"Research, like any other discipline, has its own language and terminology - its own jargon."
The Building Blocks of Research
Who is involved?
• Those who conduct study
○ Researcher, investigator
○ Sometimessingle researcher or research team
• Those who provide information
○ Quantitative:participants, respondents
○ Qualitative:participants, informants
Where does research take place?
• Naturalistic settings - the field (Qualitative)
○ People's homes
○ Interest in context of people's lives
• Highly controlled settings (Quantitative)
• Multisite studies
○ Provideslarger and more diverse sample
What is being studied?
○ Abstractions that are deliberately and systemicallyinvented with a purpose
How are concepts linked?
• Theories, models, frameworks
○ Theory: systematic,abstract explanation of some aspect of reality
○ Quantitative study: begins with theory/frameworkand uses deductive reasoning to
foresee behaviour of phenomena if theory were true
○ Qualitative study: usually developed from the research conducted
Variables (usually quantitative)
○ Easy to measure variables: weight, height, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.
○ Difficult to measure:grief, sorrow, love, et.
• Any quality of a person, group, or situation that varies or takes on different values - typically
• Independent = presumed cause
• Dependent (outcomevariable) = presumed effect
• Conceptual - abstract/theoreticalmeaning
○ Example: Define 'can'
(noun) container, made out of metal/plastic,holds volume of liquids, etc.
(verb) the ability to perform something
• Operational - how variables are measured
○ Example: participants' weight will be measured to the nearest kilogram while they are
fully dressed and have fasted for 10 hours.
○ Example: participants' anxiety level will be measured by measuring extent of sweating
through the Palmar Sweat Index, etc.
• Pieces of information obtained in a study - a data set
○ Quantitative studies: primarily numeric information
○ Qualitative studies: primarily narrative descriptions
Relationships (casual, associative)
• A bond or connection between two or morephenomena
○ Quantitative:researchers focused on bond between independent and dependent
○ Qualitative:researchers focused on finding patterns of association as a way of finding
the underlying meaning and dimensionality of phenomena of interest
• Example: there is an associationbetween rates of ice cream bought and crime rate. However,
this does not mean that there is a causation in between
Critical Challenges of Conducting Research
Reliability, validity, and trustworthiness]
• Reliability: can your results be duplicated? (accuracy and consistency)
• Validity: does your test actually measure what you are using it to measure?
• Findings should reflect the truth
Produces distortion in the study results
○ Research control (quantitative)
Control certain aspects to decrease other influences
○ Randomness and reflexivity
Helps to eliminate bias
Reflexivity:ability to turn inwards and to look at the research process and see if
there was any bias or influences that could have changed the results of the body
○ Generalizability and transferability
Ensure findings are not totally unique to people, places or circumstancesof
The Research Process
1) Researchers work within a paradigm consistent with their world view
2) This gives rise to types of questions
3) Quantitative or qualitative approach
Major Classes of Research
○ Experimental studies
Active introduction of interventionor treatment in the normal course of things
Explicitly designed to test causal relationships.
Provide greater control over variables
Collection of data with no changes or introduction of treatments
○ Disciplinary traditions
□ Aim to describe and understand key social-psychologicaland structural
processes that occur in a social setting
□ Focus mostlyon evolvingsocial experience, to find the core variable □ Focus mostlyon evolvingsocial experience, to find the core variable
□ The lived experiences of humans
□ What are life experiencesfor others like and what does it mean to them?
□ Studies patterns and experiences of a defined cultural group in a holistic
□ Involvementof fieldwork and participation in the life of the culture being
□ Goal is to mostly learn from membersabout their worldviewand not just to
Steps in a Quantitative Study
• Phase 1: Conceptual Phase
○ Formulate and delimit problem
Identify interesting and significant research problem and develop appropriate
Consider clinical issues, methodologicalissues, practical issues, ethical issues
○ Review and relate research literature
Conduct study within the context of previous knowledge. Aim to understand what
is already known through literature review before data collection
○ Undertake clinical fieldwork
Better to spend time in clinical settings where you are able to discuss topic of
interest with other professionals (i.e. clinicians and administrators)
Allows to better understand affected clients and the settings in which care is
○ Define frameworkand develop conceptual definition
When a theory is used as a basis for predictions that can be tested, findings may
have broader significance
Clear sense of the concepts under study is required
○ Formulate hypothesis
Statementof researchers' expectationsabout relationships among study variables
Study relationship between variables in research questions
• Phase 2: Design and Planning Phase
○ Select a research design
Overall plan for obtaining data
How are variables going to be controlled in order to reduce effects of extraneous
○ Developprotocolsfor the intervention
Protocolrequired to specify what the interventionor independent variable will
What is it? Who will administer it? How frequently? How long? Etc.
○ Identify population to be studied
Indicate what attributes participants should possess so that the study results can
○ Designing the sampling plan
How will sample be selected and how many study participants there will be in