Category Archives: Research

This category includes educational materials on research in both the undergraduate and the graduate levels.

Example of a Research Activity Using t-test

Are you a statistics teacher looking for a simple example of a t-test activity that you can use in your class? Or are you a student who wants to have an idea how t-test works? I describe below an example of a situation where the t-test can be applied right after learning the procedures and understanding how it works. Read more to find out.

Teaching students through practical hands-on exercises enable them to appreciate how the different analytical tools used in research can help them address issues and problems that they encounter in their respective disciplines. I applied this approach in one of my classes in the graduate school. My students consisted of more than 44 graduates of different courses namely education, biology, nursing, environmental science, public administration, mathematics, business and tourism.

After giving them an LCD projector presentation about t-test, a statistical tool to test differences between two groups of data, I gave them a simple situation which can be applied right there in the classroom. This is to find out the difference between one’s heartbeat before and after exercise.

The t-test Research Activity

Since some of my students are graduates of nursing, they are the ones who took charge of recording the heartbeats per minute of all 44 students in every 5-member group before they exercise. After recording the heartbeats of each of their classmates, the whole class marched briskly in the classroom for about 5 minutes. It is expected that their heartbeats should be higher after the brisk walk in place.

I just can’t keep myself from getting amused seeing them enjoy the activity. I can see smiles in their faces while those who can’t keep their peace laughed it all the way. I even took a picture and a video to record this momentous occasion.

It was 7 o’clock in the evening as classes in the graduate school are held from 5:30 to 8:30 in the evening. This activity is quite beneficial to employees of the various government and non-government institutions where these students are working. Sleepiness and tiredness of the whole work day is dispelled for the moment as they stretch their leg as well as face muscles.

Right after the exercise, each student recorded their heartbeats and gave them to their group leaders. The group leaders then recorded the numbers on the board for everyone to see. Everyone in the class computed for the t-test value and compared their results with those of their classmates.

t test

Their findings showed, of course, a significant difference between heartbeats before and after exercise. But something intriguing happened. Some of the students have actually lower heartbeats after they exercised. These somehow puzzled us because before the exercise, everyone rested for about 10 minutes or even more.

Discussion of the t-test Results

This finding shows that there are unexpected things that could happen in the course of doing research. And explanation to this phenomenon requires further investigation. Why did the heartbeat decrease after exercise? Is this something worth investigating. Will we get the same results if a greater number of people are involved in the study?

My hypothesis in this case is that at the end of the day, everyone is quite stressed after work; thus, their rapid heartbeat. While doing the exercise, somehow their muscles relaxed and caused blood flow to be much more efficient, causing their heartbeats to drop.

This may be something that has already been discovered. A review of literature should be done to find out. This could be a groundbreaking study related to stress and exercise. And computing for the t-test value may be applied to find out differences in means before and after exercise.

Pedagogical Approach that Works!

The whole activity transpired within the three-hour duration of classes each week. It consisted of a short lecture followed by application of knowledge gained right there. The activity is quite memorable and found quite effective in getting across the principles of research and statistics and how it is applied in real life.

At the end of the day, the students were able to understand and actuate their learning through practical, hands-on experience. Most of the class were able to compute for the t-test value without a fuss.

© 2012 October 28 P. A. Regoniel

5 Qualities of a Good Researcher

Can anyone be a good researcher? Do researchers possess specific qualities that make them succeed in the field of scientific inquiry? Find out in the article below if indeed you have any of the qualities a good researcher must have.  If not, then you train and build yourself up on those qualities that you find yourself wanting.

While everyone in college will be given the opportunity to do research, not everyone can do it unless they possess the qualities required of a good researcher. Just like leaders, scientists can also be made, not just born.

But there are innate qualities that researchers must possess to succeed in this challenging task that requires a lot of imagination and perseverance.

What then are the qualities of a good researcher? Here are five notable attributes of people who tread the path towards discovery:

1. A good researcher manifests thirst for new information.

A good researcher shows an open mind about things. He does not just take things by themselves but explores new grounds. He adopts the philosophy of “thinking beyond the box“, leaving out the conventional for something innovative. A good researcher treads the unknown frontier.

