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Unformatted text preview: © Dean Golja/Photodisc/Thinkstock 2 There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before. “If I have seen further than other men,” said Isaac Newton, “it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” —Isaac Asimov (Today in Science History, 2009) Author and professor of biochemistry (1920–1992) soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 13 The Language and Methods of Research This chapter introduces you to the language and methods of scientific and scholarly research. In this chapter, we explore the steps of the scientific method, the systematic approach that researchers use to understand the natural world. We also explore the types and methods of primary research you are likely to encounter as you undertake research for your college courses and the language, or jargon, of research. Finally, we examine how your college research papers will be similar to and different from these primary research papers. 7/7/10 3:46 PM When you conduct academic research, you will gather information from a variety of different sources such as magazines, newspapers, and documents on the Internet. Your most accurate and complete source of information about research on a particular subject, though, is usually the original research studies themselves or the comments of other scholars who reviewed that primary research. This information is often found in scholarly journals. When scientists and scholars have completed a research study, they often publish that research in scholarly journals. These journals are created for other scientists or scholars, to keep them informed about current issues and recent research in their field. Every academic discipline—whether it is psychology, philosophy, education, business, or criminal justice—has its own journals and its own specialized technical terminology, or jargon. Because most readers of academic journals are members of the same academic discipline, they know the jargon, and technical terms in the publications are usually not defined. As a student, one of the most daunting tasks of research is trying to understand this terminology as you conduct academic research. This chapter will help you understand the terminology you will encounter as you conduct research in these journals. A glossary and a list of common abbreviations used in scholarly research can be found in the appendices of this text. These appendices summarize the terms we discuss in this chapter as well as other nomenclature that is common to academic research. This chapter also outlines the structure of scientific and scholarly research papers to help you understand different types of research and find specific types of information in a primary research study. 2.1 The Scientific Method As we stated in Chapter 1, research is a formal process to acquire knowledge. The research process usually begins when scientists and scholars observe something in the natural world and wonder about it. As scientist and writer Isaac Asimov stated, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny . . .’” (Moncur, 2007). Most of us have wondered about phenomena we see around us. What causes fireflies to produce light? How does the moon affect tides? Why are some people more susceptible than others to catching a cold? When scientists and scholars observe something they do not completely understand, they follow a systematic approach known as the scientific method to learn more about it. The scientific method is a logical process of problem solving that is the basis of experimental research and the guiding principle of scientific inquiry. It has been used for centuries, and you can use it to solve everyday problems in your life as well. The scientific method forces us to follow a systematic method of critical thinking to solve a problem, rather than simply jumping to conclusions or making a hasty decision that might be incorrect. Background on the Scientific Method The scientific method is based on a belief in the principle of cause and effect. You eat strawberries and they cause you to have an allergic reaction, or light and matter in the atmosphere cause the sky to look blue. Common phenomena like these are often not completely understood, and the human desire to understand the cause of what we experience drives all research (The Scientific Method, 2009). For example, from the time of the ancient Romans and on into the 19th century, it was generally accepted that some forms of life generated spontaneously from nonliving matter. In fact, a 17th-century recipe for producing mice advised “placing sweaty underwear and husks of wheat in an open-mouthed jar and waiting for about 21 days, during which time it was alleged that the sweat from the underwear would penetrate the husks of wheat, changing them into mice” (Levine & Evers, 2009, para. 1). Today, we would laugh at this idea. However, it was not until 1859 that a French chemist named Louis Pasteur, using the scientific method, conducted an experiment that discredited the theory of spontaneous generation. His experiment demonstrated that soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 14 7/7/10 3:46 PM microorganisms are everywhere, including in the air (Levine & Evers, 2009). We now believe these microorganisms and chemicals in the sweat were responsible for the deterioration of the wheat husks, which most likely drew the mice. possessed the most important qualities of a scientist: the ability to survey all the known data and link the data for all possible hypotheses, the patience and drive to conduct experiments under strictly controlled conditions, and the brilliance to uncover the road to the solution from the results. (Rhee, 2009, para. 2) © Pixtal Images/photolibrary If we were to name a scientist whose work most benefited humanity, Pasteur would be one of the