Introduction To Research Methodology English Language Essay
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Any research in any scientific field needs first an appropriate method to be followed as well as an accurate way in collecting data and undertaking the investigations. From that fact, the research methodology chapter is as important as any section in our doctoral dissertation. It is a worthwhile work that we devote to the theoretical part in this research.
To make our work useful, profitable, and simple for readers let us shed light on some main points that have been being analysed and given, by many researchers those who devoted their time to the research method/ methodology such as Hitchcock , Leedy, Ormrod, Manion, Creswell etc,
For instance, according to Leedy & Ormrod, (2001) research is at times mistaken for gathering information, documenting facts, and rummaging for information. In other words, it is the individuals’ motives to define their objectives when doing investigations to establish their hypothetical descriptions of a complex entity or process (framework) in accordance with working conditions as well as it helps researchers and students in how to present their data collected.
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According to many researchers the research method is made up of three kinds of approaches that might facilitate the way of doing researches or investigations to collecting data qualitatively and quantitatively. These kinds of approaches are quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. They are used to simplify and explain the main steps of the techniques the individuals (researchers) used. Thus, this chapter is about a relevant introduction to quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods for readers, particularly LMD students when doing researches because the LMD system requires this kind of researches.
Thereby, LMD students must know and understand all the three approaches to develop their conceptions, assumptions and knowledge. Understanding these approaches help/ enable students to make their competence or knowledge outer form pragmatically.
The researcher’s knowledge
The researcher’s conceptions
The three elements
Knowledge, conception and assumption
transformed and come to the process of research to be developed
The researcher’s assumptions
The Approaches Methods Used ( to know which method does the researcher prefer.?Input
*Selecting the topic of the research scope
*Specify which method the researcher undertakes in his research.
* Data Collection
Analyses/ Results and discussion
Production (translating the research into practice (validation)
Figure 1 The Process of doing Researches
Figure 1 reveals what we come to say about the LMD students’ needs and gives a simple explanation to how the researcher’s knowledge, conception and assumption come into practice through Quantitative, qualitative and mixed research method. If the researcher masters and knows well enough how to deal with the three approaches and which approach he or she is going to follow when doing researches, He/ she becomes self-confident and capable of knowing his/her needs to consider his/ her research methods.
Creswell’s book make us understand that philosophical assumptions about what constitutes knowledge claims; general procedures of research called strategies of inquiry, and detailed procedures of data collection, analysis, and writing, called methods (Creswell 2003). He also states that the knowledge claims, the strategies, and the method all contribute to a research approach that tends to be more quantitative, qualitative or mixed. Hence, Creswell gives some definitions to quantitative, qualitative and mixed approaches for more clarification, these definitions are as follows:
A quantitative approach is one in which the investigatory primarily uses postpositive claims for developing knowledge (i.e., cause and effect thinking, reduction to specific variables and hypotheses and questions, use of measurement and observation, and the test of theories), employs strategies of inquiry such as experiments and surveys, and collect data on predetermined instruments that yield statistics data.
Alternatively, a qualitative approach is one in which the inquirer often makes knowledge claims based primarily on constructivist perspectives (i.e., the multiple meanings of individual experiences meanings socially and historically constructed, with an intent of developing a theory or pattern) or advocacy/participatory perspectives (i.e., political, issue-oriented, collaborative, or change oriented) or both.
It also sues strategies of inquiry such as narratives, phenomenologies, ethnographies, grounded theory studies, or case studies. The researcher collect open-ended, emerging data with the primary intent of developing themes from the data.
Finally, a mixed methods approach is one in which the researcher tends to base knowledge claims on pragmatic grounds (e.g., consequence-oriented, problem-centered, and pluralistic). It employs strategies of inquiry that involve collecting data either simultaneously or sequentially to best understand research problem. The data collection also involves gathering both numeric information (e.g., on instruments) as well as text information (e.g., on interviews) so that the final database represents both quantitative and qualitative information.
Further information about the three approaches (Creswell 2003):
Quantitative approach: postpositive knowledge claims, experimental strategy of inquiry, and pre-and posttest measures of attitudes. In this scenario, the researcher tests a theory by specifying narrow hypotheses and the collection of data to support or refute the hypotheses. An experimental design is used in which attitudes are assessed both before and after an experimental treatment. The data are collected on an instrument that measures attitudes, and the information collected is analyzed using statistical procedures and hypothesis testing.
Qualitative approach: constructivist knowledge claims, ethnographic design, and observation of behavior. In this situation the researcher seeks to establish the meaning of a phenomenon from the view of participants. This means identifying a culture-sharing group and studying how it developed shared patterns ofbehavior over time (i.e., ethnography). One of the key elements of collecting data is to observe participants’ behaviors by participating in their activities.
