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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

are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
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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