- What is the overall objective of research?
The overall objective of research is to find answers to research questions using specific scientific procedures (Goddard & Melville, 2004).
- What are the different types of research? Please provide an example of each.
There are different ways of classifying research. One can distinguish between descriptive and analytical research (studying the existing state of affairs vs. making critical analysis and drawing new conclusions using the existing data), conceptual and empirical (considering abstract theory and ideas vs. studying the results of factual experiments and observations). The major classification of research is the division into qualitative and quantitative studies (Goddard & Melville, 2004): quantitative research pertains to particular quantifiable relationships between phenomena, while qualitative research deals with in-depth understanding of non-quantifiable concepts and answers “how” and “why” questions.
- What are the two general types of research data? Please provide examples of each type.
Two primary types of research data are primary and secondary data (Goddard & Melville, 2004). Primary data are collected by the researcher (e.g. survey data), while secondary data are obtained from other sources such as publications (e.g. official statistics or publications of other researchers).
- What are the three aims of research? Please provide an example of each aim.
Three aims of research are description, prediction and understanding or explanation (Goddard & Melville, 2004). For example, using descriptive statistics, the researcher can describe an average participant of the study, predict the impact of certain factors on the participant and explore the causes of the phenomena using research methods.
- What are the various types of “validity” that must be considered with regards to assessing the quality of research?
There are several types of research validity: construct validity (assuring that the constructs accurately model reality), internal validity (the ability to establish a causal relationship), external validity (ability to generalize the results), content validity (the adequacy of covering the studied topic) and conclusion validity (the presence of causal relationship between factors) (Goddard & Melville, 2004).
- What does “reliability” mean with regards to research?
In terms of research, reliability means the consistency of measures and the reproducibility of the research. There are different types of reliability: test-retest reliability, inter-rater reliability, internal consistency and parallel-forms reliability (Goddard & Melville, 2004).
- What is a “theoretical” or “conceptual” framework? Why is one important for a research study?
Theoretical framework is the set of theoretical knowledge pertaining to the research questions; such knowledge models the reality and is generated using inductive reasoning. It is important for a research study since it represents a background for generating hypothesis and achieving research aims.
- Describe the major criteria that should be used to judge the soundness of a research study.
Three key criteria for evaluating the soundness of a research study are authorship (the experience and characteristics of the author, credentials), sponsorship (the organization or entity financing the research) and recency (copyright and publication dates, revisions, etc).
- What are the purposes of a synthesis of the literature?
The goals of a literature synthesis are to review existing research pertaining to the research question, integrating existing research, creating generalizations and identifying research gaps.
- In analyzing the value or quality of a research study in adult and career education, what questions should be asked about and between the major elements of the study?
An efficient method of assessing the value of a research study is the Research Quality Framework; it includes such questions as the measure of originality of the research, impact of the research, recognition of the research by the end users, etc (Goddard & Melville, 2004). The relatedness of the research proposal, research program and implementation program should also be reviewed.
Goddard, W. & Melville, S. (2004). Research Methodology: An Introduction. Juta and Company Ltd.