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Research Discussion Guide No.

1
What is RESEARCH?
A scientific investigation of phenomena which includes COLLECTION, PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS and
INTERPRETATION of facts that links mans speculation with reality (Calmorin and Calmorin, 1995).
A systematic and refined technique of thinking, employing specialized tools, instruments, and procedures in
order to obtain a more adequate solution to a problem than would be possible (Zulueta and Costales, 2006).
A systematic, controlled, empirical, inquiry, subject-topic, problem-solving and method (Zulueta and Costales,
2006).
An investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted
theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws
(Mascarinas, Discussion Guide No.1, 2006)
A human activity based on intellectual application in the investigation of matter. The primary aim for applied
research is discovering, interpreting, and the development of methods and systems for the advancement of
human knowledge on a wide variety of scientific matters of our world and the universe. Research can use the
scientific method, but need not do so.
Scientific research relies on the application of the scientific method, a harnessing of curiosity. This research
provides scientific information and theories for the explanation of the nature and the properties of the world
around us. It makes practical applications possible. Scientific research is funded by public authorities, by
charitable organizations and by private groups, including many companies. Scientific research can be
subdivided into different classifications according to their academic and application disciplines.
Scientific research is a systematic, controlled, empirical, and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions
about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.
o Systematic in the sense that there is an ordered procedure in the conduct of investigation, thus, allowing
others to validate results using the same procedures.
o Controlled investigation that is made possible by the application of treatment conditions and
manipulation of variables.
o It is an empirical investigation whereby subjective belief must be checked against objective reality. The
scientist must always subject his notions to empirical inquiry and test.
o It is critical investigation since researchers can have critical confidence in research outcomes and results
may be accepted based on validity of results.

Research Study vs Research Project vs Research Program

A research study is an investigation designed to solve a specific problem.


A research project embraces all or a number of relevant problems and interactions within a specific discipline;
hence, a project is made up two (2) or more studies.
A research program is a comprehensive research involving all relevant disciplines in a particular commodity; a
program consists of two (2) or more projects.

Characteristics of Research
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EMPERICAL. Research is based on direct experience or observation by the researcher. The collection of data
relies on practical experience without benefit of the scientific knowledge or theory.
LOGICAL. Research is based on valid procedures and principles. Scientific investigation is done in an orderly
manner, so that the researcher has confidence in the results. This enables the researcher to draw valid
conclusions; thus, the logic of valid research makes it important for decision-making.
CYCLICAL. It starts with a problem and ends with a problem.
ANALYTICAL. Research utilizes proven analytical procedures in gathering data.
REPLICABILITY. The researcher design and procedures are replicated to enable the researcher to arrive at
valid and conclusive results. Similarities and differences of replicated researches can be compared. The more
replicated of researches there are, the more valid and conclusive the results would be.
CRITICAL. Research exhibits careful and precise judgment.

Characteristics of the Researcher


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INTELLECTUAL CURIOSITY. The researcher undertakes reflective thinking and inquiry of the things, situations
and problems around him. He is eager to get information on these often due to novelty and unusualness.
PRUDENCE. The researcher conducts his study at the right time and at the right place wisely, efficiently and
economically. He does the right thing at a right time.
HEALTHY CRITISM. The researcher is always doubtful as to the veracity of the results even if the data are
gathered honestly.
INTELLECTUAL HONESTY. An intelligent researcher is honest in collecting or gathering the date or facts in
order to arrive at honest results.

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Qualities of a Good Researcher


There are 10 qualities of a good researcher whose first letters form the acronym, RESEACHER, as follows:

Research oriented, Efficient, Scientific, Effective, Active, Resourceful, Creative, Honest, Economical, Religious

Why Research Is of Value


How can educators, parents, and students obtain the information they need? Many ways of obtaining
information, of course, exist. One can consult experts, review books and articles, question or observe colleagues with
relevant experience, examine ones own experience in the past, or even rely on intuition. All these approaches
suggest possible ways to proceed, but the answers they provide are not always reliable. Experts may be mistaken;
source documents may contain no insights of value; colleagues may have no experience in the matter; ones own
experience or intuition may be irrelevant or mistaken.
This is why knowledge of scientific research methodology can be of value. The scientific method provides us
with another way of obtaining information-information that is accurate and reliable as we can get. There are various
reasons for doing or involving in research. They maybe grouped according the following broad categories:
Intellectual curiosity
Examples: Testing that sample mean is equal the Mu, basic or pure researches, etc.
Utilitarian-humanitarian motives such as to help mankind
Examples: Researches on SARS, AIDS, golden rice, etc.
Personal ambition
Examples: To finish a degree, to get awards and accolades, for personal recognition, etc.
Making a living

