Saturday, November 27, 2010

Introduction to Research

Lesson Notes on Methods of Research

Learning Objectives

1. define research and explain its role and functions,

2. explain and illustrate the value of research in development and in decision-making,

3. describe and compare the different types and methods of research and give an example for each, and .

4. describe and explain the research process.

What Is Research?

Research is defined as a careful, systematic study in a field of knowledge that is undertaken to discover or establish facts or principles (Webster, 1984). It is also defined as a systematic process of collecting and analyzing data to find an answer to a question or a solution to a problem, to validate or test an existing theory.

The Value of Research

Educators, health service providers, entrepreneurs, managers, policy makers, counselors, administrators, teachers and students, need information to make decisions, or to perform their functions more effectively. Research can help them meet this need. Teachers need to know what teaching approaches and materials can be used to help students learn better. Health service providers need health-related data in developing health programs and in improving delivery of health services and in identifying interventions that will improve the health condition of individuals.

As a decision-maker, a manager and administrator needs accurate information before selecting a course of action When several options are available, data about the options can help the decision-maker in selecting the best or the better alternative that will yield a better outcome.

Research has several functions.

a. It helps us answer questions, solve problems and make decisions.

b. It enables us to see and understand how and why a situation or a problem exists.

c. It helps us discover new things and ideas.

d. It allows us to validate existing theories or generate new ones.

e. It helps us identify and understand the causes and effects of a situation or a phenomenon.

The Role of Research in Improving Our Quality of Life

Through research, new knowledge or technology is discovered. New knowledge can result in development or improvement of skills, behavior or practices, while newly discovered or developed technology can lead to the development of new tools or devices. Improved skills, behavior or practices can lead to better conditions and better quality of life. Moreover, new or improved tools or strategies can result in improved performance and/or better service delivery, which contribute to the improvement of man's living conditions and quality of life.

To illustrate, when it was found through research that lung cancer is associated with smoking, campaign against smoking was intensified. As a consequence, many habitual smokers stopped smoking. Those who quit smoking became less prone to cancer and more likely to have better health than those who continued to smoke.

Another example is the development of the computer and its use in the banking system. One development that resulted from computerization is the automated teller machine (ATM) which has made fund transfer, bank withdrawal and deposit, balance inquiry, and payment of bills much easier and faster for the clients. The use of A TM has allowed clients to have access to bank and other services 24 hours a day, and this has definitely made life easier and more convenient to many individuals.

The connection between research and the improvement of man's welfare is illustrated in the diagram below:

Uses of Research as a Scientific Process

1. determine an existing situation

2. describe a population

3. compare two conditions

4. determine the existence, degree or nature of relationship between two or

more factors

5. evaluate and compare the effectiveness of an intervention

6. predict the value of a certain characteristic

The Role of Research in Development

Development projects/programs are designed to improve the welfare of man. There are development projects in education, health, housing, employment, business, agriculture, etc. The development process involves planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. In each stage of development, research plays an important role (Mercado,1994).

Research is needed in describing and analyzing existing social or economic problems or conditions.

Research data are important inputs to planning and in designing programs intended to address an existing problem.

Data on the background and needs of target clients of a proposed program are needed in the preparation of the intervention.

Program managers or implementers should continue collecting, analyzing and using relevant data to determine if programs are being implemented as planned.

Projects implemented should be monitored and monitoring requires accurate information about the status of the of project implementation.

Upon completion of the projects, its performance or impact needs to be evaluated.

General types of Research

Descriptive Research

The descriptive type of study finds answer to the questions who, what, when and how. This type of research describes a situation or a given state of affairs in terms of specified aspects or factors. What may be described are characteristics of individuals or groups (farmers, students, administrators, entrepreneurs, patients,' etc.) or physical environments (schools, business establishments, hospitals, cooperatives, etc), or conditions (epidemic, calamities, leadership styles, anxiety level, sales and profit, productivity, etc.).

The following examples of research topics in specific areas fall under the descriptive type.

