Qualitative research include the following:
Ethnographies, which are observations of groups.
- Phenomenological studies which study subjects over a period of time through developing relationships with them and reporting findings based on research experiences.
- Case studies which use various data to investigate the subject over time and by activity.
Quantitative research relies on the principle of verifiability. That means confirmation, proof, corroboration or substantiation. Knowledge emerges from what can be proven by direct observation. The researcher’s values, interpretation and1 feelings are not considered. Objectivity is reinforced. This approach1 is mainly applicable in scientific studies. In quantitative research, the researcher tries as much as possible to be detached from the subject of study or respondent. This research establishes the cause-effect relaitj05in Quantitative research focuses on measurement i.e. the of numerical events according to rules. The numbers are specified, for example, sex: male or female.
Quantitative research is applicable under the following conditions:
- When the research incorporates the Statistical (how many?) element, designed to quantify the extent to which a target group is aware of, thinks this, believes that or is c1ined to behave in a certain way.
- When frequencies are sought to meanings. The quantitative approaches involve the collecti0 of numerical data in order to explain certain phenomena.
- When control of approach is needed to allow for discovery of the unexpected and in-depth investigati0 of particular topics. For example in finding out the effect, control of one phenomenon of interest is needed. Rigid methodological and all procedures must be specified before the beginning of data collection and followed in an unalterable course.
- When data analysis is mainly statistical (deductive process).
- When the scenario is artificial, for instance in a laboratory.
Qualitative and quantitative approaches to research are complimentary. Where appropriate, they should be combined to maximize the strengths and minimize the limitation of each. For example, in a study on the effect of abortion on education, a researcher can first use qualitative research and interview respondents to find out their views on the effect of abortion. The researcher can then segregate one group of students who have terminated their pregnancies, and another group that has not terminated pregnancy and observe them keenly based on specific psychological tests. The researcher can therefore make deductions on the effect of abortion on education.
The Research Proposal
To propose means, to put forward, suggest, intend or advise. Proposals therefore refer to suggestions, intentions, plans or schemes. A research proposal can consequently be referred to as a research plan, suggestion or request. It is a plan since it puts forward for consideration one’s plan of intent. It is a suggestion as it attempts to persuade people reading it to do something. This is either to fund a study, recommend that research should be carried out or to recommend the implementation of a project. Therefore, a research proposal is a request to implement a programme/study.
A research proposal includes three main chapters. (These will be discussed in detail in the following chapters). The first chapter is the introduction. It consists of the background to the study; statement of the research problem; purpose and objectives of the study; hypothesis; conceptual or theoretical framework. The second chapter is the review of related literature while the third chapter deals with the research methodology. References and appendices are included after the third chapter.
An effective research proposal clearly states:
- a) What is being proposed, what the project is about?
- b) How it will be carried out
- c) When it will be carried out
- d) How much it will cost.
The Research Thesis
A research thesis is a written scientific report that deals with concerns related to a problem or series of problems in one’s area of research. A thesis consists of the first three chapters of the proposal, plus the research findings, conclusions and recommendations. The body of the thesis includes the following:
Chapter one: Introduction.
Chapter two: Literature review.
Chapter three: Research methodology.
Chapter four: Research findings.
Chapter five: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations. It also includes references and appendices. (These will be discussed further in the following chapters). A thesis also includes an abstract. The past tense is used in the thesis.
The thesis paper should begin with an introduction of the subject matter being explored, provide background information related to the subject and provide the reader with information regarding the significance of the subject. The author should present the reader with supporting documentation that either proves or disproves the theory being presented. A discussion of the findings and conclusions sums up the paper. The final thesis report can only be written after data collection, analysis, conclusion and recommendations. The thesis focuses on presenting a unique and original idea to the audience, which the author intends to prove. It describes concerns in society, particularly, what is already known about the issues, what the author did towards solving the problem, what the author thinks the results mean, and where or how further progress in the field can be made. The author is expected, through the thesis, to make an original contribution to human knowledge.
Qualities of an Effective Research,. Thesis
Phillips and Pugh (1994), point out that a good thesis should have the following characteristics:
- It should be contestable; that means, it should propose an aruab1e point with which people could reasonably disagree.
- It is should be provocative: it takes a stand and justifies the discussions and conclusions the author presents, but also allows readers to analyze the findings and make their own conclusions either in support or against.
- It should be specific and focused. There is a systematic link from the research title, problem statement, objectives, data collection an4 analysis and the conclusion.
- It should flexible. The evidence may lead one to a conclusion one did not expect.
- It avoids vague language (like “it seems”) and avoids the first person (“I believe,”“In my opinion”).