Research Methodology SCIENTIFIC METHOD
Research Methodology SCIENTIFIC METHOD ‘Science’ refers to the body of systematic and organised knowledge which makes use of scientific method to acquire knowledge in a particular field of enquiry. Scientific method is the systematic collection of data (facts) and their theoretical treatment through proper observation, experimentation and interpretation. Scientific method attempts to achieve a systematic interrelation of facts by experimentation, observation, and logical arguments from accepted postulates and a combination of these three in varying proportions. What Is Research? • “A combination of investigation of past work and effort in the present that will help others in the future” • A set of opposites – Fun and frustration متعة واحباط – Small steps and large insights – Building on others’ work and contributing your own work • Finding or developing something new that changes the world…. What is Research? • Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research – Quantitative – use of statistical, formulaic or numerical analysis to generate results • Main approach: analysis; causal determination, prediction تنبؤ, generalization of findings • Results: “This solution is N% better” – Qualitative – not quantitative; use of non-numeric techniques • Main approach: discovery; illumination, understanding, extrapolation استقراءto similar circumstances • Results: “This is a new way of solving our problem” CRITERIA OF A GOOD RESEARCH Purpose clearly defined. Research process detailed. Research design thoroughly planned. High ethical standards applied. Limitations frankly revealed. Adequate analysis for decision maker’s needs. Findings presented unambiguously ال لبس فيها. Conclusions justified. Researcher’s experience reflected. What Isn’t Research • • • • Playing with technology Book report Programming project Doing what others have already done • However, each of these can be done as part of research Who Does Research? • Individuals • Teams • Teams almost always make the process easier – Division of labor تقسيم العمل – Feedback from team members ردود فعل من اعضاء الفريق – Each member can work to own strengths Formulating a Research Problem • Researchers organize their research by formulating صياغةand defining a research problem. This helps them focus the research process so that they can draw conclusions reflecting the real world in the best possible way. The first step in the research process – definition of the problem involves two activities: Identification / Selection of the Problem This step involves identification of a few problems and selection of one out of them, after evaluating the alternatives تقييم البدائل against certain selection criteria. Formulation of the Problem Formulation is the process of refining the research ideas into research questions and objectives. Formulation means translating ترجمةand transforming وتحويلthe selected research problem/topic/idea into a scientifically researchable question. It is concerned with specifying exactly what the research problem is. Hypothesis الفرضية • Null hypothesis: a hypothesis which a researcher tries to disprove. Normally, the null hypothesis represents the current view/explanation of an aspect of the world that the researcher wants to challenge. Example: • H0: There is no relationship between a family’s income and expenditure on recreation. • Research hypothesis: Research methodology involves the researcher providing an alternative hypothesis as an alternate way to explain the phenomenon. Example: • HA: There is a definite relationship between family’s income and expenditure on recreation. • Tests of hypothesis: The researcher test the hypothesis to disprove the null hypothesis, not because he/she loves the research hypothesis, but because it would mean coming closer to finding an answer to a specific problem. The research hypothesis is often based on observations that evoke suspicion that the null hypothesis is not always correct. Variables المتغيرات • A variable is something that changes. • Researchers are often seeking to measure variables. – Independent variable: is the variable which the researcher would like to measure (the cause). – Dependent variable: is the effect (or assumed effect), dependent on the independent variable. Categories of research Empirical research تجريبيand theoretical research Basic research and Applied research Empirical Observational research ارصادي Experimental research تجريبي Basic (pure) research It is usually considered to involve the search for knowledge without a defined goal of utility or specific purpose. Basic research is driven by a scientist's curiosity or interest in a scientific question. The main motivation is to expand man's knowledge , not to create or invent something. There is no obvious commercial value to the discoveries that result from basic research. For example, basic science investigations probe for answers to questions such as: – – – – How did the universe begin? What are protons, neutrons, and electrons composed of? How do slime molds reproduce? What is the specific genetic code of the fruit fly? Most scientists believe that a basic, fundamental understanding of all branches of science is needed in order for progress to take place. In other words, basic research lays down the foundation for the applied science that follows. If basic work is done first, then applied spin-offs often eventually result from this research. Applied Research • It is problem oriented and is directed towards a defined and purposeful end. • Applied research is designed to solve practical problems of the modern world, rather than to acquire knowledge for knowledge's sake. One might say that the goal of the applied scientist is to improve the human condition . • For example, applied researchers may investigate ways to: – improve agricultural crop production – treat or cure a specific disease – improve the energy efficiency of homes, offices, or modes of transportation • Some scientists feel that the time has come for a shift in emphasis away from purely basic research and toward applied science. This trend, they feel, is necessitated by the problems resulting from global overpopulation, pollution, and the overuse of the earth's natural resources The Gray Zone – The distinction between basic and applied research • How long will it be before some practical application results from the research ? – If a practical use is only a few years away, then the work can be defined as strictly applied research. – If a practical use is still 20-50 years away, then the work is somewhat applied and somewhat basic in nature. – If a practical use cannot be envisioned in the foreseeable future, then the work can be described as purely basic research. Applied vs. Basic Research • Some basic scientific research has no foreseeable practical value other than "knowledge for knowledge's sake". • Many technological, medical, and scientific breakthroughs were made possible only due to the knowledge gained by prior basic research. • Discussion Questions: – Can our nation afford to spend millions of dinars on research that may have no practical benefit? – Should universities concentrate on basic research, or should they be allowed to concentrate on research programs