This Research skills assignment help is provided for the course of HND Computing and systems development for UK college of Business and Computing.
A Research is a scientific phenomenon where researcher looks for the new facts and proofs to set a theory on some topic of his choice, b ut as the name suggests – Research; some people might find research about finding something what has already been found by someone and putting that ole search into a format and methods so that new facts could be added to the already found outcome of the search. A research is always based on some kind of idea or the question which is called as research question and a research hypothesis is made upon that idea. The hypothesis serve as a base for the entire research and researcher finds ways to prove that hypothesis true. A research is always about the raw data, processing that raw data, applying that data into methods and processes, validating the data against already existing researches and proving the hypothesis right by backing it up with the findings of the research.
There are many research methodologies and every researcher uses a research methodology which suits the type of research he is going to perform. Some of the famous research methodologies are Descriptive research methodology, applied research methodology, Analytical research methodology, fundamental research methodology and empirical research methodology. All of these research methodologies have their own sets of rules about performing a research, but there are some things which every research has common for example analysis of the existing facts, comparing the results of own research with a research done by someone else in the same field.
LO 1 Understand different research methodologies
P 1.1 Different research methodologies
There is no some strict format which a research should adhere to and many people goes with their instinct and knowledge while conducting a research. It depends upon the researcher which research methodology he wants to adopt for his research. Some of these research methodologies are explained below:
- Descriptive Research Methodology
Descriptive research methodology is used in the researches where a lots of data is present and this data could not be summarized to explain the information it possess. In these kind of situation, descriptive research methodology is very useful, it starts with the research proposal because it gives the researcher an opportunity to collect and present all the evidence and research results he has found about his research (Asur & Huberman, 2010, pp. 495). Descriptive research methodology is also known as the Survey Research Methodology where researcher prepare a survey to conduct a research. Survey research methodology gives the researcher opportunity to know the views and ideas of others and once all this data is collected, researcher uses this data to form a common result. The important thing about surveys is that they should contain opinions from people who does not share something common which gives the researcher a very big ground to cover.
- Analytical Research Methodology
Analytical Research Methodology is used by the researcher who does not want to include the survey technique but still want to compare the opinions of the researchers who has performed the same kind of research earlier. In this format a researcher might use the data already provided by earlier researches and then analyse that data in a new context.
- Fundamental Research Methodology
Fundamental research methodology is all about generalization. In this methodology, researcher thinks of a broad view which could be applied to every research performed in a topic and brings the juice of all these researches into one paper.
- Applied Research Methodology
Applied research methodology could be very helpful when researcher has a problem in hand and has to found a solution for that question using the resources available to him. Most of the time, researches done using this methodology gives birth to a new phenomenon and could set a debate on that.
- Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research Methodologies
Quantitative research methodology is all about analysing the data in bulk. In this methodology the amount of data researcher collects matters a lot. Mostly Quantitative research methodology is used in researching the global issues where there are lots of data has to be processed. The Qualitative research is quite opposite of the quantitative research methodology and the quality of the data present matters a lot more than the quantity.
- Observational Research Methodology
In this type of research methodology, researcher observes the results of different outcomes of an experiments using the different combinations of data input in a method and also using the same data for different methods.
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P 1.2 Research methodology to be used for the research proposal
A research proposal is always about the type of research a person want to do and also about the data he would be using in his research. The data a researcher might use in research could be collected in one of the below two methods:
- Primary Data Collection
Primary data is the data which is freshly obtained by the researcher to use as an input to his result. Since this data is collected by the researcher himself, it depends upon him whether he wants to make this data public for other researches or not. Researcher uses different techniques to obtain this primary data. Surveys and interviews of the subjects provide a good ground for achieving this (Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre, 2011, pp. 249).
- Secondary Data Collection
Secondary data is not found by the researcher but other people who has done any kind of research in the same field as researcher want to do. Researcher may use this data for his research by the permission of the data collector. Most of the researches which uses secondary data could be categorized as Analytical or Comparative researches. While using the secondary data for a research, the researcher has to make sure that he provide the references for the data he has taken from other researches. A good place to use the secondary research is Literature Review section of the research. In this section, researcher provides the work of others in the same field and he could also compare them.
