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Introduction to Research Skills

Research is a process of systematic investigation for raising knowledge through new facts. It is a detailed and careful study of issues or problems by using scientific methods. For starting up with research, skills that are important are like report writing, problem solving, analysis, logical thinking, presentation skills, computer skills and project management. This report is a study on The Manchester Company that is interested in starting a few new projects. They are interested in hearing some ideas from aspiring professionals. Before asking the potential candidates for their ideas, TMC would like proof that they know the way to research effectively. This report is divided into three tasks where first task covers different research methodologies, second task is about primary and secondary information and third task says about all issues which arise in research.

Task 1

1.1 Different Research Methodologies

There are different types of research methodologies which help the individual in gaining knowledge. These methodologies are very helpful in conducting the study effectually. Different methods have distinct benefits or drawbacks. These methods provide different solutions or answers to the research topic. For conducting a proper investigation, the individual must have analysis skill so that different answers by using distinct methods can easily be understood the most appropriate one can be used in the research. Following are few methodologies for conducting study.

Experiments

Individuals who conduct research might be asked for complete test for improving their cognitive abilities like attention, word recall, reasoning ability, etc. These are the tests that are conducted on computers or paper to. Different tests involve interventions where the researcher takes training programs or interactions. These interactions are normally followed by some tests. In training programs, researcher would observe people's behaviour or reactions to carry out their research. Few programs may be based on groups that how individuals behave or react in a group. During his interaction with the participant he may also ask them to fill questionnaires. In all these kinds of experiments it is on the researcher that what kind of experiment he prefers.

Surveys

This refers to collecting information from a large group of people through interviews, telephoning, questionnaires, etc. Surveys are of different types. Among all, in direct type, people are given with specific time to complete the survey. In other types, people generally complete the survey before a major experience or event. Surveys prove to be very helpful in conducting a research and it provides the researcher with relevant data.

Questionnaires

This is the best way for obtaining information from large number of people who may have ample of time for interviews or experiments. It enables people to think and to take time for answering. Participants are allowed to express their feelings regarding investigation without thinking about the researcher's reaction. Participants should be honest in giving answers so the researcher with the relevant answers. Questionnaires should contain closed and open-ended questions along with multiple choice questions. Problem in questionnaire is that the response is less and mostly people do not answer all the questions. It can be conducted through internet sites, email attachments, etc. Questionnaire can also be administered personally through researcher which includes advantage for people who find difficulty in understanding the questions.

Evaluative

In most of the evaluations, the main goal is to provide useful feedback to sponsors, client-groups, staff, donors, etc. Feedback is always perceived useful for decision making. Evaluation is of two types, that is, formative and summative. Formative evaluates the strengths, delivery of program, procedures, inputs, etc. Summative evaluates the outcomes and effects of the research. Moreover, it estimates the cost incurred in developing the research.

Observational

It is a process where the researcher observes ongoing behaviour. There are different types of observational methods like controlled observation, natural observation and participant observation. In controlled observation, the scholar decides when the observation should take place, at what time, in which circumstances, etc. In natural observation, the researcher observes the behaviour of participants. In participant observation, the scholar becomes a part of the group in which they study for understanding the investigation deeply.

Developmental

This study focuses on the improvements which occur in the development of research. For conducting a study, many types of methods are used which provides suitable solutions to problems. Different methods provide distinct data which helps in developing the results of research.

1.2 Types of data

Qualitative Data

It is a type of data which deals with the description. Qualitative data can only be observed and cannot be measured like smell, tastes, beauty, color, etc. Qualitative data are mainly of two types, that is, face to face interaction with the individuals and in a group. In addition to this, the methods for collecting this data are focus groups, observations, interviews individually, etc. Following are the importance of Qualitative data

  • Data collected through questionnaire helps the researcher with appropriate answers regarding the question on the questionnaire. For example, suppose in a questionnaire, a person is asked that what made him/her purchase that particular product. That person intentionally clicked on discounted rates as his answer. In further analysis it was found that more than 85% of population has purchased that particular product due to discounted rates. This signifies that quantitative data showed that creating more discounted rates will be helpful for attracting customers as a marketing strategy.
  • Main aim of markets is to know what drives the customers for purchasing products. Qualitative research provides the insight for the reason because of which customers purchase a product but soon they shift to its substitute product. This data is achieved through market analysis and external reviews.
  • Through qualitative data, researcher can find the participants personal details and many other elated information. Moreover, through qualitative data can be collected quickly. But sometimes, collecting qualitative data is very difficult when the data available in bulk.