Types of Research
All of us engage in actions that have some of the characteristics of formal research, although perhaps we do
not realize this at the time. We observe, we analyze, we question, we hypothesize, we evaluate. But rarely do we do
these things systematically. Rarely do we observe under controlled conditions. Rarely are our instruments as accurate
and reliable as they might be. Rarely do we use the variety of research technologies and methodologist at our
disposal.
The term research can mean any sort of careful, systematic, patient study and investigation in some field
of knowledge, undertaken to discover or establish facts and principles. In scientific research, however, the emphasis
is on obtaining evidence to support or refute proposed facts or principles. There are many methodologies that fit this
definition. If we learn how to use more of these methodologies where they are appropriate and if we can become
more scientific in our research efforts; we can obtain more reliable information upon which to base our educational
decisions. Let us look, therefore, at some of the research methodologies we might use.
Research can be classified based on purposive and descriptive nomenclature.
Purposive Nomenclature
The purposive nomenclature of research is based on the basic aim of research. There are three (3) categories
under this nomenclature, namely:
a. FUNDAMENTAL OR PURE RESEARCH
The purpose of this type of research is the development of theories by discovering broad generalizations or
principles. It employs careful sampling procedures in order to extend the findings beyond the group or situation
studied. It has little concern for application of findings to actual problems. Fundamental research is usually carried out
in a laboratory situation often with animals as subjects.
b. APPLIED RESEARCH
It has most of the characteristics of fundamental research, including the use of sampling techniques and the
subsequent inferences about the target population. Its purpose is to improve a product or a process- testing
theoretical concepts in actual problem situation.
c. ACTION RESEARCH
It is focused on the immediate application, not on the development of theory, not upon general application.
It puts emphasis on a problem in a local setting. Its purpose is to improve practices and, at the same time, to improve
those who try to improve the practices.
Descriptive Nomenclature
The descriptive nomenclature refers to the specific procedures in conducting the research. It involves three
(3) essential categories, namely:

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a. HISTORICAL RESEARCH
This describes what was. The process involves investigation, recording, analyzing, and interpreting the
events of the past for the purpose of discovering generalizations that are helpful in understanding the present and in
anticipating the future.
b. DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH
This describes what is that involves the description, recording, analyzing, and interpretation of conditions
that now exist. It involves some type of comparison or contrast and may attempt to discover relationships that exist
between existing non-manipulated variables.
c. EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH
This describes what will be when certain variables are carefully controlled or manipulated. The focus is on the
relationship of variables.
Experimental research is the most conclusive of scientific methods. Because the researcher actually
establishes different treatments and then studies their effects, results of this type of research lead to the most clearcut interpretations.
Suppose a history teacher is interested in the following question: How can I most effectively teach
important concepts (such as democracy or colonialism) to my students? The teacher might compare the
effectiveness of two or more methods of instruction (usually called the independent variable) in promoting the
learning of historical concepts. After systematically assigning students to contrasting forms of history instruction
(such as inquiry, case studies, illustrated lectures, programmed units, and small group discussions), the teacher could
compare the effects of these contrasting methods by testing students conceptual knowledge. Student learning could
be assessed by an objective test or some other measuring device. The scores on the test (usually called the dependent
variable), if they differ, would give some idea of the effectiveness of the various methods. A simple graph could be
plotted show the results.
In the simplest sort of experiment, there are two contrasting methods to be compared and an attempt is
made to control for all other (extraneous) variables, such as student ability level, age, grade level, time, materials, and
teacher characteristics that might affect the outcome under investigation. Methods of such control could include
holding the classes during the same or closely related time, using the same materials in both groups, comparing the
students of the same age and grade level, and so on.
Of course, we want to have as much control as possible over the assignment of individuals to the various
treatment groups, to ensure groups are similar. But in most schools, systematic assignment of students to treatment
group is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. Nevertheless, useful comparisons are still possible. You might wish to
compare the effect of different teaching methods (lectures versus discussion, for example) on student achievement
or attitudes in two or more intact history classes in the same school. If a difference exists between the classes in
terms of what is being measured, this can suggest how the two methods compare, even though the exact causes of
the difference would be somewhat in doubt.
Other Types of Research
a. CORRELATIONAL RESEARCH
Another type of research is done to determine relationships among two or more variables. This type of
research can help us make more intelligent predictions.
For instance, could a math teacher predict which sorts of individuals are likely to have trouble learning the
subject matter of algebra? If we could make fairly accurate predictions in this regard, then perhaps we could suggest
some corrective measures for teachers to use to help such individuals so that large numbers of algebra-haters are
not produced.
How do we do this? First, we need to collect various kinds of information on students that we think is related
to their achievement in algebra. Such information might include their performance on a number of tasks logically
related to the learning of algebra (such as computational skills, ability to solve word problems, and understanding of
math concepts) their verbal abilities, study habits, aspects of their backgrounds, their early experiences with math
courses and math teachers, the number and kinds of math courses theyve taken, and anything else that might
conceivably point up how those students who do well in math differ from those who do poorly.
We then examine the data to see if any relationships exist between some or all of these characteristics and
subsequent success in algebra. Perhaps those who perform better in algebra have better computational skills or
higher self-esteem or receive more attention from the teacher. Such information can help us to predict more
accurately the likelihood of learning difficulties for certain types of students in algebra courses. It may even suggest
some things to try out with the students to help them learn better.
In short, correlational research seeks to investigate whether one or more relationships of some type exist.
The approach requires no manipulation or intervention on the part of the researcher other than that required to
administer the instrument necessary to collect the data desired. In general, this type of research could be undertaken
when one wants to look for and describe relationships that may exist among naturally occurring phenomena, without
trying in anyway to alter these phenomena.

