Research Knowledge and Assessment
This essay explores how these queries may be conceptualized, described, valuated, and explained through investigative methods.Philosophy of Research Quantitative scientific research relies on data taken from empirical methods based on observation and experience (Myers & Hanson, 2002; Stanchion & Stanchion, 2003).These systematic empirical methods can be used as inferential mathematical tools for evaluating a sample from a population.
Consequently, the empirical calculations of phenomena in a sample may be applied to an entire population from which the sample was derived (Ho, 201 0, p. ). Research Terminologies Certain terms in research connote philosophical approaches to obtaining ND evaluating information. Through the scientific process, research studies begin by developing questions or hypotheses, then collecting data to help answer the questions or test the hypotheses. Research data are collected, analyzed, and interpreted to reach conclusions (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 201 0, p. 12). However, qualitative and quantitative studies have similarities and dissimilarities in the scientific process due to the different cognitive approaches in research designs.
Qualitative studies utilize inductive reasoning while quantitative studies apply deductive logic (p. 10). Figure 1 illustrates the specifics, similarities, and differences of these concepts in qualitative and quantitative research paradigms. The scientific method, illustrated in figure 2, acquires and assesses knowledge through observation and experience (Drew, Yardman, & Hose, 2008). The philosophy Of Positivism utilizes aspects of the scientific method in social research.
Positivist researchers believe that only what is observed can be evaluated in an objective manner. This means that only observable behavior can be measured without regard to motives, perspectives, or feelings (Social Research Methods, 2006). Conversely, post positivist philosophy does not believe that Objectivity is infallible because knowledge is developed through social constructs and this knowledge cannot be divorced from personal perceptions which determine the legitimacy of wisdom (Ryan, 2006, p. 16).
The foregoing statements suggest that post-positivists believe deductions from observations may be relative and inexact (p. 20). This lends credence to subjectivity in research evaluations (Ratter, 2002). Objectivity in Objectivity can be described as a mental state in which personal biases, preferences, and perspectives of researchers do not contaminate the election and analysis of data (Sociology Guide, 2014). Objectivity is paramount in ensuring the veracity of a study. However, in social and educational studies, objectivity presupposes a type of reality (Ratter, 2002).
If that reality is created by the researcher or observer, then it may be more subjective than objective (p. 3). These ideas exemplify the challenges faced by those in qualitative or mixed-methods studies who must judge the depth or the breadth and depth of research findings, respectively (Walden University, n. D. ). Though quantitative research may appear objective through the use of thematic calculations, subjectivity may occur in deciding what data are to be measured and the types of measuring instruments to be employed (Slashing, 2003).
Philosophical Developments in Research Scientific realism is a quantitative approach to research in which numerical formulas are used to analyze data, and these data are used to symbolize constructs and variables (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 2010). Positivists utilize the tenets of scientific realism because they feel that the social and psychological world can be evaluated mathematically in the same way that quantitative research explains phenomena in the natural world Social constructivism states that phenomena must be understood (P. 3). As complex wholes and researchers must understand reality through the perspectives of the participants in a study. Social constructivism advocates hypotheses that are created to achieve meaning through multiple realities formed by diverse human perceptions in a social world. Social constructivism is commonly employed in ethnographers and other types of social research. Advocacy and liberating frameworks also accept a multiplicity of realities derived from social, economic, cultural, and political milieus.
This philosophy involves research that advocates freedom from oppression and is a common framework for education research studies involving minorities or socially oppressed groups of people (Fire, 1970). Pragmatism is not focused on defining a real or socially constructed reality, but seeks practical answers to promulgate correct practices and programs (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 201 0, p. 16). Pragmatists frequently use a mixed-methods approach to research for analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. Case studies utilize the methods of pragmatism (p. 60). Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks A framework can be created through Concepts or theories (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 2010, p. 13). A conceptual framework shows ideas or variables in a cogent and sequential manner, whereas a theoretical framework focuses on identifying the possible relationships among the ideas or concepts and develops theories for these relationships (Niagara, 2012). These theories provide a foundation for the beginnings of an investigation and help maintain a focus for the direction of a study.
A conceptual framework can also be defined as a structure that describes the natural progression of a phenomenon through a theoretical framework that gives an explanation of how some constituents of the phenomenon may be related (Camp, 2001). In summary, a conceptual framework may elucidate concepts Of a study but it does not explain the relationships among the ideas or variables, whereas a theoretical framework can explain the associations among variables and how these associations relate to the research investigation (Science, n. D. ).
Core Concepts of Research Design The research question is the basis for the research study and should include ethical guidelines (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 201 0, p. 388). It identifies dependent and independent variables in causal-comparative search and it targets variables that are expected to be related in correlation studies (up. 388-389). In quantitative studies, the research question is clarified by the hypothesis which is a declarative statement or tentative position of the identified problem (Drew, Yardman, & Hose, 2008, p. 78). Unlike quantitative investigations, the research questions in qualitative studies focus more on processes than on outcomes (p. 389). Once the research question has been refined to a specific idea, then the statement Of purpose for the study can be expressed in clear and concise terms (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 2010, p. 89). The specificity of the research question and the distinct purpose of the study are derivatives of the literature review which mainly focuses on primary, peer-reviewed articles related to the research question.
Population and Sample Inferential statistics utilizes a subset from a population called a sample. Research results derived from the sample may be generalized to the population from which it was derived. However, in order for a study to produce accurate results and conclusions from a sample, it is important to differentiate between a theoretical population and an accessible population Social Research Methods, 2006). The theoretical population should possess well-defined characteristics related to the variables to be studied in the sample.
