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Kinds of Personnel Research

There are many kinds of personnel research. Three dimensions are particularly
important in classifying types of research:
Applied vs Basic research. Applied research is research designed to solve a
particular problem in a particular circumstance, such as determining the cause of low
morale in a given department of an organization. Basic research is designed to
understand the underlying principles behind human behavior. For example, you
might try to understand what motivates people to work hard at their jobs. This
distinction is discussed in more detail in another handout. Click here to read it.
Exploratory vs Confirmatory. Exploratory research is research into the unknown.
It is used when you are investigating something but really don't understand it all, or
are not completely sure what you are looking for. It's sort of like a journalist whose
curiousity is peaked by something and just starts looking into something without
really knowing what they're looking for. Confirmatory research is where you have a
pretty good idea what's going on. That is, you have a theory (or several theories), and
the objective of the research is to find out if the theory is supported by the facts.
Quantitative vs Qualitative. Quantitative studies measure variables with some
precision using numeric scales. For example, you might measure a person's height
and weight. Or you might construct a survey in which you measure how much
respondents like President Clinton, using a 1 to 10 scale. Qualitative studies are
based on direct observation of behavior, or on transcripts of unstructured interviews
with informants. For example, you might talk to ten female executives about their
the decision-making process behind their choice to have children or not, and if so,
when. You might interview them for several hours, tape-recording the whole thing,
and then transcribe the recordings to written text, and then analyze the text.
As a general rule (but there are many exceptions), confirmatory studies tend to be
quantitative, while exploratory studies tend to be qualitative

Types of research projects

Descriptive research project --
Descriptive research projects are designed to provide systematic information about a social
phenomena. The researcher does not begin with hypotheses, but is likely to develop
hypotheses after collecting data. Systematic information means careful selection of the units
studied and careful measurement of each variable.
Example: The Center for Disease Control report, "Tobacco Use among High School
Students" (in Reader) is Descriptive. The Editorial Note at the end shows that it also is policy
Exploratory research --
In exploratory research, the researcher explores a setting, a social phenomena. Some
descriptive or explanatory studies begin with exploration. This exploratory work provides
background information needed to plan descriptive or explanatory research. Other research
projects are entirely exploratory, even though they can go on for years.
Example: When you try out an operational definition, you are doing exploratory research.
Ethnographic studies usually are considered explanatory

Explanatory research projects --

Here the researcher begins with ideas about the possible causes of a social phenomenon, i.e.,
the researcher develops hypotheses before collecting any data. The researcher then plans a
study that can provide systematic evidence supporting (or not supporting) these initial ideas
about cause. The data collected also provide systematic description.
Examples: Harrell's study of pedestrian behavior and North's study of music and on-hold
Evaluation research or policy-related research --
Evaluation research is designed so that the findings will provide information useful in for
decisions about public policy or private issues. Each kind of research project described above
also can be evaluation research. [In making policy decisions, findings from other kinds of
research (i.e., research not initially designed for policy purposes) also is useful and used.]
Examples: Harrell's study, North's study, and the study of tobacco use are all policy-

Ethics in Research & Why is It Important?

When most people think of ethics (or morals), they think of rules for distinguishing between right and
wrong, such as the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"), a code of
professional conduct like the Hippocratic Oath ("First of all, do no harm"), a religious creed like the Ten
Commandments ("Thou Shalt not kill..."), or a wise aphorisms like the sayings of Confucius. This is the
most common way of defining "ethics": ethics are norms for conduct that distinguish between or
acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Most people learn ethical norms at home, at school, in church, or in other social settings. Although most
people acquire their sense of right and wrong during childhood, moral development occurs throughout life
and human beings pass through different stages of growth as they mature. Ethical norms are so ubiquitous
that one might be tempted to regard them as simple commonsense. On the other hand, if morality were
nothing more than commonsense, then why are there so many ethical disputes and issues in our society?
One plausible explanation of these disagreements is that all people recognize some common ethical
norms but different individuals interpret, apply, and balance these norms in different ways in light of their
own values and life experiences.
Most societies also have legal rules that govern behavior, but ethical norms tend to be broader and more
informal than laws. Although most societies use laws to enforce widely accepted moral standards and
ethical and legal rules use similar concepts, it is important to remember that ethics and law are not the
same. An action may be legal but unethical or illegal but ethical. We can also use ethical concepts and
principles to criticize, evaluate, propose, or interpret laws. Indeed, in the last century, many social
reformers urged citizens to disobey laws in order to protest what they regarded as immoral or unjust laws.
Peaceful civil disobedience is an ethical way of expressing political viewpoints.
Another way of defining 'ethics' focuses on the disciplines that study standards of conduct, such as
philosophy, theology, law, psychology, or sociology. For example, a "medical ethicist" is someone who
studies ethical standards in medicine. Finally, one may also define ethics as a method, procedure, or
perspective for deciding how to act and for analyzing complex problems and issues. For instance, in a
complex issue like global warming, one may take an economic, ecological, political, or ethical
perspective on the problem. While an economist might examine the cost and benefits of various policies
related to global warming, an environmental ethicist could examine the ethical values and principles at
stake in the issue.
Many different disciplines, institutions, and professions have norms for behavior that suit their particular
aims and goals. These norms also help members of the discipline to coordinate their actions or activities
and to establish the public's trust of the discipline. For instance, ethical norms govern conduct in
medicine, law, engineering, and business. Ethical norms also serve the aims or goals of research and
apply to people who conduct scientific research or other scholarly or creative activities, and there is a
specialized discipline, research ethics, which studies these norms.
There are several reasons why it is important to adhere to ethical norms in research. First, some of these
norms promote the aims of research, such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error. For example,
prohibitions against fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting research data promote the truth and avoid
error. Second, since research often involves a great deal of cooperation and coordination among many
different people in different disciplines and institutions, many of these ethical standards promote the
values that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and
fairness. For example, many ethical norms in research, such as guidelines for authorship, copyright and
patenting policies, data sharing policies, and confidentiality rules in peer review, are designed to protect
intellectual property interests while encouraging collaboration. Most researchers want to receive credit for
their contributions and do not want to have their ideas stolen or disclosed prematurely. Third, many of the
ethical norms help to ensure that researchers can be held accountable to the public. For instance, federal
policies on research misconduct, on conflicts of interest, on the human subjects protections, and on
animal care and use are necessary in order to make sure that researchers who are funded by public money
can be held accountable to the public. Fourth, ethical norms in research also help to build public support
for research. People more likely to fund research project if they can trust the quality and integrity of
research. Finally, many of the norms of research promote a variety of other important moral and social
values, such as social responsibility, human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, and health
and safety. Ethical lapses in research can significantly harm to human and animal subjects, students, and
the public. For example, a researcher who fabricates data in a clinical trial may harm or even kill patients,
and a researcher who fails to abide by regulations and guidelines relating to radiation or biological safety
may jeopardize his health and safety or the health and safety and staff and students.