that might be more profitable in the end? – Should Parliament be allowed to tell the Ministry of HE&SR and universities what types of scientific research should be supported? Research Process (Methodology) • • • • Initial Idea Background Investigation Refinement of Idea Core Work – Investigation and Development – Documentation – Prototype (if appropriate) • Evaluation • Identification of Future Work • Presentation SAMPLE OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGY DESCRIPTIONS My research methodology requires gathering relevant data from the specified documents and compiling databases in order to analyze the material and arrive at a more complete understanding and historical reconstruction of the lives of selected female scholars. I hope to shed light on the following questions through my research: 1) How did female scholars obtain their education? a) How important were factors such as kinship networks and socio-economic status in providing women access to their education? b) To what extent did women attend classes with other students and/or was their training obtained through private tutoring? 2) Did religious rules regarding veiling, seclusion, and women’s mobility in the public sphere affect the physical circumstances of women’s education? For example, did women interact directly with male students and teachers in formal educational settings, or did they participate through informal spheres such as gatherings in homes, mosques, libraries, and literary salons? 3) Are there any indications of a curriculum—or a set course of study— that a woman had to complete before gaining recognition as a hadīth transmitter or as a legal scholar? What credentials qualified women to interpret Islamic law or to transmit hadīth ? And how do these compare to the credentials and curricula of contemporary male scholars? 4) To what extent did female scholars obtain an education in a range of religious sciences beyond hadīth transmission, such as Islamic law, Qur’ānic exegesis, or poetry? This project will utilize both quantitative and qualitative data collection tools, but is rooted in a qualitative epistemological position that recognizes the importance of locating the research within a particular social, cultural, and historical context. It also takes seriously the social construction of these contexts and the identities participants construct within them SAMPLE OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGY DESCRIPTIONS: Data Collection Data collection will consist of surveys, classroom observations and interviews with [host country] teachers, as well as journal logs from teachers. Initially, a survey instrument to measure teacher attitudes and beliefs regarding professional roles and responsibilities will be administered to a broad spectrum of participants (ideally, n=300). Subsequently, a purposeful sample will be identified to participate in the second round of data collection. A structured observation protocol will be developed to aid in field note collection and an interview protocol rooted in the literature will be developed to act as a guide for the semi-structured interviews. Multiple interviews are planned with each participant in order to provide more in-depth data collection and opportunities for follow-up. The goal is to interview approximately 20 participants who embody a range of identity positions and who come from different schools and communities. I will work with [host country] teacher training programs, and with faculty at the Research Centre in [host city], to identify potential participants. I will also ask teachers to respond to a series of journal prompts over the course of the project that allow them to provide a more detailed and longitudinal view of their daily lives as teachers—their experiences, reactions, beliefs, and ideas about their roles and responsibilities as educators Classification of Epidemiologic studies Experimental or Observational studies Descriptive studies Analytical studies Surveys (questionnaire or others) Ecological or correlational studies Case studies Cross-sectional or prevalence studies Correlational studies Case-control or case-reference studies Cohort or followup studies intervention studies Randomised controlled trials or clinical trials Field trials or community intervention studies Community trials Example of Survey research: Journal of Heredity. 1983, 74:39-42 Analysis of the human sex ratio Factors influencing family size in Libya M. A. F. Al-Rubeai, Amina S. Abdulla and Elmer Gray University of Garyounis P.O. Box 9480, Benghazi, Libya Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY 42101 Abstract In 1981, data were obtained on sex of children and family size for 502 University of Garyounis, Benghazi, Libya, students and their parents. Secondary sex ratios (males: 100 females) were 105.1 for the parental and 106.7 for the present generations. Average numbers of children per family were 10.67 (5.48 males, 5.19 females) and 7.77 (4.01 males, 3.76 females) for the parental and present generations, respectively. Average number of children per family was influenced by level of formal education of the parents, especially that of the mother. The percentages of families stopping with three, four, five, and six children were greater when both sexes were present than when existing children were of the same sex; however, these differences associated with combinations of sexes were not significant. The lack of significant correlations between sexes of children within families, the absence of consistent patterns of significant chi-squares in the factorial analysis of associations between sexes of different births, and the agreement between observed and expected frequencies of sexes of children within families indicated a high degree of independence between sexes of children within families of the Libyan population. © 1983, American Genetic Association Al-Kafaji S. and Al-Rubeai M. (1976) Frequencies of the ABO and Rh blood groups in the Kurdish population of Iraq. Ann. Human Biology (London) 3. identify problem publication Literature review Plan research design Report writing Generalisation interpretation Determining sample size Procedural steps in research Hypothesis testing Write protocol Presentation &analysis of results Pilot study and main study Ethical committee approval Research Process – Initial Idea • Stems from critical thinking تفكير ناقد • Be on the lookout for and open to seeing problems – – – – Gaps in framework Repetitive behavior that’s slightly different (and can be generalized) Manual solutions (that can be automated) Inelegant solutions • Ask questions – “Is something missing here?” – “Can this be done in a better way?” – “Is there a need for a new approach?” • Should be an area you’re interested in, as: – You’ll be spending a lot of time with it – It won’t always be easy/fun to continue… Research process • • • • • • • • • • • • Specifying study design Selection of measures: many measure ,assessments Eg.: self report rating scales for fear, observations, interviews, stand questionnaires simple rating scale can be given a no. 1-strongly agree 2-agree 3-undecided 4-disagree 5-strongly disagree May not exist for the study, this may necessitate the development of new scale. should possess