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Research Methods Including Strengths And Weaknesses

1793 words - 8 pages





A statistic is a numerical representation of information. Whenever we quantify or apply numbers to data in order to organize, summarize, or better understand the information. These methods can range from somewhat simple computations such as determining the mean of a distribution to very complex computations such as determining factors or interaction effects within a complex data set.

There are two major branches of statistics, each with specific goals and specific formulas. The first, descriptive statistics refers to the analysis ...view middle of the document...

  Correlation (and regression analysis), along with measures of association constructed from tables, provide the means for constructing and displaying such relationships.
There are two sets of descriptive methods, measures of central tendency which is used to report a single piece of information that describes the most common response to a question. And measure of variable which is used to reveal the typical difference between the values in a set of values. Descriptive statistics are used to help researcher and consumer of research reports understand more about research data. Helping them understand how the data are distributed across the possible range of values; with knowing whether or not the shape of a variable is normal; and with understanding whether one’s subjects tend to come together in one spot on the distribution or if they are widely scattered throughout the possible ranges of values (Loether & McTavish, 1974). Descriptive statistics help with process of organizing and summarizing data; they may form the end point in data analysis, as with purely descriptive studies, or they may be the beginning point before testing a hypotheses with inferential statistics in experimental research (Schmidt, 1975).
Descriptive research can be either quantitative or qualitative. It can involve collections of quantitative information that can be tabulated along a continuum in numerical form, such as scores on a test or the number of times a person chooses to use a-certain feature of a multimedia program, or it can describe categories of information such as gender or patterns of interaction when using technology in a group situation. Descriptive research involves gathering data that describe events and then organizes, tabulates, depicts, and describes the data collection (Glass & Hopkins, 1984). It often uses visual aids such as graphs and charts to aid the reader in understanding the data distribution. Because the human mind cannot extract the full import of a large mass of raw data, descriptive statistics are very important in reducing the data to manageable form. When in-depth, narrative descriptions of small numbers of cases are involved, the research uses description as a tool to organize data into patterns that emerge during analysis. Those patterns aid the mind in comprehending a qualitative study and its implications.
Most quantitative research falls into two areas: studies that describe events and studies aimed at discovering inferences or causal relationships. Descriptive studies are aimed at finding out "what is," so observational and survey methods are frequently used to collect descriptive data (Borg & Gall, 1989). Studies of this type might describe the current state of multimedia usage in schools or patterns of activity resulting from group work at the computer.
Descriptive studies report summary data such as measures of central tendency including the mean, median, and mode, deviance from the mean, variation,...

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