Tag Archives: research

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.

Reference

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 http://simplyeducate.me/2015/10/11/open-access-journals-blogs-research/

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.

References

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 http://simplyeducate.me/2015/09/25/yaya-dub-phenomenon/

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

Method and Methodology: The Difference

This article explains the difference between method and methodology. These two terms are often interchanged although they mean different things. Read on to distinguish one from the other. Examples are provided to clarify the issue.

In writing the third chapter of the thesis or the methodology section, beginning researchers often confuse method with the methodology. Ironically, some of those students who have finished their undergraduate thesis still could not discern the difference between the two words. Some just say that they mean the same thing. Is this pronouncement correct?

Difference Between Method and Methodology

Looking carefully at the two words, notice that the method is a root word of methodology. Common sense prescribes that the method is just a part of the methodology. Logic dictates that the method gets defined first. What then is a method?

The “method” described in this discussion refers particularly to “research methods.” Research methods are the tools, processes, or ways by which researchers obtain data.

How are data obtained then?

method of projection
Time series analysis?

In social science research, the data gathered for analysis by researchers are obtained using interview, focus group discussion, participant observation, survey, among others. In the natural sciences, data may be obtained using various techniques. For example, an ecologist might want to mark and recapture animals for population studies. A taxonomist might wish to count the scales of fish to distinguish one species from another (morphometrics). A geologist might want to measure the size of soil particles. Or a botanist might want to identify and count all trees in a quadrat. All of these activities refer to methods.

On the other hand, methodology still refers to method but with an extra “ology” at the end of the word. Ology means a discipline of study or branch of knowledge. Therefore, methodology as a combination of ology and method is essentially a study of methods.

Now, methodology suggests that there is a need to study research methods. In writing a thesis or research, it is important to consider what methods are appropriate.

How then shall you know which method to use in your particular study? The answer is simple. You just have to get back to the very reason you embarked on the study.

Where should you look for it?

Of course, the ultimate guide in your research journey is the very reason you are conducting that study. What for is the study? What are its objectives?

These questions are easily answered by simply going back to your first chapter or introduction and reading what you have written in your problem statements or objectives. The first question will be replied to by the first method you will use to satisfy its information requirements. The first method may also answer the next question, or there may be a need for you to devise or find another method.

For example, here are problem statements and the corresponding methods to be used:

Statement of the Problem
Method
1. What is the profile of the respondents in terms of age, gender, and educational attainment?1. Questionnaire
2. What is the level of awareness of the community on coastal ordinances?2. Focus group discussion
3. What infrastructures are indicators of the community’s adaptation to soil erosion?3. Photo-documentation, video footages
4. What is the distribution range of the monkey population?4. Remote sensing
5. Is there a significant difference between blood pressure before and after exercise?5. Blood pressure readings using a sphygmomanometer

Having listed the methods in the above table, you should justify why you used such methods and the guiding principles for using those methods. Describe in detail how the methods will be used to answer the questions you have posed in your study. A suitable method can be replicated or repeated in a similar way. This means that you will have to:

1. define your assumptions,
2. state where you will conduct your study and why you chose that site,
3. determine the specific members of the population and decide how many of them will be involved,
4. specify what statistical tests will have to be applied,
5. describe what procedure or procedures you will take to gather the data, and
6. identify the materials to be used, among others.

The whole thing pertains to your methodology.

If you have written the methodology in such a manner that the reader understands the why and how of your chosen methods, then you have succeeded in writing the third chapter. The rest of the paper should reflect the application of the research methodology.

References

Cram, F. (2013). Method or methodology, what’s the difference? Retrieved 11 February 2015 from http://whanauoraresearch.co.nz/news/method-or-methodology-whats-the-difference/

Gabriel, D. (2011). Methods and methodology. Retrieved 11 February 2015 from http://deborahgabriel.com/2011/05/13/methods-and-methodology/

©2015 February 15 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (February 15, 2015). Method and Methodology: The Difference. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2015/02/15/method-methodology-difference/

Qualitative Interviewing: 4 Reminders about Question Construction

The goal of the interview is to collect whole answers from the interviewee. Question formulation and delivery are critical in this process.

