ASSIGNMENT No. 2
Q.1 Define Primary Sources for data collection in research. Why primary sources are preferred in research?
Data collection is a systematic method of collecting and measuring data gathered from different sources of information in order to provide answers to relevant questions. An accurate evaluation of collected data can help researchers predict future phenomenon and trends.
Data collection can be classified into two, namely: primary and secondary data. Primary data are raw data i.e. fresh and are collected for the first time. Secondary data, on the other hand, are data that were previously collected and tested.
The system of data collection is based on the type of study being conducted. Depending on the researcher’s research plan and design, there are several ways data can be collected.
The most commonly used methods are: published literature sources, surveys (email and mail), interviews (telephone, face-to-face or focus group), observations, documents and records, and experiments.
1. Literature sources
This involves the collection of data from already published text available in the public domain. Literature sources can include: textbooks, government or private companies’ reports, newspapers, magazines, online published papers and articles.
This method of data collection is referred to as secondary data collection. In comparison to primary data collection, tt is inexpensive and not time consuming.
Survey is another method of gathering information for research purposes. Information are gathered through questionnaire, mostly based on individual or group experiences regarding a particular phenomenon.
There are several ways by which this information can be collected. Most notable ways are: web-based questionnaire and paper-based questionnaire (printed form). The results of this method of data collection are generally easy to analyse.
Interview is a qualitative method of data collection whose results are based on intensive engagement with respondents about a particular study. Usually, interviews are used in order to collect in-depth responses from the professionals being interviewed.
Interview can be structured (formal), semi-structured or unstructured (informal). In essence, an interview method of data collection can be conducted through face-to-face meeting with the interviewee(s) or through telephone.
Observation method of information gathering is used by monitoring participants in a specific situation or environment at a given time and day. Basically, researchers observe the behaviour of the surrounding environments or people that are being studied. This type of study can be contriolled, natural or participant.
Controlled observation is when the researcher uses a standardised precedure of observing participants or the environment. Natural observation is when participants are being observed in their natural conditions. Participant observation is where the researcher becomes part of the group being studied.
5. Documents and records
This is the process of examining existing documents and records of an organisation for tracking changes over a period of time. Records can be tracked by examining call logs, email logs, databases, minutes of meetings, staff reports, information logs, etc.
For instance, an organisation may want to understand why there are lots of negative reviews and complains from customer about its products or services. In this case, the organisation will look into records of their products or services and recorded interaction of employees with customers.
Experiemental research is a research method where the causal relationship between two variables are being examined. One of the variables can be manipulated, and the other is measured. These two variables are classified as dependent and independent variables.
In experimental research, data are mostly collected based on the cause and effect of the two variables being studied. This type of research are common among medical researchers, and it uses quantitative research approach.
Q.2 Elaborate the use and significance of graphs in the presentation of data in research.
Research papers are often based on copious amounts of data that can be summarized and easily read through tables and graphs. When writing a research paper, it is important for data to be presented to the reader in a visually appealing way. The data in figures and tables, however, should not be a repetition of the data found in the text. There are many ways of presenting data in tables and figures, governed by a few simple rules. An APA research paper and MLA research paper both require tables and figures, but the rules around them are different. When writing a research paper, the importance of tables and figures cannot be underestimated. How do you know if you need a table or figure? The rule of thumb is that if you cannot present your data in one or two sentences, then you need a table.
Tables are easily created using programs such as Excel. Tables and figures in scientific papers are wonderful ways of presenting data. Effective data presentation in research papers requires understanding your reader and the elements that comprise a table. Tables have several elements, including the legend, column titles, and body. As with academic writing, it is also just as important to structure tables so that readers can easily understand them. Tables that are disorganized or otherwise confusing will make the reader lose interest in your work.
- Title: Tables should have a clear, descriptive title, which functions as the “topic sentence” of the table. The titles can be lengthy or short, depending on the discipline.
- Column Titles: The goal of these title headings is to simplify the table. The reader’s attention moves from the title to the column title sequentially. A good set of column titles will allow the reader to quickly grasp what the table is about.
- Table Body: This is the main area of the table where numerical or textual data is located. Construct your table so that elements read from up to down, and not across.
The placement of figures and tables should be at the center of the page. It should be properly referenced and ordered in the number that it appears in the text. In addition, tables should be set apart from the text. Text wrapping should not be used. Sometimes, tables and figures are presented after the references in selected journals.
Figures can take many forms, such as bar graphs, frequency histograms, scatterplots, drawings, maps, etc. When using figures in a research paper, always think of your reader. What is the easiest figure for your reader to understand? How can you present the data in the simplest and most effective way? For instance, a photograph may be the best choice if you want your reader to understand spatial relationships.
- Figure Captions: Figures should be numbered and have descriptive titles or captions. The captions should be succinct enough to understand at the first glance. Captions are placed under the figure and are left justified.
- Image: Choose an image that is simple and easily understandable. Consider the size, resolution, and the image’s overall visual attractiveness.
- Additional Information: Illustrations in manuscripts are numbered separately from tables. Include any information that the reader needs to understand your figure, such as legends.
Effective data presentation in research papers requires understanding the common errors that make data presentation ineffective. These common mistakes include using the wrong type of figure for the data. For instance, using a scatterplot instead of a bar graph for showing levels of hydration is a mistake. Another common mistake is that some authors tend to italicize the table number. Remember, only the table title should be italicized. Another common mistake is failing to attribute the table. If the table/figure is from another source, simply put “Note. Adapted from…” underneath the table. This should help avoid any issues with plagiarism.
Using tables and figures in research papers is essential for the paper’s readability. The reader is given a chance to understand data through visual content. When writing a research paper, these elements should be considered as part of good research writing. APA research papers, MLA research papers, and other manuscripts require visual content if the data is too complex or voluminous. The importance of tables and graphs is underscored by the main purpose of writing, and that is to be understood.
Q.3 Examine the digitization of libraries indicating their advantages and disadvantages.
Q.4 Discuss the key features of MS Word which help a researcher to format his research.
Q.5 Why is it important to write a Research Proposal before conducting a research project?