"The management style of school administrators in Iloilo City"

"Tardiness and absenteeism among high' school students"

"The medicinal components of five kinds of Philippine backyard plants"

"Smoking habits of health service providers 111 government and private hospitals"

"Marketing practices of the loom weaving industry in Region VI"

"A typical office day of a government employee: a time allocation study"

"The insecticidal properties of pepper"

Explanatory or Correlation Research

An explanatory study goes beyond description of the problem or situation. It attempts to explain the possible factors related to a problem which has been observed in a descriptive study. This type of study answers the questions why and how The factors related to the problem, however. need not be viewed as real "causes" of the problem, but factors which are associated with or may contribute to the occurrence of the problem.

The explanatory type of study is also called correlation research; in which the researcher investigates relationships between factors or variables. Certain factors are "assumed" to explain or contribute to the existence of a problem or a certain condition or the variation in a given situation.

The researcher usually uses a theory or a hypothesis to account for or explain the forces that are "assumed to have caused" the problem.

For example, relationships between the following pairs of variables can be studied:

1. Local government employees’ work performance

Knowledge about the local

Government code

2. Gender grades

3. cancer Awareness Compliance with medical regimen

4. Source of business capital Financial Performance

The following examples of research topics fall under the explanatory or correlation category.

“ Knowledge about Cancer and Compliance with Diet, Exercise and Medical Regimen Among cancer Patients”

“ Relationship Between Socioeconomic Factors and Absenteeism Among High School Students in the district of Jaro”

“Attitudes Towards Health and Smoking Habits of Health Service Providers in the Government and Private

Hospitals In Iloilo City”

Intervention or Experimental Research

The intervention or experimental type of research evaluates effect or outcome of a particular intervention or treatment. It studies the “cause and effect” relationship between certain factors on a certain phenomenon under controlled conditions. The subjects of the study are randomly assigned to the experimental group and to the control group and both groups are exposed to similar conditions except for the intervention.

For example, one can assess or compare the effect or outcome of two or more methods of teaching math on the mathematical ability of students , two or more health management practices on the recovery of patients, or two or more management styles on employees' productivity.

“The Effect of Cooperative Learning Approach on the Performance in Mathematics of Junior High School Students Of Central Philippine University”

“The Effect of Verbal Suggestion on Overt Pain Reaction of Selected Post-Operative Patients” “ Advertising: Its Effect on Sles and Profit of Auto Parts Business Establishments in Metro Manila”

“The Effect of In-House Trainihg on Human Relations on the Productivity and Efficiency of Office Employees in Private Banks in Iloilo City”

“The Effect of Different. Levels of Applied Nitrogen on the. Growth and Yield of Rice”

Other Dichotomies of Research (Jackson, 1995, Mercado, 1994)

There are other classifications of research. Research may also be classified as either pure or applied, either exploratory or explanatory, and either quantitative or qualitative.

1. Pure Basic vs. Applied Research

Pure Basic Research. This type of research attempts to describe an existing situation and/or explain certain patterns of behavior using either or both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. The goal of pure research is to offer better descriptions and better explanation of human behavior. The intention is to accumulate knowledge about a certain phenomenon.

"Factors Ass'ociated with TardiI!ess and Absenteeism among High School Students"

“Attitudes Towards Health and Smoking Habits of Health Service Providers”

Applied Research. While the primary aim of pure research is the formulation or the refinement of theory, applied research aims to see an immediate solution to a problem. This type of research focuses on variables or factors which can be changed by intervention in order to achieve a desired goal, like improvement of health, school achievement, or performance or increase in revenue. An experimental study comparing the effectiveness of two methods of improving health practices of mothers or two management styles of bank managers can yield results that recommend a better practice or style.

"The Effect of Gender Sensitivity Training on Men's Involvement in Child Care”

“ Remedial Teaching: Its Effect on the Performance of Slow Learners”

2. Exploratory vs. Explanatory Research

Exploratory Research. Exploratory studies are designed to describe an existing problem situation and examine the underlying factors that contribute to the emergence of the problem, the nature of which is not yet well known.

"Domestic Violence: Ideas, Experiences, and Needs of Married

.' .