Interviewees respond not only to the kind of question that is context dependent but also to the way the question is asked. The wording, ordering, and kind of language used affect the context (e.g. perception of the interviewee) of the question. Even your tone, enunciation, gestures, and facial expressions as interviewer affect the direction of the interviewee’s answers.

A question could be closed-ended or open. A closed-ended question could be answered by a yes or no, or a list of choices is provided where the interviewee may choose his/her answer. Otherwise the question is open-ended when answers depend on the participant’s own categories and opinions.

It is said that closed-ended questions are hard to construct but easy to use in data gathering while open-ended is the opposite. Actually, both types are hard to formulate since both need rapport and both are prone to errors when not properly prepared.

So when preparing your questionnaire, there are important things to consider in question construction and delivery.

4 Reminders About Question Construction

1. Start with the easiest question.

An interview schedule (whether for structured or semi-structured setting) should always start with the easiest, most comfortable question to establish rapport for a one-shot setting or maintain the rapport for a multilevel setting. Depending on the culture, the interviewer should be cognizant on what subtopic or question would the interviewee consider as the easiest and most comfortable. Usually, questions about basic personal information seem the least threatening and thus, the most uncomplicated.

2. There is proper ordering of questions.

The ordering of the questions affects the entire interview process. Whether you choose the deductive (from general to specific) or the inductive (specific to broad) arrangement, questions are always in a network. That is, the subsequent question should be linked to the one it follows. This is to help the interviewee in organizing the information that she/he is going to share.

Unless inevitably necessary, questions should not be isolated from one another. When you ask questions randomly, as if they are just popping out of nowhere, you will definitely confuse the interviewee.

3. Remember that questions are connected.

Since questions are linked together, a preceding question may significantly affect the interviewee’s answer to the subsequent question. Bradburn, Sudman, and Wansink (2004) cited a study that illustrates how the ordering of questions about advertising affects the women’s answers. Women’s attitudes (answers) when asked about their opinions toward advertising were more positive when questions about dress advertising preceded the general questions about advertising than when it was the other way around.

Given this tendency, you may opt to carefully arrange the questions in such a way that the unnecessary effect of the preceding question will be minimized and will not be carried over to the next. That is why, a pilot interview is always recommended to evaluate your prepared schedule.

lots of questions

4. Learn how to probe.

However efficiently formulated your questions are, always expect that the interviewee’s answers may not always be complete. Reasons could be that the questions are not clear, the interviewee is reluctant to answer or there is problem with the retrieval of the information needed. If this is the case, probe.

If questions are misunderstood or unclear, just rephrase the question and immediately ask again or you may just ask again later. The interviewee may hesitate due to uncertainty of what more information is needed.

If this is the case, ask for more by paraphrasing his answers followed by prompts e.g. “What else?”, “Why?”, “What do you mean?, “In what way?, or “How?”

Prompts also are important to aid recall when interviewee has difficulty in remembering. You may give examples to serve as retrieval cues or to clarify the needed information (Dawson, 2007).

References

Bradburn, N.M., Sudman, S., & Wansink, B. (2004). Asking questions: The definitive guide to questionnaire designs – for market research, political polls, and social and health questionnaires. CA: Josey-Bass: A Wiley Imprint.

Dawson, C. (2007). A practical guide to qualitative research: A user friendly manual in mastering research techniques and projects. Oxford: How To Content.

©2015 February 10 J. G. Pizarro

A Sample of Conceptual Framework with Statement of the Problem

This article shows how a conceptual framework, along with the corresponding statement of the problem, is organized and written in a dissertation. Take a look at the example on how it is done and try to make one for your paper. You may also use this in your thesis.

You may be thinking about too many theories to base your study on. However, a conceptual framework in built on a theory that serves as the basis for your study. Once you have decided which theory to adopt, try to figure it out if the phenomenon, with all the associated variables in your study, can be best explained by that theory. The example below illustrates how this works.

