Numerical Research That Can Be Analyzed Essay

Pages: 4 (1201 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Education - Mathematics

¶ … numerical research that can be analyzed in a statistical fashion. Quantitative research frequently -- although not exclusively -- deploys the scientific method whereby a hypothesis is tested in a controlled fashion. One group, the experimental group, is subjected to an intervention known as the independent variable while another, otherwise similar group, is designated the control group and not subjected to that variable. The dependent variable is the change or lack of change that results from the intervention, and the results prove or disprove the initial hypothesis. Quantitative research can also take the form of a survey or other instrument designed to collect raw data about a particular population.

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In contrast, qualitative research is designed to explore the evolution of a particular phenomenon in narrative form. Responses from test subjects may be coded and subjected to data analysis, but ultimately the goal of this type of research is to record the particular experience of a population in a holistic fashion, not test a theory within limited parameters. This contrast means that qualitative research is often seen as subjective, versus the superior objective claims of quantitative methodologies. However, there are many persistent problems with quantitative research that complicate this schematic notion. It has been observed that "poor statistics" make for "poor science" but this is true of all disciplines: indeed, in the social sciences, where variables are more difficult to isolate within populations, rigorous statistical methodology to eliminate error is even more significant (Gardenier & Resnik 2002: 70). Also, in quantitative research, using effective statistical testing is vital, regardless of the experiment, given the ethical implications of having human subjects, take the risk of participating in a study with questionable utility and value (Gardenier & Resnik 2002: 66).

TOPIC: Essay on Numerical Research That Can Be Analyzed in Assignment

In an experiment involving statistical analysis of a population, the formal 'null hypothesis' is tested (the theory that nothing will happen). The null is actually a statement that is contrary to what researchers want to prove. In general, it is assumed that false rejection of the null hypothesis is less damaging than false acceptance -- i.e., it is thought that overestimating the potential impact of a variable is less troubling than not recognizing its impact (Baroudi & Orlikowski 1989: 88). "The embedded null approach involves embedding a hypothesis of no effect within an interaction framework. The framework is then used to show that, under certain conditions, the manipulation/predictor variable in question does produce an effect or relationship, while under the conditions of primary interest, the effect or relationship does not appear" (Cortina 2002: 342).

The cautious approach to tracking change makes sense given that the selection of the test population may be imperfect and contain too many outliers. That is why a 'statistically significant' alteration must be in evidence, not simply any change at all. "The reason that we avoid concluding a lack of effect from studies that show minimal or non-significant results is that there are many alternative explanations for this finding" (Cortina 2002: 343). Particularly in the social sciences, it can be difficult to isolate all variables that could potentially impact the test population, given that human beings live in the 'real world' and are the sum of lived experiences that cannot necessarily be controlled by the test's creator. Only "if one can rule out some of these alternative explanations" as to why a phenomenon occurred while "offering sound theoretical justification for a hypothesis of no effect, then there is no reason to avoid no effect conclusions" (Cortina 2002: 343).

As well as the statistical analysis itself, the ways in which groups are allocated and designed can also yield a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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