Working Men in the City of Baguio" .

"Menopause: Working Women's Perceptions, Experiences and Coping Strategies"

Explanatory Research. The primary goal of an explanatory study is to understand or explain a prevailing situation or explain a relationship between factors which may have already been identified in exploratory studies, and why the relationship exists. Explanatory studies seek more specific answers to "why" and "how" questions.

“Relationship Between 'Alcohol Intake and Domestic Violence Among Married Men in the Municipality of Alimodian”

“Extent of Exposure to Advertising Materials .. and Expenditure Patterns of .Young Professionals in Northern Luzon”

3. Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

Quantitative Research. This type of research seeks to quantify or reflect in numbers the observations on the characteristics of the population being studied. It measures the number of respondents or objects possessing a particular characteristic. It emphasizes precise measurement and often times requires statistical analysis of data or the testing of hypotheses based on a s<;tmpleof observations.

“ The Socioeconomic Profile of households in Upland Communities in the Province of Antique”

“Health Seeking Behavior and Health Status of Retired School Teachers in Zamboanga”

Qualitative Research. This type of research emphasizes verbal descriptions and explanations of human behavior and practices in an attempt to understand how the units or members of the study population experience or explain their own world. To gather information, the researcher makes use of one or a combination of the following techniques: participant observation, key informant interview, focus group discussion, direct observation, and in-depth analysis of a single case.

“ Experiences and Needs of Victims of Child Abuse Among Elementary School Pupils in Iloilo Province”

“ Menopause: Women’s Perceptions and Experiences”

Research Methods

There are various research methods which one can use to study a problem (Mercado, 1994).

1. Experimental Method. The experimental method is used to determine the effectiveness of a treatment or an intervention 01: the "cause and effect" relationship of certain phenomena under controlled condition. The subjects of the study are randomly assigned to the experimental group and to the control groups and both groups are exposed to similar conditions except for the intervention/treatment. Among the different research methods, the experimental method yields the most conclusive research findings .

For instance, a teacher who has been using the traditional approach in teaching algebra wants to test the effectiveness of the cooperative learning approach in improving performance. An experiment can be conducted to compare the cooperative learning approach and traditional approach.

An agriculturist who wants to determine what level of nitrogen should be applied to maximize yield of rice can conduct an experiment to determine the effect of different levels of applied nitrogen on the growth and yield of rice.

2. Survey method. The survey method obtains data to determine specific characteristics of a group. The purpose of a survey is to get a general picture of the characteristics of a study population at a particular time. The use of the survey approach is appropriate for most descriptive and correlation studies.

For example, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of Region VI has available funds for a technical assistance project for cut flower growers in Region VI. Before the project can be implemented there is a need to determine first the production and marketing practices of cutflower growers in the region. A survey can be conducted to determine these practices.

3. Historical Method. The historical approach is used to determine the growth and development of a group, organization or institution. The description is based on information about some past aspects of the group, organization or institution. Most of the data used in this method are collected from secondary sources, such as records, documents, written materials, accounts, etc.

For instance, in a study of the history aIl~development of cooperatives in the Philippines the historical method yvould be the most appropriate.

4. Content Analysis. Content analysis is usually used when the intention of the researcher is to ascertain the. quality of message or information found in a document or in mass media. This method is also used to test the level of readability of certaiil books, e.g. textbooks for elementary pupils, before they are printed for distribution. Content analysis is also used in determining authenticity of docwnents and in literary research, e.g. literary analysis and criticism.

For instance, the Department of Health (DOH) would like to know whether a brochure it plans to use to disseminate information about. breast cancer can be understood by its target readers. Before mass producing and distributing the brochure, a content analysis of the material can be done. Sample copies can be distributed to selected individuals resembling the potential target readers of the reading material. Afterasking them to read the material, they can be given a test to determine their understanding of the content of the brochure.

Research as a Scientific Method

Science is defined as a systematized body of knowledge (Webster, 1984). Research as a scientific method, involves a systematic way of gaining knowledge or the process of testing ideas (hunches, guesses, or hypotheses) to see to if an idea holds true in a given situation or under

ontrolled conditions.

