Research Methods Online Course
- Study Research Methods for a foundation that can be used anywhere
- Learn to conduct useful and credible research
- Gain valuable skills to help your career or business
Learn to plan and conduct research into the current status of an aspect of an industry relating to their area of study, and to complete a descriptive report based on that research.
There are 7 lessons as follows:
- Determining Research Needs
- Research Methods
- Using Statistics
- Research Reports
- Searching For Information
- Conducting Statistical Research
- Reporting On A Research Project.
- Develop your ability to collect, collate and interpret data and prepare reports in ways relevant to the work environment;
- Monitor and evaluate one’s own work in order to develop a responsible attitude to workplace performance and quality assurance;
- Discuss areas where there is a valid need for research which are relevant to area of study;
- Explain research methods, including experimental techniques, commonly used in your area of study;
- Understanding of the basic statistical methods used for research;
- Locate, collect and evaluate information for a specific research purpose;
- Prepare a research report in a format which conforms to normal industry procedures.
Duration: 100 hours
Content of each lesson
Lesson 1. Determining Research Needs
- Identifying research needs
- The research goal
- The research question
- Other questions to clarify the research goal
- Sources of information
- What information is required
- Depth and breadth of data
- Constraining factors: time, resources
Lesson 2. Searching For Information
- Kind of exploratory research
- Primary data research
- Literary reviews
- Research objectives
Lesson 3. Research Methods
- Research terminology
- A controlled environment
- Other field trial considerations
- Steps in collection and analysis of data
- Setting up a comparison trial
- Running the trial
- Evaluating the trial
- Interviewing skills
- Asking questions
- Types of questions
- Ways of handling difficult questions
Lesson 4. Using Statistics
- Official statistics
- Reasons for using statistics
- Disadvantages of statistics
- Issues to consider
- Descriptive statistics
- Observed and expected rates
- Confidence intervals
- Conducting Statistical Research
- Reliability of statistics
- Presenting statistics: pie charts, bar charts, histograms
- Descriptive statistics: mean, median, mode, variation, standard deviation, etc
- Correlation, Probability
Lesson 5. Research Reports
- Collecting quantitative data
- Conducting a survey
- Procedure for designing a survey
- Forms of data
- Planning a formal survey
- Designing a questionnaire
- Common problems
Lesson 6. Research Reporting
- Report writing tips
- Structure of a report
- The report outline
- Research papers
Lesson 7. Reporting On A Research Project
A practical project involving construction of a proper research report
Introduction to Research Methods
Any research paper or report, regardless of discipline, uses a similar format. The reason for this is that it allows readers to know exactly where to find the information they are looking for within the document. These format rules apply to a research proposal, a thesis and other research reports.
One of the major sections of any report will be the introduction. Within any sound introduction there will exist several sections. Their names may vary, but they will generally provide the same information:
- Introduction – Background to your research topic, provides content and focus.
- Statement of the Problem or Research Purpose or Focus. Eg: A statement of what is the problem.
- Purpose / Research Aim – Why you are doing this study. Eg: The object of this research is to …….
- Significance – Why this is important, to whom is it important and what will be the benefits of the study?
- Research questions / hypothesis. Eg: Is there a significant relationship between x and y?
You will learn to construct a problem statement and in doing so, also gather information that would be suitable for the introduction and other sections.
Although the problem statement in itself may only be a few sentences supported by a few paragraphs of extra information, it is one of the most important parts of the introduction because it provides the context for the research you are undertaking; it sets the scope of the research and will also generate research questions. In short it will justify the need for your study.
A problem statement is not how to do something, nor is it a question in itself. It is not vague or indirect. It is a clear, structured statement on the purpose and rationale study. It can also be very difficult to write well.
The problem statement will need to establish the problem and its factors that give rise to the problem, it will need to put it in context of its field, and it will need to justify why it is worth researching the problem.
Selecting a topic/research problem
Before you start to think about writing a problem statement, thought and time need to be given to actually selecting a problem to research. It is worth investing in this step carefully as it rest of your research will ride on selecting a problem that is interesting, relevant and manageable.
Define what interests you: although this sounds deceptively simple, it is important to find a topic that you consider interesting and worthy of spending time on, especially if you are considering a long term research project. This is very important in terms of motivation to continue with your research. Generally students will decide on a topic that they are already familiar with either from general interest or previous studies. Thus they can build on an already solid foundation. For example your passion may be marine mammals.
Refine your interests: You need to narrow down the focus to one aspect of your topic. You may not always have the latitude to select your own research topic, it may in some institutions be decided for you to fit in with research funding and other administrative concerns. For example: you may decide to focus on Southern Right Whales in particular. This is still to general a topic for research so you will have to narrow your focus further still.