P 1.3 Importance of qualitative and quantitative data in research
Qualitative research approach is basically descriptive research methodology where the quality of the data matters than the quantity of the research. In this type of research the randomness of the research data is studied and this randomness of the data is used in defining a pattern of the information processed. Qualitative research’s outcome is not some numeric data, instead it gives a detailed description of the research which is finally documented as a research result. The tools available in qualitative research do not always produce the exact same data when they are tested but provides an analysis of the difference (Shirky, 2011, pp. 28.
Quantitative research is performed on the data which has the numeric values in it and also produces the result in the same format. The results of the quantitative research might be converted into graphs and tables which provides an easy method of comparison of the researches which were performed on the same data but using different tools. Quantitative research is also known as Statistical approach of research because it plays with numbers and not very descriptive in nature. The most important part of statistical research is that the data input and data output could be used as a standard for other researches on the same topic. The quantitative research mainly depends upon the variables defined. If the variables chosen for the research are right than a change in the variables could be of greater use when studied in different conditions.
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P 1.4 Problems in Undertaking Research
Conducting a research sometimes could become an issue for the researcher if it does not happen as expected by the researcher. When a researcher start a research, it mainly relies on the data and any kind of problem with this data could give a complete opposite of what researcher has expected. The secondary data used in a research might not be validated by the proper authorities and in this case, the authenticity of the whole research could be compromised. This is the reason most researchers would go for the primary data, but collecting the primary data is a very difficult task. To get the primary data, researcher has to conduct a lot of surveys, interviews and persuade the authorities who has the authentic data to provide for his research (Vasterman, 2005, pp. 521). There are some companies also which perform the surveys and interviews on behalf of the researcher. But the problem with this approach is that researcher might have to spend lot of money and still there is no way of knowing whether these companies has given him the right data and it is not fake.
Performing a research is a very complex task and this complexity is decided by the topic of the research chosen by the researcher. Every research is based on the data, whether it is primary data or the secondary data. There are research topics on which the data is easily available but on some topic it becomes really difficult to collect the data. In these situations, researcher has to conduct different surveys and experiments to collect the data which takes a lot of time and sometimes money also. Arranging the equipment of research is also very difficult and may cause a lot of money.
The question of bias is also a very big problem while conducting a research where the researcher might not be completely honest with his work and he could be little biased about what he expects from the research and cold ignore some facts which does not hold good in the perception of the researcher. Hawthorne and Halo effects explains the question of bias in detail.
Hawthorne and Halo effects
Hawthorne effect is a phenomenon where researcher might have some change in his original behaviour and attitude as the research goes on. These changes could be the result of change in the variables during research. According to the Hawthorne effect, when a researcher starts a research, he could be thinking something else but the unit outcomes of experiment may change his thinking (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005, pp. 47).
On the other hand, Halo effect does not have anything to do with changes of attitude during the research. Sometimes a researcher starts a research with an expected outcome and if any change in the expected outcome is seen, he could manipulate the facts to get what he expected.
LO 2 Conducting a literature review
P 2.1 The use of research sources
Research Sources plays an important role while conducting a research. The more authentic is the resource more recognition a research would get. On the contrary, if the research source is not recognized, the whole research could lose its charm. Especially the analytical research methodology which uses the resources only for the purpose of analysis and comparison could be discarded right away by the authorities. In the given case study on social media, a lots of good resources are available. These sources could be the data which is published by the social sites itself or the data about these social sites which is provided by the Internet Service Provider. Another good source of data in the given case study could be the use of survey technique where researcher could prepare a questionnaire for the participants and use their response for the research (Mangold & Faulds, 2009, pp. 361).
Social media today is not only used to interact with family and friends but also for the purpose of marketing planning and advertisements. This is the reason why so many companies are now providing services of data which they have. These companies collects the traffic on the social networking sites and provide them for some amount. But buying all this data from companies could be a little expensive sometimes. Other sources which could be used in this case are the papers of social media experts who publishes their data regularly and monitoring the activities of different users personally who are in the circle of the researcher.
