Category Archives: Research

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

The Role of Internet Technology in Enhancing Research Skills

Internet technology became a major part of everyone’s lives these days because of the many benefits derived from it. How did it develop and what is its role in enhancing the research skills of modern scientists? This article briefly describes the origin of the internet and its benefit to researchers. Further, the article reviews literature related to electronic publishing, the new mode of accessing and disseminating scientific information.

Internet technology developed through the contribution of dozens of computer scientists. A workable prototype came into being in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) Network or ARPANET in the late 1960s. ARPANET served as a testing ground for innovative concepts such as packet switching, distributed topology and routing, and the connection of heterogeneous computer systems (Abbate, 1994).

According to Wright (1997), the world wide web as we know now, prospered through the effort of Tim Berners-Lee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Now, internet technology cuts across boundaries, across countries, affecting virtually the lives of many people and the way they live. The information you need or want is just at the tip of your fingertips.

Internet Technology and Information Exchange

Given the ease of access to information provided by the internet, modern researchers can interact faster with each other. This rapid interaction enhances research skills as learning ensues online. It facilitates information exchange at the speed of light. Fiber optic cables or thin flexible glass fibers that transmit light signals facilitate telecommunication between individuals across continents. The nature and flow of information have significantly changed.

I illustrate the difference between the nature of information flow before and now in Table 1 especially in the Asia and Africa. This change in the mode of information exchange through internet technology favors contemporary researchers and enhances their research skills.

Table 1. Comparison of information flows before and after the introduction of internet technology.

Before Now
Outdated references in the libraryRecent literature accessible online
Manually accessible library collections Libraries or databases accessible online
Slow exchange of informationFast exchange of information
Publication of scientific articles takes
Publication takes a few months
Paid subscription journalsOpen access journals; creative commons

As I pointed out earlier in my post titled “Open Access Journals and Blogs: New Trends in Publishing Research Results,” the ease and speed by which researchers can publish their research articles in open access journals changes the way information gets shared worldwide. Spector et al. (2012) of Google recognized this saying that peer-reviewed paper as the dominant dissemination method is under threat. Just like the printed newspaper or the telegram, Internet technology can change their commercial viability. The internet changes the way people transact business. Not keeping up with the trend will leave non-adapting organizations or businesses behind the backend of obsoletism.

Enhanced Research Skills Offered by Internet Technology

Accessing thousands of articles available online allows beginning researchers to develop their trade and keep themselves updated in their field of specialization. When I started off doing research in the late 1990s, I have to content myself with what is available in the institution’s collection of scientific journals. Now, the following online databases help me write more sensible project reports, at a much faster pace:

1. Google Scholar

I did not realize the importance of Google Scholar until a month ago, after undergoing training in research pedagogy, even though I learned about it a few years back. What I like most in this search engine is that aside from being able to access journal articles (mostly abstracts) for free, it saves you the pain of manually typing your bibliography. Once you access the articles relevant to your study, you can just click whichever format you want your bibliography or literature to appear. You can choose from MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual of Style. It’s just a matter of copying and pasting the entries into your favorite word processor. Nonetheless, I use BibTex instead as I like to use Lyx, a front-end to the LaTeX typesetting system, as my favorite document processor.

While many authors critique the limitations of Google Scholar as a source of peer-reviewed literature (Jacsó, 2005; Bakkalbasi et al., 2006; Falagas et al., 2008; Meho and Yang, 2007), there is a general recognition that Google Scholar can be an excellent tool for information discovery and retrieval. Scopus works the same way, but I got no opportunity to explore this likewise free database. The website says it’s the world’s largest database of abstracts and citations of peer-reviewed literature.

2. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

I came across this directory of open access journals a few years back. As I teach the research subject, I usually refer students to DOAJ, but they complain that they can access only a few relevant articles for their study. The collection of scientific articles in the directory appears limited compared to Google Scholar, but it offers full papers for free. However, in many cases, you need to learn Latin American languages to understand what’s going on south of the equator. As more scientists make available their research in open access journals, the database collection will be a good source of scientific information.

3. Philippine E-Journals

The Philippine E-Journals is an expanding collection of academic journals that allows Filipino researchers to share their findings to the world. Browsing through the site gives researchers an idea on what activities occupy researchers in many parts of the country. The database provides local researchers with context-relevant information. It also opens areas for collaboration in study sites that researchers can access easily given their relative proximity.

The Web Log as Quick Mode of Publication

While peer-review of articles for publication has its merits, the ease of publication offered by blogs has its advantages in the age of information technology. Putnam (2011) discussed the pros and cons of this approach. Her main concern pertains to the quality of articles published online. But as more researchers give premium to the speed by which information gets delivered, the order of information exchange soon may just be sharing information through blogs. You get the information you need in a matter of hours. This mode of information sharing becomes more relevant in matters of life and death such as cure to cancer or averting impending disasters that require timely information.

If there are questions about the reliability and soundness of information, such as the case of a NASA scientist who refused to answer another scientist’s critique of a bacteria that can survive in arsenic (see their discussion here), comments in the blog serve as peer review. As scientists interact in the comments section, the issue gets clarified.

Literature Cited

Abbate, J. E. (1994). From ARPANET to Internet: A history of ARPA-sponsored computer networks, 1966–1988.

Bakkalbasi, N., Bauer, K., Glover, J., and Wang, L. (2006). Three options for citation tracking: Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science. Biomedical Digital Libraries, 3(1):7.

Falagas, M. E., Pitsouni, E. I., Malietzis, G. A., and Pappas, G. (2008). Comparison of PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar: strengths and weaknesses. The FASEB Journal, 22(2):338–342.

Jacsó, P. (2005). Google Scholar: the pros and the cons. Online Information Review, 29(2):208–214.

Meho, L. I. and Yang, K. (2007). Impact of data sources on citation counts and rankings of LIS faculty: Web of Science versus Scopus and Google Scholar. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(13):2105–2125.

Putnam, L. (2011). The changing role of blogs in science information dissemination. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (65):4.

Spector, A., Norvig, P., and Petrov, S. (2012). Google’s hybrid approach to research. Communications of the ACM, 55(7):34–37.

Wright, R. (1997). The man who invented the web. Time Magazine, 149(20):64–8.