Qualitative approach: participatory knowledge claims, narrative design, and open-ended interviewing. For this study, the inquirer seeks to examine an issue related to oppression of individuals. To study this, the approach is taken of collecting stories of individuals oppression using a narrative approach. Individuals are interviewed at some length to determine how they have personally experienced oppression.
Qualitative research is a holistic approach that involves discovery. Qualitative research is also described as an unfolding model that occurs in a natural setting that enables the researcher to develop a level of detail from high involvement in the actual experiences (Creswell, 1994). One identifier of a qualitative research is the social phenomenon being investigated from the participant’s viewpoint. There are different types of research designs that use qualitative research techniques to frame the research approach. As a result, the different techniques have a dramatic effect on the research strategies explored. What constitutes qualitative research involves purposeful use for describing, explaining, and interpreting collected data.
Leedy and Ormrod (2001) alleged that qualitative research is less structured in description because it formulates and builds new theories. Qualitative research can also be described as an effective model that occurs in a natural setting that enables the researcher to develop a level of detail from being highly involved in the actual experiences (Creswell, 2003).
Qualitative research is conducted within a poststructuralist paradigm. There are five areas of qualitative research: case study, ethnography study, phenomenological study, grounded theory study, and content analysis. These five areas are representative of research that is built upon inductive reasoning and associated methodologies.
Creswell (2003) describes how these methods meet different needs. For instance, case studies and the grounded theory research explore processes, activities, and events while ethnographic research analyses broad cultural-sharing behaviors of individuals or groups.
Creswell (2003) defines case study as “researcher explores in depth a program, an event, an activity, a process, or one or more individuals” (p. 15). Leedy and Ormrod (2001) further require a case study to have a defined time frame. The case study can be either a single case or a case bounded by time and place (Creswell, 1998). Creswell (1998) suggests the structure of a case study should be the problem, the context, the issues, and the lessons learned.
The data collection for a case study is extensive and draws from multiple sources such as direct or participant observations, interviews, archival records or documents, and audiovisual materials. The researcher must spend time on-site interacting with the people studied. It is very important to understand this first starting part of research. In addition to the case study, Creswell sees that ethnography study differs from a case study. Creswell (2003) defines “ethnographies, in which the researcher studies an intact cultural group in a natural setting over a prolonged period of time by collecting, primarily, observational data” (p. 14). The focus is on everyday behaviors to identify norms, beliefs, social structures, and other factors.
The case study studies a person, program, or event while ethnography studies an entire group that shares a common culture (Leedy & Ormrod, 2001).The initial step in the ethnography process is to gain access to a site. Second, the researcher must establish rapport with the participants and build trust. Third, the researcher starts using the big net approach by intermingling with everyone in order to identify the key informants in the culture (Leedy & Ormrod, 2001).
Mixed methods approach: pragmatic knowledge claims, collection of both quantitative and qualitative data sequentially. The researcher bases the inquiry on the assumption that collecting diverse types of data best provides on understanding of a research problem. The study begins with a broad survey in order to generalize results to a population and then focuses, in a second phase, on detailed qualitative, open-ended interviews to collect detailed views from participants.
The mixed methods approach to research is an extension of rather than a replacement for the quantitative and qualitative approaches to research, as the latter two research approaches will continue to be useful and important (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). The goal for researchers using the mixed methods approach to research is to draw from the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of the quantitative and qualitative research approaches (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie). There are three broad classifications of quantitative research: descriptive experimental and causal comparative (Leedy and Ormrod, 2001). The descriptive research approach is a basic research method that examines the situation, as it exists in its current state. Descriptive research involves identification of attributes of a particular phenomenon based on an observational basis, or the exploration of correlation between two or more phenomena.
Through our reading in Creswell’s Book entitled Research Design and from our questionnaire given to Professor Creswell we inform our readers that the suitable approach method used these days is the mixed method approach. The latter combine between both methods qualitative and quantitative in analyzing and interpreting the results as well as report writing in different ways qualitatively. Because our research is about a new experience we are undergoing in our country in particular at Mostaganem University and Sidi Bel Abbes University and the documents (bibliography) are not many as well our informants are not really well familiar with the experience they are undertaking in the LMD system, we need more accuracy and much effort to following and doing investigation to make accurate questions to obtain the answers needed concerning this experience. So how to make this experience successful and which technique we should follow. The answer is very simple to that. We have based our research on mixed method using the suitable interviewing technique called In-depth interviewing.
