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Research Methodology – Introduction

About Jennifer Williams

❶Researchers organize their research by formulating and defining a research problem.

Goals of Research

Study Implications
Research approach for data analysis
Types of Research

At the first glance, most of us would assume that this editorial is only for those who are involved in research and is certainly not for me. However, we should realize that medical science is not an exact science like physics or many other branches of science. For example we have been successful in sending unmanned space craft to the moon with precision and can accurately predict a lunar eclipse even years from now. On the other hand when it comes to medicine we are dealing with human beings and no two humans are similar.

The effects of our interventions are variable. It is an ever evolving science based on research. We have entered into an era of evidence-based medicine EBM [ 1 ] which aims to apply evidence gained by a scientific method to change current medical practice.

It seeks to assess the quality of evidence relevant to the risks and benefits of treatment including lack of treatment. The aim of this editorial is to emphasize that each and every doctor needs to understand the basics of the science and art of research methodology. Conduction of research involves science and subsequent publication requires scientific writing which is an art in itself.

Why should I do research? In the era of EBM, all decisions regarding investigations, diagnosis and treatment are taken on the basis of research. We constantly strive to improve, through research, the management of a particular case. The wider cause for conducting research is to improve patient care, a great service to the mankind. The other narrower reasons could be personal satisfaction of contributing to science and the society, recognition and appreciation by peer in the profession, acquiring a job, getting a job promotion or even to retain a job.

We are fast approaching towards the publish or perish principle adopted by the west. Who should learn Research Methodology? General practitioners or consultants involved in private practice cannot shy away from understanding research as they have to deal with different types of cases which may not be straight forward enough. Consultants holding teaching posts, have to guide their students for conducting their thesis.

This is a common approach and helps you to 'triangulate' ie to back up one set of findings from one method of data collection underpinned by one methodology, with another very different method underpinned by another methodology - for example, you might give out a questionnaire normally quantitative to gather statistical data about responses, and then back this up and research in more depth by interviewing normally qualitative selected members of your questionnaire sample.

Look at the very brief outlines of different methods below. Consider which you intend using and whether you could also find it more useful to combine the quantitative with the qualitative. Interviews enable face to face discussion with human subjects. If you decide to interview you will need to draw up an interview schedule of questions which can be either closed or open questions, or a mixture of these.

Closed questions tend to be used for asking for and receiving answers about fixed facts such as name, numbers, and so on. They do not require speculation and they tend to produce short answers. With closed questions you could even give your interviewees a small selection of possible answers from which to choose. If you do this you will be able to manage the data and quantify the responses quite easily.

The Household Survey and Census ask closed questions, and often market researchers who stop you in the street do too. The problem with closed questions is that they limit the response the interviewee can give and do not enable them to think deeply or test their real feelings or values.

This would give you a very good idea of the variety of ideas and feelings people have, it would enable them to think and talk for longer and so show their feelings and views more fully.

But it is very difficult to quantify these results. You will find that you will need to read all the comments through and to categorise them after you have received them, or merely report them in their diversity and make general statements, or pick out particular comments if they seem to fit your purpose.

If you decide to use interviews:. Questionnaires often seem a logical and easy option as a way of collecting information from people. They are actually rather difficult to design and because of the frequency of their use in all contexts in the modern world, the response rate is nearly always going to be a problem low unless you have ways of making people complete them and hand them in on the spot and this of course limits your sample, how long the questionnaire can be and the kinds of questions asked.

At last, we conclude and generalize to the real world. Researchers organize their research by formulating and defining a research problem.

This helps them focus the research process so that they can draw conclusions reflecting the real world in the best possible way. In research, a hypothesis is a suggested explanation of a phenomenon. A null hypothesis is a hypothesis which a researcher tries to disprove. Research methodology involves the researcher providing an alternative hypothesis, a research hypothesis , as an alternate way to explain the phenomenon. The research hypothesis is often based on observations that evoke suspicion that the null hypothesis is not always correct.

In the Stanley Milgram Experiment , the null hypothesis was that the personality determined whether a person would hurt another person, while the research hypothesis was that the role, instructions and orders were much more important in determining whether people would hurt others.

A variable is something that changes. It changes according to different factors. Some variables change easily, like the stock-exchange value, while other variables are almost constant, like the name of someone. Researchers are often seeking to measure variables. The variable can be a number, a name, or anything where the value can change. An example of a variable is temperature. The temperature varies according to other variable and factors.

You can measure different temperature inside and outside. If it is a sunny day, chances are that the temperature will be higher than if it's cloudy. Another thing that can make the temperature change is whether something has been done to manipulate the temperature, like lighting a fire in the chimney. In research, you typically define variables according to what you're measuring. The independent variable is the variable which the researcher would like to measure the cause , while the dependent variable is the effect or assumed effect , dependent on the independent variable.

These variables are often stated in experimental research , in a hypothesis , e. In explorative research methodology, e.

They might not be stated because the researcher does not have a clear idea yet on what is really going on. Confounding variables are variables with a significant effect on the dependent variable that the researcher failed to control or eliminate - sometimes because the researcher is not aware of the effect of the confounding variable. The key is to identify possible confounding variables and somehow try to eliminate or control them. Operationalization is to take a fuzzy concept conceptual variables , such as ' helping behavior ', and try to measure it by specific observations, e.

The selection of the research method is crucial for what conclusions you can make about a phenomenon.

Research Methods Vs Research Methodology

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Research Methodology is a way to find out the result of a given problem on a specific matter or problem that is also referred as research problem. In Methodology, researcher uses different criteria for solving/searching the given research problem. Different sources use different type of methods for solving the problem.

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The purpose of research is to inform action. Thus, your study should seek to contextualize its findings within the larger body of research. Research must always be of high quality in order to produce knowledge that is applicable outside of the research setting. Furthermore, the results of your study.

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Video: The Importance of Understanding Research Methodology This lesson will show you why it is necessary to understand the research methods that are used in human growth and development. Why learn research methodology? Barun Kumar Nayak Who should learn Research Methodology? Undergraduate medical students need to learn it for a stronger foundation for their future; postgraduate students have no choice as a thesis/dissertation is the requirement for a Masters degree. Unfortunately, not too much importance is given .

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Research Methodology – Introduction Research Definition – Research is a careful investigation or inquiry specifically through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge. It is an original contribution to the existing stock of . In writing a research proposal you need a methodology to explain where you are coming from and why you want to do the research in a particular way. An assessing committee, a referee, a funding agency will all want to be assured that your research question is a good question that needs asking, that your approach will answer your question or.