Essay on Research and Data

Submitted By tranght1290
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Chapter I
Research involves original work in answering a question or solving a problem . Of the several different research approaches available, this book focuses on those approaches which can be applied to solve questions or problems that are directly related to everyday life . The technique of community involvement in practical issues is often called action research . In this chapter, you will find an overview of the steps needed to develop an action research plan . Common errors that are made in the research process are discussed, from the perspective of both insiders and outsiders to the community .


Community-Based Research : A Handbook for Native Americans

Research is by definition original work, a searching to answer a question . The popular concept of research can involve, for example, just looking up some statistics in a book . A more formal definition of research would be :
Studious inquiry ; usually, critical and exhaustive investigation or experimentation having for its aim the revision of accepted conclusions, in the light of newly discovered facts .
(Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary)
Let's look at what this definition implies on the community level . It sounds as though research requires a lot of work . Although research usually is time consuming, it need not be dull . Particularly, if the work is going to be applied to a community need, research can be very exciting .
Research involves defining the topic, idea, or problem to be solved and forming a specific question about that topic . The work of other people is examined to see if the question has ever been researched, or if the work of others can contribute to the new question . The methodology, or way the work will be done, is set out in steps . The data are collected, and analyzed (or looked at in detail), and conclusions are reached . This is the
"studious," "critical," and "exhaustive" part of research .
The data for research can be from primary sources, where the researcher observes directly and records events or data . This type of data has many advantages as to reliability . The researcher knows the kind of effort put into collecting the data, how the participants in the study were chosen, and something about the possible biases during the study . The disadvantage of this type of data is that the process is time consuming and often expensive . With secondary sources, the researcher uses data reported by others . This approach is less time consuming, but sometimes also less reliable . For many research questions, both types of data are utilized and for some questions there are no existing secondary sources of data . The methods for research described in this handbook focus on the direct collection of data for analysis .
Today is a time of enormous possibilities for applied research . At one time, people were brought into a system, and problems were defined according to the views of those who saw the "problem" and with the resources of a dominant culture . Now, priorities can be determined by a community that lives the socio-economic conditions, rather than by an outsider who studies the community for informational purposes . And ideally, insiders and outsiders can work together cooperatively, sharing knowledge and resources toward a common goal . Rather than assessing the statistics of low income, educational levels, and health levels over and over again, research can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of innovative and culturally-based techniques for alleviating these problems .

The Nature of Research

Community-Based Research : A Handbook for Native Americans


Cultural differences may affect the outlook of some persons toward research . It has been noted' that the underlying nature of research as a process that continually questions first and seeks to prove facts, may be at odds with cultural beliefs that express --- in trust…