As a scientific method, research involves the following steps:

1. Identification of a problem

2. Formulation of hypotheses

3. Data collection

4. Data analysis

5. Drawing of conclusions

The Research Process

Regardless of type or method, all research studies are conducted using more or less the same process. These generally include problem identification, formulation of hypotheses, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, drawing of generalizations/conclusions, and reporting of results. Each step in the process may have or require one or more components or activities. Some studies, especially explanatory or correlation studies usually require theoretical and/or conceptual frameworks. The research activities are outlined and explained in a research plan.


A. Key Terms to Remember


Descriptive Research Correlation Research Intervention Research

Scientific Process Quantitative Research Qualitative Research Pure Research

Applied Research Experimental Methods Survey Method Historical Method

B. Questions For Discussion

1. What is the role of research in development? Explain and illustrate.

2.How can research be used in improving the quality of life of the people?

3. How would you differentiate the general types of research from each other?

4. What are the different steps in the research process?

C. Exercises

Statated below are research questions. What type of research can best answer each?

1. 1.What do students think are the least popular courses in the high school curriculum and why?

2. 2.What is sexual harassment to high school boys and girls?

3. 3.What are the problems that the elderly confined in a nursing home experience and how do they cope with their problems?

4. 4.Can gender sensitivity training improve men's views about the family and their behavior at home in relation to their spouses and children?

5. 5.Does gender of a counselor affect the counselees' response to counseling?

6. 6.Does exposure to commercial advertisement contribute to the buying patterns of college students?

The Research Problem

Every Research starts with a problem ( query). Without a problem, there is no need to conduct research. Very often, however, neophyte researchers or students of research find it difficult to identify a research problem.

What is a Research Problem?

A problem is anything which gives a person a feeling of discomfort. If a person worries about how things are , he or she has a problem. A problem could be a state of affairs that needs to be changed or anything that is not working as expected.

For researchers, a problem could be conditions they want to improve, difficulties they want to eliminate, questions for which they want answers or information gaps they wish to fill, or theories they wish to validate.

A research problem could also be an issue that should be settled. It may be a question about the unknown characteristics of a population o about factors that explain the presence or occurrence of a phenomenon.

Identifying a Research Problem

In doing research, the first thing a researcher does is identifying and clearly define the problem to be studied. If the researcher cannot pinpoint a problem, he/she cannot expect others to understand what problems he /she wants to solve.

Initially, a research problem is stated in a form of a question, which serves as the focus of the investigation.

1. What Problems do children of separated parents encounter and how do the children cope with these problems?

2. What goes on in a government office in a typical week? Or How do government Employees spend a typical day in the office?

3. Do mothers who have attended health education classes have better health care management practices than those who have not?

4. Does TV viewing affect a child's school performance?

5. Will training of managers of cooperatives in financial management improve the financial control system of the cooperatives?

6. Have there been changes in the portrayal of men and women in commercial advertisements in the last five years?

7. What are the perceptions of college students regarding the granting of emergency powers to the president in times of crisis?

8. To what extent do students use the internet?

9. Does the students' use of the internet affect their performance is school?

Can you identify problems along these issues or concerns? Formulate a possible RESEARCH PROBLEM…

Those concerned could be : peole ,



specific groups

1. Scams involving government officials

2. Adoption of ICT in the delivery of instruction

2. Issues on teachers' salary

3. Obama's Victory

4. Philippine economy

5. Use of adoption of ICT in schools, government agencies and other agencies

6. Inventions

7. patents

While a problem is the initiating force of research, not all problems require research. A potential researchable problem exists when the following conditions are present( Fisher, et al., 1991):

a) There is a perceived discrepancy between what is and what should be.

b) There are two or more reasons for the discrepancy.

Take Note:

There may be an existing difficult or disturbing situation, but if this condition is expected to happen because of known circumstances, then the problem is not researchable. Even if there is discrepancy between what is and what should be, because the causes of discrepancy are known at this particular time, there is no need to conduct research anymore.