Pieces of evidence of this thirst for new information manifest in people who do not stop learning. Those persons who maintain an open mind for new possibilities to happen, even when everything appears to have been discovered or studied, or options exhausted.

Two hundred years ago, has anyone ever thought that man could go to the moon, or explore the depths of the sea? Or tap on the keys of the cell phone to communicate with another person so far away?

2. A good researcher has a keen sense of things around him.

Keenness is a quality developed through an observant attitude. A good researcher sees something more out of a common occurrence around him. And he sees this quickly.

He can see a wiggling worm inside a flower, or the beautiful color combinations of a wild plant, or simply, notices the small fly in the burger.

Do you know which part of the vertically-oriented traffic light is green?

keenness

Image Source

3. A good researcher likes to reflect or think about the things he encounters.

Researchers who pause and reflect on the knowledge that they gained, either formally in school or through their experience, gain insights. Insights are creative thoughts that make one nod his head and say, “Aha, this is something I have been looking for!” An original idea was born.

4. A good researcher must be intelligent enough to express his ideas.

How can you express your thoughts if you cannot write? The point here is that a good researcher must be adept in the written language.

How can people understand your point when you are the only one who can understand what you have written?

Intelligence to express ideas is a quality that appears to reside in gifted individuals. But if you recognize your weakness in this realm, why not seek someone who can? After all, ideas are more important; but of course, better if you present them in such in a way that others understand well what you want to say.

5. A good researcher applies a systematic approach in assessing situations.

Research requires systematic and objective thinking to arrive at something. Logical reasoning, therefore, is applied by a good researcher.

He can analyze things, meaning, he can break down a complex situation into manageable bits that he can focus his attention into (see article on conceptual framework).

Do you have these qualities? If not, then it’s time for you to harness the hidden talents in you through training and continuous learning.

© 2012 October 24 P. A. Regoniel

What are Examples of Research Questions?

To effectively write the statement of the problem of your thesis, you will need to bear in mind certain principles that will guide you in framing those critical questions.  Well-written research questions determine how the whole research process will proceed.

At least three basic research outcomes are expected. These are described below along with examples of research questions for each outcome.

There are already many pieces of literature written on how to write the research questions required in investigating a phenomenon. But how are the research questions framed in actual situations? How do you write the research questions?

You will need to bear in mind certain rules and principles on how to go about writing the research questions. Before you start writing the research questions, you should be able to discern what you intend to arrive at in your research.

What are your aims and what are your expected research outcomes? Do you intend to describe something, determine differences or explain the causes of a phenomenon?

Three Basic Research Outcomes

There are at least three basic research outcomes that will arise in writing the research questions. These are 1) come up with a description, 2) determine differences between variables, and 3) find out correlations between variables.

Research Outcome Number 1. Come up with a description.

The outcome of your research question may be in the form of a description. The description is provided to contextualize the situation, explain something about the subjects or respondents of the study or provide the reader an overview of your study.

Below are examples of common research questions for Research Outcome Number 1 on a research conducted on teachers as respondents in a study.

Example Research Questions

  • What is the demographic profile of the teachers in terms of age, gender, educational attainment, civil status, and number of training attended?
  • How much time do teachers devote in preparing their lessons?
  • What teaching styles are used by teachers in managing their students?

The expected outcomes of the questions above will be a description of the teachers’ demographic profile, a range of time devoted to preparing their lessons, and a description of the teaching styles used by the teachers. These research outcomes can be presented in the form of tables and graphs with accompanying descriptions of the highlights of the findings. Highlights are those interesting trends or dramatic results that need attention such as very few training provided to teachers.

Research Outcome Number 2. Determine differences between variables.

To be able to write research questions that integrate the variables of the study, you should be able to define what is a variable. If this term is already quite familiar to you, and you are confident in your understanding, you may read the rest of this post.studying

You might want to find out the differences between groups in a selected variable in your study. Say, you would want to know if there is a significant difference in long quiz score (the variable you are interested in) between students who study at night and students who study early in the morning. You may frame your research questions thus:

Example Research Questions

  • Non-directional: Is there a significant difference in long quiz score between students who study early in the morning and students who study at night?
  • Directional: Are the quiz scores of students who study early in the morning higher than those who study at night?

