In the introduction of coursework or thesis among other factors must be listed research methods. To choose suitable methods, apply them in the process of writing a work, and correctly describe in the introduction is not an easy task. It is complicated by the fact that in each field of research: psychology, medicine, finance, pedagogy and others, their own, narrowly targeted methods are applied. Below we will reveal their essence and name their general and special types.
What are research methods?
This is the first question to be addressed. So, research methods are the steps that we take towards the goal of our work. These are the ways that help us solve the tasks.
Because of their huge number, there are different classification of research methods, subdivisions into species, groupings. First of all, they are usually divided into two categories: universal and private. The first category is applicable for all branches of knowledge, and the second is characterized by a narrower focus and covers those methods that are applied strictly in a particular field of science.
We will consider the following classification in more detail and distinguish their types: empirical, theoretical, quantitative and qualitative. Next, we consider the methods applicable in specific areas of cognition: pedagogy, psychology, sociology and others.
An example of a description of research methods in the introduction of coursework or thesis management
Empirical Research Methods
This view is based on empirical, that is, sensory perception, as well as on measurement using instruments. This is an important component of scientific research in all fields of knowledge from biology to physics, from psychology to pedagogy. It helps to determine the objective laws in accordance with which the phenomena under study occur.
The empirical research methods given below in term paper and other student works can be called basic or universal, because they are relevant for absolutely all areas of cognition.
- The study of a variety of sources of information. This is nothing more than an elementary collection of information, that is, the stage of preparation for writing a master's thesis or term paper. The information you will rely on can be taken from books, the press, legal acts and, finally, from the Internet. When searching for information, it should be remembered that not all finds are reliable (especially on the Internet), therefore, when selecting information, you should be critical of them and pay attention to confirmation and similarity of materials from different sources.
- Analysis of the information received. This is the stage that follows the collection of information. It is not enough just to find the right material, you also need to carefully analyze it, check for consistency, reliability and relevance.
- Observation. This method is a focused and attentive perception of the phenomenon under study with the subsequent collection of information. In order for the observation to bring the desired results, it is necessary to prepare for it in advance: draw up a plan, outline the factors requiring special attention, clearly determine the timing and objects of observation, prepare a table that you will fill out during the work.
- Experiment. If observation is more of a passive method of research, then the experiment is characterized by your vigorous activity. To conduct an experiment or series of experiments, you create certain conditions in which you place the subject of study. Next, you observe the reaction of the subject and record the results of the experiments in the form of a table, graph or diagram.
- Poll. This method helps to look deeper into the problem being studied, asking specific questions to the people involved in it. The survey is used in three variations: this is an interview, conversation and questionnaire. The first two types are oral, and the last is written. After completing the survey, you need to clearly formulate its results in the form of text, diagrams, tables or graphs.
Theoretical research methods
The methods for conducting this type of research are abstract and generalized. They help to systematize the collected material for its successful study.
- Analysis. In order to better understand the material, it is necessary to decompose it into component units and study each in detail. This is what analysis does.
- Synthesis. Opposition to analysis, necessary for combining disparate elements into a single whole. We resort to this method to get a general idea of the phenomenon being studied.
- Modeling. To study the subject of research in detail, sometimes you need to place it in a specially created model.
- Classification. This method is similar to analysis, only it distributes information based on comparison and divides it into groups based on common features.
- Deduction. In the best traditions of Sherlock Holmes, this method helps to move from the general to the particular. This transition is useful for a deeper insight into the essence of the phenomenon under study.
- Induction. This method is the opposition of deduction, it helps to move from a single case to the study of the whole phenomenon.
- Analogy. The principle of its action is that we find certain similarities between several phenomena, and then build logical conclusions about the fact that other features of these phenomena may coincide.
- Abstraction. If we distract from the vivid properties of the phenomenon under study, we can identify those characteristics that we have not paid attention to before.
An example of a description of research methods in the introduction of term papers or dissertations in the Russian language
Quantitative research methods
This group of methods helps to analyze phenomena and processes based on quantitative indicators.
- Statistical methods are aimed at the initial collection of quantitative data and their further measurement for the study of large-scale phenomena. The obtained quantitative characteristics help to identify common patterns and eliminate random minor deviations.
- Bibliometric methods allow us to study the structure, interconnection and dynamics of the development of phenomena in the documentation and information fields. This is a count of the number of publications made, and content analysis, and a quote index, i.e. determination of the volume of citation of various sources. On their basis, you can track the reversibility of the studied documents, the degree of their use in various fields of knowledge. The content analysis deserves special mention, since it plays an important role in the study of a large volume of various documents. Its essence is reduced to the calculation of semantic units, which can become one or another authors, works, release dates of books. The result of the study using this method is information about the information interest of the population and the general level of their information culture.
An example of a description of research methods in the introduction of a course or thesis in literature
Qualitative research methods
The methods combined in this group are aimed at identifying the qualitative characteristics of the phenomena studied, so that on their basis we can reveal the underlying mechanisms of various processes in society, including the influence of the media on the consciousness of an individual person or certain features of the perception of information by different segments of the population. The main area of application of qualitative methods is marketing and sociological research.