Example of a Non-researchable Problem

Situation: Despite free tuition, many high school students in a public school in Province X have dropped out. Records show that more than 50 % of the students have already dropped out before the middle of the school year. (what is)

What should be: Students are expected to finish high school because it is free. They should not drop out(what should be). On the contrary, a big number of students dropped out . (discrepancy)

Research Question: Why do students drop out? What factors contribute to the high drop out rate?

Possible Answer: Fear of being caught in cross fire between military and rebel groups.

Comment: There have been violent encounters between the military and rebel groups and many civilians have been caught in the cross fire. It seems clear that the dropping out of the students is due to the armed encounters in the area. If they go to school, they might die, so parents keep them out of school until the peace and order situation in the area returns to normal.

Take Note:

A possible research situation exists when the existing condition (what is ) is different from what is expected (what should be) and there are two or more possible (reasonable) causes of the discrepancy between what is and what should be.

Example of a Researchable Problem

Situation: Despite free tuition, many high school students in a public school in Province X have dropped out. Records show that more than 50 % of the students have already dropped out before the middle of the school year. (what is)

What should be: Students are expected to finish high school because it is free. They should not drop out(what should be). On the contrary, a big number of students dropped out . (discrepancy)

Research Question: Why do students drop out? What factors contribute to the high drop out rate?

Possible Answer: There are many possible reasons why students drop out. Among the possible reasons are : financial difficulties, far distance of students’ houses from school, students’ lack of interest to study, and poor health.

Comments: Since there are a number of possible reasons for the dropping out of students despite free tuition, the problem is researchable. Research can determine the existence and extent of relationship between the identified possible factors and the students’ decision to drop out of school or to stay. Furthermore, research can determine the relative contribution of each factor in the students’ decision to drop out.

Try this Exercise

Research Situation:

Housing loans are granted to PAG-IBIG members at a very low interest rates to help them build and own their homes. The loan is expected to be paid on a monthly basis within a certain period of time. Despite the liberal payment scheme, repayment has been consistently low. Records show a delinquency rate of about 30%. Arrears average at Php 80,000 and many properties have been foreclosed as documented by notices of foreclosure. PAG-IBIG members’ failure to pay their obligations has been attributed to many factors like lack of awareness among borrowers of the consequences of non-payment, a negative attitude towards government loans, or shortage of cash because of other financial needs and others. Two local studies on loan payment behaviors of credit cooperative members showed that social and economic factors influence repayment. The studies, however, did not touch on knowledge and attitude towards loan repayment. Most of the studies reviewed deal credit coop loans. Studies on housing loans are limited.

1. what can be the possible research question? ___________

2. What is the problem situation? Show evidences. _______

3. What should be the situation?______________________

4. What are the possible reason for the discrepancy between what is and what should be?

all text were taken from Dr. Fely P. David's

"Understanding and Doing Research:

A handbook for Beginners


  1. sir what is the outline of our research proposal project? your summer class student...

  2. Good morning Sir,
    It’s so too nice of you to do the lecturing for 5 straight agonizing hours. Just a proposal, wouldn’t it be nice if we have a group reporting? Well, I’m not bored of you, doing all, the lecture, its fun actually and less burden on our part. Nevertheless, if are to report, it is an opportunity for us to hone our researching skills, in making a research about “Research” topics/subject.
    Just raising a point… No pun intended. (,”)

  3. This is the outline of the parts of the research proposal similar to what is required by the our college:

    1. Title
    2. Introduction
    3. Statement of the Problem/research objectives
    4. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
    5. Hypothesis
    6. Significance of the Study
    7. Scope and Limitation
    8. Review of Related Literature
    9. Methodology
    10. Bibliography/References

    Try these useful link in preparing the research proposal:

  4. thank you sir!!! sir if you will the one to discuss the lesson you can explain it will instead of us!!!!

  5. thank you sir for providing us the outline for research!!!gud evening

  6. good to have this blogspot.. more convinient :) thanks.

  7. Where can I download a pdf copy of the book sir? Thank you!

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