Research methodology entails how a researcher intends to achieve his research work. This shows the method adopted and research design used, alongside with the mode of collecting data, its classification, analysis, and interpretation. Research methodology thus, is a framework on which a conducted research is built on, and actualized. This determines the way the research is to be accomplished. As there are different methods of research so are the different approaches in conducting a research study.
Thus, it becomes necessary that the right research methodology is adopted for conducting a research study. This would not only enhance the ease with the conduct of the study but also validate the obtained result from the research. For instance, the survey research design is widely utilized in the conduct of market research; this has been more reliable and cost effective. While for psychological research study, the observational method is widely utilize. This may be manipulated or non-manipulate observation. In social psychology study the researcher may partake in group activities so as to conduct his observation, or stand aloof and study from a distance.
So application of the right research method and methodology is inevitable for obtaining an accurate and valid results and conclusion.
In research methods there are experimental research design and non-experimental research design. Experimental research usually conducted mostly in natural sciences and medical researches. This form of research is conducted in a laboratory, where there is the experimented object and controlled object; used in checking differences in the research result. Experimental research is also conducted in study conducted in social sciences. Though this would be in the form of a quasi-experimental, where laboratory are not required or testing the results. For example, in marketing research “experiments are used in investigations of all the controllable marketing mix variables (e.g. product, price, promotion, and distribution), consumer behavior, and even in regard to marketing research itself” (Patzer, 1996:3). Experimental research, thus, carries out a test of hypothesis to show if there exist a causal relationship between two or more variables. It can be divided into three groups: True (classical) experimental, Quasi experimental and Pre-experimental (single subject). Non-experimental research designs include, historical research, ex-post facto research, case study, correlational studies, prediction studies, developmental studies, survey design (Socwest.wise.edu)
The essay would tend to take a comparative analysis in applying different methodologies to assess the association between 8th grade Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exam scores and student grade point averages in school executing a professional learning community model.
USING A ACASE STUDY RESEARCH METHOD
A case study approach in research method entails carrying out a study on a specific instance, in order to give explanation to general application from findings. Case study research method is used in establishing cause and effect; thus, as one of its strength, it observe effect in real contexts, recognizing that context is a powerful determinant of both causes and effects (Cohen et al, 2000:181)
In using case study approach as a methodology for the research question: ‘What is the association between 8th grade Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exams scores and student grade point averages in schools executing a professional learning community’ the methodology here will select a specific high school, e.g. St Andrews High School Queensland, which adopts professional learning community model in its school operation. And the research concentration would be on this case study. More over to address the research question, students in 8th grade in the school would be the targeted population for the research study. Sample would be drawn from the total number of students. Assuming there are 250 8th grade students of St Andrews High School, the researcher may draw out a sample of 50 students using a simple random sampling technique, or a systematic sampling technique (which is probability technique) where the nth number allocated to students are chosen to be part of the sampling in order to avoid bias in the s election process. The selected sample would be worked on to see if there is a relationship between the students’ scores in Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exams, and the grade point average in the high school. As a way to confirming and carrying out a comparative analysis in order to validate the result of the research other case studies, with similar characteristics to St Andrew School would be introduced. For example Anglican Boys High School, Charlton town, and High Achievers High school, Belford (Note these schools mentioned are not real; just for illustration purposes). There is the need to select these case studies that has the same environmental and managerial conditions with St Andrews High School; this is to ensure a level playground for comparison. Also, the same technique should be adopted for sample collection and analysis. And the study should be conducted using the same scope of time exam is taken by the students in the different schools. All these is to ensure that a valid result is derived. The exam scores gotten by the 8th grade students would be compared to see if there is a relationship between the grade point averages from each school. A conclusion would be drawn whether to accept or reject the null hypothesis, which says that there, is a significant relationship between 8th grade Wisconsin knowledge and concept exam scores and student grade point averages in schools executing a professional learning community model.