first to come to mind. In addition to debunking the myth of spontaneous generation, he solved the mysteries of rabies, anthrax, chicken cholera, and silkworm diseases and contributed to the development of the first vaccines. He also developed the scientific basis for the fermentation of wine and beer. Pasteur is most widely known for protecting millions of people from disease through his discovery of a process for heating liquids such as milk to kill bacteria in them, a process now known as pasteurization. It has been said that Pasteur Louis Pasteur used the scientific method to make breakthroughs in the study of disease. Here is what Pasteur himself said about the scientific method: Imagination should give wings to our thoughts but we always need decisive experimental proof, and when the moment comes to draw conclusions and to interpret the gathered observations, imagination must be checked and documented by the factual results of the experiment. (Rhee, 2009, para. 3) Steps of the Scientific Method The scientific method often begins when scientists observe something in the natural world and wonder about it. I mentioned fireflies earlier, so let us use them as an example. Assume that you are walking down a lakeside path on a summer evening. Suddenly, you see bright spots of light flickering on and off in the bushes. As you watch the fireflies light up the bushes around you, you wonder what causes these insects to produce their bright light. Instead of guessing or jumping to conclusions, scientists follow a step-by-step process of forming a specific question about what they want to know, developing a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis by conducting research, analyzing the data they found, and forming conclusions from that data. Figure 2.1 summarizes this process. Let us examine each step in this process separately. State the Research Problem If you were that scientist, your first step in the research process would be to state the problem you want to solve with your research. This is a crucial step in the scientific method because it guides the research process. The research problem is usually stated in the form of an interrogative sentence, or a specific question you want to answer, which is called the research question or the problem statement. The research question must meet two important criteria: (1) It must be researchable, and (2) it must include the specific aspects, or factors, you intend to study. Scientists refer to these factors as variables. Not all problems are researchable; researchable questions must be issues you can observe or measure. For example, “What is the meaning of life?” is not a researchable question because we have no data we could observe or measure that could answer that question. However, the soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 15 7/7/10 3:46 PM ‘ That’s funny . . .” Observe. How? Why? When? Who? Which? What? Where? Does? Will? State the problem in the form of a question. “If [I do this] , then [this] will happen.” Form a hypothesis. Conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis. Test the hypothesis. Collect data from the experiment and analyze it. Analyze the data. Arrive at conclusions and communicate the research and its results. Draw conclusions and report the research. Figure 2.1 The Scientific Method question “How do fireflies produce light?” or “What causes fireflies to produce light?” are researchable questions because we can observe these insects to try to answer this question. These questions also meet our second criterion for a good research question because they include the factor “produce light” that we want to study. © JTB Photo/photolibrary Form a Hypothesis Luciferase and luciferin are responsible for the light you see in fireflies at night. soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 16 After developing the research question or problem statement, a scientist will think about the problem and gather information to determine what other scientists have learned about this issue. Imagine that, as our hypothetical scientist, you conduct some preliminary research and learn that scientists have already discovered that fireflies have an organ in their abdomens that stores a protein called luciferase and a biological pigment called luciferin. A system of tubes, controlled by the firefly’s nervous system, brings air to the luciferin. This air, aided by a chemical found in all cells, activates the luciferase to produce light that is reflected through the thin skeleton of the firefly’s abdomen (Fireflies, 1945). Because light is generated by luciferase and this chemical and the chemical is found in the cells of all living organisms, you hypothesize that if you transferred the protein luciferase from the cells of a firefly into the cells of another living organism, light would be produced in the cells of the other organism. A hypothesis is a theory or a prediction of what we think we will find in our research. Before forming a hypothesis, a scientist may think about a problem or read studies other scientists have 7/7/10 3:46 PM conducted on the subject. Scientists are concerned with finding causes and effects, so the hypothesis is often stated using an if-then statement: “If [I do this] ____, then ____ [this] will happen.” For example, based on what you have learned about fireflies, your hypothesis might be “If I transfer luciferase from the cells of a firefly into the cells of another living organism, then the cells of that other organism will produce light.” This if-then statement is an idea about what you think the relationship is between the factors you are studying. The next step in the process of using the scientific method is to test this hypothesis. Test the Hypothesis Researchers test a hypothesis by conducting research. They design a research study that will provide evidence in the form of data they