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Educational Research and the Scientific Method

Educational Research and the Scientific Method Phoenix University April 12, 2010 Education and the Scientific Method Research can be defined as any compilation of facts, evidence of data, information and proof of truth for the advancement of knowledge. It can be defined as the pursuit for statistics, figures, numbers or reports or any methodical investigation to establish concrete facts. Research must begin with a clearly defined goal and not be based on assumptions. The information gathered must be reliable and should address a unique issue and be based on a specific goal in mind.

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There are many different kinds of research. Scientific research depends heavily on the application of the scientific method, a harnessing of inquisitiveness and interests. This type of research supplies precise methodical and logical information and theories for the explanation of the natural world, its scenery and the environment that surrounds it. It makes matter-of-fact applications more viable and achievable. Funding for scientific research is oftentimes provided by public authorities, private groups and charitable organizations and can sometimes be hard to obtain for certain research projects.

There are also many companies that participate in the funding of scientific research in order to obtain tax write offs at the end of the year. Historical research is the method by which a student of or expert in history writes an account of historical events and uses chronological resources and other evidence, based on the past, to make inquiries. This method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use chronological roots as a starting point.

Heading such as external criticism, internal criticism and synthesis are commonly used by historians in their work. This also includes higher criticism and textual criticism. According to the Introduction to Research article, the four basic steps of a scientific inquiry are: a. Recognize and identify a topic to be studies. A topic is a question, issue or problem related to education that can be examined and answered through the collection and analysis of data. b. Describe and execute the procedures to collect information about the topic being studied.

This involves identifying the subjects/participants, the measures needed to collect the data and the activities describing how and when the data will be collected. c. Analyze the data-how will data be analyzed? Are data requiring qualitative or quantitative analyzes processes? d. State the results or implications based on analysis of date. Conclusion reached in the research study should relate back to the original research topic. What can be concluded given the information provided by the study? Are the conclusions drawn from the data? Etc.

Qualitative research is the reasoning structure that develops a hypothesis. It does not seek to control the contexts and gives the researcher a chance to interact with the participants. It oftentimes involves a smaller sample and is more holistic. This method of inquiry is traditionally used in social sciences and in market research. It assumes individuality and has a precise interpretation of data. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often needed, rather than large samples.

Qualitative methods produce information only on the particular cases studied, and any more general conclusions are only hypotheses (informative guesses). Quantitative research, in the social sciences, refers to the methodical pragmatic study of measurable or express in numerical properties, observable facts and their relationships. The purpose of quantitative research is to test the hypothesis and seek to control the context. In order to develop and employ mathematical models, theories and/or hypotheses pertaining to phenomena the researcher must not interact with participants.

This process of measurement involves large numbers of subjects/participants for results to be statistically significant and is central to quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between empirical observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships. Quantitative research assumes that contexts are relatively stable, uniform and can be controlled. Data analysis relies on statistical procedures and is used widely in social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, and political science.

According to the SEAS article entitled Scientific Method, the underlying theme of the scientific method is testability. Only observations that are testable can be subjected to the scientific method. This limits the phenomenon that science can deal with but this strict code is also responsible for the consistency of science and the value of the observations made. Science and scientists do not make value judgments and just because something is out of the real of science does not make it outside the realm of possibility. It is only impossible to be evaluated by science.

Although procedures vary from one area of study to another, exclusive features differentiate scientific inquiry from other organizing systems of knowledge. Scientific researchers recommend a hypothesis as an illumination of a fact or occurrence that can be observed and progress to design investigational studies to analyze and check these hypotheses. These steps must be repeatable in order to obtain and envisage any forthcoming results. Theories that include wider areas of inquiry may bind many independently-derived hypotheses together in a coherent, supportive structure.

This in turn may help form new hypotheses or place groups of hypotheses into context. References 1. Ndunda M. (2004). Introduction to educational research. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from College of Charleston, Web site: http://www. cofc. edu/~ndundam/NOTESSPRING2001/635chapt1. htm 2. SEAS (2007). Scientific method. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from http://seasproject. disl. org/oldsite/new_page_3. htm 3. Wudka, J. (1998). The scientific method. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from http://phyun5. ucr. edu/~wudka/Physics7/Notes_www/node5. html 4. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Research

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