Introduction to Research Methodology

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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    00:01 Hi, I'm Doctor Rhonda Lawes, and I'm here to have the discussion you didn't really ask for.

    00:06 You didn't even know how much you needed.

    00:07 But I promise you it's going to be worth your time.

    00:10 This is an introduction to research methodology.

    00:13 It's way more fun than it sounds.

    00:16 See, research methodologies, kind of the rules.

    00:18 It's the guidelines or the guardrails.

    00:20 It's a very systematic process that guides the researcher in how to conduct the study.

    00:25 Now, it involves various techniques, procedures, and tools to collect, analyze, and interpret the data.

    00:31 Stay with me. I promise this is going to be helpful to you.

    00:34 Now understanding research methodology is really important for students because this is what's going to form the foundation for you understanding meaningful and valid research. So, overall research methodology is essential for you understanding that the research process is rigorous, it's transparent, and it has to be capable of producing reliable and valid results.

    00:57 So research methodology matters.

    00:59 Now, the specific approach taken will depend on the nature of the research.

    01:03 The research questions, the disciplinary traditions, blah blah blah blah blah.

    01:07 All this stuff on and on.

    01:08 Let's get into some basics.

    01:10 Now I've broken it down into chunks so it's easier for you to understand and remember.

    01:15 Okay, so walk with me through these five important concepts in the value and purpose of a research methodology.

    01:23 Now, first of all, research methodology helps identify the research problems. It kind of clearly defines it and gives an understanding of the research problem that this study aims to address.

    01:35 Now, that's a pretty basic thing.

    01:36 Everyone needs to be on the same page, pun intended, of what the research problem is that we're exploring.

    01:43 Secondly, data collection.

    01:45 Now, data collection is this research methodology provides a framework for collecting relevant data through various methods like surveys, interviews, experiments, and observations.

    01:57 So when the study is being designed, how the data will be collected is the second important component of research methodology.

    02:05 Third, Data analysis.

    02:08 Now we've identified the research problem.

    02:10 We've explained how we're going to collect the data.

    02:12 Now how we analyze the data is the third key important concept in research methodology.

    02:19 See it assists in choosing appropriate statistical or analytical tools for interpreting the collected data.

    02:25 Now, this may sound simple to you, but I remember in my dissertation my committee had multiple arguments and fights over which type of data analysis should be done. So this is often a point of contention between the experts on which would be the best or the most effective form of data analysis.

    02:45 Number four: ensuring validity and reliability.

    02:49 Now keep in mind research methodology has to address both of these things validity and reliability because it helps in the designing the research plan that ensures your study and your results will be valid and reliable. That makes your results more credible.

    03:06 Number five is generalization.

    03:09 Man, this is a huge one.

    03:11 Research methodology allows researchers to generalize findings from a sample to a larger population.

    03:19 Now, when you have good and strong generalizability, this makes your study worth more to society, because you can have external validity of the study and your results outside of your small sample group.

    03:33 Now let's talk about how we organize research designs into groups.

    03:38 So anytime you get a list of something let's go through it and just see what the framework is.

    03:42 We have qualitative research, quantitative research, mixed methods research, experimental research, and case study research. Now those may not mean much to you right now, but we're going to kind of go through and give you examples so you have a better understanding of what they are now. When I first started studying research as an undergrad, I always got confused on the difference between qualitative and quantitative.

    04:09 Both are important.

    04:11 Now, you may not you might not feel like that when you hear educators arguing about which has more value and who likes quant and who likes qual.

    04:19 But I want you more to understand the difference.

    04:22 Qualitative research is critically important because it helps us understand what people think about something, what their experience is like, what the problems they might list.

    04:31 So qualitative is not absolutely measuring something.

    04:35 It involves interviewing people.

    04:36 You may work with focus groups, and you analyze the content of things.

    04:41 You're looking for ways to gather information in a nontraditional manner.

    04:45 So you're trying to understand and interpret the underlying things that are going on with humans or with people.

    04:53 Now, quantitative research might appear more scientific, but it's really not.

    04:58 But it's communicated more with numbers and analyzing numerical data.

    05:04 Now, if you think qualitative research doesn't require analyzing oh no, no, no.