©2015 October 17 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (October 17, 2015). The Role of Internet Technology in Enhancing Research Skills. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Open Access Journals and Blogs in Research

How can open access journals and blogs influence the future of research publication? What is the trend nowadays? This article discusses how these new developments of the information age can change the direction of research in the world.

Exchange of information between scientists through publication in reputable, peer-reviewed journals may change in the next decade. As open access publication gradually takes over the conventional print and online abstracts that require someone to purchase to read the whole study, there are signs that the whole process of information dissemination will change soon. Blogs may become the new medium for exchanging ideas among scientists. This article explains how.

New ideas such as promoting research articles through open access publishing in a highly dynamic digital world that we live right now always have birth pains. But the power of online publishing is experienced by contemporary authors who opted to publish their research findings in open access, peer-reviewed scientific journals for faster dissemination. This approach gives their research papers, their ideas or their thesis, a greater opportunity to get cited by many other scientists because of the easy access offered by online publishing.

Online Databases and Open Access Journals

Modern scientists have greater probabilities of getting their scientific articles cited. And, many software applications support this approach to speed further up the online publication process.

Database applications such as Mendeley can effectively help authors organize their collection of articles; particularly, those articles that are relevant to their specific field of expertise. Google Scholar is there to supply the needed references for free. It provides handy references useful in developing research proposals or writing a comprehensive review of the literature on a researcher’s topic of interest. The Directory of Open Access Journals provides a venue for researchers to publish their articles in open access scientific journals. These tools were unavailable two decades ago.

Now, researchers could not lament the lack of references to help them identify gaps in knowledge, not only within their home countries but virtually, the whole world. Everyone can gain access peer-reviewed literature and publish online at the comfort of their homes or offices. Thus, the quality of the literature review that contemporary researchers can make differs significantly from researchers of the 1990s.

The Rise of the Blogs

Dr. Gustavo Fischman, a well-known professor of Arizona State University and editor of open-access journals, recognizes the power of open-access publishing and even blogs. This mode of disseminating information thrives in Latin America and Africa. Around 73% of the open access journals originate from these regions. A lot of discussion on recent research topics goes on in the region. This healthy exchange of ideas can further enrich research findings. You may listen to the podcast of the interview with Dr. Fischmann where he recognized the changing model of academic publishing.

More author exposure is possible with the ease by which one can self-publish articles worthy as references. Putnam (2011) noted that science blogs promote quick dissemination of research, increases cooperation and potentially makes the author’s research stronger. There is no need to wait in the long queue of conventional scientific publishing, even the open access ones. Thus, the cost of publication is small, but the gains in learning something new or groundbreaking is high.

Some people will criticize that blogs are not peer-reviewed. But this is taken cared of by readers, who may be authorities in their respective fields, right there in the comment form under the published article. The blog’s author can then respond and address the critic’s concern. No conventional scientific journal can feature this interaction between people.

How about the citation of research findings or other articles on research?

Well, that’s relatively easy. Even this article has its suggested citation in APA format below. Anybody can cite this article that explains and sets the trend on how the era of publishing new findings can take a new form – through the power of blogs that emphasize quality publications.


Putnam, L. (2011). The changing role of blogs in science information dissemination. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (65), 4.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (October 11, 2015). Open Access Journals and Blogs in Research. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Discourse Analysis of 20 Newspaper Advertisements

This article intends to orient MA students, language researchers, among others about Discourse Analysis. It describes commonly used metadiscourse strategies and markers in the newspaper advertisements in the Philippines. Please read as to how advertising companies use discourse analysis to influence readers into buying their products.

According to Ken Hyland, metadiscourse is essential to advertising because it focuses on the aspects of a text that organizes the discourse, engages the audience and signals the writer’s attitude. As a central pragmatic construct, metadiscourse allows one to see how writers seek to influence reader’s understandings of both text and their attitude towards its content and the audience.

The use of metadiscourse strategies and markers helps companies earn much through advertisements. Below are 20 examples of advertisements from newspapers in the Philippines, which were analyzed and interpreted using discourse analysis.

Discourse Analysis of 20 Newspaper Advertisements

1. Alaska

The advertisement uses a celebrity. Gary Valenciano and his daughter endorse Alaska Powdered Filled Milk. The copywriter uses emphatics like more important and most nutritious.

The ad says that growth gap is more important than generation gap. Since kids experience a slow-down in growth after the toddler years, they must be given Alaska, which is the most nutritious powdered-filled milk.

The use of person marker as “natin” or our is also a metadiscourse which the copywriter used to influence the target reader to buy the product. In this case, Gary V. emphasizes that not only his children need Alaska but also other children and thus, he is trying to get the attention of the parents.

Aside from being interpersonal, this ad is also textual. The use of endophoric marker is visible. The picture of Gary V. and his daughter is put in the middle. It is bigger than the rest of the ad. Gary gives his daughter Alaska and she loves to drink it as manifested in her smile. She is also holding a glass of Alaska milk.

It also uses a directive when he says: “Ngayon nila kailangan ang tulong ng superior nutrition ng Alaska.” (This is the time they need help from Alaska – the most nutritious powdered-filled milk).

2. Jollibee

What is being endorsed in this ad is not really Jollibee as a fast food but its particular product Swirlybitz. This is manifested by a small logo of Jollibee placed at the right side bottom of the ad. The picture of Swirlybits is much bigger than the logo. And the font size of the text is also bigger.

The copywriter uses personal marker yourself and an emphatic delicious which fall under interpersonal. It means that a reader is enticed to taste the delicious mix of swirling vanilla ice cream with bits of chocolate and cookies.

The ad also uses endophoric marker by showing in the picture how delicious and creamy it is. However, the copywriter does not forget to tell where this product could be found and it is in Jollibee. The speech act used is directive when it says, “Treat yourself…”

3. Brand’s

The ad shows a picture of the product. Since it has the essence of the chicken, one can see the two feathers which show that he can do or perform better by using this product. The use of your as person marker and scientific studies from renowned institutions as emphatics help the reader understand the value and the credibility of this product and thus motivated him to buy.

In addition to that, the phrases “have no preservatives, cholesterol-free, all-natural and caffeine- free,” all written in capital letters and bold-faced can get the attention of the reader. The reader is challenged to perform better and that speech act is known as a directive.