can observe or measure that they believe will help answer the research question and determine if the hypothesis is correct. This research can be conducted using a number of primary research methods, which we discuss later in this chapter. Whatever form the research takes, the researcher gathers substantial amounts of data that will have to be analyzed. Analyze the Data When the research study is complete, researchers gather the data and analyze the results they obtained. They may find that the hypothesis was false. In such cases, they will often construct a new hypothesis, conduct new tests, and analyze the results of those new tests. Even if they find their hypothesis was correct, they may still want to test it again in a different way or conduct additional studies to verify their results. Draw Conclusions and Report the Research The final step in the scientific method is to evaluate the research results, or findings, to form conclusions and to report the research and its results. In fact, scientists conducted experiments to test the hypothesis about fireflies that we created: “If I transfer luciferase from the cells of a firefly into the cells of another living organism, then the cells of that other organism will produce light.” They developed a technique that uses an ultrasensitive camera to detect light in the genes of laboratory mice and rats, deep inside the animals’ bodies. The hypothesis was proven to be correct; researchers were able to detect, from outside the animals, light coming from the lungs, which indicated that the luciferase had been activated to produce light. As a result of this research, the use of luciferase as an indicator light is being used in gene therapy to transfer healthy genes into patients with diseases causes by genetic defects, such as cystic fibrosis, and to track infectious processes in diseases, possibly including AIDS (Stephens, 1997). This research occurred because someone wondered about fireflies and followed the scientific method to try to understand more about the natural world. As was stated in Chapter 1, we rarely know the absolute truth about anything. We may learn that our hypothesis was incorrect, or we may discover that it was only partially true or true in only some instances. Occasionally, the conclusion of a research study is inconclusive. In other words, all we can say is that we do not know if our hypothesis is true or false; additional research must be conducted before we can answer our research question. Whether a research study is successful or unsuccessful, researchers learn from every study. If the hypothesis is proven not to be correct, they have eliminated one possible explanation for the problem and can now test alternative theories. Whatever the results, researchers report their research and the results they obtained, by publishing the study in an academic journal or by presenting it at an academic conference. This research is then studied by other scientists and scholars, who may repeat a study themselves to verify the results, devise a different research study to look at the problem from another angle, or use the results as the basis for additional studies to help solve practical problems. There is no shame in not solving the research problem. Remember, the purpose of research is not to prove yourself right; it is to find the truth. soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 17 7/7/10 3:46 PM 2.2 Types of Primary Research As was discussed in Chapter 1, researchers conduct primary or secondary research. You will usually conduct secondary research. In your bachelor’s degree program, you will obtain information from the primary research others have done. Therefore, you should have a basic knowledge of the types of primary research you will find and the research terminology you are likely to encounter in these studies. Let us examine the most common types and methods of primary research. Qualitative versus Quantitative Research Primary research may be qualitative, in which researchers seek to answer questions about how people experience a given issue. Qualitative research provides information about the “human” side of an issue, such as the attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, opinions, emotions, concerns, experiences, and relationships of the people being studied (Family Health International, 2010). Qualitative research is usually performed by conducting surveys, interviews, or focus groups with research participants or by observing people in their natural settings, rather than by manipulating situations, as in an experimental environment. © Ticket/photolibrary Quantitative research, on the other hand, uses mathematical models, statistics, theories, or hypotheses to measure phenomena and to produce estimates of defined population groups. Statistical sampling, as in polls or random household surveys, as well as experimental research, in which a specific research situation is designed and studied are examples of quantitative research methods (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2008). Primary Research Methods Primary research is a broad field of study in which researchers use a number of different methods to explore issues. However, we can divide these research methods into three main categories: descriptive research, correlational research, and experimental research (Huitt, 2003). Conducting a survey may be considered qualitative research. © Alain Mafart-Renodier/photolibrary Descriptive Research Gathering data that measures phenomena is a component of quantitative research. soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 18 In descriptive research, the researcher does not control the research environment or change existing conditions but simply observes, collects data, analyzes that data, and reports what is actually occurring (Yale University, 1997–1998). In descriptive research