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b. CAUSAL-COMPARATIVE RESEARCH
Another type of research is intended to determine the cause for or the consequences of differences between
groups of people. Suppose a teacher wants to determine whether students from single-parent families do more
poorly in her course than students from two parent families. To investigate this question experimentally, teacher
would systematically select two groups of students and then assign each as single or two parent familywhich is
clearly impossible (not to mention immoral!).
To test this question using a causal-comparative design, the teacher might compare two groups of students
who already belong to one or the other type of family to see if they differ in their achievement. Suppose the groups
do differ. Can the teacher conclude that difference in family situation produced the difference in achievement? Alas,
no. the teacher can conclude that a difference does exist but cannot say what caused the difference.
Interpretations of causal-comparative research are limited therefore because the researcher cannot say
whether a particular factor is a cause or a result of the behavior observe. In the example presented here, the teacher
would not know (1) if any perceived difference in achievement between the two groups was due to in home situation,
(2) if the parent status was due to the difference in achievement between the two group, (although unlikely), (3) if
some unidentified factor was at work. Nevertheless, despite the problems of interpretation, causal-comparative
studies are of value in identifying possible causes of observed variations in the behavior patterns of students.
c. SURVEY RESEARCH
Another type of research obtains data to determine specific characteristics of a group. This is called survey
research. Take the case of a high school principal who wants to find out how his faculty feels about his administrative
policies. What do they like about this polices? What do they dislike? Why? Which polices do they like the best or least?
These sorts of questions can best be answered through a variety of survey techniques that measure faculty
attitudes towards the policies of the administration. A descriptive survey involves asking the same set of questions
(often prepared in the form of a written questionnaire or ability test) of a large number of individuals either by mail,
by telephone, or in person. When answer to a set of questionnaire are solicited in person, the research in called an
interview. Responses are then tabulated and reported, usually in the form of frequencies or percentage of those who
answer in a particular way to each of the questions
The difficulties involved in survey research are mainly twofold: (1) ensuring that the questions to be answered
are clear and not misleading and (2) getting a sufficient number of the questionnaires completed and returned so that
meaningful analyses can be made. The big advantage of survey research is that it has the potential to provide us with
a lot of information obtained from quite a large sample of individuals.
If more details about particular questions in a survey are desired, the principal (or someone else) can conduct
personal interviews with faculty. The advantages of an interview (over a questionnaire) are that open-ended
questions of special interest or value can be pursued in depth, follow-up questions can be asked, and items that are
unclear can be explained.

d. QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
In all the examples presented so far, the questions being asked involve how well, how much, or how
accurately different learning, attitudes, or ideas exist or are being developed. Possibilities for research included
experimental comparisons between alternative methods of teaching history, an investigation of relationships
between mathematics achievement and various predictors, an assessment of relative achievement among singleparent and two parent student and a survey of faculty members about their feelings toward administrative policy.
Researchers might wish to obtain a more complete picture of the educational process, however, than answer
to the above questions provide. A department chairperson, for example might be interested ion knowing more than
how well, how much of, or how accurately some thing is done. He or she may want to obtain more holistic picture of
what goes on in a particular situation or setting. When this is the case some form of qualitative research is called for.
Consider the subject of physical education. Just how do physical education their subject? What kinds of things
do they do as they go about their daily routine? What sorts of things do they engage? What are the explicit and
implicit rules of the game that exist in P.E classes which seem to help or hinder the process of learning?
To gain some insight into these concerns, an ethnographic study can be conducted. The emphasis in this type
of research is on documenting or portraying the everyday experience them and relevant others. An elementary
classroom for example, might be observed on as regular basis as possible, and the students and teacher involved
might be interviewed in an attempt to describe, as a fully and as richly as possible, what goes on in that classroom.
Description (a better word might be portrayals) might depict the social atmosphere of the classroom; the
intellectual and emotional experiences of student manner in which the teacher acts toward reacts to students of
different ethnicities, sexes, abilities; how the rules of the class are learned, modified, and enforced; the kinds of
questions asked by the teacher and students; and so forth. The data could include detailed prose descriptions by
students of classroom activities, audio tapes of pupil-student conferences, videotapes of classroom discussions,
examples of teacher lesson plans and student work, sociograms depicting power relationships in the classroom,