4. French Baker

The metaphor is used in this advertisement, “Freshness takes over Sucat”. This is a kind of evidential which means that French Baker opens its branch at SM Sucat.

Also the person marker “you” are used to showing interpersonal relationship between the product and the reader. For textual, it is not only the use of metaphor but also the product and the outlet in forming coherent texts.

It can be seen that the copywriter does not emphasize “French Baker is now open at Sucat”; however, he tries to connect the metaphor to the pictures of bread, pastries and the outlet itself. Then, the reader’s schema now works that these are available only at French Baker by showing the smaller font size of “French Baker opens…” as compared to the “Freshness takes over Sucat!” and the use of smaller logo at the bottom.

The speech act used is also directive when it says “whether you’re shopping … French Baker provides the perfect place”. Emphatics such as fresh, pleasurable, perfect are used.

5. Equal

A very palatable fruit salad is shown in the ad. And the text says, “For sweet cravings during the Christmas season.” Equal targets a specific customers – the diabetics! So the copywriter tries to tempt a diabetic to eat sweet stuff this season without making the level of their blood sugar high and it is only possible by using Equal.

You, or your (person markers) and many doctors recommend it (emphatic) are used in persuading the readers.

Of course, the use of picture (endophoric) helps a lot in stimulating the appetite of a diabetic. It is still directive by saying, “Now, doesn’t that make for a sweeter Christmas?” The reader is asked to use Equal.

6. Visine

This ad uses a cartoon to illustrate how cool is Visine. This is also intensified by putting the word COOL to the face of the caricature and the two Os are used as his eyes. The copywriter is very artistic in persuading the reader that Visine is cool and can wake up tired eyes.

When I asked the media director of a well-known advertising company, why this ad uses a cartoon instead of a model, she said: “Probably the company made some cost-cutting…paying a model or celebrity is more expensive or costly.”

Also, if it is a model or a celebrity, the word COOL cannot be placed on the person’s face! Otherwise, it will become hilarious and unbelievable!

This ad also uses a person marker you. Again, a directive is used when it says, “try and wake up tired eyes.” The person is requested to use the product and emphatics are also used like new, soothing and cool.

7. Anchor

The ad shows how curious the kids are. They discovered many things and so they are prone to get more germs.

In the picture, we can see a boy with a dog and it seems that both of them have just finished licking the ice cream. In effect, the boy gets the germs.

The copywriter establishes a situation wherein parents could not control and, therefore, could not protect their children. In this vein, they are persuaded to buy Anchor because it has with Nutri-care that can protect kids from germs.

The “you” is also used to establish an interpersonal relationship and the endophoric marker (picture) for textual. The speech act used is directive, a command when it says, “give him Anchor.”

8. Lux

The copywriter does not use person marker. Instead, he uses emphatics like new, revitalize, breakthrough, innovation and more beautiful. These move the readers (women) buy what is being offered because they feel that Lux is necessary for today’s modern world.

The picture shows the three different variants of Lux and since each one has a description, a reader may choose which one is best for her. Therefore, the copywriter also uses emphatics and endophoric markers.

9. Marks and Spencer

The person markers our and you (implied) are used to convince the reader. Aside from person markers, the copywriter also uses emphatics like sinful, tempting, luscious, drizzled with, more and very. Not only the emphatics are used but also the irresistibly delicious cake in the picture. The adjective sinful is used to emphasize how tempting the cake is.

And since the target customers are sexy who do not like to get fat, he uses a speech act – directive, when it says, “give in to our….” It means that they need not argue because they will only taste it for this season and thus, they will not really get fat. What matters is, they have tasted it.

10. Popeyes

The use of much bigger font size for “now open” and “popeyes” gets the attention of the reader at one glance. The you (implied) and emphatic world famous are the metadiscourse markers used by a copywriter.

He also tries to convince the reader by providing a picture of a chicken and a drawing of a man and a woman. The man shows his love for the woman by giving her flowers and there is a banner which shows the love for chicken. It means that Popeyes’ chicken is delicious and crispy and one will love it the way a man shows his love for the girl. Again, the directive is used for love that chicken and visit us.

11. Astring.O.Sol

It can be seen that the bottle is filled with ice. But of course, it is not literal. The ad shows how cool the mouthwash is. It is as cold as ice and there is a word chill as the emphatic marker. Now, the copywriter also tries to connect the word “cool” to dining places. The “cool” for dining places does not mean that the place is cold as ice but what the copywriter is trying to put across is that these places are cozy and have a good ambiance.

The person marker “you” (implied) and emphatics like “cool” and “chill” are used. The directive is more of a request than a command because it is only an invitation when it says, “experience instant …”

12. Bocaditos

“As pizza as pizza gets” is a kind of evidential. It shows that Bocaditos chips taste like a real pizza. And also the use of emphatics little and big.

The reader’s schema works that having Bocaditos (pizza flavor) as a snack is like having a slice or a whole of pizza. Aside from that, it is cheaper than to buy a pizza.

So if a reader wants to eat pizza and has no enough money for that, he can buy Bocaditos. Interpersonal and textual metadiscourse are used.

13. Silka Papaya

At the first glance, one cannot see any interpersonal marker but if one will move his eyes at the bottom, he can see in the black background the phrase nature’s radiance. Radiance is emphatic. The copywriter uses endophoric marker by interrelating the picture with words.

The picture of a nude woman or her torso is radiating as manifested by white color surrounding her entire body and the use of yellow-orange as the background. This ad tells that if one will use Silka she will have a whiter, silky skin.

14. Cellasene

The ad shows three models who are nude. And there is a banner at their buttocks which says, “The naked truth!” The naked truth is an idiom and it is under evidential. Evidential is used to develop intertextuality.

In this ad, the three models are connected to the idiom and to the product itself. If one will take Cellasene, she will have a sexy body – no cellulite on the buttocks, hips and thighs.

Since it uses hedges like “may,” the copywriter is still successful in persuading the customer although it weakens the statement. He is able to do it by using the models and the idiom which are much bigger in size. There is a tendency for a reader not to notice the word “may” because she is already deceived by the picture and the idiom.