studies, phenomena are observed and recorded, usually by using a case study method (detailed analysis of a person or group), ethnographic studies (descriptions of human societies), or other field studies (research undertaken outside the laboratory, usually in a natural environment). Observational studies such as these can be either qualitative or quantitative in nature, or both. For example, a qualitative psychological case study would entail extensive notes based on observations of and interviews with the client. A detailed analysis of the observations and interviews would be written and reported, which would constitute the study of this individual case. A study, 7/7/10 3:46 PM © Martin/photolibrary however, in which researchers were in the jungle measuring the amount of time primates engaged in specific types of behavior would be a field study that was quantitative in nature. Correlational Research A second type of research, correlational research, examines whether two or more numbers, amounts, or conditions (variables) are related in some way or covary (change together). For example, early research on cigarette smoking examined A field study can be descriptive the relationship between cigarette smoking and a variety of research. lung diseases. These two variables, smoking and lung disease, were found to covary. Correlational studies can be qualitative or quantitative in nature. For example, in early studies on cigarette smoking, researchers did not control how many cigarettes were smoked; they only collected the data on the two variables (qualitative research). Later experimental data (quantitative research) clearly demonstrated the negative effects of cigarette smoking (Woolf, 2010). It is important to remember that we cannot make statements about cause and effect based on correlational research. For example, much of the research on violence among adolescents in the past few years has been correlational. This research has shown that a relationship exists between violence on television and in video games and violent adolescents. However, we cannot say that the television and video games caused the violent behavior. Perhaps violent kids prefer to watch violent programs and games or some other variable is also related to the adolescents’ behavior. At times, researchers may perform a longitudinal study, a correlational research study that involves repeated observations of the same group over long period of time, often many decades, to better understand relationships among variables. Correlational research is often exploratory in nature, and once variables have been identified, experimental research is often conducted to more clearly understand an issue (Woolf, 2010). © Stephen Welstead/photolibrary Experimental Research Over the years, quantitative research has clearly demonstrated the negative effects of smoking. soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 19 The third type of research, experimental research, is an example of a quantitative research method. In experimental research, researchers control the conditions under which the study takes place. In an experiment, researchers randomly assign objects or groups of people (subjects) to two groups: an experimental group and a control group. They then administer a treatment or manipulate a factor, called an independent variable, with the experimental group, while keeping all conditions constant and equivalent for the control group (Huitt, 2003). For example, before introducing a new drug to reduce high blood pressure, the research department of a drug manufacturer carries out experiments to compare the effectiveness of the new drug with one being currently prescribed. Subjects with newly diagnosed high blood pressure are recruited from several general medical practices. Half of them are chosen at random to receive the new drug (the treatment/factor); the remainder receives a placebo, an inactive substance (Easton & McColl, 1997). In this study, the new drug would be the independent variable. 7/7/10 3:46 PM Researchers then gather data concerning the change, if any, in the level of the subjects’ blood pressure, referred to as the dependent variable, to determine the probability that the independent variable caused any changes observed in the experimental group. It is important to remember that the researcher is measuring probability. We can never be absolutely sure the independent variable caused the observed change in blood pressure. Perhaps some other factor was responsible for the results obtained. Only further testing can lead us to a greater degree of certainty (Huitt, 2003). In this section, we identify the most common sections you will find in a primary research paper you obtain from a scholarly journal. You will not have to include all these sections in your research papers. We discuss them here only so that you can perform your academic research more efficiently by identifying the types of information contained in each section. (We cover the headings and information you must include in your research papers in Chapter 6.) © Bob Watkins/photolibrary 2.3 The Structure of Primary Research Papers In an experiment, the independent variable might be the type of medication administered to participants. The structure of a research paper is different from that of an essay and other types of academic papers. Essays are usually read from beginning to end, whereas research papers are designed for random access. Most researchers will scan or browse research papers, looking for specific types of information or data, rather than start at the beginning and read the entire paper. For this reason, unlike an essay that has an introduction, body, and conclusion, a research paper has several different sections and makes liberal use of headings to divide information into these sections. Headings are descriptive subtitles of a paper that allow readers and