Research Methodology IV BTech IT Cape Peninsula University (CPUT) Faculty of Informatics & Design...
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Research Methodology IV
BTech ITCape Peninsula University (CPUT) Faculty of Informatics & Design (FID)Lecturer: Nhlanhla Mlitwa
Research Methodology IV - Research & Research Process
ProblemInterest AreaIdeaDisseminationChoice of MethodData Analysis Data Collection OperationalisationInterpretation Research DesignObjectiveConceptualisationQuestion/s
Research Design Whatever you do should be guided by, and be compliant with your research design.It is:- Plan, blueprint, map, re - how research is to unfold - A Basis upon which research process is built, is Informed by a research objective- Cannot have research process without (or even outside of) research design
Research DesignLet us look at these 2 separate, but related phenomena.The PROBLEM + QUESTION tell you what to do next.Dont confuse a research design with a methodology.
Research DesignResearch MethodologyPoint of Departure: Research problem or questionPoint of Departure: Task at hand (data collection; sampling; etc)Focus: End Product what kind of study; what kind of results are aimed at (OBJECTIVE).Focus: Process, procedures, & kind of tools to be used.
Focus: Logic of Research what kind of evidence is necessary to address the question adequatelyFocus: Individual steps, and the most objective procedures
Research DesignHave research problem, & question. You want a method of addressing them. Remember:Methods used in research vary according to the tasks they perform. They range from sampling techniques, to data-collection, and data analysis methods.
But which method to select, when, how and why?
Selection of methods are always dependant on the aims & objectives of study; Nature of phenomenon under study; & the underlying theory (if any) or the expectations of the investigation.
Objective + Meta TheoryHow the objective determines the choice of methodology?
Novices would move from the interest and idea, and try to solve every problem that exists on the subject. You cannot go to the UK, USA, Australia, and Russia at the same time, can you?
Knowing your objectives helps you decide on the map to get there. Even after choosing your destination, you cannot choose several routes at the same time. You simply disregard routes leading elsewhere, but to your destination. This leads us to the notion of a meta-theory
Objective + Meta-TheoryMeta-Theory In simplistic form, refers to thinking about the nature of scientific enquiry.
It is a phenomenon about existing theories that are appropriate for specific forms of enquiry.
It is a theory not in its own right, but a theory about theories.
The word meta (Greek), means beyond or over. Metatheory refers to reflections & critiques regarding the theoretical application/s of a theory
Let us look at critical examples.
Meta-theory + Choosing a methodologyMeta Theory concerns itself with the:NatureAimsMethodsOf scientific enquiry as influenced by some methodological paradigms: Qualitative, Quantitative, Participation Action Research. Paradigm: methods, principles, techniques+ underlying assumptions. The three critical & most influential meta-theoretical traditions are:PositivismInterpretive / PhenomenologyCritical theoretical tradition
Meta-Theory +Methodology ChoicesRealise Ontology & Epistemology?Positivismis based on: the notion that the source of all knowledge is to be found on experience and observation (empiricist theory of knowledge).Idea of similarity between research domains: that natural science methods equally apply to the study of human factorsDeductive form of reasoningNatural interpretation of objectivity an assumption that postulates objectivity as limited to clinical, neutral, natural sciences
Meta-theory +Methodology choices- Generalisation/ GeneralisabilityIf you subscribe to this line of thinking, then your research method is likely to prioritise: - Objective measurement- Experimental control- Structural & replicable observations- Neutrality- Quantification
Meta-theory + Methodology choiceThe main argument here is that since people are continuously constructing, developing, and changing their interpretations of the world, that conceptions of human research should accommodate these flexibilities.Phenomenology/ IntepretivistEmphasis: on differences between the object of the natural and social sciencesEmphasis: on understanding people as conscious, self directing beings rather than the mere biological beings whose actions can be understood only through understanding biochemistry.
Meta-theory +Methodology choices - Objectivity is understood as inter-subjectiveIf you & your study subscribe to this line of thinking, then your research method is likely to prioritise: - Interpretive understanding of meanings and self descriptions of the individual - Require unstructured observations - Qualitative data analytic methods - Open understanding
Methodological implications: - Participation - Collaborative enquiry - Experimental research - Social relevance - Individual empowerment
Meta-theory + Methodology choiceCritical theory traditionEmphasis on science as a transformative source: dont be neutral. Dont interprete the world, change it for the better (Jurgen Harbamas, 1960s)
Meta-theory + Methodology choiceEach of the theoretical traditions determine a methodological paradigm to be applied in a study.
Your theoretical tradition & phenomenon of study will determine whether you end up with one of the following methodological paradigms:Quantitative + Deductive ParadigmQualitative + Inductive paradigmParticipatory Action Research ParadigmMixed approach (triangulation)
The nature of the question/s to be answered will play a significant role in this decision
Research Question + Research DesignIt will depend whether you are addressing empirical or non-empirical questions. Example of empirical questions:
Question TypeQuestionExampleExploratoryWhat is the caseWhat are key factorsWhat are critical factors of successful companies?DescriptiveHow many/ Are X and Y related?How many people died of aids in 2007?CausalWhy; What are the causes of YWhat are the main causes of power failures in Cape Town?EvaluativeWhat was the outcome of?PredictiveWhat will be the effect of X over YWhat effect will the new anti-biotic have of the population?HistoricalWhat led to Y?What led to Thabo Mbeki losing to Jacob Zuma?
Question TypeQuestionExampleMeta analyticWhat is the state of the art about x?What are the debates in physics?What is the state of research on environmental ethics?ConceptualWhat is the meaning of the X concept?What is the meaning of sexual harassment?Theoretical What are the most plausible theories of XWhat are the most widely accepted theories of competitiveness?Philosophical/ normative What is the ideal profile of xWhat is meant by an equitable education systems?
If you havent already, Next Week, you will attend a literature - search session in the Library.
You will go straight to the library (instead of coming to class).
Details of where to go & who to meet there, will be on WebCT by Monday MorningThis lecture covers Ch3 & Ch4
Till next class, Thank You !
More on theories in ISFlynn, D., and Gregory, P. 2004. The Use of theories in 20 yrs of WG8.2 Empirical Research; in Kaplan, B., Truex III, D.P., Wastell, D., Wood-harper, A.T., and De Gross, J.I. 2004 (eds.). Information Systems Research: Relevant Theory and Informed Practice. An IFIP Publication; Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell, Massachusetts, USAhttp://www.palgrave-journals.com/jit/journal/v23/n2/full/2000133a.html