Reliability and validity Selection of sample: – Sampling techniques-in order to provide information, can be generalised to cover the whole population. Writing a protocol: aims & objectives, method, materials, sample, procedure Ethical approval Pilot work Main study Analysis of results Report writing publication Flowchart: Steps in the development of a health systems research proposal Planners and Gantt Charts Research Process – Background Investigation • Given an idea, need to determine: – Has this work been done previously? – What similar work has been done leading up to this point? – How is any previous work distinguished from what I’m planning to do? – What group of people will be positively impacted by the research? • Tools – Literature Review using library resources • online databases such as IEEE: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/dynhome.jsp – WWW search • Google scholar • HINARI- WHO access to research publications: http://extranet.who.int/hinari/en/journals.php Research Process – Refinement of Idea صقل الفكرة • Based on background investigation, need to refine idea • Issues: – Precision – focus on precisely identifying: • Problem • Possible solutions (plural!) – Scope – need to “build fences” • What’s an essential part of this work? (fence in) • What’s tangential تماسي, additional, or for any other reason best left for later/someone else? (fence out) Research Process – Core Work, Investigation and Development • Provide yourself with infrastructure – equipment / software – additional knowledge (“get up to speed”) • Do the work – Experimentation (scientific process) – Develop opinions – Look for better ways of solving problem • Can you generalize? • Can you develop a framework? – Discuss, brainstorm عصف ذهني – Reevaluate as you proceed • Look for improvements, changes to your original ideas Research Process – Core Work, Investigation and Development (2) • Process – Work regularly • Easier to keep going if have a commitment to a regular work time • Helps you keep your past work in mind – Allocate large block of time for research • Takes time to get going/back to speed • Make sure can do something significant each work session Research Process – Core Work, Documentation • Need to document as you go – Don’t want to lose any information. Important for patent litigation • 1) Maintain a journal for day-to-day thoughts – Can be paper, electronic, ... – Keep it with you at all times • Never know when good ideas will hit • 2) Keep an updated task list – Focus on accomplishing something each work session • 3) Write up your work – Periodically, write a few pages on a subset of your work • Summarize work, accomplishments, problems – At end, write up a summary document • Can be based on steps discussed here Research Process – Core Work, Prototype • Need to demonstrate the merit of your ideas • If work is non-theoretical, do this through a developed system – No need to build the entire system – Just need to demonstrate the value of the core ideas How to Analyse Data? • Need to consider the type of data collected – Categorical – Continuous – Mixed Categorical Data • Types of data which may be divided into groups. • Examples are race, sex, age group, and educational level. • Some variables may be considered in a numerical manner by using exact values, it is often more informative to categorize such variables into a relatively small number of groups. • Analysis of categorical data generally involves the use of data tables. Categorical Data • A two-way table presents categorical data by counting the number of observations that fall into each group for two variables, one divided into rows and the other divided into columns. • For example, suppose a survey was conducted of a group of 20 individuals, who were asked to identify their hair and eye colour. A two-way table presenting the results might appear as follows: Eye Colour Hair Colour Blue Green Brown Black Total ----------------------------------------------------Blonde 2 1 2 1 6 Red 1 1 2 0 4 Brown 1 0 4 2 7 Black 1 0 2 0 3 ----------------------------------------------------Total 5 2 10 3 20 What are some of the tests used on categorical data? • Chi-squared test to determine the relationship between variables • Fisher’s test to compare two unpaired groups • Wilconxon test to compare one group to a hypothetical value • Kruskal-Wallis test to compare three or more groups • Spearman test to compare association between variables Smoking statistics • • • • • • • • Smoking statistics - Smoking and cancer Percentage of population who smoke Smokers by age Smokers by socio-economic group Smokers by ethnic group Smokers by geographical region Childhood smokers Secondhand smoke Continuous Data • Data that can take any value (within a range) • Can be measured on a measurement scale that can be subdivided into ever-smaller measurements limited only by the measurement or recording system. • Examples of continuous data include time, temperature, age, height, length, weight etc. Discrete probability distribution Normal distribution What are some of the tests used on continuous data? • T test to compare one or two groups • ANOVA to compare three or more groups • Pearson test to compare the association between variables Checklist for presenting quantitative data analysis • Do the results that you have presented relate to your original research question/s? • Have you included all the results you need to support your argument? • Have you included results that are not needed? • Have you commented on all of the results? • Have you used to best presentation of your results (tables, graphs, diagrams, words) • Have you labelled all of your tables and figures? • Have you referred to all your tables and figures in the main text? If not, do you really need them? Research Process - Evaluation • “The greatest sin is judgment without knowledge” • Perhaps the most difficult part…. – Best if can show others are already using your work • Quantitative – Test your prototype – What improvements exist over currently available alternative? – How much of an improvement do you see? • Qualitative – What can you do now that couldn’t be done before? – What are the benefits of your solution? Research Process – Identification of Future Work • Helps you organize any future efforts • Helps others build on your work • Sources: – What you excluded in your idea refinement – New problems that have surfaced during your work Research Process - Presentation • It’s not a contribution to the field if no one knows about it or can use it • Presentation/Dissemination – Conferences, Journals, Web – Papers, Talks, Poster Sessions Conference/ lecture Presentation Connecting with the audience • Ensure opening capture the interest and attention • Engage audience • Phrase and pause • Talk to individuals • Get agreement • Encourage students to ask questions • Use students’ names as often as possible Conference/ lecture Presentation Connecting with the audience • • • • • • • • • • Consider yourself honoured Give sincere appreciation Mention names Say “we” not “you” No apologetic language Establish eye contact Smile Move around and interact rather than reading from notes Be confident in your delivery and interaction Keep an eye on the audience's body language Conference/ lecture Presentation Delivery • • • • • • • • • Speak clearly Don't rush, or talk deliberately slowly Use deliberate pauses at key points Change the tone of delivery Use hand movements to emphasise points Exhibit enthusiasm about the topic Project your voice or use a microphone if necessary Use a variety of audiovisual media. Inject the presentation (or materials) with humour Conference/ lecture Presentation Things to avoid • • • • • • • Standing in a position where you obscure the screen Getting lost in an overhead Excesses (of movement, enthusiasm, hand gestures etc) Repetitive words or phrases that may become distracting The use of fillers (such as “um,” “er,” or “you know”) Reading from dense slides verbatim Gaudy colour schemes, distracting sounds or visuals in slides Preparation • • • • • Start with the end in mind Research material Make brief notes Use examples and analogies Be open (discuss your ideas with friends or colleagues) • Practice (everywhere except in front of a mirror) Methods of data presentation • Use of visual graphics – Studies reveal: • 75% of what we learn and remember comes from ocular stimulation – So… • the more visual a presentation, the more will be retained. Used correctly, visual communication tools and techniques can: • • • • • • • • • • • focus a group’s attention help a discussion stay on the agenda stimulate interest improve message comprehension increase retention rates explain complex facts and processes reinforce key points make abstract ideas concrete leave a lasting impression impart a professional image add variety and emphasis to a presentation. Used improperly, the same tools can ... • • • • • • Bore Alienate Confuse Overwhelm Inhibit communication Fail dismally Using graphics .......to convey a message effectively • • • Can you read it? Is it legible, easy to read? Things like fonts, colour choices, labelling and organisation should be noted here. Can you understand it? Does it make sense? If the point of making a quality graph is the ability to tell a story with pictures, then the goal of a grapher is to make the subject easier to understand. Does it stand alone? How much explanation does the visual require? Usually the less explanation needed, the more effective the visual. That means that the best graphs can stand alone, letting the image speak for itself, or it could drive home the point of the article in which it was included. Points to remember • Graphics should stimulate thinking • Use a graphic if it can’t be put in a table or adds more value as a graphic • Graphics are useful for portraying trends, relationships and comparisons • Maximise the data to ink ratio –do not waste ink • Minimise chart or graphic junk When using graphics • • • • Ensure graphic has a heading Label the components of your graphic Indicate data source Use the graphic to work for you –sort the data, or add labels, use colour Confusing Graphics • You want to plot the relationship between weight and pulse rate. You consider gender and activity level to be crucial to understanding this relationship, so you include them as grouping variables. The resulting graph is a mess of different symbol types and regression lines. Before: Relationships within and between the groups in this scatterplot are difficult to see. After: Panelling separates the observations by group for easier comparison. Excellent graph presentation Excellent graph presentation Innovation Forum for Mobility & Digital Security CORRELATIONAL RELATIONSHIP Positive correlation • When the values of TWO variables “go together” or • values on X & Y change in SAME DIRECTION 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Hr work Earnin gs Sigma Plot- Linear Regression 120 100 0.8904 R2 P 0.0564 Earnings 80 60 40 20 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 Hours work The correlation coefficient, r, quantifies the direction and magnitude of correlation Perhaps the best way to interpret the value of r is to square it to calculate r2. Statisticians call this quantity the coefficient of determination, but scientists call it r squared. Negative Correlation • When the values of two variables CO-VARY in Opposite direction 120 100 80 • (as one goes up, the other goes down) 60 40 20 0 Hrs work Earnin gs Sigma Plot- Linear Regression 60 R2 1.0000 P 0.00 50 Earnings 40 30 20 10 0 10 20 30 40 Hours Work 50 60 70 Manage your time • • • • • • • • Define your objectives: these need to be specific, measurable and set within a time-frame. Define the tasks you need to complete to achieve your objectives. Identify key tasks, set deadlines - and keep to them! Monitor your progress and set new goals. If you don't meet a goal within the time you have set don't be discouraged; this is part of your learning-perhaps the time allotted was unrealistic, or the goal was not specific enough. Build reporting requirements (confirmation report, yearly progress reports) into your task structure. When allotting time, try to envisage possible obstacles/delays (eg. survey distribution, visas for travel, equipment breakdowns or time restrictions). If you confront a delay to candidature (for reasons such as family, health, employment) it may be a good idea to apply for official intermission of candidature to extend the expiry of candidature date. There will be times when you will feel tired or unable to concentrate. Be prepared to use those times for practical tasks, such as filing, record keeping, bibliographic referencing, etc. Never waste time that you've allocated for your project! Research ethics and being a responsible researcher • Research ethics proposal proforma – The following proforma from Sheffield Hallam University is typical of the kinds of form. If this is not an institutional requirement for you, you might still want to fill it in as it will encourage you to think very carefully about the ethical implications of your research RESEARCH ETHICS PROPOSAL Name of researcher: Email address: Title of research: Supervisor: Briefly describe the rationale for your research with reference to the research literature (approx. 250 words). State the major research questions including the aim(s) and hypothesis(es) where appropriate. Describe the method including the design, participants, and procedure. Describe the type of data analysis you envisage using. Describe the arrangements for selecting/sampling and briefing potential participants. This should include copies of any advertisements for volunteers or letters to individuals/organisations inviting participation. Describe any possible negative consequences of participation in the research along with the ways in which these consequences will be limited. This should include details where appropriate of any withholding of information or misleading of participants along with a justification of why this is necessary. Describe how participants will be made aware of their right to withdraw from the research. This should also include information about participants' right to withhold information. Describe the arrangements for obtaining participants' consent. This should include copies of the information that they will receive & written consent forms where appropriate. If children or vulnerable people are to be participants in the study details of the arrangements