Useful Tips

Research methods in scientific work


  1. 1 Decide on the research topic. You can choose a topic yourself, but sometimes a teacher or professor can give it to you. In any case, as a rule, you decide on what aspect of the topic you focus. Find some interesting thought and build on it.
    • At the initial stage, there is no need to focus on aspects of the topic. You must have a good understanding of the main point. And only then, with the help of additional research, narrow it down.
    • For example, you explore Shakespeare's Hamlet. First you just need to study the information about Hamlet, and only then narrow the topic, focusing on the meaning of his insanity.
  2. 2 Reflect on the task. There are many points in your assignment that you need to understand before you begin your research. How much information do you need? If you print a report of 10 pages, then you should have more than 5 paragraphs of essay information. What information do you need?
    • If your assignment is a research article, then you will need facts, not just someone else's opinion on this topic. Especially if it is a research article on a specialized scientific topic. For example, if you write about depression.
    • If your task is a motivating essay, or you are preparing a motivational presentation, then you can not do without your own thoughts and facts that would confirm these thoughts.

It would be good to use opposing opinions in the article: you can agree with one and disprove the other.

  1. 1
    • If you analyze some details, for example, the meaning of Hamlet’s insanity, then you should express your opinion on this issue, as well as the opinion of scientists who examined the original text, information about insanity in the time of Shakespeare and the customs of Elizabethan literature.
  2. 2 Decide what kind of information you need. This includes the format of the material. How important are the style, placement and year of publication for your theme? Do you need opinions, facts, analysis, research, or all together?
    • Think about the format of the material. Where is it better for you to look for information: in a book, magazine or newspaper? If you are conducting a research on a medical topic, then you most likely need to look for material in a medical journal, if you are researching Hamlet, then you will need books and articles in literary publications.
    • Consider whether it is necessary to have the latest information (such as medical and scientific discoveries), or you can use sources written before the 1990s. If you turned to history, do you need specific documents of a certain period?
  3. 3 Preliminary research. When you start, you need to create a foundation, a general idea of ​​the study. This will help you understand what you should focus on. Stick to sources that give you a general idea of ​​the job.
    • If you use a course textbook, see the bibliography at the end of the book. This will give you an overview of the research material.
    • Look at sources such as the Oxford Dictionary X (your topic), or the Cambridge Handbook for X. Sources such as handbooks and books (such as encyclopedias) can help you get a general idea of ​​something.
    • Make short notes on the issues that interest you, then you can choose from these notes what will help you to reveal your topic.

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.

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