A directive is used when it says, “take 2-3 capsules a day and see the difference.” The person markers such as you and your and emphatics like clinically-tested, breakthrough, top selling, firmer and ideal are also used.

15. Hugo

The model is alluring, trying to seduce her man and she can do it by using Hugo. The person marker “your” persuades woman that they should wear this perfume to get the attention of their crushes or to attract their men. This ad also has an endophoric marker – a model who looks so seductive by using this perfume.

16. Sunsilk

The ad is trying to compare Sunsilk to another shampoo. At the top are the different bottles of shampoo with different colors and then, there is a text “clear” at the bottom of the bottles. Then, at the right bottom of the page is the bottle of Sunsilk crystal shampoo and there are bubbles as the background. The bubbles are very clear and one can see the flower inside each bubble.

Then, there is a caption, clear and nourishing. The copywriter lets the readers decide which is actually clear. Based on the picture, the answer would be Sunsilk.

The emphatics used are crystal clear, only one, full-bodied and beautiful. The use of the different bottles and Sunsilk is known as an endophoric marker.

17. Beefeater

It can be seen that the copywriter only uses the bottle as the endophoric marker and emphatics like bold and new. A spirit pertains to the gin that it is new and bold. Bold because it is strong – a taste which men look for a dry gin.

The background is black to give life to the bottle which is white. The letters of the phrase “a bold new spirit” are capitalized and bold-faced. However, the background of the ad is black and red is a good color for the text which may symbolize boldness. Thus, if one is looking for a bold and new dry gin, he will buy beefeater.

18. Carl’s Jr.

The copywriter tries to activate the reader’s schema of the Devil’s fork. The Devils would like to temp people and so, they are doing everything just to tempt us. By just looking at the picture, one is informed that the burgers are delicious. They do everything to make it delicious and they are serious about doing it.

Therefore, once a person tastes it, he will come back because of its taste. The person markers “our” and “you” are used and the endophoric marker which is the picture.

At the right bottom, is a small logo of Carl’s which means that you can buy the burgers only at Carl’s. A directive is more on challenge rather than request because the reader’s curiosity is challenged how delicious is the burger at Carl’s and thus, he will try it.

19. Nestle’ Yogurt

This ad is different from the other samples because the page has still a lot of space. It simply means that it is all that they want to say and to be different from others. It is not a typical ad wherein a copywriter uses a celebrity or a bigger picture of the product.

However, he is successful in his aim by using person marker “our” and emphatics like creamy, delicious, healthy, and irresistibly. Then at the middle, there is a caption below the bigger text which says, “After begging the photographer to spare just spoonful.”

This statement connotes that this product is delicious and irresistible. Also, a speech act is used to show the interpersonal function of the language, “but get this…” is a command and a kind of directive.

20. Goldilocks

Noyping-noypi, golding-goldi is a kind of evidential. It is used to make the readers memorize and recall the product. The ad also uses a celebrity and the picture of delicious pork barbecue.

The use of yellow-green as a background gives life to the color of barbecue which is brownish-red. Likewise, the emphatic marker like “sarap” (delicious) is used in showing that it is palatable and by using a celebrity like Jessa.

Now, can you identify the markers that the copywriters used to influence the readers in the discourse analysis? What are those markers? Of these markers, what do you think are most commonly used in newspaper ads?


Hyland, K. (2005). Metadiscourse. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (September 27, 2015). Discourse Analysis of 20 Newspaper Advertisements. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

The Yaya Dub Phenomenon: Why Videos Go Viral

Yaya Dub is one of the intriguing phenomena that ever happened in the digital age. Who is Yaya Dub and how did she become so popular within a short period? Why is she getting so much attention among netizens and television viewers not only in the Philippines but also in other countries?

This article applies the scientific approach in trying to understand why a dubber became an overnight celebrity and why she gained so many followers in youtube, and recently, on television.

I was so intrigued by the Yaya Dub phenomenon as virtually everyone I meet knows about it. The mere mention of the phrase evokes familiarity.

I tried to find out in Google’s Keyword Planner what is the monthly search statistics for just the term “Yaya Dub.” The keyword gained 22,200 searches in July and 49,500 in August. I have set the United States as the target country. However, youtube reaches virtually all countries in the world, so I clicked on All Locations as the target for the keyword. It showed 301,260 in July, and 550,980 in August.

But, what about the Philippines where the youtube videos about Yaya Dub originated? Again, I reset the location to the Philippines. The statistics showed 246,210 in July and 451,310 in August. It goes to say that Filipinos account for most of the traffic.

Why this so much traffic for the apparently simple activity such as dubbing? Do viewers obtain benefit from those videos? The ultimate answer in this case presumably is pure entertainment.

What does the literature say about viral or popular videos? What prompts people to share Yaya Dub’s antics?

What scientists say about viral videos

In her dissertation, Izawa (2010) found out that those who had shared or would share the viral videos felt stronger emotions than those who did not share them. These are emotions of happiness, humor, surprise, fear, sadness, and anger.

Upon sharing the videos, those who shared expect the receiver to feel the same way they did. Southgate et al. (2010) confirmed this observation. Since many people use youtube in sharing videos, the platform facilitated the sharing process.

Yaya Dub Videos: The Emotional Content

See the following viral videos of Yaya Dub. Discern which emotions appealed to you most that made you think of sharing the content to your friends.

The videos showed a diversity of emotions aptly expressed by the comedienne. Did it in any way prompt you to share it with your friends? What could have been the motivation of viewers for sharing what they have seen? Do you agree with the findings of the scientists?

Your comments will help affirm or refute the findings.


Izawa, M. (2010). What Makes Viral Videos Viral?: Roles of Emotion, Impression, Utility, and Social Ties in Online Sharing Behavior. PhD thesis, Johns Hopkins University.

Southgate, D., Westoby, N., and Page, G. (2010). Creative determinants of viral video viewing. International Journal of Advertising, 29(3):349–368.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (September 25, 2015). The Yaya Dub Phenomenon: Why Videos Go Viral. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Outcome-Based Research: Directing Research Towards the Desired Goal

Have you ever heard of or read about outcome-based research (OBR)? Does it sound familiar?

