Study on understanding research process
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
Research methodology refers to the various sequential steps adopted by a researcher in studying the problem with certain objectives in mind. It is an explanation of the method of systematic and critical investigation into an identified subject of study. With an explanation of the elements in the concept of Research Onion (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007) the researcher will describe the steps adopted to do this research. In short we can say that a research methodology is the description, explanation and justification of various methods of conducting research (Sharavanavel, 2006).
3.2. UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH PROCESS
The concept of research onion (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007) will be used to understand the research process used by the researcher.
The main layers in the research onion are research philosophy, research approaches, strategy, choices, time horizon, and techniques and methods of data collection. An explanation of some these elements of research onion will provide the researcher with required knowledge to conduct this study (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007).
Figure : 3.1
Source: Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil (2007)
3.2.1. RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY
A research philosophy is a belief or an idea regarding the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data collected. There are various philosophies are explained in Saunder’s research onion. The most significant among them are Positivism, Realism, interpretative, Objectivism, Subjectivism, Pragmatism, Functionalist, Interpretative, Radical humanist, Humanist and structuralist (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007).
Positivism holds reality as stable. An objective view point can be described by this. This philosophy further says that knowledge that are not based on positivism is invalid and blurred (Miller Strang & Miller, 2010). Realism is a philosophy that holds scientific approach to development and knowledge . The basic assumption of this philosophy is that which is actually is. It is independent from the belief of the people. There are two types of realism. The one is direct and the other critical realism. From the point of view of a direct realist the world is static and having no change. Critical realism holds change as constant (Buchanam & Bryman,2009). In Pragmatism problems are dealt with directly. This philosophy is more interested in results or truth rather than the principles associated with it. (William James, 2009) This philosophy holds that a concept or theoretical principle should be set on the basis of how it works (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007).
The philosophy adopted by the researcher in this study realism
3.2.2. RESEARCH APPROACHES
The second last layer of the research onion of Saunders (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007) is research approaches.
Source: Created by the author (2010)
There are two types of approaches the Deductive and Inductive (Jonker & Pennink, 2009).
220.127.116.11 Deductive Approach
It is a journey from general to particular. Here the hypothesis and the theory are checked first and then move to results that are more specific. Here conclusion follows logically from the available facts (Jonker & Pennink, 2009).
18.104.22.168 Inductive Approach
In this approach an empirical observation takes the researcher to a result. Here specific observations will reach to more generalizations and forming up of theories. It is from specific to general. This method is mainly used in the qualitative research (Myers, 2009).
22.214.171.124 Quantitative Approach
Quantitative methods always focus on the numbers and its frequencies. It does not emphasize on the experience and meanings but quantify the data collected. In quantitative approach the data will be subject to rigorous and strict analysis (Kothari, 2008).
126.96.36.199. Qualitative Approach
In qualitative Approach the data is collected mainly to describe factors rather than reaching to a statistical inference. It is an unstructured exploratory research method. Here the important factors of character, behavior, attitude, opinion etc are subjectively assessed. (Myers, 2009) Usually qualitative studies are used for explanatory purposes (Kothari, 2008).
This research study is a qualitative research with an inductive approach. Here the researcher will look into the specific situation of the nurses in the selected hospital and attempt to move to the generalization of the findings.
3.2.3. RESEARCH STRATEGY
The next important layer in the research onion is research strategy. There are various strategies that researchers adopt for a particular research study. In Saunders’ research onion various research strategies are explained. Some of the strategies are experiment, survey, action research, case study, grounded theory, ethnography and archival research (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007).
Experimental research is mainly used for the research in physical sciences. It is used to identify the cause effect relationships and verifying inferences. The main features of this technique are isolation of factors, replication of experiment, and quantitative measurement of results (Sharavanavel, 2006).
Survey research studies large and small populations by selecting and studying samples chosen from the populations to discover the relative incidence, distribution and interrelations of sociological and psychological variables. This research is mainly used to investigate social and psychological factors (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007).
Case study is a comprehensive study of a social unit. Here the subject of the study is a person, group, or a social institution. In this research the context is analysed in detail. Real life situations in real life context is analysed and studied (Sharavanavel, 2006).
Action research is a study associated with a particular project and problem (Coghlan & Brannick, 2009). The objective of this research can be finding immediate solution for a problem faced in a society. Therefore we can say that action research is concerned with actual life. It studies the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ of actual life. In short it is an attempt to understand the present issues and a help to predict the future changes (Jonker & Pennink, 2009).
Grounded theory is a qualitative research study. It is mainly used in the social sciences. When the traditional scientific method looks to start the research with a hypothesis this method is adopts the system of going directly into the data collection first. All the data collected are placed in different codes to identify common factors. From the group of these codes then a theory is formed (Charmaz, 2006).
Ethnography is a unique qualitative research method. In this study the researcher will stay in the research location. The researcher stays with the population and get a first hand information from the particular culture or group (Murchison, 2009).
The final element in the Research strategy is Archival research strategy. It means the entire study will be based on the materials of the study kept in some archives by some other researchers. In this strategy a huge quantity of data is available and so often the data remain uncontrollable. Therefore it is not possible to make casual conclusions on the basis of such types of data (Graham, Towl &. Crihton, 2010).
In this research the researcher has adopted the strategy of a case study to obtain data from the samples selected. The study will be conducted among the nurses in a single hospital.
The next layer in the research onion is Choice. These choices can be divided into Mono method, Mixed method and Multi method. In this researcher adopts one method for his study from various methods of research. In Mixed method the researcher adopts generally two methods such as qualitative or quantitative research methods. In Multi method a number of research methods are brought together to investigate or to make a study (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007).
In this study of the occupational stress of the nurses the researcher has adopted mixed method and multi method of choice. Yet only the qualitative research method is used here by the researcher to do the studies on the occupational stress among the nurses.
