Experimental research and it’s stages

Science revolves around experiments, and learning the best way of conducting an experiment is crucial to obtaining useful and valid results. When scientists speak of experiments, in the strictest sense of the word, they mean a true experiment, where the scientist controls all of the factors and conditions. Real world observations, and case studies, should be referred to as observational research, rather than experiments. For example, observing animals in the wild is not a true experiment, because it does not isolate and manipulate an independent variable.

THE BASIS OF CONDUCTING AN EXPERIMENT

With an experiment, the researcher is trying to learn something new about the world, an explanation of ‘why’ something happens. The experiment must maintain internal and external validity, or the results will be useless. When designing an experiment, a researcher must follow all of the steps of the scientific method, from making sure that the hypothesis is valid and testable, to using controls and statistical tests.

Whilst all scientists use reasoning, operationalization and the steps of the scientific process, it is not always a conscious process. Experience and practice mean that many scientists follow an instinctive process of conducting an experiment, the ‘streamlined’ scientific process. Following the basic steps will usually generate valid results, but where experiments are complex and expensive, it is always advisable to follow the rigorous scientific protocols.

Conducting a experiment has a number of stages, where the parameters and structure of the experiment are made clear. Whilst it is rarely practical to follow each step strictly, any aberrations must be justified, whether they arise because of budget, impracticality or ethics.… Read the rest

Descriptive research and it’s methods

Descriptive research is used to obtain information concerning the current status of the phenomena to describe “what exists” with respect to variables or conditions in a situation. The methods involved range from the survey which describes the status quo, the correlation study which investigates the relationship between variables, to developmental studies which seek to determine changes over time.

Descriptive Research Methods

1. Case Studies

Detailed analysis of a single (or limited number) of people or events.  Case studies are usually interesting because of the unusualness of the case .The major problem with case studies is the problem of objectivity.  The person who is presenting the case usually has some theoretical orientation.  It is acceptable for a theoretical orientation to affect one’s interpretation of events.  In a case study the theoretical orientation can also lead to the selection of the facts to include in the case.  It is not surprising that case studies often seem to provide very compelling evidence for a theory. Case studies can therefore assist psychology by illustrating how a theory could be applied to a person or events and by assisting with the development of hypotheses for more systematic testing.

2. Observational Research

Accounts of the natural behavior of individuals or groups in some setting.  Unless the observation is unobtrusive, there may be some subject reactivity to being observed.  This often decreases with time, a process called habituation.  Observers cannot usually observe all behaviors all of the time.  They may use a behavioral checklist and may also use time sampling or event sampling procedures. … Read the rest

Exploratory research and it’s methods

Exploratory research is conducted to clarify ambiguous problems. Management may have discovered general problems, but research is needed to gain better understanding of the dimensions of the problems. Exploratory studies provide information to use in analyzing a situation, but uncovering conclusive evi­dence to determine a particular course of action is not the purpose of exploratory research. Usually, exploratory research is conducted with the expectation that subsequent research will be required to provide conclusive evi­dence, It is a serious mistake to rush into detailed surveys before less expen­sive and more readily available sources of information have been exhausted.

In an organisation considering a program to help employees with childcare needs, for example, exploratory research with a small number of employees who have children might determine that many of them have spouses who also work and that these employees have positive reactions to the possibility of an on-site child-care program. In such a case exploratory research helps to crystallize a problem and identify information needs for future research.

Exploratory research methods:

The quickest and the cheapest way to formulate a hypothesis in exploratory research is by using any of the four methods:

  • Literature search
  • Experience survey
  • Focus group
  • Analysis of selected cases

Literature Search

This refers to “referring to a literature to develop a new hypothesis”. The literature referred are – trade journals, professional journals, market research finding publications, statistical publications etc Example: Suppose a problem is “Why are sales down?” This can quickly be analyzed with the help of published data which should indicate “whether the problem is an “industry problem” or a “firm problem”.… Read the rest

The basic types of research

Research is an academic activity and as such the term should be used in a technical sense. According to Clifford woody research companies defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis.

Research is, thus, an original contribution to the existing stock of knowledge making for its advancement. It is the persuit of truth with the help of study, observation, comparison and experiment.

The basic types of research are as follows:

(i) Descriptive vs. Analytical: Descriptive research includes surveys and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds. The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present. In social science and business research we quite often use the term Ex post facto research for descriptive research studies. The main characteristic of this method is that the researcher has no control over the variables; he can only report what has happened or what is happening. Most ex post facto research projects are used for descriptive studies in which the researcher seeks to measure such items as, for example, frequency of shopping, preferences of people, or similar data. Ex post facto studies also include attempts by researchers to discover causes even when they cannot control the variables. The methods of research utilized in descriptive research are survey methods of all kinds, including comparative and correlational methods. In analytical research, on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.… Read the rest

Primary stages of research process

Research is a source which can be draw upon to make a substantial contribution to the body of the knowledge; research should be followed by some sort of original contribution. The primary stage of any research process includes:

  • Observation: Research start with observation, which leads to curiosity to learn more about what has been observed. Observation can either be unaided visual observation or guided and controlled observation. Sometimes a casual or associated observation leading to substantial research and a great invention. Deliberate and guided observation can also form the basis for research. While observation leads to research, research results in elaborate observation and convulsions; or even further research observation can either be subjective or objective. These are participant observation, on –participant observation, controlled observation and non-controlled observation.
  • Interest: The observation of certain occurrences creates an interest and inquisitiveness in the mind of the researcher to study it further. This is the basis of interest to study the subject matter of observation. It may be self-interest or group interest. The interest is the guiding force behind any research.
  • Crystallization: Crystallization is the process of designing the definite form of Research to be undertaken for the purpose of studying the subject matter. It is the formulation of the research project, a defining its objectives, rationale, scope, methodology, limitations, including financial commitments and sources. It is at this stage that the research project is given a concrete shape and structure, forming a basis of further investigation.
  • Formulation of hypothesis: At this stage the hypothesis is formed on the basis of observation.
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The concept of Office automation

Office automation refers to the varied computer machinery and software used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks and goals. Raw data storage, electronic transfer, and the management of electronic business information comprise the basic activities of an office automation system. Office Automation helps in optimise or automate existing office procedures.

The backbone of office automation is a LAN, which allows users to transmit data, mail and even voice across the network. All office functions, including dictation, typing, filing, copying, fax, telex, microfilm and records management, telephone and telephone switchboard operations, fall into this category. Office automation was a popular term in the 1970s and 1980s as the desktop computer exploded onto the scene. One critical variable affecting the success in office automation is user acceptance. No matter how technologically superior the equipment is, there may be failure if users reject it.

Office Automation for different organisations should include the following important functions.

  • Generate Microsoft Word documents or business forms from data stored in other applications such as Microsoft Access
  • Generate presentations from external data
  • Automatically send emails to customers or groups in Microsoft Outlook
  • Create custom data entry mechanisms for Microsoft Office Documents
  • Create custom procedures for CAD programs
  • Maintain and organise data stored in Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access
  • Create stand-alone executables to automate your office environment

Attributes and Advantages

It is observed that, there is rapid growth in the use of Office Automation systems from the past few years. This growth can be attributed to the following reasons.… Read the rest