The advantages in using case study approach is that it provides a unique example of real people in real situations, enabling readers to understand ideas more clearly than simply by presenting them with abstract theories or principles. Case study tends to make readers understand how ideas and abstract principles can fit together. It also penetrates situations in ways that are not always susceptible to numerical analysis (ibid). According to Hitchcock & Hughes (1995:322), cited in Cohen et al (2000: 181), a case study has several hallmarks including:
§ It is concerned with a rich and vivid description of events relevant to the case
§ It provides a chronological narrative of events relevant to the case
§ It blends a description of events with the analysis of them
§ It focuses on individual actors or groups of actors, and seeks to understand their perceptions of events
§ It highlights specific events that are relevant to the case
§ The researcher is integrally involved in the case
§ An attempt is made to portray the richness of the case in writing up the report.
USING A DESCRIPTION RESEARCH METHOD
A descriptive research method has to do with a qualitative approach to analyzing and giving interpretation to variables under study. Her, unlike where there is qualitative analyses using statistical tools to analyze and interpret the data collected from the research, the qualitative or descriptive approach carries out a description to variables and interpret the data collected from the research, the qualitative or descriptive approach carries out a description to variables and interpreting them in a descriptive manner.
Distinction of qualitative research method from qualitative approach, according to Sue & Trevor (2001), includes, qualitative data are associated with such concepts; it is not always the case that meaning is dependent on number. It is characterized by their richness and fullness based on your opportunity to explore a subject in as real a manner as is possible. Thus, qualitative approach based its meaning through expressed words, collection of results is done in a non-standardized data requiring classification into categories; and analysis are conducted through the use of conceptualization.
Using a descriptive research method for the research to find out ‘the association between 8th grade Wisconsin Knowledge and concept exam scores and student grade point averages in school executing a professional learning community model’, the methodology would tend to be based on conceptualized terms associated with the research. The drawn out concepts would be described to give interpretation and conclusion. For instance, questions could be raised on how has students in a particular year performed in the examination? What condition of learning were they subjected to? Are teachers being fair with their grading? How has the school structure, adopting a professional learning community model, affected negatively or contributed positively in ensuring students gets good grades in the course? All these questions are conceptualized and a description is done to analyze them; drawing out observed differences and areas of similarities to argue the points home.
In using this approach the following steps could be adopted:
§ Firstly, the researcher would undertake an initial semi-structured or in-depth interview related to the subject matter. i.e. on the association between 8th grade student scores in Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exam and students grade point averages in school executing a professional learning community model.
§ Secondly, since this research work would be base on a deductive reasoning approach; where we give meaning derived from the specific to the general, the researcher would develop a provisional set of categories of research questions, objectives, conceptual framework, research themes and initial propositions. Here the researcher is expected to produce a description of each of these.
§ An analysis is then made by the researcher to draw out differences or similarities based on the concepts drawn and described. The conclusion would also be made as a way of stating your findings and justifying how these came about.
Descriptive method of research has the following strengths when compared to other research method:
§ It entails detailed observations, descriptions and documentation of existing research variables.
§ It justifies, assesses current conditions and practices.
§ It determines differences between variables.
The weakness associated with this research method is that the researcher only relates research variables to each other, no attempt to determine their causation (Burna, 2005). Also, the descriptive method if not properly handled can be bias and has low reliability, unlike the quantitative approach that uses statistical figures from collected data and the results analyzed are being used to conclude. According to Burna (2005), the advantage associated with descriptive research method include large amount of information can be obtained from a large population in an economical manner which is “surprisingly” accurate. The disadvantages are:
§ Information tends to be superficial as breath is emphasized
§ Expertise in sampling techniques, questionnaire construction, interviewing and data analysis to produce a reliable and valid study.
§ Time –consuming and structures costly.
USING CORRELATIONAL METHOD
Correlational research approach tends to establish the existing relationship between two or more variables. The correlational approach is more of a statistical approach. Hence, data are analyzed quantitatively. In correlational study there is no intervention or treatment based on the researcher reasoning. The attempt here is to understand the causes of some naturally occurring phenomenon (socwest.wise.edu, 2001).