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and flowcharts illustrating the direction and quency of certain types of comments (for example, the kinds of
questions asked by teacher and students of one another and the responses that different kinds produce).
Qualitative research also lends itself well to a detailed study of one or a few individuals. Sometimes much can
be learned from studying just one individual (such as a student who is able to learn a second language rather easily).
This is called a case study. Sometimes documents rather than individuals or classes are observed and analyzed. This
type of research is known as content analysis. It is just what its name implies- the analysis of the written or visual
contents of a document.

Ethics and Research


Websters New Dictionary defines ethical (behavior) as confronting to the standards of conduct of a given
profession or group.
There are three issues that a researcher should address the protection of participants from harm, the
ensuring of confidentiality of research data, and the question of deception of subjects. How can these issues be
addressed, and how can the interests of the subjects involved in research be protected?
a. Protecting Participants from Harm
The fundamental responsibility of the every researcher it to do all his or her power to ensure that participants
in a research study are protected from physical or psychological harm, discomfort, or danger that may arise due
to research procedures. Any sort of study that is likely to cause lasting, or even serious, harm or discomfort to any
participant should not be conducted, unless the research has the potential benefit to human beings. Even when
this be the case, participants should be fully informed of the dangers involved and in no way required to
participate.
b. Ensuring Confidentiality of Research Data
Once the data in a study have been collected, researchers should make sure that no one else has access to
the data. All subjects should be assured that any data collected from or about them will be held in confidence.
c. Should Subjects be Deceived?
The issue of deception is particularly troublesome. Many studies cannot be carried out unless some
deception of subjects takes place. It is often difficult to find naturalistic situations in which certain behaviors
occur frequently. To ensure that no deception occurs, the following professional guidelines are observed:
(1) Whenever possible, a researcher should conduct the study using methods that do not require deception; (2) If
alternative methods cannot be devised, the researcher must determine whether the use of deception is justified
by the prospective studys scientific, educational or applied value; and (3) If the participants are deceived, the
researcher must ensure that the participants are provided with sufficient explanation as soon as possible.
Here are samples of research. Which (if any) might have some ethical problems? Why?

A researcher is interested in the effects of drugs on human beings. He asks for subjects from the warden of
the local penitentiary to participate in an experiment. The warden assigns several prisoners to participate in
the experiment but does not tell them what it is about. The prisoners are injected with a number of drugs
whose effects are unknown. Their reactions to the drugs are then described in detail by the researcher.

A researcher is interested in the effects of music on attention span. She designs an experimental study in
which two similar high school government classes are to be compared. For a 5-week period, one class has
classical music played softly in the background as the teacher lectures and holds class discussions on the Civil
War. The other class studies the same material and participates in the same activities as the first class, but
does not have any music played during the 5 weeks.

A researcher is interested in investigating the effects of diet on physical development. He designs a study in
which two groups are to be compared. Both groups are composed of 11 year-olds. One group is to be given
an enriched diet, high in vitamins, that has been shown to have a strengthening effect on laboratory animals.
A second group is not to be given this diet. The groups are to be selected from all the 11 year-olds in an
elementary school near the university where the researcher teaches.

References:
o Calmorin, Laurentina P. and Melchor A. Calmorin. Methods of Research and Thesis Writing. (Philippines: Rex
Book Store, Inc.,2000)
o Fraenkel, Jack R. and Norman E. Wallen. How to Design And Evaluate Research in Education. (McGraw-Hill,
1993)
o Mascarinas, Arnulfo M. Discussion Guides (BU Graduate School, Legazpi City)
o Zulueta, Francisco M. and Nestor Edilberto B. Costales, Jr. Methods of Research Thesis-Writing and Applied
Statistics. (Philippines: National Book Store, 2006)

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