for obtaining consent from those acting in loco parentis or as advocates should be provided. If you intend to undertake research with children or other vulnerable participants does the data collection involve you being alone with the participant(s)? Please provide details. If your data collection requires that you work alone with children or other vulnerable participants have you undergone Criminal Records Bureau screening? Please supply details. Describe the arrangements for debriefing the participants. This should include copies of information that participants will receive where appropriate. Describe the arrangements for ensuring participant confidentiality. This should include details of how data will be stored and how results will be presented. Consent forms A consent form is something you can use with your research participants to ensure that they are clear about what they are getting involved in. The form below, used at Sheffield Hallam University, can be used and adapted for your own project (but check first whether your own institution has similar templates for you to work with). TITLE OF STUDY: Please answer the following questions by circling your responses: Have you read and understood the information sheet about this study? YES NO Have you been able to ask questions about this study? YES NO Have you received enough information about this study? YES NO Do you understand that you are free to withdraw from this study? YES NO At any time? YES NO Without giving a reason for your withdrawal? YES NO Your responses will be anonymised before they are analysed. Do you give permission for members of the research team to have access to your anonymised responses? YES NO Do you agree to take part in this study? YES NO Your signature will certify that you have voluntarily decided to take part in this research study having read and understood the information in the sheet for participants. It will also certify that you have had adequate opportunity to discuss the study with an investigator and that all questions have been answered to your satisfaction. Signature of participant:............................ Date:................. Name (block letters):.................................................... Signature of investigator:........................... Date:................. THESIS PREPARATION for graduate studies • An M.Sc. Thesis in general is from 70 - 120 pages in length. A Ph.D. thesis in general is from 150 - 200 pages in length. Ph.D. and M.Sc. thesis manuscripts should be written under the following headings/components: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • TITLE PAGE ABSTRACT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES (where applicable) LIST OF PLATES (where applicable) LIST OF FIGURES LIST OF APPENDICES (where applicable) Section I INTRODUCTION Section 2 METHODOLOGY Section 3 RESULTS Section 4 DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS REFERENCES LIST OF PUBLICATIONS AND ABSTRACTS APPENDICES (as necessary) Dissertation Pattern • Most dissertations are organised in the timehonoured pattern: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Introduction Review of the literature Methodology Results Summary and discussion The Focused Review of the Literatures • Proposal – a research contract that spells out the details of your research plan. • Prospectus – a preliminary sketch of the proposal • Both need the focused review of the literatures Evaluate the Literatures 1. 2. 3. 4. Check the author. Check the title. Check the date. Note the source. (importance) 5. Check the document type. 6. Read the abstract. • Code 1 = “must-have” source • Code 2 = “maybe helpful” source • Code 3 = “not useful” source Points to be kept in mind while reviewing literature.. Read relevant literature. Refer original works. Read with comprehension. Read in time. Index the literature. Examine the Research Problem • • • Explain the research problem clearly. Explain your personal interest. Explain its professional significance: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Tests a theory. Contributes toward the development of theory. Extends existing knowledge. Tests prevailing beliefs. Suggests relationships between phenomena. Extends a research methodology. Provides greater depth of knowledge about previously studied phenomena. An Effective Approach to Writing • Develop a writing schedule that will help you write systematically and effectively. You can’t write while you’re watching the baby, doing the laundry, or watching television. • Arrange for the help you will need: a professional word processor, a good editor. Professors are scholars, not editors. Document Assertions • The journalist writes: “Experts now believe that most large employers will soon be providing child-care services for working parents.” • The scholars writes: “According to several studies, a large percentage of the companies employing more than 1,000 employees provide some form of child care for working parents (see, for example, the Murphy 1997 survey).” The Way You Identify Sources • According to Walker (1998), parents reported satisfaction ... • Walker (1998) concluded that ... • Parents reported a high level of satisfaction with the charter schools their children attended (Walker, 1998). • Several studies conclude that parents are generally satisfied with the charter school their children attended (see, for example, Jones, 1996; King, 1990; Walker, 1998). • In the 1998 study by Walker ... Write Clear, Mature Sentences 1. Combine shorter sentences. Too short: Gray (1998) studied the effectiveness of the new schedule. He used scores on the Stanford Achievement Test as the measure. Combined: Gray (1998) studied the effectiveness of the new schedule, using scores on the Stanford Achievement Test as the measure. Chapter 1: Statement of the problem • • • • • • • General background of the study Problem statement Professional significance of the problem Overview of the methodology Delimitations of the study Definitions of key terms Organization of the dissertation Chapter 2: A review of the literature • An overview of how the chapter is organized • Review of the theoretical and empirical literature, organized according to one of certain patterns • A summary of what the previous research seems to mean and how it relates to this study Chapter 3: The methodology of the study • • • • • • • A description of the general methodology The research context or site The subjects or participants The instruments and materials used The procedures followed The data analyses made A summary statement of the methodology Chapter 4: The results of the study • An overview of the chapter • A presentation of the results, organized in terms of how the problem statement was posed in the first chapter • A summary in general terms of the results obtained The summary & Abstract • A summary of the results, organized in terms of how the problem statement was posed – Write the Introductory Paragraph “As an aid to the reader, this final chapter of the dissertation restates the research problem and reviews the major methods used in the study. The major sections of this chapter summaries the results and discuss their implications.” – Restate the Problem and Review the Methodology – Summarize the Results • Abstract – The abstract is a summary limited to 350 words. – You should state the problem and briefly indicate the methodology. You also should summarize the results. – “If I were a researcher trying to decide if this dissertation is worth retrieving, what would I want to know?” Writing a Grant Proposal: Preliminary Questions What is the specific question? Is the idea novel? Do your resources (i.e. facilities, equipment personnel, patient population, time, motivation) make this a realistic project for your centre at this time? Is the answer of sufficient importance? What funding agency is most appropriate? Applicant Grant Application Funding Organisation Reviewers Summary Statement Applicant Scientific Review Group The Review Criteria 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Significance. Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive this field? Approach. Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics? Innovation. Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches, or methods? Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing belief or develop new methodologies or technologies? Investigator. Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator and other researchers, if any? Environment. Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support? BBSRC Research Grant Application Referee’s Report Form • Knowledge of Applicant/Scientific Area • Overall Assessment – Scientific Excellence – Strategic Relevance – Prosperity and Quality of Life – Timeliness and Promise • Specific Comments In addition to the criteria, applications are reviewed for the following: • Reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration relative to the research. • Adequacy of the protection for humans, animals, or the environment. • Adequacy of a plan to share data, if appropriate. The Title Make it specific and captivating “An alternative means to detect osteoporosis” VS “ Osteoporosis : A rapid inexpensive office screening test for early detection ” Hypothesis • Should be clearly stated in one or two Sentences • Do not make reviewers look for it Objective • Define one or two specific objectives • Do not try to answer too many questions • (most important problems are answered one question at a time) Background • Your opportunity to convince the reviewers that you are up-to-date and conversant in your field of enquiry • Concise, thorough, well referenced review • Preliminary data may strengthen your Proposal • Should lead to the logical conclusion that your proposed question needs to be answered !!! References • Include full reference -Author, title, vol., pages, year • Reviewers have been chosen for their critical thinking ability and will seldom accept a statement contrary to their own perception without determining your source of information Research Design Describe • Facilities and resources • Study population • Methodology • Sample size determination • Data management • Statistical analysis Budget • Must be reasonable, itemized, justified • Document expenses with copies of proposed charges, maintenance contracts, etc. • Give degree of overlap with other grants (either submitted or funded) How to write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) What is a CV? • From Wikipedia; "A Curriculum Vitae is a document that contains a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education. The résumé or CV is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and is typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment." But a CV is more than simply a summary of your achievements. CV • Should emphasize the training and experience of investigators • Should not be embellished (peer reviewed publications important) • When you first create a CV have another researcher critically review your method To make the most of any study opportunity your CV should: • Market and sell you by clearly representing your work history, skills and experience. • Have its content free of spelling and grammatical errors. • Use the document format all universities prefer. • Always be sent with an effective and meaningful covering letter. • Made easily and readily available for PhD applications. • Make a good impression by detailing your capabilities and strengths in a positive way. Curriculum Vitae Format • Name, address & email • Personal Information: Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Citizenship, Gender • Education: List your academic background, including undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. – Graduate Institution, City – Degree, Major, Date of Graduation, Dissertation • Employment history: List in chronological order, include position details and dates. • Postdoctoral training: List your postdoctoral experiences, if applicable. • Fellowships: List internships and fellowships, including organization, title and dates. • Licenses/ certification: List type of license, certification or accreditation and date received. • Publications: Books, Refereed journals, Conferences • Professional affiliations • Skills / Interests Wendy Stephens 15 Green Cross Road, Dover, Kent, DV2 3YZ. Tel: (01321) 612786 E-mail: [email protected] Date of Birth: 6th February, 1983 Education PhD in Computer Science, University of Kent 2005-2008 Thesis Title: Identification of Ambimorphic Modalities in Data Mining Systems (Funded by EPSRC bursary) Supervisors: Dr A. Turing and Professor A. Lovelace Brief Synopsis of Research: Many computer scientists would agree that, had it not been for local-area networks, the emulation of link-level acknowledgements might never have occurred. The notion that cyberneticists cooperate with highly-available modalities is often good. We instrumented a deployment on the KGB's network to quantify topologically scalable epistemologies's impact on J. Quinlan's study of Ambimorphic Modalities. This configuration step was time-consuming but worth it in the end. Had we emulated our Planetlab overlay network, as opposed to deploying it in a controlled environment, we would have seen degraded results in Data Mining. Our method also stores ambimorphic modalities. eliable systems are particularly theoretical when it comes to embedded methodologies. It is always a significant objective but fell in line with our expectations. During my PhD I have also led seminars, supervised undergraduates in the laboratory and taken a course on "Effective Tutoring and Assessment". Research Interests: My current research centres around the random behaviour of fuzzy epistemologies 2002 - 2005 BSc (Hons) Computer Science, University of Kent. Upper Second Class Honours. Modules included: Structured Programming, Software Engineering (Including Object Oriented Theory), Networks and Communication Systems Group project on database design. I achieved well above average marks for this project. 