Social Research Methods. Edition 7. Chapter 1
Why do research? On the whole, this sounds like a relatively simple thing to do but what I’ve read about concept sounds even more complicated in the age of the internet. Mind you, I have no problems delving into a subject that I want to know more about and at times, explain to my family and friends the findings I’ve come across. It is when we need to take things to the next level. I’ve remember on several occasions on past employment where I thought we should do something to help a certain process get streamlined or increase the bottom line by using technology to handle much of the workload even if I lost my job in the process. As I did some research, I would find some articles which had valid points to support my idea. While I believe my claim is legit, I may have something that is called selective observation. Neuwman (p.4) stated, “Studies also document our tendency to “seek out” and distort memories to make them more consistent with what we already think.” This is just one of five errors in our everyday decisions and the research process tries to reduce such errors. Those are: Overgeneralization, Halo effect, Premature closure, False consensus, and Selective observation.
What is then the research process to help overcome or reduce the errors? The Steps are: Select a topic, Focus the question, Design the study, Collect data, Analyze the data, Interpret the data and Inform others.
Select a topic: this would be a study or an issue of professional or personal interests. Avoid topics that are too broad.
Focus the question: narrow the topic down to a specific research question which the study can address.
Design the study: Requires making decisions about the type of case or sample to select, how to measure relevant factors, and what research technique like a questionnaire or an experiment.
Collect data: we must record and verify information in the form of numbers. (ie. X amount voted for Y.)
Analyze data: condense the data use computer software to create charts, tables, graphs to give a picture.
Interpret the data: examination of the data with the research topic, what answers do we come up with for our research question.
Inform others: the report of the findings and results are created.