Example of a Conceptual Framework

This study zeroes in on the professional development activities for teachers by espousing the idea that the classroom performance of teachers is a critical factor for student academic performance. The researcher based her assumption from Weiner’s Attribution Theory that external and internal factors can improve performance.

For example, students may attribute their academic performance to their teachers (external factor) while the teachers may attribute their teaching performance to in-service trainings (external factor) and perhaps, to their teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession (internal factors). These relationships are illustrated in Figure 1.

conceptual framework
Figure 1. Paradigm showing the relationships among the variables in this study.

Statement of the Problem

The purpose of this study is to provide baseline data on in-service training for English, Mathematics, and Science Fourth Year High School teachers from School Year 2006 up to 2010. Also, a professional development model for teachers is proposed.

Specifically, this study sought answers to the following questions:

1. What are the most familiar in-service training activities among teachers? And what are their insights about these activities as to: (a) applicability in the classroom, (b) importance in the teaching profession, and (c) impact on student performance?

2. What feedback do teachers have of the in-service training programs attended in terms of (a) perception, and (b) satisfaction?

3. What are the teachers’ level of teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession?

4. What is the performance of the fourth year high school students in their Subject Achievement Tests in three subject areas: English, Mathematics, and Science during the first semester of SY 2010-2011?

5. Are the teachers’ perception and satisfaction regarding the in-service training programs predictors of their levels of teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession?

6. Are the teachers’ levels of teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession predictors of their student performance in the Subject Achievement Tests?

7. What enhanced professional development model for teachers can be developed on the basis of the results of this study?

Now, you have learned how a theory is used, and how the questions in the statement of the problem are formulated. Take note that the questions in the statement of the problem are arranged according to the flow of conceptual framework. First, it has questions on inventory of in-service training activities, followed by the feedback. The next question is about teacher factors, then results of student performance. The last question relates to the development of the enhanced professional development model.

Can you make it? Yes, you can!

© 2015 January 19 M. G. Alvior

Research Studies Conducted on Teachers’ In-service Training

This article pinpoints studies conducted on in-service training events for teachers. It is written and organized as a review of related literature in the dissertation of Dr. Mary Alvior. This article provides an example of a review of related literature focused on specific variables of studies made on teachers’ training.

Sharma (2010) conducted a study about the training needs of high school teachers in government and private schools of Bangkok. The study found that teachers preferred training in diagnosing students’ learning needs, identifying students’ personal needs and difficulties, organizing instruction for enrichment, developing multi-grade teaching skills, developing learning activities on subjects, adopting problem-solving skills, developing emotional intelligence skills, publishing research papers, conducting action research, and developing total quality management skills. Hence, training for the aforesaid competencies are highly required.

 Likewise, the studies of Mizuno (2004) and Yang (2005) affirmed that teachers viewed in-service education to be more effective when the content of the training is based on their self-reported needs. They also found the important factors that can improve teachers’ willingness to participate in in-service training programs. These factors are: (1) competent resource persons, (2) involvement of trainees in the training process, (3) consultation with teachers to assess their needs, and (4) support to teachers to implement new ideas/innovations acquired in in-service training programs.

They further agreed that it is not the duration of the program but the degree of satisfaction with the in-service training events that contributes to the impact of the training at the classroom level. They likewise believed that student performance is dependent upon the teachers’ quality of teaching. Thus, it is essential to enrich teaching skills and quality of teaching, as well as to adjust their training according to their work situation.

Likewise, Yang (2005) emphasized the need for INSET providers to spend some time listening to teachers’ voice, investigating what teachers really need, and designing appropriate programs with suitable speakers before any INSET course is implemented. INSET should not be carried out in a “top-down” direction; instead, it should be built up from down to top, in which teachers may be empowered to decide which training activities are suited to them.

Indeed, teachers become satisfied with in-service training programs if their professional needs are addressed during the training. This is true in the case of teachers in the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) who were highly satisfied with their training programs (Bakar et al., 2008).