Quantitative data

Data which can be collected numerically is quantitative data. They are of two types, that is, information which can be counted and that can be measured. The data which can be counted is like population, number of students in a school, etc. Information which can be measured is like weight of 10 students, height of 5 students, etc. The data collected in quantitative form is very much specific and helpful. Importance of Quantitative data is as follows.

  • It enables the researcher to analyse and measure data. The information received in quantitative form is very specific and detailed. It provides exact details which can be measured or can be counted.
  • The data can be used regarding testing hypothesis as the data can be measured with the help of statistics. The researcher can rely on the authenticity information as the data is numeric. In generalizing the findings, statistics can be used.

Task 2

2.1 Types of sources

Visual

These are many videos available on the internet and more specifically on website like YouTube through which information regarding any topic can be easily collected. Memory retention value in case of this source of data collection is very high. When every person visualize something then it is more effective than any other source as visual images enables the individual to information for a long time. It helps the individual for better understanding the topic. The drawback is that suitable for interaction and discussion.

Audio

This is very useful source of gaining information as it helps in learning new vocabulary which helps in remembering names, places, etc. There are many audio recordings available which assist the user in developing understanding on particular area. Disadvantage is that it requires high maintenance.

Paper based

Most of the firm uses type of database for storing their companies as well as their customer’s information. Paper based information is very helpful to get information. It can also be accessed at the time of power cuts. The data will be always safe. These source helps in decreasing expense of the firm as it do not require power for storing the data. Paper database is very easy to understand and do not require any kind of training for new employees. The main drawback for this data base is that it is difficult to maintain and store. it becomes very difficult at the time of finding the document and it is very hard to share the information.

Information source

Anything which provides information regarding any appropriate topic helps in enhancing knowledge. It can be through speeches, observations, documents, websites, etc. There are mainly two types of sources which are primary and secondary.

Primary source

These types of data are original materials. These are developed through new information, data collection, discovery, etc. Primary sources mostly include memoirs, autobiography, etc.

Secondary source

These are those data which is written after actual event. For developing a secondary data, information which already exists is taken as a reference and from that data is developed. Following are the importance of Primary source.

Develops critical thinking

For developing a primary source, the individual should have both analytical and critical understanding. The data have to be collected by the researcher himself through various methods like surveys, through preparing questionnaires, etc.

Improves knowledge

The individual has to go through various sources and has to compare as this would provide different viewpoints. The individual have to understand each view point and come up with the most relevant solution.

2.2 Need of reference sources

With the help of sources one will be able to support evidences which are required for the assignment. References are a type of acknowledgement which is used in the work. It is very important for refer all the sources which have been used in the assignment. It enables to distinguish the idea of individual who works on the assignment form others. Through references the readers will understand the depth of the reading. Moreover, it enables the reader to compare the work with original source. In addition to this, acknowledging the source to any information will help in avoiding plagiarism.

Task 3

3.1 Ethical issues in research

Relevant sources

The researcher should use appropriate data for the research. The data which the researcher provides should be relevant and appropriate. The source through which the data is collected should not be copied. The researcher should understand the topic and based on the data relevant information should be collected.

For conducting a research people should be given proper knowledge regarding the topic on which the research is being collected. The people who will fill the questionnaire should be well informed about the research topic and the outcome of the research. The participants should have complete understanding regarding the purpose and the methods used in the research. Moreover, the participant should understand that the researcher has the full right to withdraw him/her form the research.

The questionnaire should be analysed properly for authenticity of data. For completing the research the researcher should not fill questionnaire from his own understanding. It has to be filled by the people who have appropriate knowledge with respect to the topic of research.