The intention of the first research question is to find out if a difference exists in long quiz scores between students who study at night and those who study early in the morning, hence is non-directional. The second research question aims to find out if indeed students who study in the morning have better quiz scores as what the review of the literature suggests. Thus, the latter is directional.

Research Outcome Number 3. Find out correlations or relationships between variables.

The outcome of research questions in this category will be to explain correlations or causality. Below are examples of research questions that aim to find out correlations or relationships between variables using a combination of the variables mentioned in research outcome numbers 1 and 2.

Example Research Questions

  • Is there a significant relationship between teaching style and long quiz score of students?
  • Is there a significant association between the student’s long quiz score and the teacher’s age, gender, and training attended?
  • Is there a relationship between the long quiz score and the number of hours devoted by students in studying their lessons?

Note that in all the preceding examples of research questions, the variables of the study found in the conceptual framework of the study are integrated. Therefore, research questions must always incorporate the variables in them so that the researcher can describe, find differences, or correlate them with each other.

If you find this helpful, take the time to share this with your peers so that they can likewise discover new, exciting and interesting things along their fields of interest.

© 2012 October 22 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (October 22, 2012). What are Examples of Research Questions?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2012/10/22/what-are-examples-of-research-questions/

What are Examples of Variables in Research?

In the course of writing your thesis, one of the first terms that you encounter is the word variable. Failure to understand the meaning and the usefulness of variables in your study will prevent you from doing good research. What then are variables and how do you use variables in your study? I explain the concept below with lots of examples on variables commonly used in research.

You may find it difficult to understand just what variables are in the context of research especially those that deal with quantitative data analysis. This initial difficulty about variables becomes much more confusing when you encounter the phrases “dependent variable” and “independent variable” as you go deeper in studying this important concept of research as well as statistics.

Understanding what variables mean is crucial in writing your thesis proposal because you will need these in constructing your conceptual framework and in analyzing the data that you have gathered. Therefore, it is a must that you should be able to grasp thoroughly the meaning of variables and ways on how to measure them. Yes, the variables should be measurable so that you will be able to use your data for statistical analysis.

I will strengthen your understanding by providing examples of phenomena and their corresponding variables below.

Definition of Variables and Examples

Variables are those simplified portions of the complex phenomena that you intend to study. The word variable is derived from the root word “vary”, meaning, changing in amount, volume, number, form, nature or type. These variables should be measurable, i.e., they can be counted or subjected to a scale.

The following examples of phenomena from a global to a local perspective. The corresponding list of variables is given to provide a clear illustration of how complex phenomena can be broken down into manageable pieces for better understanding and to subject the phenomena to research.

  • Phenomenon: climate change

Examples of variables related to climate change:

  1. sea level
  2. temperature
  3. the amount of carbon emission
  4. the amount of rainfall
  • Phenomenon: Crime and violence in the streets

Examples of variables related to crime and violence:

  1. number of robberies
  2. number of attempted murders
  3. number of prisoners
  4. number of crime victims
  5. number of laws enforcers
  6. number of convictions
  7. number of car napping incidents
  • Phenomenon: poor performance of students in college entrance exams

Examples of variables related to poor academic performance:

  1. entrance exam score
  2. number of hours devoted to studying
  3. student-teacher ratio
  4. number of students in the class
  5. educational attainment of teachers
  6. teaching style
  7. the distance of school from home
  8. number of hours devoted by parents in providing tutorial support
  • Phenomenon: Fishkill

Examples of variables related to fish kill:

  1. dissolved oxygen
  2. water salinity
  3. temperature
  4. age of fish
  5. presence or absence of parasites
  6. presence or absence of heavy metal
  7. stocking density
  • Phenomenon: Poor crop growth

Examples of variables related to poor crop growth:

  1. the amount of nitrogen in the soil
  2. the amount of phosphorous in the soil
  3. the amount of potassium in the ground
  4. the amount of rainfall
  5. frequency of weeding
  6. type of soil
  7. temperature
Arid land
Poor crop growth in the arid soil of a hill in an island.

