RESEARCH METHODS, CONCEPTS AND ISSUES

Variable

Its measurable characteristic assumes different values among the subject.

It is therefore a logical way of exercising a particular attribute in a subject.

Some variables are attribute theories that are expressed in kilograms e.g. age expresses in years, weight expresses in kilograms.

Other variables are expressed in categories e.g. occupation may be expressed as a teacher or farmer; gender may be expressed as male or female.

There are different types of classifications of variables e.g. dependent, independent, interviewing, confounding and antecedent variables.

Reliability

It is a measure of degree to which a research interment uses consistent results or data after repeated trials.

In research it is influenced by random error.

Validity

Is the accurate and meaningfulness of influences which are based on the research results.

It is the degree to which results obtain data actually represent phenomenon under study.

Therefore, it has to do with how accurate the data obtained in the study represents raw variable in the study e.g. accurate influence could be made about people during experience if detailed information about the number of accidents each driver has caused over a period of time is obtained.

Hypothesis

Is a research anticipated explanation or opinion concerning the results of the study e.g. in the study of increase of HIV/AIDS, the researcher must hypotheses that the introduction of ARVs for the HIV infections.

 

RESEARCH METHODS, APPLICATIONS AND LIMITATION

  1. Case Study

It is an independent investigation of an individual, group, institution or phenomenon. Most case studies are based on the premises that a case can be located that is typical of many other cases.

The case under study is varied as an example of events or a group of individuals.

A researcher should be very cautious when drawing conclusion because it is difficult to know how typical the selected ones really are.

Purpose

To determine factors which are highly related in the behaviour under study.

The investigation therefore makes it difficult to examine if a single subject, groups, and phenomenon.

  1. Experiments

It involves manipulation of independent variable to determine their effects on dependent variable.

In a true experiment, the independent variables are treated e.g. a researcher may be interested in finding out the effects of using different types of fertilizer on maize yields or tonnage or determining whether gender and education level influence income levels. The independent variables are gender or education level whereas the dependent variable is income.

N/B: independent variables in this e.g. cannot be manipulated by researcher.

 

  1. Surveys

This is an attempt to collect data from members of a population in order to determine the correct status of the population in respect to one or more variables.

It is a self report study which requires the collection of qualifiable information from one sample.

Survey research can either be description, exploration or involving advanced statistical analysis.

Information collected through survey may be used for various purposes e.g. market researchers use survey to evaluate, produce acceptance for use.

Researchers in economics, anthropology, psychology and public health use surveys frequently to collect information relevant to problems in their fields.

Studies involving surveys account for a subsequent proportion of the research done in the field of education e.g. field surveys.

Purpose of survey research

  • Seeks to obtain information that describes existing phenomenon by asking individuals about their participation, attitude, behaviour or value.
  • Therefore, it is a type of descriptive research.
  • Can be used in explaining or exploring the existing storage of two or more variable at a given point of time.
  • Collecting original data for the purpose of describing population which is too large to observe especially by scientist and other educators.
  • For measurements of characteristics of a large population.

Evaluation research

This is a systematic process of collecting and analyzing data in order to make decisions.

It is a process of determining whether the intended results were realized; it has grown enormously over recent years.

Purpose of evaluation research

It is usually initiated by need for development to be made concerning policy or political strategy.

It is to collect data that is to facilitate decision making; data collected are usually related to a particular concern.

Evaluation research should satisfy 4 important criteria as oriented by Borg and Girll.

  • Utility; the evaluation has utility if its informative is timely and useful to the affected person.
  • Feasibility; an evaluation design is feasible if it’s appropriate to the setting in which study is conducted. Also if its cost is effective i.e. the study is worth the cost.
  • Priority; an evaluation has priority, if the light of the person affected by the evaluation are protected.
  • Accuracy; this refers to the extent to which an evaluation study produce validity, variable and comprehensive information about the phenomenon being evaluated.

Evaluation models/Designs

Model I

Evaluation to assess the worth/usefulness of a program, project; it includes evaluation of persons e.g. teachers, managers.

Model II

Evaluation of performance relative to objectives

The main assumption is that the success of a project/programme depends on how well the objectives of the programme are achieved by the users or the learners.

Model III

Evaluation to assist in decision making

It assumes that the programmes need evaluation as they are being developed and carried out in order to meet decision. The researcher may force on the analysis of needs and problems (the context analysis) evaluation of resources and strategies needed to accomplish the programmes, goals and objectives (input evaluation); analysis of the programme once the programme has been put into operation (process evaluation) and analysis of the content to which the goals of a particular programme has been achieved (product evaluation).

Model IV

Evaluation to identify issues and concerns among the advanced people being evaluated

Types of evaluation research

  1. Needs assessment evaluation

It refers to the discrepancy between an existing set of conditions and desired set conditions

Research can be done to assess the need in a systematic way

This type of research is important because the results of needs assessment study provides a foundation for developing new programmes and for making changes in existing ones.

 

  1. Formative evaluation

The main purpose for this research is education for instance, to collect data about educational programmes all together.

  1. Summative evaluation

It occurs after the programme has fully been developed.

It is conducted to evaluate how worthwhile in final programme has been especially as composed to similar programme.

Importance of Evaluation

  1. Helps in identification of needs
  2. Helps in assessing a given programme and its feasibility/worthiness.
  3. Helps in formulation of certain (specific) policies to guide the programme.
  4. Helps in decision making and implementation of policies.
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