The truth is, outcome-based research is a word play from outcome-based education (OBE), a popular theory that emphasizes the outcomes or goals of an educational system, that is, the focus is not on content but to the object of the training – the student. Also, OBE does not follow the rigid dictates of some sort of methodology to educate the student. It focuses on the outcome, or goal as the ultimate measure of the effectiveness of a curriculum. OBR works the same way.

The Principle of Outcome-Based Research

The idea of OBR just occurred in my mind as I read through or heard about outcome-based education. Why not adopt the same principle in doing research? Make it goal-oriented just like OBE.

As research director of the university, I embarked on the idea by holding a three-day research planning workshop two weeks ago. And I used e-tools in putting the OBR approach to work. The e-tools I used consisted of a free version of Vensim®, a systems analysis tool and XMind, a mindmapping software.

I believe that research performance in the university will be boosted further by the innovative approach of outcome-based research. The focus is on the goal of research founded on the research agenda of the university.

Vensim was used to identify which specific issues need to be addressed by research programs, projects, or activities. The tool was used to help unravel which variable or variables of the whole chain of interconnected events or resource states really matter. It also helped the researcher discern if he or she has the relevant expertise to do research along an issue or problem identified in the systems analysis.

When the specific issue or problem has already been identified, the participants of the workshop came up with their desired research goal to help address the issue or problem. The desired goal became the head of the fishbone diagram created using XMind.

Outcome-based research starts at the goal, then works back to identify the steps required to achieve the pre-set goal. I provide below an example of the OBR approach:

pollution mitigation
Outcome-based research approach to mitigate pollution using low-cost technologies.

Outcome-based Research is Goal-oriented

You would notice that by stating clearly the goal of research, everything falls in place. Research now is not simply just research for the sake of research but an exercise which can help resolve an issue or problem. The steps required in carrying out the research venture are also identified such that all efforts converge towards a desired goal. It is a step-by-step process.

Outcome-based research, therefore, is a new approach that brings the value of research towards a higher level. It is responsive to the needs of society. It does not stop at publications as the outcome of research but a much higher goal that can make life better for everyone. Research is not just for the sake of personal gain but for the sake of humanity.

©2015 August 2 P. A. Regoniel

10 Guide Questions on How to Identify a Good Research Topic

Learning the theories is not enough, you need to verify them through actual application of prevailing paradigms that explain complex phenomena. And the first crucial thing you should do is to identify a good research topic.

How do you identify a research topic? If you have this dilemma at this time, here are 10 guide questions on how you should be able to get out of this bottleneck and apply whatever research training you have had while doing course work.

10 Guide Questions on How to Identify a Research Topic

1. What topics does your funding institution support?

While you may have a lot of choices to begin with, it pays to find out first the priority topic of your funding institution. It is possible that you have very good ideas to pursue, but you may not have the financial resources to fuel your investigation. If you can afford to spend for your research then you may have more leeway.

2. Does your research output have any use at all?

After conducting the study, will your research work help shed light on issues or resolve some sort of problem that will make life better for people? The greater the utility you can get out of your research, the more satisfaction you will gain. Find a need and address that need using your research skills.

3. Are research tools available for your use?

What method or methodology will you apply in your study? Do you have equipment or materials that need to be purchased or available in your university? Using existing equipment or instruments will be to your great advantage. It will save you time, money, and effort.

4. Can the research problem be answered within the given time frame for you to finish your course?

If your scholarship allows you two years of doing research, then it’s just sensible that you finish your thesis within this period or even less. Anyhow, your first research venture is essentially just a practice, in partial fulfillment of your course requirements.

5. Do people search for answers to your question?

You need to cite people related to your work. You might have that misconception or wrong notion that nobody ever did a study along the topic that you have in mind. There will always be related literature and studies which you can review to narrow down your search to a concern that nobody delved into.

A popular topic such as climate change may be broad but many things can crop out of it. Also, funding along this concern appears to be very much available nowadays.

6. Is your research topic novel?

If you thought about your research topic as a result of your personal experience such as visiting a community needing help on some health issue, or predicament that significantly affect their lives, then that would be a great research topic. It is also expected to be of great utility to people. Chances are, you are treading a new path. If you pioneer an area of research, eventually, you will become an authority in that niche.

7. Is your problem within the range of your discipline?

When you specialize, you narrow down your focus so that you become an expert in that discipline. The more you know about your trade, the less that you know about other things. But then you have to make sure that you work within the range of topics within your discipline so your research is relevant to your field of specialization.

8. Did you seek guidance from your research adviser?

You may think confidently that your topic is the best there is. But your professor has the experience and broader understanding of your field so don’t hesitate to consult a senior researcher or experienced professor regarding your topic.

9. Did you explore the literature?

Browsing through recent research papers in your discipline will give you ideas on what issues or problems are being studied. You start off with observations and verify these observations with a comprehensive review of relevant literature.

A university subscription to a database of scientific journals is a big help. Web of science is a scientific publication authority many researchers have been depending on for many years.

For third world countries, this is not easy; and researchers have to contend with whatever they have at hand. This impacts on the quality of their research although open access journals are becoming popular and may be the norm in the future (see

10. What strengths do you possess that will enable you to do the required tasks in your study?

You have to assess your capabilities or skills to undertake what you have in mind. Be realistic. Don’t study the corals if you don’t even know how to swim and is afraid of water. Your health may also prevent you from doing a very good research intention.

Finally, all these tips will be for naught unless sensibly applied. Words are useless unless put into immediate action. Start off now and share your discoveries.

©2015 June 20 P. A. Regoniel

Five Tips on How to Write a Conclusion

The conclusion is an integral part of a research paper or thesis. Writing a proper conclusion, therefore, should not be taken for granted. It wraps up the major findings of a scientific investigation and serves as a springboard for future studies.

How should this essential part of a research paper be written? What good practices can you adopt for effectively writing it up?

This article provides five tips on how to write a conclusion with examples for greater clarity.

5 Tips on How to Write a Conclusion

1. Go back to the objectives of your research

To be systematic about it, re-read the objectives of your study or the statement of the problem. Write something about objective number 1, number 2, and so on.

After going through all those methods to answer the objectives or the statement of your problem, write your synthesis of findings in a sentence or two. The idea is to write the conclusion concisely without leaving out the important elements.

Consider this simplified example:

Objective #1. Determine the relationship between time spent by teenagers on social networking sites and time spent with friends offline.