other researchers to find information quickly and to access information randomly. The headings will differ depending on the type of research that was conducted and the decision of the writer or the organization requesting the research. They must, however, describe the information contained in the section. You will find a great variety in the headings and information covered in various sections of primary research papers. However, the most common sections of these papers and the headings that describe these sections are outlined below in the order in which they usually appear in a paper. Included as examples for each section are excerpts from a recent correlational research study conducted in British Columbia, Canada, concerning whether restricted driver’s licenses lower the risk of crashes among older drivers (Nasvadi, & Wister, 2009). Here is a link to the research if you wish to review the entire study: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1805175251&sid=1&Fmt=4&clientId=74379&RQT =309&VName=PQD Title Page All research studies must include a title page, which provides important information about who conducted the study and when the study was performed. The title page may also tell you who requested the study or why it was performed and who provided funding for the research. This information may be important in helping you determine whether the research is credible or biased in some way. soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 20 7/7/10 3:46 PM A bias is a prejudice or a preference for one outcome over another. As we have discussed, researchers should be objective and unbiased. However, an organization that funds a study may be reluctant to publish results that do not support its point of view. For example, an organization that supports the use of marijuana for medical purposes might be more likely to publish research about the beneficial results of marijuana rather than research that highlights harmful effects of the substance. You may have to obtain other research studies to obtain a clear and balanced view of an issue. The title page of a research study also includes the title given by researchers to the study. Remember that researchers do not study everything about a subject; they narrow their research to specific aspects of that subject. The titles of research studies may be lengthy, as researchers often include the specific aspects of the subject they studied, so the title is as descriptive and specific as possible. Abstract An abstract is a brief summary of the research paper that describes its contents. Abstracts can be very useful to other researchers because they provide a short, one- to three-paragraph explanation of the purpose of the research study, exactly what was studied, the research method used, the results or findings obtained, or conclusions drawn from the study. Below is the abstract from the Canadian research study we are using as an example. Note that the writer used the subheadings “Purpose,” “Design and Methods,” “Results,” and “Implications” in the abstract to separate types of information. These subheadings are not common in abstracts. Abstract (Summary) Purpose: Faced with an aging driving population, interest is increasing in the use of restricted licenses or “graduated delicensing” for older drivers to allow them to safely retain a driver’s license. The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether restricted licenses are successful at mitigating the number of crashes per year and whether they can extend the period of crash-free driving for aging adults. Design and Methods: Using a cohort study design, licensing and insurance claims crash records of all drivers aged 66 years and older in British Columbia were examined for the years 1999–2006. Nonparametric and Cox proportional hazards survival analyses were used to compare restricted vs. unrestricted drivers and to estimate crash risks. Results: The risk of causing a crash was 87% lower for restricted drivers compared with unrestricted drivers after controlling for age and gender. The most common restriction was a combination of daylight driving only plus a speed maximum of 80 km/hr. Restricted drivers retained a driver’s license for a longer period of time than unrestricted drivers and continued to drive crash free longer than unrestricted drivers. There was no difference in severity of collisions, and results suggest a high level of compliance with daylight-only restrictions. Implications: These findings suggest that driving restrictions may be effective for prolonging the crashfree driving of some aging drivers, thus supporting their continued independence and delaying institutionalization. Further studies are needed to determine which drivers are most likely to benefit from restricted licenses (Nasvadi & Wister, 2009, p. 474). Introduction The introduction of a research paper may be labeled “Introduction,” “Statement of the Problem,” “Purpose of the Study” or other similar heading, or this section may not have a heading at all. The introduction usually includes several key elements of the research paper: background information, the purpose of the study, and the research question or hypothesis, definitions of key terms, specific aspects of the subject the research studied, and a justification as to why the research was important. The introduction may be written from a first-person or third-person point of view. In our example from the Canadian research study, the introduction is labeled “Purpose.” soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 21 7/7/10 3:46 PM In the Canadian research study we are using as an example, the researchers formulated two hypotheses stating what they thought they would find in their research. In the introduction of their paper, they stated these hypotheses in this manner: Guided by person-environment fit models, it was hypothesized that