An accessible population may be available for a study, but if its traits are not circumscribed within the sample it produces, the accuracy of the research is comport used (Expellable, 2009). Variables and Research If endings A variable is an object or entity that has different quantitative or qualitative values depending on the circumstance in a study (Ho, 2010, p. 127). In educational research, a variable can also be defined as a measurable hypothetical concept (construct) that has been developed from a theoretical framework (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 2010, p. 3). When these variables are translated into data, the findings can be reported quantitatively, qualitatively, or quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative findings are numerical in nature and can be reported through Pearson-product moment correlations, multiple-regression analysis, t-test, chi-square, and other tests (p. 305). Qualitative findings may be reported through the use of triangulation techniques, coding, themes, and other procedures (up. 189-193).
Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitation’s Assumptions are constituents of a study which may not be under the control of the researcher, but their disappearance in a study would make it irrelevant (Simon, 2011). Limitations are uncontrollable, potential weaknesses in a study, whereas delimitation’s are controllable characteristics that limit the scope and define the boundaries of a study (p. 2). This is why these three factors must be considered when research is conducted.
Validity and Reliability Validity describes the accuracy and appropriateness of measures while reliability refers to the consistency of the measurements (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 2010). In quantitative research, validity can be defined in terms of a construct which determines the type of data to be collected and the way in which the information is to be gathered (Winner & Braun, 1998). Validity in qualitative research was defined by Slashing (2003) as “quality, rigor and trustworthiness” (p. 02). The internal validity of a study can be affected by observations, selection of informants for maximum variability, selection Of participants, and improper or misguided conclusions, whereas external validity can be influenced by types of selection procedures, kinds of settings n which experiments are conducted, historical consequences from the lives of participants, and the variations in the meanings of constructs across time, environments, and populations (Michael, n. D. ).
Reliability can be illustrated through consistent results after repeated evaluations show a continuous stability of measurements for a given period of time (Kirk & Miller, 1986). Reliability has been defined by Cope (2000) as “The extent to which results are consistent over time and [accurately represent] the total population under study… If the results of a study can be reproduced under a animal methodology, then the research instrument is [also] considered to be reliable. ” (p. 1). However, Slashing (2003) cautions that a research instrument which measures consistently may not be measuring accurately.
Hence, these inaccuracies of measurement make the research instrument invalid and controvert the internal consistency and reliability of the research. Internal reliability can be affected by inference descriptors, a researchers selections of data, and the interpretations of the data by the researcher (Bloom, n. D. ). External reliability can be influenced by situational contexts that effect the information retrieved from participants, data collection, analysis methodology, and constructs (Slashing, 2003).
Other Approaches to Unlike research investigations, program evaluations are critiqued regarding their immediate impact on what was observed and studied (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 2010). A program can be defined as a group of detailed activities with measurable objectives (p. 363). The purpose of evaluating a program is to make a decision on a course of action, whereas a research study provides information about a particular topic or practice. Program valuations use formative and summarize processes. These processes involve collecting information while the program occurs and measuring results at the end of the program to determine “… Owe those outcomes related to the overall… Program and its success. ” (p. 366). Once these processes have been deduced, the findings can be used to improve education There are evaluation models that can be applied through practices. These formative and summarize approaches. All models of evaluation contribute to the development of the evaluation plan, capacity, data collection, data, analysis, and reporting procedures of the study. The most common model for program evaluation is the objective-based approach which assesses the overall purpose of the program and defines the type of information to be collected for evaluation.
This approach also utilizes benchmarks or quantitative goals that participants are expected to obtain to ensure the success of the program. Among other program evaluation templates, the logic model measures progress at each phase of the curriculum while operating on the assumption that a rational sequence Of events must happen in order to produce the final results of the program (p. 373). These sequences of events begin with resources or inputs which create actions or activities that lead to changes in the participants (p. 374).
These changes or outcomes verify the efficacy or inefficacy of the program. In other words, the logic approach is a picture of how the program works through the theories and assumptions underlying the program (W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 2004). The logic model is commonly used for program evaluations in health education because it can illustrate the infrastructure of a program model while integrating the activities of the clinical educators and patients (Centers or Diseases Control and Prevention, 1 999): A detailed logic model can… Threaten claims of causality and be a basis for estimating the program’s effect on endpoints that are not directly measured but are linked in a causal chain supported by prior research… Logic models can be created to display a program at different levels of detail, from different perspectives, or for different audiences. (p. 9). It is imperative in health education to identify causal relationships among variables of patient care and clinical erudition paradigms. This is why the logic approach is such a good choice for evaluating these types of programs.
Program evaluations possess benefits and shortcomings. One advantage of program evaluations is the immediate application of the information to a setting or environment for implementing improvements and other efficacious changes. Examples of disadvantages in program evaluations include the lack of available assets for improving program deficiencies identified through formative processes and the subjectivity of an internal evaluator who may have preconceived ideas about what the program outcomes should be. The focus of effective education is action (Spencer, n. . ). Action research in education has been scribed as research accomplished by teachers to provide insights for themselves (Mills, 201 1). It is also a way for teachers to work collaboratively with each other with education administrators, and with stakeholders to improve classroom instruction and the learning potential of students (C. A. R. Madison Metropolitan School District, 2010). The primary purpose of action research is to change and improve educational environments and outcomes (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 2010).
The stages in conducting action research are sequential and cyclical (Classroom Action Research, 2012). These steps are illustrated in Figure 3. The diagram in the illustration implies important ideas regarding the structure of action research. This Structure should include ways to clearly define an issue, to challenge the assumptions and views of the researcher conducting the study, to develop a concise plan for data collection, to encourage collaboration between the researcher and peers, and to provide evidence for practice improvement (Ladino, Spaulding, & Vogel, 2010).