Conclusion: There is a reason to believe that time spent on social networking sites reduces teenagers opportunities to spend time with friends offline.

That is the meat of your conclusion. You can build on that statement and offer ideas so that other researchers can investigate further on the issues you have raised.

You may ask yourself the question: “So what if the time spent by teenagers on social networking sites reduce their time spent with friends online?” You might go on to say that this is an important finding that parents and educators must look into to prevent teenagers from becoming socially handicapped adults. This weakness could lead to inability to work harmoniously with other people.

2. Review your introduction

Make sure that your conclusion addresses the issue or gap that you have identified while exploring the research subject in the introduction of your research paper.

Have you resolved the issues that you have raised or did your investigation lead to more questions?

Your conclusion should wrap up the whole paper. It is here where you integrate all your findings. Integrate means putting all of the ideas together to come up with a general idea. That general idea becomes a theory in the long run; that is if future studies converge towards or support what you are proposing as an explanation for a phenomenon. In other words, this is where you once again present your thesis.

For example, using the study on time spent by teenagers online, your introduction may have pointed out that many of the recent graduates are socially-handicapped employees. So this could be traced to their habits as “screenagers” or teenagers who spent most of their time in front of the computer in the past.

3. Raise questions for further study

Not all research results are conclusive. It is possible that the data you have gathered is not enough to draw out a sound conclusion that can help explain the issue you are looking into. There may be things that need to be added, considered, or factored in to shed better light to an unexplained phenomenon.

You can point this out in the conclusion and offer a course of action that future researchers can take. This will help researchers investigating a similar issue to use your paper as one of the foundations for another study. Your research will help unravel the mysteries of a phenomenon that baffle contemporary scientists.

For example, a medical researcher may have found evidence that immunotherapy works better than all other conventional treatments to cancer. But the samples are quite small such that the efficacy of such treatment could not be established for the general population. It is possible that immunotherapy works for only a certain group of people, but not for everyone.

4. Write from specific to general

Writing the conclusion follows an inductive approach. This means that you write it from specific to general. You have broken down the problem into manageable bits during the analysis. Now, in writing the conclusion, you build from the pieces once again to come up with a broad picture.

5. Leave out the extras

The conclusion should be without unnecessary statements that destroy the objectivity of the conclusion. Avoid statements that are

  • sentimental
  • afterthoughts
  • phrases that state the obvious such as “In conclusion,” “Summing it all up,” etc.
  • unnecessary statistics, and
  • quotations.

Give yourself ample time to practice these tips. Writing a good conclusion is a thesis writing skill that needs to be honed.


Literacy Education Online (n.d.) Strategies for writing a conclusion. Retrieved on May 30, 2015 from 2004

The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (n.d.). Conclusions. Retrieved on May 30, 2015 from

©2015 June 12 P. A. Regoniel

Thesis Writing: 9 Tips on How to Write the Results and Discussion

Writing the results and discussion section could be one of the difficulties that you encounter when writing your first research manuscript. There is no simple hard and fast rule in doing it but the following guide can help you start off with confidence.

The results and discussion section is also referred to as the data presentation, analysis, and interpretation section. You present the results, show the analysis, and interpret the outcome of the analysis.

As a take off point, it would help if we separate these two terms, i.e., results and discussion, into simply the results and the discussion as separate parts of the paper. In some universities and usually in scientific journals, however, these are taken as one.

Writing the Results

As the term connotes, you should write only the results of your study. What comprises the results? I describe it in detail in the following paragraphs.

1. Graphs, tables, or photographs

Observations are derived from the application of your methodology or method. These can be best presented using tables and graphs as objective representation of the measurements that you made. Numbers are more definite approximations of reality compared to just mere words. Words are more subjective and replete with misunderstanding.

Be consistent with your units of measurement. If you start off with kg, then use the same unit all throughout your paper.

Never should you manipulate the outcome of your measurements. Be honest in presenting information even if the result is unexpected. Whether the result is positive or negative, present it. This is an objective move.

You may also add photographs whenever needed but make sure these are relevant, not just whimsical addition to your paper or a means to flaunt your good photography skills; although it would be advantageous to show such skill coupled with relevance. Pictures can speak a thousand words.

In general, give as much detail as possible in your presentation of the results. Read and reread your statements for clarity. Engage a competent friend or a colleague’s discerning eye for details.

2. Topic sentences or subheadings

It is easy to follow your presentation if you break this into meaningful subtopics based on your stated objectives. A one-to-one correspondence would be great. Say, the first subheading will be about objective one, the second subheading about objective two, and so on.

Notice that in writing this article, it is an easy read to have a subheading for every major thought. This makes for easy reading thus understanding. And the writing becomes logical.

3. Key results

Your key results should be stated clearly at the beginning of each paragraph. It should serve as the topic sentence (see the TSPU Principle). Support that statement with more detail such as presenting the results of statistical analysis.

For example:

There is a significant positive relationship between the number of hours spent by students in answering Mathematics questions and their examination score. This result is consistent across all grade levels in the three schools examined. Table 1 shows the correlation coefficients and their corresponding significance level.

Writing the Discussion

After examining several theses of previous years, I noticed that many undergraduate and even graduate students miss this part. The results were presented as well as the analysis but no discussion is in sight.

So what comprises the discussion? Here’s what should be present in the discussion part:

1. Trends and spatial differences

Trends refer to changes over time. Are your results showing an increasing, decreasing or just plain, constant direction? This should be evident in the graph that you presented.

Spatial differences refer to differences in space or location within the same time frame. Is there a significant difference between the two groups examined? Is there a difference in the morphological measurements of one group of animals obtained from one location compared to another group? These are questions that explore spatial differences.

2. Insightful interpretation of results

Insightful interpretation means well thought explanations. That means you will have to ponder deeply the results of your study and make a knowledgeable statement of your interpretation using the body of evidence at hand. This is where you cite evidences obtained by other authors. You either confirm or affirm other people’s work or refute using your own findings.

3. Generalizations

Be on guard in writing your generalizations. Make sure that the data you analyzed can be extrapolated or will allow you to predict somehow the behavior of one variable. If you have enough samples then you may make a generalization.