2.2 In-depth Interviewing
In-depth interviewing, also known as unstructured interviewing, is a type of interview which researchers use to elicit information in order to achieve a holistic understanding of the interviewee’s point of view or situation; it can also be used to explore interesting areas for further investigation. This type of interview involves asking informants open-ended questions, and probing wherever necessary to obtain data deemed useful by the researcher. As in-depth interviewing often involves qualitative data, it is also called qualitative interviewing. (Seehttp://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/000001172.htmIn ).
Because our research required formal questions given to our students in order to elicit as much data as possible from them about their opinions on learning and teaching foreign languages in the Algerian universities under the various system implementation, it was necessary to make a good questionnaire including formal and not informal interviews so that the informants would think carefully of their answers. To make our questionnaire successful the next point is devoted to provide us with more information about the questionnaire.
The questionnaire is a very interesting tool we deal with in doing our investigations. It serves to give a straightforward explanation to the readers and researchers. The questionnaire must include the main issues to be addressed in the research topic to make readers well read and understanding. For that reason, we need to know how we design, simplify and clarify the questionnaire we intend to give to our informants (interviewers).
According to Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007) the good design and order made for the questionnaire must be followed are as follows:
1- Ethical issues: Interviews have an ethical dimension; they concern interpersonal interaction and produce information about the human condition. Although one can identify three main areas of ethical issues here – informed consent, confidentiality, and the consequences of the interviews – these need to be unpacked a little, as each is not unproblematic (Kvale 1996: 111-20).
2-approaching the planning of a questionnaire: At this preliminary stage of design, it can sometimes be helpful to use a flow chart technique to plan the sequencing of questions. In this way, researchers are able to anticipate the type and range of responses that their questions are likely to elicit.
3-operationalizing the questionnaire: The process of operationalizing a questionnaire is to take a general purpose or set of purposes and turn these into concrete, researchable fields about which actual data can be gathered. First, a questionnaire’s general purposes must be clarified and then translated into a specific, concrete aim or set of aims. Thus, ‘to explore teachers’ views about in-service work’ is somewhat nebulous, whereas ‘to obtain a detailed description of primary and secondary teachers’ priorities in the provision of in-service education courses’ is reasonably specific. Having decided upon and specified the primary
objective of the questionnaire, the second phase of the planning involves the identification and itemizing of subsidiary topics that relate to its central purpose.
4 – structured semi-structured and unstructured questionnaires: The researcher can select several types of questionnaire, from highly structured to unstructured.
5 types of questionnaire items: There are several kinds of question and response modes in questionnaires, including, for example, dichotomous questions, multiple choice questions, rating scales, constant sum questions, ratio data and open-ended questions. (see also Wilson 1996)
6- closed and open questions compared: They enable respondents to answer as much as they wish, and are particularly suitable for investigating complex issues, to which simple answers cannot be provided.
7- Scales of data: The questionnaire designer will need to choose the metric – the scale of data – to be adopted. This concerns numerical data, and we advise readers to turn to Part Five for an analysis of the different scales of data that can be gathered (nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio) and the different statistics that can be used for analysis. Nominal data indicate categories; ordinal data indicate order (‘high’ to ‘low’, ‘first’ to ‘last’, ‘smallest’ to ‘largest’, ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’, ‘not at all’ to ‘a very great deal’); ratio data indicate continuous values and a true zero (e.g. marks in a test, number of attendances per year) http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415368780 – Chapter 15, file 15.3. ppt). see also
See Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 322).
8- the dangers of assuming knowledge or viewpoints : There is often an assumption that respondents will have the information or have an opinion about the matters in which researchers are interested. This is a dangerous assumption. It is particularly a problem when administering questionnaires to children, who may write anything rather than nothing. This means that the opportunity should be provided for respondents to indicate that they have no
opinion, or that they don’t know the answer to a particular question, or to state that they feel the question does not apply to them.
9- dichotomous questions: A highly structured questionnaire will ask closed questions. These can take several forms. Dichotomous questions require a ‘yes’/’no’ response, e.g. ‘Have you ever had to appear in court?’, ‘Do you prefer didactic methods to child-centred methods?’
(see http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/ 9780415368780 – Chapter 15, file 15.4. ppt).
The layout of a dichotomous question can be thus:
Sex (please tick) : Male Female
The dichotomous question is useful, for it compels respondents to come off the fence on an issue. It provides a clear, unequivocal response. Further, it is possible to code responses quickly, there being only two categories of response. See Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 322).
