, the following elements will be considered: sample o chosen o random purpose of research how will the data be collected or generated how will the data be analysed (i.e. how you got your results) explain how you will obtain your results o the data obtained may affect the results o clarify why you chose the research methods o provide evidence that the data will be collected in a consistent and acceptable manner o demonstrate that the research methods are appropriate to the research identify and acknowledge any issues or barriers and how you might go about dealing with them 2. The research process Values Values and beliefs of the researcher-consider your values and beliefs… What are they? How will they affect the research project? Will they be affected by the research project? How will you manage your own values and beliefs? Funding Funding is an important factor in the design of the research Some funders include: Nuffield and Rowntree Foundation (http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/go/Default.html) Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/index.aspx) The European Union (http://europa.eu/index_en.htm) It is important to consider the affect the amount of funding will have on the methodologies used in the research, as well as the values, beliefs, aims and objectives of the funders and how they may impact on your research… Practicalities Availability of existing data Practicality of collecting data Gatekeepers…who are the gatekeepers? Is there a group of people you would like to research but can’t as they are difficult to gain access to / or are they unwilling to participate in research? – how might you get around this? 3. Some links The links below may be used to assist in developing a research design and/or proposal. http://www.markwebtest.netfirms.com/teachRDE/start/default.html http://www.scholarshipnet.info/scholarship-tips/how-to-write-a-research- proposal-1/ http://www.intute.ac.uk/socialsciences/researchtools/ 4. Planning Research: Issues to Consider Research plans depend on what you need to find out, what data you need to collect and what will affect your decisions, for example, if you are researching a Customer Care issue, you may already have a topic chosen for you, i.e. 'How do we improve our Customer Care?', whereas if you are undertaking research for academic purposes, you may have a host of issues or topics you are interested in researching. Being focused about what you want to gain from the research will help you to be more effective and efficient in your research. Issues to consider when planning research include: what is the scale of the breadth and depth you want regarding the information you need what resources do you have / are available to you? o time scale o existing resources o existing knowledge o manpower o man hours o support o sample o funding 5. Key Considerations What is the focus of the investigation? For what purpose/purposes is the research being done- i.e. what will you do with the research and what do you want it to be able to decide? Is it a replication of previous research? Is it an extension of previous research? What is the prediction? Is the prediction a logical conclusion to the evidence presented in the introduction of a report? Who is / are your audience(s) for this research? o funders o partners o board o management o staff o volunteers o service users o customers What kinds of information is needed for the research? o do you need to know how much/how often/when o is the research about behaviours, attitudes, opinions? o quantitative or qualitative information From what sources should the information be collected? o documents o service users o customers o staff o management o board o funders o partners o other agencies, organisations or projects o particular sample-  community (location)  community (commonality) How can / should the information be collected? i.e. what methodology is most appropriate What is the time scale and / or time frame for the research? What are the available resources for collecting the information? 6. Hypothesis Writing a hypothesis... A hypothesis is a question that is being asked or a statement that is to be tested...a hypothesis requires an investigation...some research.... A testable hypothesis is one that can be carried out by others in the same way. A testable statement that links the variables under investigation. Below are different examples of what a hypothesis might be: the experimental hypothesis - a precise prediction of the relationship between the variables the colour of all swans is white F = k x the null hypothesis - all variations in results is due to random variability swans can be any colour extension in a spring is not related to the applied force hypotheses can be rejected if found false hypothesis are never proven but are supported with a certain level of confidence or probability 7. How are hypotheses tested? Statistics examine the null hypothesis to see if there is no significant difference or relationship between variables, in effect they examine if the results come from the same population rather than different ones or results are unrelated Hypotheses can be one-tailed or two-tailed Previous research may indicate direction for a one-tailed prediction - i.e. there is a positive relationship between the amount of alcohol drunk and reaction time or boys can name more football teams than girls Two-tailed predictions do not specify a direction in difference or relationship, e.g. amount of sleep and mood are related or boys and girls differ in verbal ability 8. Experimental Design Independent groups/independent measures between groups design two or more conditions with different people in each condition e.g. males and females; medication/placebo groups Repeated measures / related measures with groups design same individuals in two or more conditions e.g. before and after medication; morning / afternoon ability Matched pairs design For example, different people in each condition but groups contain similar backgrounds, such as same age, same gender, same social background 9. Qualitative Research Design The study of phenomenon A way of describing something that exists as part of the world we live in Phenomenon can be events, situations, experiences or concepts Examples: We know people are carers, but what does caring actually mean and what is it to be a carer Or…back pain – what is it like to have back pain, what problems does it cause and how does it affect people’s lives? 10. Key Areas of the Research Proposal When writing a research design or research proposal, ensure you consider and cover the following areas: 1. A working title or topic area - ensure that you convey the key points of the research 2. General overview of the research area - provide a brief synopsis of the research 3. Identification of the relevant literature - reference any key literature that may support your proposal and use the literature to demonstrate how/where it fits within the context of the subject area 4. Key research questions - in order to demonstrate that your research is viable and do-able it is essential to identify some of the key questions it aims to answer 5. Methodology - outline the methodologies you aim to use 6. Timescale / research planning - identify the timescale and acknowledge the planning done, required and/or involved 7. Bibliography - ensure to include a Bibliography for any references to literature within your research proposal 11. Review of secondary research

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