1995 - 2002 Folkestone High School 2002 A-levels: Chemistry B, Computer Science B, Maths C 2000 GCSE’s: 8 including Maths and English and German, all at grades A to C Employment 2008 - 2009 Research Assistant, Dept. of Computer Science , University of Kent, Canterbury, UK I work as part of Professor J. Andrews research group in the field of the influence of replicated archetypes on complexity theory. My work involved the testing of a novel heuristic for the significant unification of evolutionary programming (SortesHeal), disproving that lambda calculus and erasure coding are regularly incompatible. July 2004 - September 2004 Tesco (Shop Assistant) Duties involved taking orders and stock control, generally dealing with customers and organising other assistants. I built a strong positive relationship with customers and staff Skills General skills in research project management and data analysis. Specific expertise and interests in: Computing Skills: •Applications: Microsoft Office Suite, Internet Explorer, Paint Shop Pro, Dreamweaver and several e-mail packages. •Programming Languages: C#, Java, Prolog, Perl, SQL, and HTML. •Operating Systems: Unix, Windows Vista, Windows XP Teaching Skills: •Postgraduate Demonstrator. Regularly supervise practicals for undergraduate students and have supervised the undergraduate research projects of 2 final year students. •Have lead several seminars for undergraduates in the computer science department. Time Management •It was important to complete my PhD within 3 years and this I did successfully. I also met without fail, the many deadlines in my teaching and supervisory duties. I have extensive experience of juggling different tasks and bringing these to a successful conclusion. Other skills •Knowledge of research methodologies •Statistical software: extensive experience with SAS. •Data and information collection •Writing and presenting reports •Full current clean driving licence •I have a reasonable understanding of written German. Interests I enjoy rugby and was a member of the Kent University Rugby Club. The latter involved participating in activities, such as raising money for charity events, for example, in RAG week. I also enjoy current affairs and traveling. References Dr Alan Turing (PhD Supervisor) Department of Computer Science University of Kent Canterbury Kent CT2 7NJ Professor Ada Lovelace Department of Computer Science University of Kent Canterbury Kent CT2 7NJ APPENDIX Detailed Synopsis of PhD The roadmap of the research is as follows. Primarily, we explored the need for Smalltalk. we placed our work in context with the existing work in this area. To answer this question, we demonstrated that interrupts and interrupts are largely incompatible. Similarly, to answer this obstacle, we argued that although congestion control can be made collaborative, concurrent, and event-driven, the Ethernet and vacuum tubes are regularly incompatible. Many computer scientists would agree that, had it not been for local-area networks, the emulation of link-level acknowledgements might never have occurred. It might seem perverse but fell in line with our expectations. The notion that cyberneticists cooperate with highly-available modalities is often good . To what extent can write-ahead logging be constructed to realize this ambition? While previous solutions to this problem are promising, none have taken the pervasive method we propose here. Despite the fact that conventional wisdom states that this challenge is entirely solved by the simulation of cache coherence, we believe that a different approach is necessary. The disadvantage of this type of method, however, is that IPv6 and Boolean logic are often incompatible. The disadvantage of this type of method, however, is that multicast solutions and link-level acknowledgements are rarely incompatible. Combined with e-commerce, such a hypothesis improves an analysis of vacuum tubes . We prove that Internet QoS can be made event-driven, robust, and wireless. The basic tenet of this method is the deployment of the producer-consumer problem. Despite the fact that prior solutions to this obstacle are bad, none have taken the permutable approach we propose in this work. While it might seem perverse, it is derived from known results. Without a doubt, it should be noted that Herte runs in W( n ) time. Therefore, we see no reason not to use e-business to emulate authenticated models. We question the need for the analysis of active networks. Despite the fact that conventional wisdom states that this riddle is entirely answered by the refinement of SCSI disks, we believe that a different approach is necessary. Although such a hypothesis is mostly a compelling goal, it fell in line with our expectations. Similarly, this is a direct result of the construction of local-area networks. However, this solution is mostly satisfactory. Nevertheless, this approach is never adamantly opposed. Combined with checksums, such a claim deploys a novel methodology for the improvement of 4 bit architectures. Conferences, Presentations and Courses Attended •Research Council Graduate School, November 7th - 12th 2006. •Ergonomics Society Group Meeting, Nottingham, February 2005, presented poster. Publications/Conference Papers •Turing, A., Andrews, J. & Stephens, W. Decoupling Markov models from suffix trees in scatter/gather I/O. Journal of Knowledge-Based, Optimal •Technology 82 (2007), 57-60. •Harris, I., and & Turing, A. Simulating consistent hashing using perfect methodologies in POT the Workshop on Data Mining and Knowledge •Discovery (Dec. 2006). •Babbage, C. & Turing, A.,. Visualizing the Turing machine using embedded archetypes. Journal of Embedded Configurations 25 (Nov. 2007), 85-102. Awards, Fellowships, and Grants •EPSRC Research Bursary 2005 - 2008 •Burroughs Wellcome Computational Equipment Grant, (2008 - 2009) •NSC Travel Grant to FARO Advanced Study Institute, 2007 Professional Memberships •Student member of the British Computer Society Top ten tips to remember when writing a Covering letter • The covering letter should consist of 1 page on plain white A4 paper. • You should use a font that offers a clean and clear appearance. My advice is to use Arial. • Aim for a maximum of three paragraphs. Remember simple is best. • Use upbeat and positive language and avoid exaggerated statements. • Ensure there are no spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes. • Express yourself with confidence. • Where possible, write to a named individual. • Your cover letter should be tailored specifically for each application. • Be concise and to the point. Try to avoid repeating what's in your CV. Your contact details This should include your name, address and email address. Remember make it easy for the university to contact you. University details This should include whom the letter is going to, University/supervisor name and full address. If you know the name of the person then use it. If no particular name was mentioned use a department title e.g. Head of Department. Date You should use long date format in full e.g. 27th April 2006 and not 27/4/06 Salutation & Opening If you know the name use it e.g. Dear Dr Smith. If you don’t know, use Dear Sir/Madam. It is preferable to use a name. The University’s web site is often a good place to search for the appropriate individual. Letter title Centre and bold the text. This will enable the addressee to know immediately that this is an application Paragraph 1 – Why you are writing You want to try & get the interest of the supervisor. You should start the letter with the reason for writing and indicate the degree and course that you are applying for. This is also a good place to tell then why you are