3.2.5. TIME HORIZONES
Time Horizons can be indicated as a time target fixed. A time limit is usually fixed for the completion of a task or activity. It refers to a planning or a preparation. Here the time limit for the completion of a research study is explained. There are two types of time horizons. The first one is Cross Sectional and the second is Longitudinal. In Cross sectional study the time is prefixed for the completion a study. In longitudinal no time is limit for the data collection, data analysis, and other completion of the research. Behavioral studies usually conducted in longitudinal methods as it needs a long time for observation (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2009).
In this study of the occupational stress of the nurses the time horizon was cross sectional method that was adopted by the researcher. The time horizon for conducting the research was prefixed and planned. A limited period of time was allotted to the researcher to conduct the data collection for the samples selected.
3.2.6. DATA COLLECTION AND DATA ANALYSIS
The most important elements in a research study are data collection and data analysis. A systematically collected data and its proper analysis will answer a research question. It is a technique with a procedure (Bryman & Bell, 2007). The reliability and validity of a research is directly applied to the measurement of data (Wood & Ross-Kerr, 2010). There are two types of data collected for a systematic analysis for any research. They are Primary Data and Secondary Data (Kumar, 2008).
188.8.131.52.The Primary Data
Primary Data refers to that information that are generated first time or that are generated to meet the specific requirements of the investigation at hand. Primary data is collected directly from the respondents or the subjects of experiment (Yin, 2010). Here there is a proper control over the information gathered (Bhattacharyya, 2006). The major disadvantage here is that it is more time consuming. Some times the primary data collection becomes more difficult as the suitable persons or samples are not at hand (Reason & Bradbury, 2006).
There are various sources of primary data. They are, Questionnaire, Interview Schedules and interviews, Focus groups, Case Studies, Experiments, Observations, Surveys and Discussions (Collrel & McKenzie, 2010).
The researcher, in this study, has collected the primary source of data by employing interview schedule, and structured questionnaire. The Questionnaire enlists questions, which translate the research objectives into specific questions. The question must also encourage the respondent so that the necessary data is obtained. In this study the researcher has employed both factual as well as opinion and attitude questions.
184.108.40.206. Secondary Data
Secondary data is not collected directly from the respondents. Here the data has been collected by some others (Bhattacharyya, 2006). It can be collection of the review of the primary data. The collection of secondary data is cheap in terms of time and economy. For a comparison of two types of statistics and reaching to an inference secondary data can be very effective. Yet the secondary data can be outdated and can be subjective as it has already evolved in the mind of somebody else. Secondary data can be uncontrollable and vast making it to be inappropriate for a particular purpose (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007).
There are various sources of secondary data. Books, Journals, News Papers, Reports and publications, Articles in magazines and websites, government statistics, company or organization statistics (Bryman & Bell, 2007).
In this study to collect the secondary data the researcher will be using various materials pertaining to the topic of the research. A number of books, health related articles, health journals, web pages, hospital statistics and news papers will be used for the collection of secondary data.
Data analysis is an important area in the completion of the research (Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2007). There are various techniques to analyse the data collected, such as Frequency Distributions, and Cross Tabulations, Descriptive Statistics, T-Tests and Analysis of Variance, Self Analysis, Regression, Data Reduction or Factor analysis, Cluster and Discriminant Analysis and Hierarchical Liner Modeling etc.(Bernard & Ryan, 2009).
In this research the researcher has used the self analysis method for the analysis of the data collected. The Data will be analyzed systematically. The information collected will be presented in tables with equivalent charts and diagram wherever required. The researcher also used pie chart and bar diagrams for data analysis.
3.3. RESEARCH DESIGN
A research design is an outline of the plan, structure and strategy of the research. This outline specifies the how the research is carried out, what methodology and techniques are adopted for achieving objectives. With out such a logical and systematic plan no scientific study is possible (Myers, 2009).
Source : Created By the Author (2010)
The Exploratory study aims at formulation of a new insight into a phenomenon. The Descriptive study aims at portraying accurately the characteristics of a particular group or situation. Explanatory study only and explanation of something happening will be looked into (Pope & Mays, 2006).
In this study of the occupational stress of the nurses the researcher has used a descriptive design. It enables the researcher to describe or present the picture of the phenomenon under investigation. This design is used in the study to describe the relationship between the occupational stress and the nurses employed in the hospital selected for the study.
A sample is a smaller representation of a large whole from where it is taken. It is a section of the population selected in such a way that they are the representative of the universe (Kothari, 2008).
3.4.1. Sample Size
Sample size is the number of items to be selected from the universe to constitute a sample. For the study here the sample size is 40.
3.4.2. Sampling Techniques
It is the selection of a part of an aggregate on the basis of which a judgment about the totality is made. It is the method of selecting some fraction of the total population or target group. This small group will allow judgments to be made about larger groups. Basically there are two types of sampling methods used. They are probability sampling and non probability sampling (Kumar, 2008).
Source: Saunders, Lewis, & Thomhil, 2009)
In research process, there are Probability sampling methods and Non-probability methods used to obtain data from the samples selected.
Since this research is carried out among the nurses working in a hospital, the availability of the respondents in the sample population cannot be ensured. Moreover, the researcher employs a couple of associates to collect data and for them time and availability of respondents are crucial. Thus, the researcher has used Non-Probability Convenient method of sampling in which all the members of the sample have equal chances of selection and they have been chosen according to their availability and convenience of the research associates (Offredy & Vickers, 2010).
The explanation of the research onion helped the researcher to understand the process and different variables of the research. This chapter presents the methodology used by the researcher. The methodology used in this study will is qualitative and inductive. The researcher will also use primary and secondary sources of data to make his analysis and conclusion.
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