In using correlational method, to study the research proposition, the variables to be related here are the exam scores of 8th grade students in the course. The question asked here is ‘Is this related to their grade point averages?’ In this data approach data are collected from students of 8th grade in school adopting the professional learning community model, based on sampled population. The collected data from the sampled population is based on their performance on the course, and there actual grade point averages, these two variables are examined to see if they covary. The correlational analysis is used statistically to check this covaries. The result derived from the correlational analysis is interpreted to see if the relationship between the variables is strong or weak. Hence, the correlational approach quantifies the strength or relationship between the variables, and not the cause and effect (Burna, 2005). Thus, the correlational method will give either the existence of a positive or negative relationship to the proposition under study. The result span from -1 to +1. If the obtained result is .08 it signifies that there is a positively strong relationship between the grade 8th students scores in the Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exam and their grade point averages, in the school under study. But assuming the result gotten is .03 it means the relationship is positively weak. And if -.0.9 this is a negatively strong relationship etc.
The advantages associated with using the correlational method include:
§ Increased flexibility when investigating complex relationships among variables.
§ Efficient and effective method of collecting a large amount of data.
§ Potential for practical application in clinical settings
§ Potential foundation for future, experimental studies.
§ Framework for exploring relationships that are not manipulated.
§ Unable to manipulate variable of interest
§ No randomization in sampling
§ Generalizability decreased as dealing with pre-existing groups.
§ Unable to determine a causal relationship because of the lack of manipulation, control and randomization (ibid).
USING EX POST FACTO METHOD
The ex post facto method adopt a study that carry out ‘after the fact’ research. Here, the research is conducted on already established phenomenon. In ex post facto research, the researcher takes the effect for dependent variable and examines the data retrospectively to establish causes, relationships or associations, and their meanings. According to Cohen et al (2000:209), the characteristics of e post facto study are: it examines data to establish causes, relationships, association and proffer meaning to them; it becomes apparent when it is contrasted with true experimental research. Thus, it describes the modus operandi of experimental researcher. By their true nature ex post facto can provide support for any number of different, perhaps even contradictory, hypotheses, they are so completely flexible that it is largely a matter of postulating hypothesis according to one’s personal preference.
Using e post facto method to research on our research preposition, this method would utilize historical data that already exists on performed score of 8th grade students and their average grade points. A causal effect relationship is drawn from the available data of 8th grade students’ performance in Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exam scores and the students’ general performance, i.e. their student grade point averages. The e post facto research could use two designs, i.e. the co-relational (or causal) model, and the causal-comparative. In the co-relational model the causal model attempts to identify the antecedent of a present condition. In our research proposition the antecedent that would be considered to determine present condition would be what is responsible for students’ performance in Wisconsin knowledge and concept exam? Are the students adequately taught and made ready to take the exam? Is the condition of learning and examination condition conducive for the students to perform well? Are the students’ grade point averages gotten from examination with the same examination as what is obtained in the Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exam? All these questions need to be asked so as to create a causal relationship between past vents and the present that would bring a link between the Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exam and the grade point averages of the 8th grade students under study.
The advantages and disadvantages associated with ex post facto research method, according to Cohen t al (2000) include the following:
Ex post facto research meets an important need of the researcher where the more rigorous experimental approach is not possible. For example in the case of the alleged relationship between smoking and living cancer this cannot be tested experimentally.
The method yields useful information concerning the nature of phenomena.
Improvements in statistical techniques and general methodology have made ex post facto more defensible.
Where it is necessary in the setting up of artificiality introduced by experimental method into research proceedings, ex post facto becomes more useful than the experimental method.
It is particularly appropriate when simple cause-and-effect relationships are being explored.
The method can give a sense of direction and provide a fruitful source of hypotheses that can be tested through a more rigorous experimental method.
The weakness or limitation associated with the ex post facto method includes:
There is the problem of lack of control where the researcher is unable to manipulate the independent variable or to randomize the research subjects.