older drivers with higher crash rates will demonstrate reduced driving skills during on-road assessment and thus be more likely to have restrictions placed on their license. It was further hypothesized that driving restrictions will result in a reduction in crashes after compared with before restrictions, and that restrictions will prolong the period of person-environment balance and thus extend the period of crash-free driving as well as result in less serious crashes when they occur (Nasvadi & Wister, 2009, para. 5). Here is how the researchers stated the specific aspects of their research study: In this study, four specific questions were addressed: (a) Do older restricted license holders have higher prerestriction crash rates than older nonrestricted drivers? (b) Does the application of restrictions result in a change in the crash rate of at-risk older drivers? (c) Do restrictions prolong the duration of crash-free driving? (d) Does the application of restrictions result in a decrease in severity of crashes? It was further hypothesized that driving restrictions will result in a reduction in crashes after compared with before restrictions, and that restrictions will prolong the period of personenvironment balance and thus extend the period of crash-free driving as well as result in less serious crashes when they occur (Nasvadi & Wister, 2009, para. 5). Review of the Literature This information may be found before or after the “Methods or Methodology” section (below), and it may or may not have its own heading. At other times, however, it is included as background information in the “Introduction” section of the study and does not have a heading at all. The purpose of this section of the paper is to provide readers with an overview of previous research that was conducted concerning the topic. It weaves together background information, sets the stage for the research, and is written from a third-person point of view. In the Canadian study we are using as an example, this information is included in the introduction, without a separate heading. This excerpt illustrates how information is woven together in this section. Physical and cognitive declines associated with aging compromise the abilities of older drivers to safely operate motor vehicle, especially during high-environmental demand situations such as unfamiliar roadways, poor lighting, and intersections (Di Stefano & Macdonald, 2003) . . . .In a retrospective analysis of police-attended crashes in North Carolina, Stutts and colleagues (2000) found that the average number of crashes per licensed driver older than 65 years was higher for drivers with more than one restriction, including corrective lenses (0.165) than for drivers with no restrictions (0.117). Conversely, Marshall, Spasoff, Nair, and van Walraven (2002) found a relative insurance claim crash reduction of 31.8% for Saskatchewan drivers after imposing restrictions such as daylight only, restricted radius of travel, or requirements for periodic eye exams . . . (Nasvadi & Wister, 2009, para. 2–4). Methods or Methodology The methods or methodology section of a research paper might be considered the beginning of the body of the paper. In a primary research study, this section discusses the participants or subjects in the study, what variables were considered and/or studied, what measurements were taken and how those measurements were made, and what methods were used to conduct the study. The section may also include analysis of the soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 22 7/7/10 3:46 PM research data itself. This section of the paper almost always has a heading to alert readers to this important information, and it is written from a third-person point of view. Below is a passage from the Canadian study we are using as an example that shows how a portion of the “Methods” section was constructed. Data were obtained from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s (ICBC) provincial licensing and insurance records. All drivers in the province must obtain a driver’s license and purchase basic vehicle insurance from ICBC. The subsample used in this research therefore included all licensed drivers in the province who were aged 66 years and older as of January 1, 1999. Driving record data were obtained for the period January 1, 1999, to June 30, 2006. Personal information that could be used to identify the participants was not extracted, and the study was approved by the Simon Fraser University ethics committee (Nasvadi & Wister, 2009, para.7). Results Essays have a conclusion that summarizes the paper and provides closure. In a research paper, these functions are performed in two separate sections: the “Results” section and the “Discussion” or “Conclusion” section. These sections usually have headings to clearly identify them. The “Results” section deals solely with the results of the research. In the “Methods” section, researchers discuss how the new research is to be conducted. In the “Results” section, the results of that research are presented, in detail. The “Results” section is written from an objective, third-person point of view. Below is an excerpt from the “Results” section of the Canadian study. As expected, compared with never-restricted drivers, older drivers who eventually had a restriction placed on their license had a higher prerestriction crash rate than those who continued to drive unrestricted for the duration of the study (Nasvadi & Wister, 2009, para. 21) . . . . Finally, an analysis of compliance to restrictions was conducted based on a subset of 589 crashes that were caused by older drivers with daylight-only restrictions . . . .All except one crash occurred in the evening winter months between mid-October and early February. Mean age of the sample was 84.1 years, and there was no difference in age between the drivers who crashed during daylight