Codes and Policies for Research Ethics

Given the importance of ethics for the conduct of research, it should come as no surprise that many
different professional associations, government agencies, and universities have adopted specific codes,
rules, and policies relating to research ethics. East Carolina University (ECU) has a variety of policies
pertaining to research, which you will review in this short course. Many government agencies, such as the
National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the US Department of
Agriculture (USDA) also have ethics rules for funded researchers, which we will also mention in this
course. Other influential research ethics policies include the Uniform Requirements (International
Committee of Medical Journal Editors), the Chemist's Code of Conduct (American Chemical Society),
Code of Ethics (American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science) Ethical Principles of Psychologists
(American Psychological Association), Statements on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (American
Anthropological Association), Statement on Professional Ethics (American Association of University
Professors), The Nuremberg Code and The Declaration of Helsinki (World Medical Association). The
following is a rough and general summary of some ethical principals that various codes address*:


Strive for honesty in all scientific communications. Honestly report data, results, methods and procedures,
and publication status. Do not fabricate, falsify, or misrepresent data. Do not deceive colleagues, granting
agencies, or the public.


Strive to avoid bias in experimental design, data analysis, data interpretation, peer review, personnel
decisions, grant writing, expert testimony, and other aspects of research where objectivity is expected or
required. Avoid or minimize bias or self-deception. Disclose personal or financial interests that may
affect research.


Keep your promises and agreements; act with sincerity; strive for consistency of thought and action.


Avoid careless errors and negligence; carefully and critically examine your own work and the work of
your peers. Keep good records of research activities, such as data collection, research design, and
correspondence with agencies or journals.


Share data, results, ideas, tools, resources. Be open to criticism and new ideas.

Respect for Intellectual Property

Honor patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property. Do not use unpublished data,
methods, or results without permission. Give credit where credit is due. Give proper acknowledgement or
credit for all contributions to research. Never plagiarize.


Protect confidential communications, such as papers or grants submitted for publication, personnel
records, trade or military secrets, and patient records.

Responsible Publication

Publish in order to advance research and scholarship, not to advance just your own career. Avoid wasteful
and duplicative publication.
Responsible Mentoring

Help to educate, mentor, and advise students. Promote their welfare and allow them to make their own

Respect for colleagues

Respect your colleagues and treat them fairly.

Social Responsibility

Strive to promote social good and prevent or mitigate social harms through research, public education,
and advocacy.


Avoid discrimination against colleagues or students on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or other factors
that are not related to their scientific competence and integrity.


Maintain and improve your own professional competence and expertise through lifelong education and
learning; take steps to promote competence in science as a whole.


Know and obey relevant laws and institutional and governmental policies.

Animal Care

Show proper respect and care for animals when using them in research. Do not conduct unnecessary or
poorly designed animal experiments.

Human Subjects Protection

When conducting research on human subjects, minimize harms and risks and maximize benefits; respect
human dignity, privacy, and autonomy; take special precautions with vulnerable populations; and strive to
distribute the benefits and burdens of research fairly.

Ethical Decision Making in Research

Although codes, policies, and principals are very important and useful, like any set of rules, they do not
cover every situation that arises in research, they often conflict, and they require considerable
interpretation. It is therefore important for researchers to learn how to interpret, assess, and apply various
research rules and how to make decisions about how to act in various situations. The vast majority of
decisions that people must make in the conduct of research involve the straightforward application of
ethical rules.

