Research is the exploration of a hypothesis or question using a systematic method to discover an answer. The key to the concept of research as opposed to simply guessing at answers is the systematic approach it employs. This systematic approach is commonly referred to as the Scientific Method. Without the Scientific Method research would loose its validity because there would be no controls in place to make sure you are measuring or evaluating what you actually set out to find. The scientific method usually begins with some background research, an idea, and a question. From here a Hypothesis the first official step of the method can be made.
A hypothesis is an educated guess as to what you think will occur based on the background learning you have done. Whether or not a hypothesis turns out to be true or a null-hypothesis is not known until the rest of the Scientific Method is applied. The next step is to list all of the Apparatus that you will be using to carry out your research. This is important once again for the validity and reliability of the research. Without using the exact same apparatus research can never be accurately duplicated. Following right after the Apparatus is the very important step called Method.
It is in this section that you will list the exact steps followed in your research design from start to finish. The Method is always written in the past tense, in other words it is referencing steps you have already done. In a sense the Method is like a recipe laid out for another scientist or researcher to follow in order to recreate the findings of your researcher. Method will include the listing of statistical design you are using to analyze your data, but Method is not the section in which you list your findings. Your research data and findings are listed under the heading of Results.
Results are the gathering and listing of all of your research findings relating to your hypothesis. This may include raw data, graphs, charts, equations, or more specific statistical tests such as an ANOVA to reveal whether or not your data reveals a significant result or relationship between two or more factors. No assumptions or inferences are made in this section. As well no comments relating back to the Hypothesis are made. It is in the final section the Conclusion. The conclusion is where you finally get to comment on whether or not your findings matched your initial hypothesis and why.
As well it may be that you are discussing why you did not find the results you expected, what possible factors might have led to this unexpected result and what recommendations do you have for future research. When researching there are several kinds of data that can be gathered, to begin with there is primary data, which is the data found during the researcher’s application of the Scientific Method. Secondary data is data that has already been collected by another researcher and has been used in some form or another to influence the current research been done.
It may be used to re-evaluate the current study, compare results, and to formulate the initial concepts behind the research hypothesis of the current research. Primary data is the specific data collected and analyzed during the course of this research project. Primary data would be the Results section of the Scientific Method Both Primary and Secondary data can Qualitative or Quantitative in nature. Qualitative data is data that is antidotal. Data can be taken from such sources as individual surveys, interviews, biographies, documents, historical records etc.
Quantitative data is numerical data examples might census results, economic or stock related, biomedical reports, test scores etc. Statistical analysis is crucial to research for both qualitative and quantitative data. It is through statistical tests that sense can be made of the data collected. Analysis can show such important information as Standard deviation from the norm of a particular factor, or a significant relationship between to factors in your research. Findings such as Statistical significance or lack of significance can be a major part of any further research design on the subject.
Sometimes-statistical analysis may be as simple as finding the mean, median, and mode of the data gathered. Often simple patterns can be revealed through Statistical Analysis showing relationships that were perhaps hypothesized, or completely unexpected. Either way it is statistical analysis that allows the data gathered to offer up conclusions and ideas for further research and learning. References Aron, A. , Aron, E. , & Coups, E. (2006). Statistics for psychology (4th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.