If the data available on social media is right, most of the users of these social networking sites are youths. According a survey (Times Magazine, April, 2011) there are about 60 % users on the social media who are below the age of 35. This is the segment of people who has accommodated the social media in their daily life. The other 20 % users are the people who has crossed the age of 30. Now what about the other 20 % users? These 20 % users are school going children and the people who uses social media for their business purpose. When it comes to the family problem due to social media, the 60 % users who are below the age of 35 has shown some problems. These are the people who starts using the social media initially as a pass time, soon becomes addicted to them because they have all the time in the world for that. Cloudy (2008) said that people in the age of 17 to 30 are most likely to become the social media addicts. It has become an essential part of their life and even if they want, they cannot just let it go. George (2010) said in a research of him that 67% users of the social media login to their accounts at least once in a day. It does not matter if they are at their home or some place outside, they would try very hard to access their accounts and see what’s happening out there.
P 2.2 Importance of using Primary Information Sources
The benefit of using the primary information is that all the data used in research is fresh and updated, while the data from secondary information resources is always old and sometimes lacking the required information on the current happenings in the field of research. Another benefit of primary data is that most of the time it is collected by the researcher himself and instead of selecting the relevant information from secondary sources, researcher could gather the data which is really required for his research. But again, as mentioned previously in the paper, gathering the primary data could be more difficult than using the existed data from secondary sources. Both approaches have their own positive and negative sides, but there is no confusion that data from primary sources is always more important than data from the secondary sources.
The technique used for analysing the data whether it is primary or secondary called the Triangulation of Data. In the data triangulation, the data from different sources is validated against each other by using the different data into same methods. There is also another form of data triangulation where the data collected from the same sources i.e. identical data is used as an input to the same method and the difference in the outcomes are compared while preparing a report (Miller, Mauthner, Birch & Jessop, 2012, pp. 73).
In the given case study on Social Media, it is required that data should be collected from different sources and from different regions, because social media is a global phenomenon and using the data from only one place or country is not enough to judge the social networking sites. These are some social networking sites which operate only within the boundaries of a country, but there are some sites like Facebook and Twitter who has gathered the attention of the whole world.
Almost 6 years before now, there was no debate upon the use of social media and only the positive features of the social media were in display. But the way social media has grown exponentially and now has billions of user logging into the social networking sites created the need of research on the effects of social media on our society.
P 2.3 Recognized system for referencing - Harvard referencing
Use of a standard referencing system is a very important aspect of any research, especially when the researcher is using the secondary data sources in his research. Mentioning the sources of the data makes the research more authentic and genuine. It could even help in making the older researches better by referencing the old researches and validating those researching in the current one (Agichtein, Castillo, Donato, Gionis & Mishne, 2008, pp. 191). There are many referencing system which are recognized by different authorities like, MLA referencing, Harvard referencing, APA referencing and Chicago referencing. All of these referencing methods have different methods of putting up the sources. Other than referencing of the sources in a list in the end of the research, In-Text citations of these references are very helpful because they mark the exact place where the data from other sources has been used in the research.
The Harvard referencing style is mentioned below:
Author, Initial, Year.Title of Book. Edition. Edition. Place: Publisher.
The in-text citation for the Harvard Referencing Style is shown below:
(Author, Year, Page No.)
LO 3 Presenting a Research Proposal
P 3.1 Research proposal and Data Collection
The research question provided, “Social Media or Social Menace” is a question which is not an easy one. There are so many people in the society who use social media and it is very difficult to get a straight forward answer to this question. The one thing which could be used in this type of situations is performing a survey of the every category of the society who use social media. It is also required that the people should be chosen from different places also so that a broad idea of social thinking could be generalized. A survey supported by a good questionnaire could be very beneficial in this kind of research. But researcher has to take a great deal of precaution because for some people, this kind of survey could be an issue of the privacy. Following are some sample questions which could be used in the questionnaire:
- Why do you use the social media?
- What kind of activities do you perform when you are logged in to your accounts?
- How frequently do you login to your account?
- Is there any effect of using social media on your personal or professional life?