How enough is enough, you may ask. If your data has little variability as indicated by low variances, then it is possible that additional measurements will not change whatever trend you have.

Always match your generalization with whatever results you have. Conversely, do not generalize when you have very few samples. Don’t say 50% when you actually have only two, three, or even four samples described in your study. That’s plain absurd.

4. Exceptions to the rule

In scientific inquiry, not all things or factors are discovered. There are always unknown or unaccounted areas. This is the reason why everything is founded on probability. No one’s 100 percent sure. So you should never say “prove” as a matter of contention. Prove means 100% sure which never happens. There are always expected deviants from the norm.

5. Reasons why things happen

Things happen due to something else. Reaction arises from action. These are called determining factors.

Are there reasons why your results follow a trend? Is it evident in your study? If there is, then say it and explain why so, again based on your observations or evidence.

You may guess but make it educated, meaning, you have done your homework. You have reviewed the literature and use it as a leverage for advancing your hypothesis or inference.

Does your finding support or refute what has been done so far? Does it support previously advanced hypotheses?

Remember that there is no such thing as a simple explanation of a complex phenomenon. Find one that is most aligned to your findings.

It would be interesting to be in the controversial side as long as you have done your study systematically and bias is reduced to a minimum.

6. The contribution of your work

What the are the important things that your study has contributed so far in view of what has been laid out in the body of literature? Why is your work important and what things need to be investigated further?

From your set of questions, if many other questions arise, then your work has helped unravel other areas worthy of investigation. This is just how science works. The mysteries of the universe are uncovered yet there are still many unknowns.

No human has absolute understanding of everything. But if your work has potential to make life better, then it’s a great accomplishment.


Kim Kastens, Stephanie Pfirman, Martin Stute, Bill Hahn, Dallas Abbott, and Chris Scholz (n.d.). How to write your thesis. Retrieved May 24, 2015 from

Theory Testing and Extension or Development: The Two Outcome Oriented Research Approaches

What is theory testing and extension or development? These two outcome oriented research approaches are discussed in detail below. Read on to appreciate the importance of these approaches.


Almost in every undergraduate or post graduate research methodology class, the originality of the research outcome, or the anticipated knowledge contribution of a research work is emphasized. However, the extent of originality certainly depends on the student’s capacity, time devoted for the research, the level of study (i.e., Undergraduate, Post graduate or Doctoral), etc. Furthermore, the presence of a pertaining theoretical base is highly valued in academic research despite the level of the study mentioned above.

The presence of a pertaining theory leads to different outcomes, say, to test the existing theoretical base, to propose an extension or to develop new theoretical inferences. Usually in undergraduate level, students propose theoretical testing approaches whereas in post graduate level, say doctoral students propose theory extension or development oriented outcomes provided the level of study. Therefore, in this concise article, the value of theory testing and extension or development approaches are introduced.

Theory as a governing body of a research

The need of a theoretical base is not overstated in research. In fact, as I mentioned in the topic, it governs the research.

Generally, theory is defined as a set of interrelated concepts or propositions that explains situations or events by determining relations among variables. So, the presence of a theory act as a framework (usually known as theoretical framework in research) and researchers determine causal effects within the limits set.

Say for an example, Trait theories of leadership. The trait model discusses the characteristics of leaders, both successful and unsuccessful, also it discusses how to predict leader’s effectiveness. Usually researchers on leadership identify physiological, demographic, intellective, task-related, and social characteristics in assessing the leader’s effectiveness. Provided that, if a particular researcher who is interested in researching trait attributes in effective leadership is inevitably guided by the said traits above. Thus, it indicates the presence of a theoretical framework.

Furthermore, depending on the capacity and the objectives of research, a researcher can determine, say, the intellective characteristics as leadership traits. Thus he/she identifies intelligence, decisiveness, judgment, and knowledge as attributes of the intellective characteristics. All these attributes are supported by the theory and thus, on the other hand, governs the researcher.

At this point, will the researcher be able to produce a novel outcome (new knowledge) if the researcher tests the existing theory? That question is answered in the proceeding section. It is important to determine the presence of a theoretical body as the governing body of academic research.

Theory testing approach

This section starts with the question raised above. Will the researcher be able to produce a novel outcome (new knowledge) if the researcher tests the existing theory?

Frequently, testing of a theory in a different context, say in a geographical location (usually in a country), brings novel outcome only if that context has not been addressed with the desired theory. Such cases are known as context specific research. Context specific research attempts are relatively easy to pursue. Mostly, this approach is anticipated in undergraduate levels.

Continuing from the previous example, a researcher can determine intellective leadership traits to be tested in a different context with the attributes of intelligence, decisiveness, judgment, and knowledge. If a researcher tests these intellective leadership attributes which have not been addressed in the desired context, he/she may certainly be able to produce novel outcome out of the attributes of intelligence, decisiveness, judgment, and knowledge as per the context studied. However, this attempt does not create or extend the existing theoretical base. Rather, this confirms the theory in a different context and thus theory testing approach.

Theory extension approach

Theory extension approach is comparatively a hard attempt. As the term implies the objective of such an attempt is to extend the existing theoretical base by incorporating different theories imposing rationality.

Usually, doctoral students produce theoretical extensions as their knowledge accumulation since their scope and capacity are comparatively broad. In order to extend the existing theory, incorporating two or more subject domains with rationality are required. Say, strategic management and marketing are subject domains which can be incorporated with the objective of proposing theoretical extension.

Importantly, when a researcher is incorporating two or more subject domains, he/she should provide supportive evidences from the literature. For instance, the Resource Based View (RBV) theory in strategic management discusses the importance of rare, valuable, inimitable, non-substitutable resources for a company in acquiring competitive advantage in a firm.

Let’s assume that there are research evidences stated in the literature highlighting the need of scholarly inquiry of market orientation (a theory in marketing) referred to as how “the organizational culture that most effectively and efficiently creates the necessary behaviors for the creation of superior value for buyers and, thus, continuous superior performance for the business” (Narver & Slater, 1990). Thus, a research attempt can be brought forward incorporating the subject domains of marketing and strategic management to propose a theoretical extension.

In this example, researcher may assess how the competitive advantage (inference of RBV) be achieved provided the inference of market orientation. This example demonstrates how the theoretical extension is executed with the objective of producing new knowledge incorporating two subject domains. Very importantly, the incorporation of two or more subject domains should be followed by literature evidences.

