Different Ways of Doing Academic Research By Students

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  • Author Alina Writer
  • Published August 21, 2013
  • Word count 591

There are many different facets of methodology that can be applied to an experimental design regarding academic research and essay writing. This statement is a generalization that can be made about these different types of approaches to academic research, which have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Surveys and experiments are examples of fixed research designs, which are more quantitative than qualitative and have more aspects of this type of theory. Quantitative studies tend to rely on hard data and statistics that can provide generalizable results about a population, whereas qualitative studies could be more of a case example or subjective viewpoint. As the extant literature states about the difference between fixed and flexible designs, "Flexible research designs are much more difficult to pin down than fixed designs. This is in part because it is only in recent years that researchers have given consideration to the design issues which they raise. Previously there had been a tradition in the disciplines of social anthropology of an apprenticeship model". Generally, for academic research and essay writing, flexible designs offer benefits to research that can change as new variables come up throughout the process, whereas fixed or quantitative designs offer benefits to research that is about stabilizing and controlling a certain state of variables or predictions.

Proper academic research often employs the quantitative survey method. This methodology differs from explicit ethnography in that it is more rationalized and quantitative in nature, and primarily seeks to answer research questions through the proposition that scientific research cannot be proposed without substantive or grounded data to back it up. This makes the use of statistical information very popular with other type theorists, but getting statistics on the future is difficult, and therefore this is another appropriate reason for academic research to be covered in a quantitative manner, rather than grounded theory or qualitative methods. This will still have facets of scientific inquiry however, which relies on hypothesis testing, verification techniques, and quantitative forms of analysis. As Robson implies through the categorical division of validity issues in research, the categorization or coding process is just as important as the research itself in many cases: "Literature discussing similar findings is important as well because it ties together underlying similarities in phenomena normally not associated with each other. The result is often a theory with stronger internal validity, wider generalizability, and higher conceptual level". The stronger the validity of the question, the stronger the process will be in eventuality in terms of producing definite results.

Academic research may be interested in producing empirical data than attitudes and beliefs, but it all depends on the academic discipline. It may be better to do another type of assessment measure, but it also may behoove academic researchers to use quantitative methods, because these types of designs are more rigid, but they also offer researchers results that are often more solid and considered to be more scientifically credible. In some cases, researchers using more qualitative designs do not even want to be considered part of the scientific process. Research design defined generally is the form or framework the experimenter uses to get the results of the study. There are many different kinds of research designs, both qualitative and quantitative, and flexible designs represent qualitative for the most part, whereas fixed designs represent quantitative type studies.

Fixed research designs serve the purpose of showing causal motivations, observing present conditions and longitudinal comparisons, and establishing relationships with evidence from a sample size that is generally large or, in some cases, deferred to a larger statistical research body.

Alina Writer is an experienced academic tutor and scholar helping students in writing and editing of college essays. For more information about academic research, visit the Essay Writing Blog for students.

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