interested in doing PhD and convey a genuine interest in the University and course. The University website will be a good source of background information. Paragraph 2 – What you can offer them Here you describe briefly why you think you should be considered for a PhD position. You should summarise relevant qualifications for the degree along with your experience and skills. Also give details of your scholarship. Try to make sure that it is not just a list of what is in your CV but is individualised to the PhD application. Paragraph 3 – Summary and next step Refer to your enclosed CV. It is also important that you thank the reader for their time and consideration and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them. Closing Use “Yours sincerely” if you are sending the letter to a named person, otherwise use “Yours faithfully”. Add a few blank lines and finish with your name. The space between is used for your signature once printed. Dear Sir/Madam, Please accept my application for the position of PhD in xx. I have an MSc in xx from yy and a BSc in xx from yy. I have gained solid background and practical skills while obtaining my two previous degrees and a considerable understanding for handling various domain areas in biomedical engineering. Therefore, I am confident that this would ease my learning and contribution on this research project. I work well in teams; I am reliable and organised, and enthusiastic to learn. I am sure that I will carry over the same enthusiasm and skill in doing this PhD. I know that my academic background will prove to be an effective match for your demands. Therefore, I would like to have the opportunity to develop my abilities, for which I am confident that I have the skills, knowledge and competence. Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing from you. Yours Sincerely, xx Dear Prof. Al-Rubeai, I am a Biotech Engineering student from Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM) at Monterrey, Mexico. For a year and a half, I have been working in an industry-colaboration research project for the high yeald production of Mab's in CHO cells. My project consists basically on the optimization of culture parameters, including bioreactor-operation ones as well as culture media formulation. I have been following very closely the articles issued by your research group on several journals, and I have found them very interesting as well as inspiring for new ideas. Unfortunately, the resources we have the FEMSA Biotechnology Center-where I work- are not enough as for trying them all. For instance, I have been experimenting with several culture media supplementations and measuring the cell growth and specific productivity obtained therefore; however, I strongly believe that a metabolomic analysis would give us hints about what is going on with the metabolism of our cells. Similarly, our experiments have been carried as batch or fed batch, but ideally the industrial production process would be done in a perfusion bioreactor...up to my knowledge, I haven't found reported a complete characterization of what would happend with the specific productivity of the cells (now without the problem of nutriments depletion or accumulation of toxic side-products). Moreover, we haven't even tried with miRNA strategies. I am looking for pursuing my career through research and I am very excited about this field. I was wondering if there is any open place for a PhD at your research group. If we could have a little talk about some of the project ideas that I have, it would be great. Here attached you will find my CV. Hoping to hear from you soon, >>>>>>> Dr. ^^ Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology The University of ^ Dear Dr ^^: I am writing you to apply for a postdoctoral scholar positions at your research group, which is related to my research experiences. Your group reputation for excellence in organic chemistry research gives me a strong impression and I would love to join it if I have the chance. Now, I am working on "%%" project at Department of Chemical Engineering (Dr && Lab), Michigan University and will be available by September 2009. Having studied the "%%" research, I want to study the %%. And I also want to learn %% in your lab. As noted in my biographic sketch, before joining MU, I worked for my Ph D with research on "%%, and for my BS with research on "&&". A copy of my biographic sketch with referees and my research interests and accomplishment is enclosed. If you need additional materials or information, I am happy to supply it. I look forward to learning more about this interesting opportunity and exploring the fit with my experience. I would be pleased to answer any quick questions you have by telephone (XXX), and of course I would like to meet with you in person. I believe that my perseverance and enthusiasm could help me success in the research at your lab. I will be very grateful if you can give me a chance. Thank you very much for your consideration and looking forward to hearing back from you. Sincerely, XXX XX Enclosure: CV Examples of Good and Bad Research Proposals Example of a Cover Letter for Submission of a Paper to a Journal for Possible Publication Pay-to-publish journals • • • • • Some open access journals are fake journals publish any paper for Dollars (e.g. Journals from Bentham Science Publishers) Libraries and authors need to be careful to prevent abuse of their funds under the traditional model… the revenues of the journal were directly linked to the journal’s ability to publish quality research. As quality increases so individual and institutional subscribers. Instead, under the pay-to-publish model, the revenues of the journal are linked directly to manuscript acceptances and largely (although I admit not entirely) independent of the quality of the accepted manuscripts. All pay-to-publish journals get paid each time a manuscript is published regardless of the quality of the manuscript). Make sure that the journal is: – – – Established and reputed Impact factor? Indexed in SCIENCE CITATION, PubMed, Web of Science, Biosis etc. The impact factor • Often abbreviated IF, is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. • It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals with higher impact factors deemed to be more important than those with lower ones. • The impact factor is highly discipline-dependent. The h-index • • An index that attempts to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the scientist's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other people's publications. The index can also be applied to the productivity and impact of a group of scientists, such as a department or university or country. The index works properly only for comparing scientists working in the same field; citation conventions differ widely among different fields. Example • My current project • An example for each of you – choose a subject you’re interested in – think of a problem or issue you see in that area – refine your interest to a possible project that involves one or more ways of solving that problem – outline the steps you’d take to do the project work and test your ideas – what is your hypothetical conclusion? – how would you evaluate the quality of your solution?