and those who crashed during the dark (Nasvadi & Wister, 2009, para. 28). Discussion or Conclusion “Discussion” or “Conclusion” is the final section of a research paper, and it deals with the researcher’s interpretations of the research results and the conclusions that were drawn from the research. The significance of the research paper may also be discussed in this section of the paper, along with any limitations of the research and any implications for future research. This section may be written from either a first-person or a third-person point of view. Again, here are excerpted passages from the “Discussion” section of the Canadian study that illustrate the information included in the final section of the research paper. This study demonstrates that in British Columbia, driver license restrictions are correlated with higher prerestriction rates of causing a crash, and that a 17.4% reduction in crashes per 100 days of license and an overall 11% reduction in at-fault crash risk may be attained by restricting the speed, area of travel, or time of day of driving, or all. These results are similar to the 12.8% reduction in crashes reported by Marshall and coworkers (2002) after imposing restrictions on drivers of all ages for medical reasons . . . . This study demonstrated that older drivers with soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 23 7/7/10 3:46 PM restricted licenses retain their driver’s license for longer than those who were not restricted, a finding that may be especially significant for the psychological well-being of older individuals . . . . It is possible that other types of restricted licenses could be developed that would lower crash rates further, for example, a restriction on the length of each individual trip taken by the elderly driver . . . . Results of this study may not be applicable to other jurisdictions because the policies and procedures dealing with licensing restrictions may vary substantially between licensing authorities. A further limitation of this study is that driving exposure data (miles driven or time in vehicle) were not available. It may be argued that the prolonged at-fault crash-free driving of the restricted driver group does not actually show reduced crash risk while behind the wheel but reduced exposure . . . . Further studies could be designed to examine the influence of factors such as number of medical conditions, educational level, area of residence, and even driver examiner characteristics on restrictions. Studies should be conducted to identify factors such as specific driving styles or habits that may be used to predict drivers who would most benefit from restricted licenses (Nasvadi & Wister, 2009, para. 36–44). Sources A research paper must include documentation, or citations, of the sources or references the researcher consulted or used in the research. This documentation must be placed in two different places in the paper: (1) in the text itself, where the borrowed material is discussed, and (2) at the end of the paper. In-Text Citations Researchers place documentation in the text by using one of three methods: footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations (information placed in parentheses). When using footnotes, the researcher inserts a number, in superscript, in the text. A corresponding number is found at the bottom of each page of the research paper and provides limited information about the source. The full source documentation is found at the end of the paper. With endnotes, the researcher also inserts a superscript number in the text. However, instead of providing the source information at the bottom of the page, a page labeled “Notes” or “Endnotes” is placed at the end of the research study. This page also provides only limited information about the sources, and it lists all the sources in the research paper in numerical order. The full source information is found at the end of the paper, in another list of sources that is arranged alphabetically. The third method of documenting sources in a research paper is the parenthetical citation format. With this documentation method, the researcher places limited information about the sources in parentheses in the text. This limited information may be the author and page number, or it may be the author and the date. Again, a complete alphabetical list of sources is placed at the end of the paper. Source Citations at the End of the Paper When a researcher constructs the full alphabetical list of sources at the end of a research paper, this list may be labeled as a “Bibliography,” “Works Cited,” or “References.” A bibliography is usually a complete list of all sources the researcher reviewed or used in developing his or her paper. 2.4 Developing Your Own College Research Papers Now that you have been introduced to the terminology of primary research studies you will find as you conduct research, let us conclude our discussion of the language and methods of research by examining your research assignments here at Ashford University. How will these assignments be similar to or different from the primary research we have been discussing? soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 24 7/7/10 3:46 PM When you conduct research for your college courses here, you will most often not be designing original research studies and conducting primary research. Instead, you will usually follow the steps of the scientific method outlined in this chapter, develop a research question or hypothesis, and attempt to answer your research question or test your hypothesis by investigating primary and secondary research sources to learn what other researchers have discovered about this subject. You will review the descriptive, correlational, and experimental research that scholars and scientists have conducted, as well as interpretations and reports of these studies found in