Induction requires the confidence that you have

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Induction requires the confidence that you have enough observations to support your conclusion and that you can rule out all the other conclusions that might also be derived from your observations. Abduction In the context of research, abduction refers not to being kidnapped by aliens from the planet Zog but rather to reasoning from an effect to possible causes. For example, a large group of young children in the campus coffee bar would be an unusual sight. That occurrence might raise some questions, but a perfectly plausible answer might be that university employees are participating in a “bring your children to work” day. With abduction, your starting point is an effect from which you reason back to possible causes. In this example, your research project would be to find out whether there is such an event on campus that explains your observation or if there are other events that offer a more plausible explanation. Starting With the “Why” Question: Goals and Values “Why research?” is perhaps a more philosophical starting point. Most scholars are ultimately motivated by curiosity and, more specifically, by the desire to understand human communication. The specific “whys” of research can be as varied as human motivations. Every
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research study starts with a purpose, be it an interest in testing a sophisticated theoretical concept or attempting to get an A in a research course. Peer pressure, ego, or financial incentives may also motivate researchers. Generally, though, research has several purposes—exploration, description, explanation, prediction, control, interpretation, and criticism. Exploration Exploration is curiosity-based research. You start down a path that may lead who-knows-where, but that’s OK. You have a commendable curiosity to learn more. Good starting points here will be targeted library research so you don’t “reinvent the wheel,” discussions with those who share your interests, and your own initial observations. “I wonder why the residents of two dorms have such different lifestyles” or “Students don’t watch broadcast television nearly as much as they used to” may be the beginning of your research career in organizational culture or media use, respectively. Exploratory research typically results in descriptions of what you are interested in. The description may be quantitative or qualitative. For example, based on observations and surveys of a student group, we might summarize them statistically in terms of gender, major, class year, choice of drink, topic of conversation, or campus address. But the study could also be qualitative as we interview each person and report, in the students’ own words, what it means to be a student, what it means to socialize with others, or how the ambience of a preferred coffee bar helps them socialize or get work done. Following are two broad research questions that might arise from a researcher’s initial, exploratory interest in student social behavior and media use. At this beginning phase of a research program, a researcher is more likely to be writing broad questions than specific hypotheses. Specific hypotheses will come later as the researcher gathers the data that will form
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