In conclusion, teachers need to continually engage in any in-service training activity in order to develop their quality of teaching. As Mizuno (2004) quotes Desforges (1995), “The best of teachers spend a lifetime learning to improve on their professional practice”.

References

1. Sharma, S. (2010). Perceptions of teachers & school leaders on competencies of teachers & training needs. Academic Leaderhip The Online Journal, Current Issue – Volume 8 Issue 4. Retrieved 16 January, 2010 from http://www.academicleadership.org/article/Perceptions_of_Teachers_School_Leaders_on_Competencies_of_Teachers_Training_Needs

2. Mizuno, C. (2004). A comparative study of teacher education in japan, korea, and australia. Retrieved 1 February, 2011 from http://www.paaljapan.org/resources/proceedings/PAAL8/pdf/pdf024.pdf

3. Bakar, R., Konting, M., Jamian, R., & and N. Lyndon (2008). Teaching efficacy of Universiti Putra Malaysia trainee teachers in teaching Malay Language as a first language. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 16, 1-14.

4. Yang, W. H. (2005). An Investigation of English Teachers’ Perspectives on INSET Needs and Provision in Taiwan. Retrieved 8 July, 2010 from http://163.21.239.11/dspace/bitstream/987654321/3545/1/11.pdf

© 2015 January 16 M. G. Alvior

Use of RAFTS Prompt in Rhetorical Context and Writing Traits in CBLI

This article highlights the result of a research on the the effectiveness of the RAFTS prompt. RAFTS stands for role, audience, format, topic and strong verb, in order to make writing assignments more enjoyable and fulfilling to the students.

With the implementation of Content-Based Language Instruction (CBLI) in Palawan State University, English teachers found content-based lessons difficult to prepare. Writing in particular requires collaboration among teachers to provide students meaningful writing tasks. However, it has been observed that students have writing difficulties. They have poor writing traits. Also, they can hardly address the rhetorical context or the situation that surrounds their act of writing.

It is in this line of thought that the researcher embarked on an action research. The study aimed to determine the effectiveness of RAFTS prompt in addressing the rhetorical context and in improving the writing traits of students.

Specifically, this study sought to answer the following questions:

  1. Did the scores of students improve after using the RAFTS prompt in addressing the rhetorical context?,
  2. Was the use of intervention effective in improving the writing traits of students?,
  3. In what manner, did the intervention become effective? And less effective?, and
  4. Was there a significant relationship between the students’ scores in their writing traits and in their mid-term grades?

The researcher used purposive sampling in selecting the participants of the study because this is a classroom-based research. The sample consisted of 40 freshmen from the Department of Computer Science.

Data were gathered from the written works of students and scored using rubrics taken from the official website of the Nevada Writing Project. Further, the researcher used t-test and Pearson r for the analysis of data.

She also used written feedbacks and interviews to reflect better on the effectiveness of RAFTS prompt in content-based language instruction.

It was found out that RAFTS prompt was very effective in addressing the rhetorical context. The result of t-test for related samples using SPSS v10 indicated a significant p-value of 0.000. However, RAFTS prompt was not effective in improving the writing traits of students (p-value = 0.083).

In view of the findings, RAFTS prompt can only be effective in addressing the rhetorical context. The students can assume roles that they need to portray in writing. They can also write to a given audience, follow the format, develop a topic, and use strong verbs.

However, RAFTS prompt alone cannot improve their writing traits. If they are poor in grammar, spelling, transitions, accuracy, fluency, word choice and others, these mistakes can be repeated in their written works. This scenario implies that RAFTS prompt is a writing technique in the pre-writing stage.

In addition, there must be more writing strategies to employ in order to develop the writing traits. Teachers should focus not only on the context but most importantly to the language, tasks and evaluation criteria in order to improve the writing traits of students.

Thus, it is recommended that another action research be undertaken to determine the effectiveness of connecting the writing traits to RAFTS prompt in the writing stage.

References

Kroll, B. (2006). Teaching english as a second language of foreign language. (3rd ed.) (M.C. Murcia, ed.). Philippines: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd.

McCallister, C. (2004). Writing education practices within the reconceptualized curriculum.

