Describing the philosophical foundations of the consumer of research and the trends and developments of social and behavioral science investigation concerns how empiricism relates to quantitative research methodology framed verifiable experience and/or observation rather use of pure logic or theory. The ideology of quantitative research looks to real world data gathering from responses by target samplings with personal perspectives that are holistic. The use of scientific method in general is an ongoing process of looking at the natural world and asking why things are the way they and form hypothesis leading to specific aims and goals finding the answers through discovery. Using the positivism typically adopts a deductive approach using both reasoning and logical assessment of the available facts and post-positivism scientific research emerged with the attitude both scientific inquiry and common sense are more alike than different and this is aligned more to the empirical applications in quantitative research. In all cases the importance of objectivity in research remains based on the assumption independent reality or a truth exists outside of observation or investigation and uncovering means doing so without bias contaminating the outcome. In particular, to empirical quantitative studies the focus of the researcher is to remain impartial while acknowledging subjective preconceptions that do not inject personal values and bias into the process.
Philosophical developments of scientific realism hold to the view that it is what is known about the world through observation, research, and understanding the outcomes and what remains to be discovered through observation, research, and understanding the outcomes. Cognitive psychology in the social sciences continues leading trends connected to philosophical development aligned to social constructivism. This is particularly evident in educational research. Founded in transformational philosophical proponents of advocacy/liberatory entails collaboration effort between subjects, researchers, leaders, and followers. This participatory methodology centers on vested interest in the outcomes and an intrinsic assumption a lack of objectivity exists in the findings with the target subjects trusting the outcomes. Similarities between theoretical and conceptual frameworks relies on reviewing the literature for understanding the specific subject the two apply looking for gaps in knowledge and the recommendations for further research. The difference between the two is how the theoretical gives a general representation of relationships between variables studied to existing things in a given phenomenon outlining input as well as both input and output processes whereas the conceptual framework embodies a particular direction research undertakes as a research paradigm (Zalta, 2015).
Core Concepts for Research Design
Only by identifying a research question, a hypothesis, and a problem can a research design develop. The purpose of a research study is to convince the proposal reviewers of the need for the study and that the author of the proposal is competent enough to do the study. Further, the purpose is part of the blueprint that directs what to study, why, the methods, and the limitations (Grinnell & Unrau, 2005). The literature review identifies the existing literature on the subject of the proposed research question using peer reviewed articles, books, government, and professional statistics. Yegidis (2005), explains, “the literature review, the reader is helped to navigate through existing, relevant knowledge, stopping along the way to pull together conclusions and to evaluate just where the literature seems to be leading (p. 57).”
The target population as part of the methodology of conducting the study for data gathering is the entire issue of a study such as 8th grade reading students collectively. The differentiation between the population and the actual sampling that participates in the research has to do with the actual numbers of subjects. The sampling is representative of the greater population and is the real target of the research goal and aims for data outcomes in answering the research problem, question, or hypothesis. Variables exist as a trait, factor, or condition in differing amounts or types. This can be gender, race, age, and other characteristics as applied to the subject of the research (Grinnell & Unrau, 2005). The findings of any research are reported by writing/publishing the entire research project design including methodology of gathering and analyzing the data outcomes. The process of research including assumptions according to Grinnell, Unrau, and Williams (2005) “is a matter of slowly acquiring knowledge by making observations and measurements, deriving assumptions from those observations, and testing the assumptions by making more observations and measurements (p.13).”
Limitations and delimitation considerations in research are framed in the ethical practices of investigative studies. The limitations recognize the weak aspects of the study that are beyond the control of the design such as the sampling representative of but a small portion of the larger population and the delimitations are the scope or the boundaries the researcher sets in the design of the research. Internal validity refers to data gathering instruments and procedures of what is measured and what is supposed to be measured. The external validity are research results generalized beyond the sample of people in a study. The reliability of research outcomes is whether findings are capable of being repeated in a second study (Grinnell & Unrau, 2005).
Other Approaches to Research
Research deign uses different methodologies according to the characteristics of the study. A mixed methods approach using quantitative (statistics), qualitative (real life data gathering from questionnaires, interviews, journals, old letters, and documents. The program evaluation approach to research is a design that systematically assesses the processes of a program’s outcomes for the purpose of furthering its development by identifying strengths and weaknesses for differentiating processes for improvement. Action research specifically focuses on improving the performance and quality of an organization. This is a popular method used in educational settings by educators individually or in a group to analyze existing data, applying interventions intending to improve the practice by again analyzing the outcomes of the intervention. action research (Grinnell & Unrau, 2005).
Advantages of program evaluations intends strengthening the design through clearly expressing the shared objectives and goals while facilitating decision-making through informed processes making decision makers accountable to the stakeholders. Disadvantages of this process directly connects to subjective analysis that does not accurately describe the status of the program. (Grinnell & Unrau, 2005).
The fundamental advantages of action research particular to its use by educators remains the ability of educators using actual data instead of subjective hunches based on the scientific underpinnings of the process. The advantages address the quality of instruction for learners as well as professional growth for instructors (Dyke, 2016). The disadvantage connected to action research is the subjective application to analyzing and evaluating the outcomes. The practitioner must have a clear focus on assessing need for differentiating instructional delivery so goals for improvement are possible.