    05:08 Because when you do the interviews you write out people's responses.

    05:12 And then it takes many, many, many, many hours of going through those responses and grouping them together and categorizing them and looking for patterns and interpreting that.

    05:21 So both require interpretation.

    05:24 But qualitative research has to predominantly be done by a human with some computer assistance, quantitative research that the analysis is usually done with really fancy math programs to give you statistical analysis. Both are valid.

    05:41 Qualitative research can also inform what you would want to study quantitatively.

    05:45 But an example of quantitative research could be, hey, let's look at the impact of blood pressure with this medication.

    05:51 Which one better controlled hypertension.

    05:54 Well then we would have some numbers to play with right.

    05:56 And we could see the differences in blood pressure measurements.

    05:59 That's not how do you feel about your blood pressure or what have you experienced with your blood pressure. What have been the most difficulties in your perception? So you want to know that qualitative is going to be more of the qualities about the research problem and what you're talking about.

    06:14 Quantitative research is going to give you more quantitative numbers, but both are critically important.

    06:23 Now mixed method research.

    06:24 If that wasn't enough for you.

    06:27 This has both qualitative and quantitative approaches in one study, and that's really cool if you can see those together, because you can really see how they play off each other, how they interact, and get a better understanding of the research problem you're looking at now.

    06:42 Number four is experimental research.

    06:45 Now, this means you have to manipulate variables because you want to manipulate the variables and kind of see what the effects and cause and effect relationships are.

    06:52 So that's pretty fancy stuff.

    06:55 But it's also very clear cut case study research again, that's an in-depth exploration of specific cases or phenomenons because you want to learn more about that.

    07:06 So you may look at like what it feels like to be a first semester medical student or a beginning nursing student, or a PA just starting their practice.

    07:14 That would be a case study, because we're looking at a specific case or phenomenon to learn more about it.

    07:21 Now, the key components of research methodology we've got research design.

    07:25 We talked about that.

    07:26 You have sampling techniques, data collection methods data analysis, and ethical considerations.

    07:33 So when I'm thinking about research methodology what does that all enclose.

    07:38 Well it's research design right.

    07:41 That's the overall plan the structure of your research.

    07:43 What type of study, how you're going to collect your data and how you're going to analyze it.

    07:47 Sampling techniques that will say, how did you pick a representative group of people of the population that you studied and used in your study? Because remember, the more representative of the general population your study is, the better chance you have of being able to generalize those findings to the whole world.

    08:06 Well, not always the whole world, but a larger group of people.

    08:10 Three data collection methods.

    08:12 Now, research methodology is going to help determine what's the most appropriate data collection method.

    08:18 You can use data collection methods like surveys, interviews, observations, and experiments. Data analysis are those unique and special tools that you use to analyze the collected data.

    08:31 Now it might be statistical tests, qualitative coding that I talked about or thematic analysis.

    08:37 And that is just as complex as it sounds, that thematic analysis is what goes with the qualitative data.

    08:44 Now fifth, ethical considerations is part of everything.

    08:48 And of course it's part of the key components of research methodology.

    08:52 These are the guidelines and the principles to make sure the ethical conduct of the research, including participant consent, confidentiality, and honesty.

    09:02 So in wrapping this up, the language of research methodology is complex and new, but focusing on the purpose of each type can help you.

    09:10 Knowing the purpose and the method can help you organize your search and use of research knowledge.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Introduction to Research Methodology by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Introduction to Nursing Research and Evidence-based Practice (EBP).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. It forms the foundation for conducting meaningful and valid research.
    2. It ensures that each research project follows the exact same approach.
    3. It is a disorganized process that allows researchers a high degree of flexibility.
    4. It is a voluntary process that can sometimes produce reliable results.
    1. Data analysis
    2. Data collection
    3. Identification of a research problem
    4. Ensuring validity and reliability
    1. Ensuring validity and reliability
    2. Data analysis
    3. Generalization
    4. Data collection
    1. Case study
    2. Quantitative
    3. Qualitative
    4. Experimental
    1. Qualitative
    2. Quantitative
    3. Experimental
    4. Mixed method

    Author of lecture Introduction to Research Methodology

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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