Northern Nevada Writing Project at http://writingfix.com

Nunan, D. (2009). Second language teaching and learning. Philippines: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd.

Slagle, P. (1997). Getting real: authenticity in writing prompts. Quarterly. vol.19, no.3. Retrieved from www.scribd.com An encyclopedia for parents and teachers, ed. J.L. kincheloe and D. Weil, CT: Greenwood Press.

© 2015 January 14 M. G. Alvior

Conceptual Framework: A Step by Step Guide on How to Make One

What is a conceptual framework? How do you prepare one? This article defines the meaning of conceptual framework and lists the steps on how to prepare it. A simplified example is added to strengthen the reader’s understanding.

In the course of preparing your research paper as one of the requirements for your course as an undergraduate or graduate student, you will need to write the conceptual framework of your study. The conceptual framework steers the whole research activity. The conceptual framework serves as a “map” or “rudder” that will guide you towards realizing the objectives or intent of your study.

What then is a conceptual framework in the context of empirical research? The next section defines and explains the term.

Definition of Conceptual Framework

A conceptual framework represents the researcher’s synthesis of literature on how to explain a phenomenon. It maps out the actions required in the course of the study given his previous knowledge of other researchers’ point of view and his observations on the subject of research.

In other words, the conceptual framework is the researcher’s understanding of how the particular variables in his study connect with each other. Thus, it identifies the variables required in the research investigation. It is the researcher’s “map” in pursuing the investigation.

As McGaghie et al. (2001) put it: The conceptual framework “sets the stage” for the presentation of the particular research question that drives the investigation being reported based on the problem statement. The problem statement of a thesis presents the context and the issues that caused the researcher to conduct the study.

The conceptual framework lies within a much broader framework called theoretical framework. The latter draws support from time-tested theories that embody the findings of many researchers on why and how a particular phenomenon occurs.

Step by Step Guide on How to Make the Conceptual Framework

Before you prepare your conceptual framework, you need to do the following things:

  1. Choose your topic. Decide on what will be your research topic. The topic should be within your field of specialization.
  2. Do a literature review. Review relevant and updated research on the theme that you decide to work on after scrutiny of the issue at hand. Preferably use peer-reviewed and well-known scientific journals as these are reliable sources of information.
  3. Isolate the important variables. Identify the specific variables described in the literature and figure out how these are related. Some abstracts contain the variables and the salient findings thus may serve the purpose. If these are not available, find the research paper’s summary. If the variables are not explicit in the summary, get back to the methodology or the results and discussion section and quickly identify the variables of the study and the significant findings. Read the TSPU Technique on how to skim efficiently articles and get to the important points without much fuss.
  4. Generate the conceptual framework. Build your conceptual framework using your mix of the variables from the scientific articles you have read. Your problem statement serves as a reference in constructing the conceptual framework. In effect, your study will attempt to answer a question that other researchers have not explained yet. Your research should address a knowledge gap.

Example of a Conceptual Framework

Statement number 5 introduced in an earlier post titled How to Write a Thesis Statement will serve as the basis of the illustrated conceptual framework in the following examples.

Thesis statement: Chronic exposure to blue light from LED screens (of computer monitors and television) deplete melatonin levels thus reduce the number of sleeping hours among middle-aged adults.

The study claims that blue light from the light emitting diodes (LED) inhibit the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. Those affected experience insomnia; they sleep less than required (usually less than six hours), and this happens when they spend too much time working on their laptops or viewing the television at night.

conceptual framework
Fig. 1 The research paradigm illustrating the researcher’s conceptual framework.

Notice that the variables of the study are explicit in the paradigm presented in Figure 1. In the illustration, the two variables are 1) number of hours devoted in front of the computer, and 2) number of hours slept at night. The former is the independent variable while the latter is the dependent variable. Both of these variables are easy to measure. It is just counting the number of hours spent in front of the computer and the number of hours slept by the subjects of the study.