The ability to retain and acquire knowledge. Based on the individual's ability she/ he is deemed incompetent or competent. Competency of a person is determined by the ability and legal qualification and viewed in terms of age. These are legally protected by legal guardians or parents.

Addressing the ethical issues

There are many key phrases which describes that the system for ethical protection is established for rights towards research. Following are the points to be kept in mind for addressing ethical issues:
Research should be safely kept and should not be accessed by others. Only the individual who have the right should only be allowed to access the research. The participants should be ensured that the information collected will be confidential and it would not be made available for anyone else. Participants should be given information regarding the data that how it will be used, what all things have to be done with audio, video recordings, photos, case materials, etc. The researcher must be sure that the research materials are stored in a safe place with limited access. If the researcher, plans to share his data with others then he should specify that it will be done and he should be sure that the data is anonymous. There would be cases where the researcher would find difficulty in sharing sensitive data like adults with mental issues and these issues should not be shared until they give proper permission to it.

Researcher should be very careful in sharing information through internet as the use of internet technology is evolving and there are chances that other may tap the information. When the researcher completes the research then he should destroy all the information collected from participants so that the information will not be used by someone else.

Role of the ethics committee

In conducting research, Research Ethics Committees plays an important role. Following are the role by ethical committee.

  • To start research prior approval has to be taken form Research Ethics Committee especially when human participants are involved. If they found that the collected from the participants are been misused, then they will give orders to stop the research instantly. This committee approves all the process which is to be held in completing the research. REC's is guided by its own standard operating procedures or guidelines.
  • Main responsibility of this committee is to ensure safety and protection for the human participants. Moreover, the decision taken form REC has to be followed by researcher.
  • REC should provide the research team with well-defined steps for submitting proposals of research. Timely feedbacks should be presented to REC with suitable reasons for supporting their feedback.

3.2 Other problem in research

There other problems which a researcher face at the time of gathering the information. Problems like dependency, access to information sources, time, money, expertise, introduction of bias, the Hawthorne effect and Halo effect.

Access to information source

When searching information through internet, there will be many sources which ask for login for further process. This creates problem in accessing information. There are sites which provide direct information to the searched topic. But it becomes difficult in case of searching information on sites as the user has to create an account for accessing the required information.

Time

For making a research, lot of time is consumed as complex processes are involved which consumes lot of time. The research team should be very careful in performing their research work as any miscalculation wastes lot of time.

Money

Lot of money is spent for research purposes. It becomes very expenses in reaching out participant personally at different places. Money is spent on various surveys like questionnaires, etc. for reducing the cost; the researcher should try to gather information of participant.

Expertise

The data collected from the participant should be properly analyzed and recorded. If the researcher does not analyze collected information, then the information will be of no use.

The Hawthorne effect

According to this effect the researcher should make changes of according to the observation carried out in research. Frequent observation is important for knowing the barriers which falls in achieving the goal.

The Halo effect

It is the overall impression on the data through observation, participants, research and it also includes the thoughts and feeling of the observer, etc. In short it is feeling, impression or thought which is created by observing the overall activities in the research.

Conclusion

From this report, it can be articulated that there are many aspects which has to be kept in mind in developing research. There are many methodologies like experiments, surveys, evaluative, developmental, etc. in developing research. There are two types of data namely: Qualitative and Quantitative data. Among these, quantitative data is more reliable as it includes the data which can be counted and measured. Moreover, there are two sources of collecting information which are primary and secondary. In addition to this, there are other sources through which data can be collected like visual, audio, paper-based, electronic, etc. The researcher should give his maximum effort to ensure that the data collected from the participants will be safe.

References

  • Bhavnagri, N. P. and Bielat, V., 2005. Faculty-librarian collaboration to teach research skills: Electronic symbiosis. The Reference Librarian.
  • Carey, M., 2012. Qualitative Research Skills for Social Work: Theory and Practice. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
  • Chu, S. and et.al., 2008. Grade 4 students’ development of research skills through inquiry-based learning projects. School Libraries Worldwide.
  • Davis, T. H. and et.al., 2006. Problem-based learning of research skills. Journal of electrocardiology.
  • Dochartaigh, N. O., 2012. Internet Research Skills. SAGE.
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