Putting it very simple, there should be literature evidences stating that such an importation is required for scholarly inquiry. Perhaps, theoretical extension does not always require incorporation of two or more subject domains. Rather, it can assume two theories in one single domain as well. Finally, whatever the approach followed in producing new knowledge there should be literature to support it.


Research is an attempt to create or to update the knowledge base. Different approaches are available in this process. However, this knowledge accumulation process can either be theory testing or extension. Depending on the capacity, time consumed, among others, these two research approaches may be perceived as feasible.

Literally, theory testing refers to the knowledge accumulation process of an identified theory tested in a different context provided that the context has not been research using the desired theory. Whereas, theory development refers to the knowledge accumulation process incorporating two or more subject domains or two theoretical inferences in the same subject domain.

Work Cited

Narver, J. C. & Slater, S. F., 1990. The effect of a market orientation on business profitability. The Journal of Marketing, pp. 20-35.

Statistical Sampling: How to Determine Sample Size

How do you determine the sample size required for your specific study? This is an important question considering that the answer determines how much effort you should devote to your research as well as how much money you have to allocate for it. This article explains how sample size should be estimated to obtain the optimal sample size.

As you would not want to sacrifice accuracy for convenience, and to make your research worthwhile, having the correct sample size makes your research more credible. If you sample too little, your results may not be reliable. If you sample too large a size, you will also be spending too much.

Sampling is especially true to quantitative studies, as it tries to define or describe a population by studying a part of it. But how many should be enough?

Here are important considerations when estimating the correct sample size.

4 Measures Required to Estimate Sample Size

Statisticians agree that you have to be familiar with at least four things before you draw a sample from your population. These are enumerated and described below.

1. Size of the Population

As a researcher, you should be familiar with your target population’s size. It is therefore necessary that you define your population so that you can approximate or find ways to estimate the total population and get the optimal size possible.

Let’s say you would want to find out the tourists’ average willingness to pay to access or see a natural park in view of estimating the value of the natural park’s aesthetic value. This means that your population should be the number of tourists who visit the park in one year if you are discussing an annual turnout of visitors. You can get this number from the tourism office especially if park access is for a fee.

Since you cannot interview all of the tourists, a sample may be drawn at a certain point in time which you will determine yourself, bearing in mind the peak and the off seasons to avoid bias. Familiarity with your population, therefore, is a must.

2. Margin of Error or Confidence Interval

Margin of error refers to the range of values that is acceptable to you as you estimate of the population’s mean or average value. What is the percentage of error that you will allow to give you the level of confidence you need? Whatever value you get in estimating say, the mean of your population is not an absolute number. You should allow for little deviations that are statistically acceptable and serve your purpose.

An analogy to illustrate the margin of error is like a hunter trying to hit a deer with his arrow. He aims for the heart but in the process hits the areas within 3 inches of the heart, either below, above, at the left or at the right. That is okay, because what he really wants is to be able to bring the deer home for his meal. Hitting the parts surrounding the heart serves the purpose of going home with the booty. Hitting the lungs or the other internal parts next to the heart can immobilize it.

3. Confidence Level

Confidence level is a little bit confused with margin of error. This is your level of certainty that your estimated mean (the statistic) will fall within the confidence interval that you have set for the estimate.

Again, back to the analogy of hitting the deer with an arrow. The question is “How confident is the archer in hitting the areas surrounding the heart?” If he is really a very good archer, he might say that out of 100 arrows, he is certain that 95 of this would hit the area within 3 inches of the heart. That’s his confidence level or percentage of certainty.

In statistics, the convention is to have a confidence level of either 95% or 99%. The former is a commonly used standard.

Assuming that your population has a normal distribution, the confidence level corresponds to a value of the z-distribution. A z-distribution is a standard normal distribution, meaning, the population approximates a bell-shaped curve.

4. Standard Deviation

The standard deviation is how spread out the numbers are from the mean. To make this concept clear, let’s go back to the hunter example.

Let’s say the hunter shot a target with a bullseye 500 times. As he is a very good archer, most of the arrows would have landed near or at the center but for sure, not always at the center. Those arrows that missed the bullseye are similar to the deviations from the mean. The way the arrows spread from the center indicates deviations from the average.

So how far will the arrows released by the hunter deviate from the center? We don’t know unless we measure the distance of each of the arrows from the center. But we don’t have time to measure all of the 500 arrows he released so we might as well take a sample, say 20 arrows. Those 20 arrows might show that the deviation from the bullseye is within 4 inches. So this value can be used to predict the deviation of the 500 arrows consequently released.

Getting the population standard deviation from 20 samples is analogous to a pilot study of the population. A portion of the population may be studied to estimate the population standard deviation. If it is not possible to do so, it is common practice that a standard deviation of 0.5 is used in estimating sample size.

The population standard deviation is computed by getting the square root of the variance. The variance is the average of the squared differences from the mean. This is denoted by the formula given below:

population standard deviation
Fig. 1 Population standard deviation.

Using Confidence Level, Standard Deviation and Margin of Error to Estimate the Sample Size

If you are now ready with at least three measures to estimate sample size, i.e., margin of error, confidence level and standard deviation, then you are now ready to estimate the sample size you need. For example, let’s have the following data:

Confidence level: 2.326 (the corresponding value in the z table indicating 99% of the population is accounted for)
Standard deviation: 0.5 (assuming that the population standard deviation is unknown)
Margin of error: 5% or 0.05

The following equation is used to compute the sample size:

estimating sample size
Fig. 2. Formula to estimate sample size.

Substituting given values to the equation:

Sample size = ((2.326)² x 0.5(0.5))/(0.05)²
= (5.4103 x 0.25)/ 0.0025
= 1.3526/0.0025
= 541.04 ~ 542 (always round up to the higher integer number)

Therefore, if your research requires interviewing people, the estimated number of interviewees is 542.


Niles, R. (n.d.). Standard deviation. Retrieved on 18 February 2015 from

Smith, S. (2013). Determining Sample Size: How to Ensure You Get the Correct Sample Size. Retrieved on 19 February 2015 from

©2015 February 22 P. A. Regoniel