- What is the opinion of the people who are living with you about the social media?
- Do you feel benefitted by social media and if yes than how?
- Do you think that social media is causing any kind of harm to your family life?
- Do you think that you are not able to concentrate enough on your work because of the social media?
- Do you have any kind of business which you think could grow with the help of social media?
- As a parent do you have some kind of software installed in your home computer which could stop the children from accessing the content on social media?
All the questions mentioned above would definitely give the researcher an idea about how people feel about the social media. But still there are so many variables in the research which would need more directed approaches to answer the research question.
Research Observation and the Variables of concern
The variables of concern in the research on social media could be the age of the people who uses the social media, number of hours people spend daily on social media, Purpose of using the social media and many more (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010, pp. 63). All of these variables change according to the locality and the region of the people who participate in the survey. All these variables are numeric and could be used in the Quantitative Research Methodology.
Likert Scaling Method
Likert Scaling Method is a very widely known scaling method and has been used in many survey based researches. A scaling is the process by which the answers of the participants in research are measured and final result is calculated (Kothari, 2004, pp. 283). Likert scale uses the below five categories in rating the answers of the participants:
- Strongly Disagree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Strongly Agree
When the above-mentioned scaling method is applied in the research on social media, the results were astounding. Only 14 % people accepted that social media has become a menace and they are not able to quit the social networking addiction. These people said that whether they are at home or office, they log in to their social accounts at least twice a day and sometimes spend hours in just looking at the posts on their social page.
Around 10 % people stayed neutral and said that they do not see any big change in the society because of the social media and said that social media is just a kind of browsing or net surfing.
40 % people who took part in the survey said that they have been using the social media for a long time now but haven’t felt any wrong in doing that. Even some of them said that it has benefitted them in their business.
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P 3.2 Role of ethics in research
Taking care of the ethical values while conducting a research is a very important factor and it becomes necessary when the research is related to an issue like social media which has now become the part of people’s lives. While conducting a survey on social media, it is important to prepare the questionnaire in a fashion that it should not hurt the feelings of the participants. People are always concerned about their privacy and do not want their identities to be revealed when they answer a question which could affect their personal and family life (Flick, 2011, pp. 84).
Keeping the participants identity anonymous could also be beneficial to the research because in this way participants might be able to give an honest answer to a private question. Most of the people who participates in these kind of researches do this as voluntarily and they are not paid for that. In this case it is the responsibility of the researcher to take care of their feelings.
Another ethical issue in survey techniques is that sometimes the data collected for one research might be used in any other related research. In this manner the authenticity of the research is violated and the results might be different than actual condition.
LO 4 Be able to contribute to a research seminar
P 4.1 Extract from the research proposal
Although most of the people denied the negative effects of the social media on their life and said that there is no harm in using the social media. But these people also said that it should be used in a limited way and being addicted to social media is not a good thing. According to these people, social media is a platform which people use to keep in touch with their family and friends and there is nothing wrong in this. Some business people who took part in the research said that social media is kind of a boon to their business and they are getting lots of new clients and also sponsors because of the social media. Social media has changed the trend of advertising and promotion. There are businesses who rely heavily on social sites for their advertisement and publicity (Perry, 1998, pp. 801).
But 14 % people answered in a different manner and said that people might be getting very social on these social networking sites but in their real life these people are not doing so well. They said that many of their friends and relatives who used to meet them daily or weekly have now stopped visiting them and they just meet on social media. In this manner, social media is creating an unsocial community which could only survive for some time.
P 4.2 Feedback on Proposal Presented
Although social media is being accused of becoming a social menace, but the positive aspects of the social media cannot be discarded completely. The social media has become the voice of millions people who could not express themselves before in the public and also helps in public relations. These are the people who used to be out of society due to the different reasons, but now they have entered into the society because of the social media. Social media has given them the strength and confidence to speak in public and let the society know that they also have some say. The research on the social media has shown that there is more to social networking and it could be the voice of the suppressed people in our community. It has also become the stage of many social events. Though some side effects are there but if used wisely and in control, social media could be of great help to the society.