Definition Of Business English

§ 1. Business means buying and selling, and English is the name of our mother tongue. Business English
is obviously such English as is used in mercantile transactions. Our definition is quickly made.
But it will bear expansion. We must answer certain questions that inevitably arise. Is some special brand
of English used in business? And how are we to know when we are studying business and when merely
the English of business?
Take the first of these two questions. There are of course certain words which name business transactions
primarily. Buy, sell, exchange, barter, trade, purchase, shop, customer, hire, rent, pay, fee, price, retail,
wholesale, lease, mortgage, merchandise, commodity, goods, stock, office, factory, finance, money,
funds, capital, interest, sum, amount, balance, cash, currency, bill, receipt, note, draft, check, bank,
cashier, bookkeeper, stenographer, clerk - hundreds of words like these will occur to us at random as
being mercantile words in a peculiar sense.
To be sure, they are not all limited to business transactions. Note the word brand. It is primarily
mercantile, naming a particular kind of goods. But in the second paragraph, above, the phrase "special
brand of English" appears. Here the word is used figuratively. Every business word can be extended in
that way to social or literary use. When we speak of wholesale slaughter, or of a stock of words, we use
commercial figures of speech, and Americans are exceedingly fond of doing so. You have heard people
speak of a thoroughly posted man, as if a man were a ledger. You have heard them speak of the balance
of the day, as if time were literally money. You have noticed that an American likes to claim everything
in sight; I mean, he prefers to claim that a thing is so, rather than assert, declare, contend, allege,
maintain, or swear that it is so.
§2.But the strictly commercial words, again, aria not the only ones employed in business. In addition to
such words as are listed above in our third paragraph, business employs thousands of terms from science
and technology. If a man is buying or selling machinery, he must know the names of the machines. If it
falls to him to buy the parts of them, he must know the names of the parts. Does business English, then,
include the study of everything that is bought or sold? If it did, it would include nearly the whole
dictionary. Everything is bought or sold, from surgical instruments to Egyptian mummies. Nothing is
exempt but heaven and love and faith. "Tis only heaven that is given away; Mis only God may be had for
the asking." And there are gloomy times when we feel that even faith and love are sold.
Quite clearly we are not called upon to master the whole dictionary. No man's life is long enough for that.
So far as special study of words is concerned, we must limit it to a few which are most commonly
employed in mercantile transactions.
And I fear that even with these we shall not be quite certain what to do. In our eleventh chapter will be
found brief histories of certain commercial terms. But it is not pretended that knowing the history of a
word will usually be of much practical value to the young man in business. The word dollar has a curious
history, being connected with our word dale, a valley. A dollar is a dale-coin, a piece of money first
coined in a certain dale, or Thal. But who cares, except the philologist or the antiquary? "Show me how to
get the dollar," says our business man, "and you bookworms may have the derivation." He feels that he is
quite literary enough if he manages to spell dollar with two ll's. It bores him to go farther into derivations.
And it would be bad business to urge him to go back far into history when he is interested only in the
burning present and the glowing future.
§3. If we pick up any business letter we see at once that the words it contains are chiefly common words,
not especially mercantile. The technical buying or selling words are present, but they are in the minority.
What makes the letter good or bad is the choice and arrangement of words to express thought and feeling.
It is their composition, or putting together. And this is really the subject that we are after. "Business
English" in the sense here used is merely short for "Business English Composition. "
"English," as used in schools and colleges, now means primarily English composition. It includes also the
study of English literature, but chiefly because a mastery of literature helps the student to a mastery of
writing and speaking. None of us common people ever invents a word, and the few Edisons are lucky if
they add half a dozen to the language. We go to other people or to books for our words. They are the great
social heritage into which we enter, and literature is the best place to find them, because there they are
alive, each in its context. The proper study of literature is so practical that I dare not confess how practical
- because some people think it a matter of pleasure pure and simple is. The words of literature are
practical; the setting of them is practical; the knowledge of life that they give us is practical. The right sort
of business man cannot read Shakespeare without getting a clearer insight into those springs of human
emotion which he has to consider daily. And if this reading makes him better in point of courage and
good cheer and character, why, that is practical too.
But this is not a plea for the study of Shakspere. For all the illustrative matter used in this book we shall
go to business documents pure and simple. We shall have business narratives, business descriptions,
business arguments, business explanations. We are to try to get at the principles of English composition
on business topics:
Our purpose is to point out some of the established principles which govern effective expression.
Everybody is ready to admit that the power of effective expression is a financial asset. It helps the
stenographer, the salesman, the manager, the advertiser, the correspondent. It makes for more responsible
positions and advanced salaries. Good selling-talk sells goods. Judicious explanations remove difficulties.
Persuasive arguments reach buyers.
What is the function of research

1. correct and examples of perception.
2. gathers information on subject or phenomena people lacks or have little knowledge about.
3. develops and evaluate concepts, practices and theories.
4. evaluates methods that test concepts.
5. obtains knowledge for practical purpose like solving problems on population explosion.