secondary research sources you find in the Ashford Online Library, on the Internet, and in a physical library. Then you will use the skills of critical thinking that we discussed in Chapter 1 to interpret, analyze, and evaluate the research you found; to develop inferences; and to form conclusions regarding the answer to your research question or the accuracy of your hypothesis. Finally, you will report your research by developing a research paper, which is the culmination and final product of the research process. Like all good academic papers, your research papers will have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Although they will not contain all the sections found in a primary research study, they will usually have other sections as well, with headings to separate these sections. (We discuss how to perform all the tasks necessary to create a college research paper when we discuss the research process in Chapter 3 and walk through the steps of constructing the paper in Chapter 6.) 2.5 Summary When you engage in academic research in your bachelor’s degree courses, you will gather information from many different sources. The most accurate and complete source of information about research on a specific subject can usually be found in the scholarly journals of an academic discipline. However, these journals are often difficult to read because they contain the technical terminology, or jargon, used by scientists and scholars in that discipline. This chapter introduced you to some of that terminology and jargon and to the methods of primary research. The research process usually begins when a researcher observes something in the natural world and wonders about it and then follows a systematic process of critical thinking and problem solving, known as the scientific method, to learn more about it. The scientific method consists of forming specific questions about what you want to know, constructing a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis by conducting research, analyzing the data you find, and forming conclusions from that data. Researchers conduct either primary or secondary research, or both. You will most likely conduct secondary research in your bachelor’s degree program; however, you will obtain information from primary research sources, so you must be familiar with the terminology of primary research. Primary research may be qualitative, in which researchers strive to obtain information about the attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, opinions, emotions, concerns, experiences, and relationships among subjects they study by observing them in their natural settings. The most common methods of qualitative research are surveys, interviews, or focus group studies. Primary research may also be quantitative, in which researchers use mathematical models, statistics, theories, or hypotheses to measure phenomena. Statistical sampling, as in polls or random surveys and experimental research, is an example of quantitative research. The various methods researchers use to conduct primary research studies can be grouped into three categories: 1. Descriptive research is a method in which the researcher does not control the research environment or change existing conditions but merely observes, collects data, analyzes that data, and reports what is occurring. Descriptive studies can be either qualitative or quantitative in nature. 2. Correlational research is a method in which the researcher examines two or more numbers, amounts, or conditions (variables) to determine if they are related in some way. Correlational studies can be soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 25 7/7/10 3:46 PM qualitative or quantitative in nature, but it is important to remember that we cannot make statements about cause and effect based on correlational research. Cause-and-effect conclusions can only be made based on experimental research. 3. Experimental research is a quantitative method in which researchers control the conditions under which a study takes place and administer a treatment or manipulate a factor, called an independent variable, with an experimental group of subjects while keeping all conditions constant and equivalent for a second group of subjects, called the control group. Researchers then gather data concerning the change, if any, in the dependent variable (the factor being measured), to determine the probability that the independent variable caused the change. Because they are designed for random access, research papers are structured in a manner different from that of an essay. A research study makes liberal use of specific headings to divide information into specific sections. These headings will differ depending on the type of research that was conducted; however, they must be descriptive of the information contained in each section of the paper. The most common headings in primary research papers and the information found under these headings are discussed in this chapter. You will most often not be conducting primary research, so your research papers will not contain all these sections. In Chapter 6, we discuss the sections you will use in your Ashford University papers. When you develop your own research papers, you will follow the scientific method and review the primary research and secondary research you find about your subject. Then you will use critical thinking skills to interpret, analyze, and evaluate the research you found; develop inferences; form conclusions; and report your research in a research paper. (We discuss how to perform each of these tasks in later chapters.) soL82373_02_c02_p013-026.indd 26 7/7/10 3:46 PM ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/16/2011 for the course ENG 122 ENG 122 taught by Professor Jessicaheld during the Fall '10 term at Ashford University.

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