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Lecture 2

NUR80 Week 2 - Building Blocks of Research

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Susan Bishop

Week Two September-10-13 9:00 AM "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) ○ Laboratory • Multisite studies ○ Provideslarger and more diverse sample What is being studied? • Concepts • Phenomena • Constructs ○ 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) • Examples ○ 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 numeric values • Independent = presumed cause • Dependent (outcomevariable) = presumed effect Definitions Definitions • 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. Data • 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 variables ○ 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 ○ Bias  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 original research 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 • Quantitative ○ Experimental studies  Active introduction of interventionor treatment in the normal course of things  Explicitly designed to test causal relationships.  Provide greater control over variables ○ Non-experimentalstudies  Collection of data with no changes or introduction of treatments • Qualitative ○ Non-experimental ○ Disciplinary traditions  Grounded theory □ 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  Phenomenology □ The lived experiences of humans □ What are life experiencesfor others like and what does it mean to them?  Ethnography □ Studies patterns and experiences of a defined cultural group in a holistic fashion □ Involvementof fieldwork and participation in the life of the culture being studied □ Goal is to mostly learn from membersabout their worldviewand not just to study Steps in a Quantitative Study • Phase 1: Conceptual Phase ○ Formulate and delimit problem  Identify interesting and significant research problem and develop appropriate questions  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 provided ○ 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 variables ○ Developprotocolsfor the intervention  Protocolrequired to specify what the interventionor independent variable will entail  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 be generalized ○ Designing the sampling plan  How will sample be selected and how many study participants there will be in
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