Essay on Research Methods

Research Methods and Sources Used by Students When Conducting Researches
It used to be that when studying at the university or any other institution of higher education, a student was given all the information needed in class by the lecturer. Thus, as it can be seen, the responsibility on the efficiency of a course laid mostly on the teacher him/herself. Though, the times have changed and today, starting even at high school, teachers provide students with only with surface knowledge. Now, the students are expected to be able to effectively look for the information, filter it and then use it for studying. Such state of things made it very important for every student to know how to make a research that is in fact, very difficult. In my paper I would like to present the basic broad research steps that should be used by college students when conducting researches. As well as we will see that nowadays the students actually do follow them.

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When a topic for the research is assigned one should firstly choose a plan that will be used for the research. For the convenience, I would like to divide my paper in four parts that will talk about the phases of researching. Each of these parts will be discussed separately in details later on in the paper. These parts are as follows: Instruction, methodological issues and directions for the future research discussion of relevant literature, and summary, implications and discussion (Bourner, 1996,3-4).

To begin with a student should be carefully and in detail instructed on the topic of his future research. This fact can be looked at from two sides, from one point it may be difficult to have to conduct the research on the topic somebody else has picked out. Though, in real life it is even harder for a student to come up with the research topic than work on the proposed one (Denham, 2003). When being instructed the students has to be told the size and format of the research he/she is expected to do, as well as, he/she should be provided with the information on such points as: the citation style for the research, number of sources needed as well as what kind of the sources are applicable, etc (Cohen, 2007).

The next stage I would like to discuss is the methodologies for the research. The methodology or design of a research plays a vital role in its success of failure. There are a lot of research methods that I would rather choose not to present here. However, I would like to present some steps that one should go through when designing the research. Firstly, the problem is developed, then the unit of analysis should be chosen and measure should be taken. Secondly, the method a research will be conducted in is chosen. After that one should decide measures and procedures, such as questionnaire/survey or experimental treatments, pilot testing, and the actually field work (EDF 5481 METHODS OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 2001). Upon completion of that block of tasks a researcher usually moves to coding the obtained data, putting it into the paper format with explanations and writing an executive summary of the research (this step of the research will be discussed in more details lower).

Somewhere in the middle of planning the methodology of the research a student finds and then discusses the relevant literature (Lane, 1996). When saying “Literature” one had to remember that this word includes everything relevant that is written on the needed topic. Though, it is important to understand that the literature should be up-to-date and come through a trustworthy source. Mostly, when having to research students contact such sources as: books, journal articles, newspaper/magazine articles, historical records, government reports, theses and dissertations, and of course – the Internet. Though, it can be said, that the sources that are mostly used are journal articles, books, government reports and the Internet. Each of these types of sources has its advantages and disadvantages.

The popularity of such sources within students can be explained as follows. To begin with, the journal articles tend to be up-to date, a book gives a deeper insight into the matter, though it may not be that relevant because it takes a very long time to publish a book. Today, not many students use text books for researches because a text book carries out a different role that is teaching. However, at times text books help a student find necessary topics and give a good start for the future research (Moore, 2000). The Government/corporate reports get published fast and rather often, thus can be a very efficient source. Though, of course, the fastest and easiest way to obtain information is the Internet, however the information obtained this way should be double checked in order to avoid presenting wrong facts (Hart, 2001).

To sum my paper up I would like to make a short summary. In fact, creating a summary is also a big part of working on a research. When it comes to the research a summary should not be confused with literature review (The Research Process – 5 Steps to Success, 2008). These two concepts are alike, though are absolutely different (Rowntree, 1998, ch. 9). Although you need to summarize relevant research, it is also vital that you evaluate this work, show the relationships between different works published before, and show how it relates to your work. The summary step in the research process is significant and it takes a long time to complete it because there is nothing more difficult than managing to fit the whole research into a page or even less of a text.

Above I have presented the basic steps students should go through when conducting researches as well as showed what sources are more popular with students. The research process is long and thorny, as well finding information for it tends to be very complicated at time. Though, it has to be remembered that this process is also rewarding and should not be looked at as only another tiresome task that has to be completed for the university.

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