Consider the most important methods of this group.
- In-depth interview. Unlike an ordinary interview, which refers to an empirical view, here we are talking about a conversation where the short answer “yes” or “no” is not enough, but detailed, reasoned answers are required. Often, an in-depth interview is conducted in the form of a free conversation in an informal setting according to a pre-drawn up plan, and its purpose is to study the beliefs, values and motivation of respondents.
- Expert interview. This conversation differs from the deep analogue in that the expert who is competent in the field of interest acts as the respondent. Having knowledge of the specific aspects of the phenomenon under study, he expresses a valuable opinion and significantly contributes to scientific research. Often in conversations of this kind, representatives of the authorities, university workers, heads and employees of organizations participate.
- Focus group discussions. Here, the conversation is not one on one, but with a focus group consisting of 10-15 respondents who are directly related to the phenomenon being studied. During the discussion, its participants share their personal opinion, experience and perception of the proposed topic, and on the basis of their statements a “portrait” of a social group is drawn up, to which the composition of the focus group belongs.
Methods of pedagogical research
In pedagogy, research is carried out using both universal and particular methods necessary to study specific pedagogical phenomena, as well as to search for their relationship and patterns. Theoretical methods help to identify problems, put forward hypotheses and evaluate the collected materials for research, including monographs on pedagogy, historical and pedagogical documents, teaching aids and other documents related to pedagogy. Studying the literature on the chosen topic, we find which problems have already been solved and which are still not sufficiently addressed.
In addition to theoretical, pedagogical research also welcomes empirical methods, complementing them with its specificity. So, observation here becomes a focused and attentive perception of pedagogical phenomena (most often these are ordinary or open lessons in schools). Questioning and testing is often applied both to students and to the teaching staff to understand the essence of educational processes.
Among the private methods that relate purely to pedagogical research, we should mention the study of the results of students 'activities (control, independent, creative and graphic works) and the analysis of pedagogical documentation (pupils' academic records, their personal files and medical records).
An example of the enumeration of research methods in the introduction of coursework or thesis on pedagogy
Sociological research methods
Sociological studies are based on theoretical and empirical methods, supplemented by the specification of the subject. Consider how they are transformed in sociology.
- Analysis of various sources to obtain the most accurate information. Here, books and manuscripts, and videos, and audio, and statistical data are studied. One of the types of this method is content analysis, which transforms the qualitative factors of the studied sources into their quantitative characteristics.
- Sociological observation. Using this method, sociological data are collected by directly studying the phenomenon in its normal, natural conditions. Depending on the purpose of the observation, it may be controlled or uncontrolled, laboratory or field, included or not included.
- Questioning, which in this area is turning into a sociological survey. Respondents are asked to fill out a questionnaire, on the basis of which the researcher subsequently receives an array of social information.
- Interview, that is, an oral opinion poll. In the course of a direct conversation between the researcher and the respondent, personal psychological relations are established that contribute not only to the answers to the questions posed, but also to the study of the emotional reaction of the respondents to them.
- Social experiment - the study of a social process in artificial conditions. It is carried out to test the hypothesis put forward and to test ways to control related processes.
An example of the allocation of research methods in the introduction of coursework or thesis in sociology
Psychological research methods
Research Methods in Psychology - These are general scientific empirical and theoretical, as well as private, narrowly focused. Mostly research here relies on modified observation and experiment.
Observation in psychology is the study of mental activity by registering physiological processes of interest and acts of behavior. This oldest method is most effective in the first steps to studying the problem, because it helps to preliminarily determine the important factors of the studied processes. The subject of observation in psychology can be features of human behavior, including verbal (content, duration, frequency of speech acts) and non-verbal (expression of the face and body, gestures).
Observation is distinguished by a certain passivity of the researcher, and this is not always convenient. Therefore, for a more intensive and in-depth study of mental processes of interest, an experiment is used, which in the psychological context is a joint activity of a researcher and a test subject (or several subjects). The experimenter artificially creates the necessary conditions against which, in his opinion, the studied phenomena will most clearly manifest themselves. If observation is a passive research method, then the experiment is active, because the researcher actively intervenes in the course of the study, changes the conditions for its implementation.
A sample of the listing of research methods in the introduction of term or diploma work in psychology
So, we looked at various research methods worthy of not only mention in the introduction of a thesis or term paper, but also of active application in practice.
Qualitative Research Tactics
“A qualitative method as an instrument is an integral part of a specific methodology, which can be called qualitative or humanistic sociology and considered a separate area of sociological knowledge.”
The field of qualitative research can be called independent, but it has a common methodological basis: empirical (researchers leave the classrooms), specific people (“living actors”) appear as objects of interest, the specifics of the relationship between the individual and the social in specific life situations (the discrepancy between the social role and practice )
Basically, qualitative studies examine specific people in specific situations. Aspects such as the everyday interaction of people are examined, which are studied from the point of view of social (social status, social role) or cultural discourse (norms, patterns of behavior, cultural symbols).
“The general focus of qualitative research focuses on the particular, particular in describing the holistic picture of social practices.”