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The place and time frame

The place and time frame will, of course, depend on the problem and the resources available. For a large–scale project a researcher might have to interview people all over the country and it might take many months to complete each phase of the project. For a class projects you could formulate a problem that requires you to interview only three or four people and the whole project could be completed in a few weeks.

The methodology

When we speak about the methodology of a research project we do not only refer to the methods of gathering data but also to the ways in which we will ensure that the data is valid. It will furthermore include the process that we will follow in order to analyse the data.

The methods

The choice of methods for collecting data will depend on the type of research question. In a project where the aim is to gather information on church membership and church attendance, one will make use of quantitative methods such as surveys and questionnaires. However, in a project where the aim is to understand people and their feelings, the methods will be qualitative – such as interviews, participant observation and the use of personal documents (for example, diaries and letters).

"Triangulation" refers to the gathering of data through a number of different sources and methods. By using different sources and methods to collect data, we can compensate for the weaknesses of each of the different methods and so increase the reliability of the research findings. For instance, participant observation can be followed by in–depth interviews to confirm the information collected during the observation phase.

Ensuring validity

There are many different ways in which data can be contaminated. These can originate with the researcher, the participants, or the methods and are called researcher effects, participant effects and instrument effects.

For instance, the image that the researcher projects can be a deterring factor. Imagine how inappropriate it would be for a middle–aged white woman to arrive in her German luxury car to do research on working-class street culture. There is no way that she will get valid results – if she gets results at all. Much more subtle effects can also get in the way when a participant feels intimidated by the position of a researcher as a university professor.

Another problem that can arise from the researcher is over–identification. When the researcher gets so caught up with the lives of the participants that she cannot stand back and take an objective perspective, the results will be influenced. This process is sometimes called "going native".

The participant can also be the source of effects on the data when he tries to give answers that he thinks will impress or please the researcher. Alternatively he might be a person who believes that he has all the answers or sometimes a participant might deliberately give inaccurate data – just to be difficult.

Instrument effects can arise from a badly prepared questionnaire or questions that are asked in such a way that only one reasonable answer can be given. Imagine that a questionnaire asks "How often do you work on your car engine?". Surely it should first have asked "Do you have a car?", and then "Do you work on the engine yourself?" and then only could it ask the "how often" question!

In 1927 researchers tried to study the effects of working conditions on six workers of a factory producing electrical equipment at a place called Hawthorne. To their surprise they found that the workers' productivity increased steadily despite any changes they made (for the better or worse) to the temperature, the lighting, the working hours and the rest periods. They concluded that the workers felt flattered by the attention and their role as participants in an experiment and that was why their productivity increased. Since then it has been common to refer to these types of effects on participants as the Hawthorne effect.

Analysing the data

Once all the data have been collected the enormous task of systematising, analysing, and interpreting has to begin. In large projects this step can take months and the use of computers is often necessary. In the projects that you will have to take on, this process will be less complex but it will still be characterised by the same steps.

In order to analyse, one has to take something apart into the parts that make up the whole. So the data which the researcher has collected will have to be systematised or categorised into logical sub–categories or topics in order to understand the sub–parts. It will then be assembled into a whole and this will involve the interpretation.

Case study

Imagine that you conducted a study of the role of women in the Hare Krishna movement and you interviewed not only women who were affiliated to the local temple but also women who had been affiliated in the past, but who no longer had any contact with the temple. Among the women who were members you found that most were content with the role they played in temple affairs but that there were a few who had some reservations on the role of women in the movement.

Among the women who had left you found that there were much more discontent about their role and this centred around a number of different issues. You had then considered all these issues separately and combined the findings in a summary which you compared to the insiders' and outsiders' views on the same topics.

Your last step was to find out what the basis (like sacred scriptures) for the different roles for men and women in the movement was. You were now ready to write a report in which all the different issues received separate consideration but all were eventually put together to come to a conclusion about the question you had posed at the start of the project. During this process you analysed, integrated and interpreted.

Relevance of the findings

In formulating the research project at the outset of the project the researcher will also explain why it is important to have answers to the research questions. At the end of the analyses and interpretation the researcher will write a report on the findings of each separate issue in the research and come to a number of conclusion. It is important that the research report also include a history of the research process so that the readers can decide for themselves whether the results are valid and reliable.

Questions & Answers

what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Learning about religion. OpenStax CNX. Apr 18, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11780/1.1
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