Notice in the above examples of variables that all of them can be counted or measured using a scale. The expected values derived from these variables will, therefore, be in terms of numbers, amount, category or type. Quantified variables allow statistical analysis. Variable correlations or differences are then determined.

Difference Between Independent and Dependent Variables

Which of the above examples of variables are the independent and the dependent variables? The independent variables are just those variables that may influence or affect the other variable, i.e., the dependent variable.

For example, in the first phenomenon of climate change, temperature (independent variable) may influence sea level (dependent variable). Increased temperature will cause expansion of water in the sea. Thus, sea level rise on a global scale may occur. In the second phenomenon, i.e., crime and violence in the streets, the independent variable may be the number of law enforcers and the dependent variable is the number of robberies.

I will leave to you the other variables so you can figure out how this works.

How will you know that one variable may cause the other to behave in a certain way? Finding the relationship between variables require a thorough review of the literature. Through a review of the relevant and reliable literature, you will be able to find out which variables influence the other variable. You do not just simply guess relationships between variables. The whole process is the essence of research.

At this point, I believe that the concept of the variable is now clear to you. Share this information to your peers who may have difficulty in understanding what the variables are in research.

©2012 October 22 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (October 22, 2012). What are Examples of Variables in Research?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2012/10/22/what-are-examples-of-variables-in-research/

4 Steps in Writing Your Thesis Proposal

Are you looking for information on how to write your thesis proposal? Here’s just what you need to be able to do so. Write your thesis with confidence by following the 4 steps outlined below.

If you are a graduating student, writing your thesis proposal will be one of the challenges that you will have to face. Before you write your thesis proposal, you will need to be very familiar and should be equipped with a good understanding of many things before you write your thesis.

The following are the things that you need to bear in mind to write your thesis in a more effective manner.

Step 1. Know where to begin.

It is important that in writing your thesis, the specific topic or topics that you will need to investigate should be within your specific discipline or interest to begin with. Actually, I would say this is one of the most challenging tasks that you need to do in writing your thesis.

So you how will you be able to begin in a more systematic manner? There are four ways on how to do this and I detail it here.

Step 2. Write your problem statement.

How do you write a problem statement? After you have gone through Step 1, you should be able to write your problem statement. The problem statement is just a question or a statement that is not answerable by just a simple Yes or No but will require deeper study.

The specific details on how to do this can be found here.

Step 3. Come up with your conceptual framework.

What is a conceptual framework? This concern was partly discussed in Step 2.concept

Just to refresh your mind, the conceptual framework is your own concept of things after reading theories that try to explain the phenomenon that you want to look into in writing your thesis proposal. It will serve as your map or guide so that you will be able to figure out what are the specific things you need to do in order to pursue clearly your goal or intention in writing your thesis.

How do you construct your conceptual framework? Here is a simple example on how the conceptual framework is prepared. But of course, before you come up with your conceptual framework, you will need to have a good review of literature.

Step 4. Write your Methodology Section

Once you have already drawn out your conceptual framework in Step 3, you are now ready to write the methodology section of your thesis proposal. You just have to go back to your problem statement and figure out what you should do for each question in order to be able to provide answers to each one.

There should be a one-to-one correspondence between the statement of the problem and the method section. That is, statement of the problem number 1 should be matched with method number 1. You can do this better by preparing a matrix or table.

You methodology section should contain at least the following things:

  • make sure that the methods you describe can be replicated or can be repeated by someone who will investigate along the same line as yours
  • describe the specific materials that you will use in the course of conducting your study
  • state which statistical tools you will need to use to analyze the data that you will gather
  • state the limitations, assumptions and scope of your thesis
  • make a detailed description of your sampling technique and what will be the source of your data

At this point, you should now be able to write your thesis proposal. You can add dummy tables to show what you will expect to present as findings in writing your thesis.

Find time to share this article if you think it has helped you in writing your thesis proposal.

© 2012 October 20 P. A. Regoniel