10-multiple choice questions:
To try to gain some purchase on complexity, the researcher can move towards multiple choice questions, where the range of choices is designed to capture the likely range of responses to given statements (see http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415368780 – Chapter 15, file 15.5. ppt). For example, the researcher might ask a series of questions about a new chemistry
scheme in the school; a statement precedes a set of responses thus:
The New Intermediate Chemistry Education (NICE) is:
(a) a waste of time
(b) an extra burden on teachers
(c) not appropriate to our school
(d) a useful complementary scheme
(e) a useful core scheme throughout the school
(f) Well-presented and practicable.
The categories would have to be discrete (i.e. having no overlap and being mutually exclusive) and would have to exhaust the possible range of responses. Guidance would have to be given on the completion of the multiple-choice, clarifying, for example, whether respondents are able to tick only one response (a single answer mode) or several responses (multiple answer mode) from the list. See Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 323).
11- rank ordering : The rank order question is akin to the multiple choice question in that it identifies options from which respondents can choose, yet it moves beyond multiple choice items in that it asks respondents to identify priorities. This enables a relative degree of preference, priority, intensity etc. to be charted (see http://www.routledge.
com/textbooks/9780415368780 – Chapter 15, file 15.6. ppt). In the rank ordering exercise a list of factors is set out and the respondent is required to place them in a rank order, for example:
Please indicate your priorities by placing numbers in the boxes to indicate the ordering of your views, 1 = the highest priority, 2 = the second highest, and so on. See Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 325).
12- rating scales: These are very useful devices for the researcher, as they build in a degree of sensitivity and differentiation of response while still generating numbers. This chapter will focus on the first two of these, though readers will find the the scale should be measuring only one thing at a time (Oppenheim 1992: 187-8). Indeed this is a cornerstone of Likert’s (1932) own thinking. It is a very straightforward matter to convert a dichotomous question into a multiple choice question. For example, instead of asking the ‘do you?’, ‘have you?’, ‘are you?’, ‘can you?’ type questions in a dichotomous format, a simple addition to wording will convert it into a much more subtle rating scale, by substituting the words ‘to what extent?’, ‘how far?’, ‘how much?’, ‘how often?’ etc. See Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 325).
13 constant sum questions: In this type of question respondents are asked to distribute a given number of marks (points) between a range of items (see http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415368780 – Chapter 15, file 15.8. ppt).
Please distribute a total of 10 points among the sentences that you think most closely describe your behaviour. You may distribute these freely: they may be spread out, or awarded to only a few statements or all allocated to a single sentence if you wish. Constant sum data are ordinal, and this means that non-parametric analysis can be performed on the data. (see Part Five) in the book of Research Methods in Education by Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 328).
14- ratio data questions : We discuss ratio data in Part Five and we refer the reader to the discussion and definition there (see http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/
9780415368780 – Chapter 15, file 15.9. ppt). For our purposes here we suggest that ratio data questions deal with continuous variables where there is a true zero, for example:
How much money do you have in the bank? —
How many times have you been late for school? —
How many marks did you score in the mathematics test? —
How old are you (in years)? —
Here no fixed answer or category is provided, and the respondent puts in the numerical answer that fits his/her exact figure, i.e. the accuracy is higher, much higher than in categories of data. This enables averages (means), standard deviations, range, and high-level statistics to be calculated, e.g. regression, factor analysis, structural equation modelling (see Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 329) (Part Five)
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15- open-ended questions: The open-ended question is a very attractive device for smaller scale research or for those sections of a questionnaire that invite an honest, personal comment from respondents in addition to ticking numbers and boxes (see http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415368780 – Chapter 15, file 15.10. ppt). The questionnaire simply puts the open-ended questions and leaves a space (or draws lines) for a free response. It is the open-ended responses that might contain the ‘gems’ of information that otherwise might not be caught in the questionnaire. Further, it puts the responsibility for and ownership of the data much more firmly into respondents’ hands. It is useful for the researcher to provide some support for respondents, so that they know the kind of reply being sought. (see Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 329-330)
16- matrix questions: Matrix questions are not types of questions but concern the layout of questions. Matrix questions enable the same kind of response to be given to several questions, for example ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. The matrix layout helps to save space, for example:
Please complete the following by placing a tick in
one space only, as follows:
1 = not at all; 2 = very little; 3 = a moderate
amount; 4 = quite a lot; 5 = a very great deal
How much do you use the following for assessment purposes?