Assuming that other things are constant during the performance of the study, it will be possible to relate these two variables and confirm that indeed, blue light emanated from computer screens can affect one’s sleeping patterns. (Please read the article titled “Do you know that the computer can disturb your sleeping patterns?” to find out more about this phenomenon) A correlation analysis will show whether the relationship is significant or not.

e-Book on Conceptual Framework Development

Due to the popularity of this article, I wrote an e-Book designed to suit the needs of beginning researchers. This e-Book answers the many questions and comments regarding the preparation of the conceptual framework. I provide five practical examples based on existing literature to demonstrate the procedure.

So, do you want a more detailed explanation with five practical, real-life examples? Get the 52-page e-Book NOW!




REFERENCE

McGaghie, W. C.; Bordage, G.; and J. A. Shea (2001). Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. Retrieved on January 5, 2015 from http://goo.gl/qLIUFg

©2015 January 5 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (January 5, 2015). Conceptual Framework: A Step by Step Guide on How to Make One. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2015/01/05/conceptual-framework-guide/

Quantitative Methods: Meaning and Characteristics

What are quantitative methods of research? What is its definition, when are these methods used and what are its characteristics?

This article defines quantitative methods and lists seven characteristics that discriminate these research methods from qualitative research approaches.

The methods used by researchers may either be quantitative or qualitative. The decision to select the method largely depends on the researcher’s judgment as well as the nature of the research topic. Some research topics are better studied using quantitative methods while others are more appropriately explored using qualitative methods.

Recently, many researchers use both methods, thereby the era of using mixed methods in research arose as a more desirable and encompassing approach in understanding phenomena. Qualitative methods may be used to explore a phenomenon and identify factors for a quantitative study. Or, a quantitative study may identify research areas that require the application of qualitative methods to provide an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon at hand or when the use of quantitative methods is insufficient to answer questions that relate to human behavior such as feelings, values, and beliefs.

J. Pizarro has already described qualitative research in this site, so this article focuses on quantitative methods, its meaning and characteristics.

What are quantitative methods?

Quantitative methods are those research methods that use numbers as its basis for making generalizations about a phenomenon. These numbers originate from objective scales of measurement of the units of analysis called variables. Four types of measurement scale exist namely nominal, ordinal, ratio, and interval (see 4 Statistical Scales of Measurement).

The data that will serve as the basis for explaining a phenomenon, therefore, can be gathered through surveys. Such surveys use instruments that require numerical inputs or direct measurements of parameters that characterize the subject of investigation (e.g. pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, turbidity, and conductivity to measure water quality). These numbers will then be analyzed using the appropriate statistical application software to unravel significant relationships or differences between variables. The output serves as the basis for making the conclusions and generalizations of the study.

7 Characteristics of Quantitative Methods

Seven characteristics discriminate qualitative methods of research from qualitative ones.

  1. Data gathering instruments contain items that solicit measurable characteristics of the population (e.g. age, the number of children, educational status, economic status).
  2. Standardized, pre-tested instruments guide data collection thus ensuring the accuracy, reliability and validity of data.
  3. For more reliable data analysis, a normal population distribution curve is preferred over a non-normal distribution. This requires a large population, the numbers of which depend on how the characteristics of the population vary. This requires adherence to the principle of random sampling to avoid researcher’s bias in interpreting the results that defeat the purpose of research.
  4. The data obtained using quantitative methods are organized using tables, graphs, or figures that consolidate large numbers of data to show trends, relationships, or differences among variables. This fosters understanding to the readers or clients of the research investigation.
  5. Researchers can repeat the quantitative method to verify or confirm the findings in another setting. This reinforces the validity of groundbreaking discoveries or findings thus eliminating the possibility of spurious or erroneous conclusions.
  6. Quantitative models or formula derived from data analysis can predict outcomes. If-then scenarios can be constructed using complex mathematical computations with the aid of computers.
  7. Advanced digital or electronic instruments are used to measure or gather data from the field.

Reference

University of Southern California (2015). Quantitative methods. Retrieved on 3 January, 2015 from http://goo.gl/GMiwt

© 2015 January 3 P. A. Regoniel