Classifying into dichotomous group can be problematic.
One cannot know for certain whether the causative factor has been included or identified.
It may be that no single factor is the cause.
A particular outcome may result from different causes on different occasions.
USING SURVEY DESIGN METHOD
The survey design method entails the gathering of data through data collection instruments such as face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, self administered questionnaires, mailed questionnaires. This method of research is very significant in the conduct of social sciences and management sciences research work. It has the advantage of making those being used as research subject to be relaxed and give answer to the question asked; this is especially so in the utilization of questionnaires to draw data from respondents. The survey content include direct questioning, answering how, what, and what extent questions, usually focus on what was done and what people plan to do in the future. A survey design is a research method where data are collected from a defined population to describe the present condition of the population using the variables under study. “Survey design does more than merely uncover data. They interpret, synthesis and integrate these data and point to implications and interrelationship” (Bankole, 2003:15).
In applying the research proposition through survey design, the research need to draw sample from his targeted population by using any sampling technique, though the simple random or quota sampling technique is adequate for research such as the one associated with our research statement. Quota sampling is a non-probability sampling method, a form of accidental sampling done in line with quota or strata in the total population. According to Odiagbe (1999:48), quota sample is selected in such a way that various components appear not only in proportion to their sizes in the target population but selection is stopped as soon as enough of the sub-group is selected Certain questions are to be drawn around the research proposition. For example, questions such as : Do you think the grading system in your school is fair? Do you have adequate teaching and preparation before writing Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exam? What are your grade point average and your score in Wisconsin knowledge and concepts exam? These and more questions could be built round the research statement. For each questions options are provided, especially when this is being done through questionnaire. The here is to restrict the response to manageable proportion. And a scaling is apportioned to each option provided. For example, 1-5 scales can be apportioned to options such as: Strongly disagree (1), Disagree (2), Uncertain (3), Agree (4), Strongly agree (5). The scaling enables the carrying out of statistical analysis to data gotten from the respondents. The research question is then tested through this statistical tool, e.g. chi-square, regression or correlation analysis. This will give the conclusion whether to accept or reject the research question.
The strength of survey design is that:
There is some level of high validity and reliability in data collecting tools such as questionnaires and interviews.
Face-to-face interviews using survey yields quality data about the person being interviewed and the question posed.
Survey design is useful in carrying out large scope of study covering a large population of study.
It is useful in estimating needs of a group, community or organization and make recommendation for priorities (Burna, 2005).
Disadvantage of survey design is that it involves a lot of time, it also incur more cost and requires the researcher to have expertise in sampling technique.
The utilization of right research design for conducting a study would not only lead to accuracy and high validity of conclusion and findings, but also saves time and resources and lad to an efficient conduct of a research work. As there are several research designs, it then depends on the researchers to choose that design that is most conducive and would lead to obtaining a valid result. As it is seen with our research questions analyzed and compared, there are advantages and disadvantages using specific research design. Hence, there is the need to weigh these in making choice for the design and methodology chosen; so as to obtain a valid result.
Bankole, A.R. (2003), research methods: an introductory approach. Lagos: Adeshina Print Production & Publication.
Burna, Kource K. (2005), “reasons for Undertaking Non-experimental Studies” www.ualberta.ca/~kolson/N503files/N503%20Non-experimental%20wk%205.ppt (12/08/06).
Cohen, Louis et al (2000), Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge Falmer.
Patzer, Gordon L. (1996), Experiment- Research Methodology in Marketing: Types and Applications. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
Socwest.wise.edu (2001), “Types of Research Designs” www.socwest.wise.edu/courses/650/Lecture4-01.ppt (12/08/06)
Sue, Harding & Trevor, Long (2001), MBA Management Models London: Gower Publishing Ltd.
Odiagbe, Martin (1999), A Handbook of Research Methods, Seminar Presentation & Term paper writing. Lagos: Win Computer System.
Cite this Comparative Research Analysis
Comparative Research Analysis. (2016, Sep 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/comparative-research-analysis/