To know more about matrix question (see Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 329-330)
17- contingency questions, filters and branches: Contingency questions depend on responses to earlier questions, for example: ‘if your answer to question (1) was ”yes” please go to question (4)’. The earlier question acts as a filter for the later question, and the later question is contingent on the earlier, and is a branch of the earlier question. Some questionnaires will write in words the number of the question to which to go (e.g. ‘please go to question 6’); others will place an arrow to indicate the next question to be answered if your answer to the first question was such-and-such. Contingency and filter questions may be useful for the researcher, but they can be confusing for the respondent as it is not always clear how to proceed through the sequence of questions and where to go once a particular branch has been completed. Redline et al. (2002) found that respondents tend to ignore, misread and incorrectly follow branching instructions, such that item non-response occurs for follow-up questions that are applicable only to certain subsamples, and respondents skip over, and therefore fail to follow-up on those questions that they should have completed. (see Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 332)
18- asking sensitive questions: Sudman and Bradburn (1982: ch. 3) draw attention to the important issue of including sensitive items in a questionnaire. While the anonymity of a questionnaire and, frequently, the lack of face-to-face contact between the researcher and the respondents in a questionnaire might facilitate responses to sensitive material, the issues of sensitivity and threat cannot be avoided, as they might lead to under-reporting (nondisclosure and withholding data) or over-reporting (exaggeration) by participants. Some respondents may be unwilling to disclose sensitive information, particularly if it could harm themselves or others. (see Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 333)
19- avoiding pitfalls in question writing: this help the researcher to do his or her research perfectly as well teaches the researcher honesty and rigor. To avoid this kind of questions in writing we must understand the following statements
Avoid leading questions, that is, questions that are worded (or their response categories
presented) in such a way as to suggest to respondents that there is only one acceptable
answer, and that other responses might or might not gain approval or disapproval respectively.
Avoid highbrow questions even with sophisticated respondents. For example:
What particular aspects of the current positivistic/interpretive debate would you like to see
reflected in a course of developmental psychology aimed at a teacher audience?
Where the sample being surveyed is representative of the whole adult population, misunderstandings of what researchers take to be clear, unambiguous language are commonplace. Therefore it is important to use clear and simple language.
Avoid complex questions.
Avoid questions that use negatives and double negatives (Oppenheim 1992: 128).
Avoid too many open-ended questions on self-completion questionnaires. Because
self-completion questionnaires cannot probe respondents to find out just what they mean by particular responses, open-ended questions are a less satisfactory way of eliciting information. (This caution does not hold in the interview situation, however.) Open-ended questions, moreover, are too demanding of most respondents’ time.
Avoid extremes in rating scales, e.g. ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘totally’, ‘not at all’ unless there is a good reason to include them. Most respondents are reluctant to use such
extreme categories (Anderson and Arsenault 2001: 174).
Avoid ambiguous questions or questions that could be interpreted differently from
20- sequencing the questions: The ordering of the questionnaire is important, for early questions may set the tone or the mindset of the respondent to later questions. For example, a questionnaire that makes a respondent irritated or angry early on is unlikely to have managed to enable that respondent’s irritation or anger to subside by the end of the questionnaire. (see Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 336)
24- piloting the questionnaire : It bears repeating that the wording of questionnaires
is of paramount importance and that pretesting is crucial to their success (see http://
www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415368780 -Chapter 15, file 15.12. ppt). A pilot has several functions, principally to increase the reliability, validity and practicability of the questionnaire (Oppenheim 1992; Morrison 1993: Wilson and McLean 1994: 47):
to check the clarity of the questionnaire items, instructions and layout
to gain feedback on the validity of the questionnaire items, the operationalization of
the constructs and the purposes of the research.
25- practical considerations in questionnaire design: here are some instructions given in
( Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison (2007: 342-343)
Ensure that the data acquired will answer the research questions.
– Ask more closed than open questions for ease of analysis (particularly in a large sample).
– Balance comprehensiveness and exhaustive coverage of issues with the demotivating factor of having respondents complete several pages of a questionnaire.
– Ask only one thing at a time in a question. Use single sentences per item wherever possible.
– Keep response categories simple.
– Avoid jargon.
– Keep statements in the present tense wherever possible.
– Be simple, clear and brief wherever possible.
– Clarify the kinds of responses required in open questions.
-Consider the readability levels of the questionnaire and the reading and writing abilities of the respondents (which may lead the researcher to conduct the questionnaire as a structured interview). These are the main instruction we prefer to deal with in during my researches, and we advise all those who come to read this doctoral dissertation to follow them to succeed in their researches. It seems to us that throughout the entire extent of the design questions suggested by many researchers and specialists in the field the research study can be easy if everyone understands what type of questionnaire he or she is going to follow during his investegations. He/ she is not obliged to follow all the issues suggested in the various questionnaires we have mentioned , but just being aware when selecting the issues to be able to collect information as regards .
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