Research Proposal: Experimental Research Design the Research Process

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Experimental Research Design

The research process is stated to be of the nature that utilizes scientific techniques in the investigation of phenomenon and a research process that is focused on acquisition of new knowledge about the phenomenon. (Experiment Resources, 2009) the Experimental method is stated to require the basis of "observable, empirical and measurable evidence, to be termed scientific" and it also must "follow some principles of reasoning." (Experiment Resources, 2009)

Experimental Design Process

The experimental design process includes the following:

(1) Research question (Hypothesis)

(2) Design Experiment

(3) Data Collection

(4) Data Analysis

(5) Conclusions

Definition of Experimental Research

Experimental research is generally used in the sciences including sociology, psychology, biology, chemistry and other areas of science. Experimental research is a systematic and scientific approach to research in which the researcher manipulates one or more variables, and controls and measures any change in other variables." (Experiment Resources, 2009)

Experimental research is used when a time priority exist in a causal relationship and one in which the cause precedes the effect and when there is a consistency in a causal relationship meaning that a cause will always result in the same effect and finally where the magnitude of the correlation is great. (Experiment Resources, 2009, paraphrased)

Experimental research has a broad range of definitions applied toward describing it however, in the strictest since experimental research is what is termed a 'true experiment' and is an experiment "where the researcher manipulates one variable, and control/randomizes the rest of the variables." (Experiment Resources, 2009) Experimental research has a control group and the subjects are selected through a random process and are randomly assigned between the groups of the study with the researcher testing only one effect at a time.

Experimental research is widely defined as a 'quasi experiment' "where the scientist actively influences something to observe the consequences. Most experiments tend to fall in between the strict and the wide definition. A rule of thumb is that physical sciences, such as physics, chemistry and geology tend to define experiments more narrowly than social sciences, such as sociology and psychology, which conduct experiments closer to the wider definition." (Experiment Resources, 2009)

Identification of Research Problem

The researcher upon making a decision to test something, makes identified of the problem for the research and the research problem is operationalized in order to define how to measure the research problem. The test results will depend on the exact measurements that the researcher chooses. Through defining the problem for research the researcher is able to formulate a research hypothesis, which can be tested against the null hypothesis." (Experiment Resources, 2009) the hypothesis is tested against the 'null hypothesis'. It is reported that an 'ad hoc analysis' is an addition type of hypothesis "added to the results of an experiment to try to explain away contrary evidence."

Construction of the experiments involves several aspects of planning and primary is planning ahead to ensure that the experiment is properly conducted and that the results are an actual reflection of the real world and that this is accomplished through the best method possible.

There are various aspects to remember when constructing an experiment. Planning ahead ensures that the experiment is carried out properly and that the results reflect the real world, in the best possible way.

Sampling

Sampling is an important aspect of the experimental research design and must be correctly initiated because where there is more than just one condition in the experiment one group is used as a "control group whereas the others are tested under the experimental conditions." (Experiment Resources, 2009) Group samples can be determined in several ways including:

(1) Randomization;

(2) Quasi-randomization; and (3) Pairing. (Experiment Resources, 2009)

These sampling methods are stated to be the most common among sampling methods which are used. At the time the experiment in constructed the researcher often adjust the sample size to reduce the changes of random sampling errors. (Experiment Resources, 2009, paraphrased) Factors that impact the research design chosen include those such as "time, money, ethics and measurements problems. The design of the experiment is critical for the validity of the results." (Experiment Resources, 2009) Typical designs in experiments include:

(1) Pre-test: for the purpose of checking as to whether the groups are different prior to the experiment and known to sometimes influence the effect.

(2) Post-test: Measurement of the effect(s).

(3) Control Group: Control groups are designed to measure research bias and measurement effects, such as the Hawthorne Effect. A control group is a group not receiving the same manipulation. Experiments frequently have 2 conditions, but rarely more than 3 conditions at the same time.

(4) Solomon Four-Group Design: With two control groups and two experimental groups, to test both the effect and the effect of a pre-test.

(5) Double-Blind Experiment: Neither the researcher, nor the participants, know which is the control group. The results can be affected if the researcher or participants know this.

(6) Using Bayesian Probability: This method uses Bayesian probability to "interact" with participants. It can be used for settings were there are many variables which are hard to isolate. The researcher starts with a set of initial beliefs, and tries to adjust them to how participants have responded. (Experiment Resources, 2009)

Pilot Study

A pilot study may be conducted prior to the actual experiment which serves to ensure that the experiments measure what it is intended to measure. The pilot study assists in identifying minor errors that have the potential to ruin the experiment. When the experiment involves human beings "a common strategy is to first have a pilot study with someone involved in the research, but not too closely, and then arrange a pilot with a person who resembles the subject(s). Those two different pilots are likely to give the researcher good information about any problems in the experiment." (Experiment Resources, 2009)

Independent and Dependent Variables

Conduction of the experiment is accomplished through "…manipulating a variable, called the independent variable, affecting the experimental group. The effect that the researcher is interested in, the dependent variable(s), is measured." (Experiment Resources, 2009) it is necessary to identify and control "non-experimental factors which the researcher does not want to influence the effects, is crucial to drawing a valid conclusion. This is often done by controlling variables, if possible, or randomizing variables to minimize effects that can be traced back to third variables. Researchers only want to measure the effect of the independent variable(s) when conducting an experiment, allowing them to conclude that this was the reason for the effect." (Experiment Resources, 2009)

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Designs

Quantitative research often produced a large amount of data and data that is not prepared for the purpose of analysis is referred to as raw data. The raw data is generally summarized and referred to as output data consisting of one line per subject or item. (Experiment Resources, 2009) the purpose of an analysis in the experimental research design is to "draw a conclusion, together with observations." (Experiment Resources, 2009) the results might be generalized by the research to a wider phenomenon, if there is no indication of confounding variables "polluting" the results. (Experiment Resources, 2009)

In the event that the researcher believes that the effects might "stem from a different variable than the independent variable, further investigation is needed to gauge the validity of the results. An experiment is often conducted because the scientist wants to know if the independent variable is having any effect upon the dependent variable. Variables correlating are not proof that there is causation." (Experiment Resources, 2009) More experiments are quantitative than qualitative.

The work of Congdon and Dunham (1999) entitled: 'Defining the Beginning: The Importance of Research Design" states that a research plan consists of two general areas:

(1) Research concepts and context; and (2) Research logistics. (Congdon and Dunham, 1999)

Success or failure is often determined by how well the research is planned and "how well the steps in the plan are integrated." (Congdon and Dunham, 1999) it is important that data sheets are designed for the purpose of collecting data and to minimize mistakes and omissions in the data collection process. Computer programs should ideally be used in managing data.

The work of Naslund (2005) entitled: "The White Space of Logistics Research: A Look at the Role of Methods Usage" states that the research design is the "overall configuration of a piece of research, the research design provides the opportunity for 'building, revising and choreographing the overall research study." Naslund states that researchers "…increasingly face the practical challenges, for example, of achieving acceptable sample size and corresponding response rate. They must also determine the level of control that is plausible and optimal when utilizing individual or organizational behaviors. Research design also drives the choices of methodology and methods." (2005)

Naslund additionally relates that choosing the research methodology appropriate for a study is affected by several factors which include the following:

(1) the format of the research questions including "what," "how," "who," "why,," each of which requires different… [END OF PREVIEW]

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