The following video is about preparation of research which is the first phase of research. The researches usually include three phases in general: preparation of research, fieldwork and analysis and report. The purpose of this video is to accent the importance of research preparation in order to better implement the research. Preparation phase includes defining of research problem and preparation of research plan. Problem definition is very important because all other phases of the research project are implemented in order to give answer to the research problem.
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail
The research plan includes plan for data collection and usage of results and therefore research ethics must be taken into account. Research with people bear potential treat to respondents and researcher and therefore there are privacy and safety issues (wellbeing of researchers and respondents) which must be respected due to responsible implementation of research. The researcher minimizes the risk of violation of ethics if all these aspects are predicted before the start of research.
What, Why, Who and How - Four Key Questions
It is not enough to know what do you want to ask and why do you ask. You should know who gives you the answer and how to ask.
These four key questions (what, why, who and how) are crucial for systematic objective research. What and why are related to research problem, who is related to population and sample and how refers to way of measurement (way of how questions are asked).
What and Why - Sources of Research Problems
Every research is conducted for some reason and not because somebody has no other job to do. The research should offer answer to specific research problem. The research problems could arise from everyday life, practical needs, theory and previous research. People in everyday life or in professional work are faced with many questions that need to be answered. Theory tries to explain or suggests new solutions that need to be checked, while results from previous research could create new research problems.
Who - Definition of Population
Conclusion for a population based on its parts is very common in everyday life. For example blood check-up is based on very small amount of blood, while the conclusion is valid for the total amount of blood in the body. Тhere are three important terms: population, census and sample. The population is the aggregate of all the elements, sharing some common set of characteristics. A census represents a complete enumeration of the elements of a population or study objects, while sample represents certain subgroup of the elements of the population selected for participation in the study. It should be mentioned that way of selection actually is key to valid conclusions based on sample data that represent the population.
How - Definition of Measurement
In reality, asking questions to people is more like fishing extremely clever fish, with the help of different baits on different depths, without knowing what is going on under the surface!
Formulation of questions is not easy process that can be predicted. The goal of formulation questions is to get detailed, correct and precise information relevant for the research, acquire and keep the interest of participants and to show respect for personal dignity and integrity of personality of participants.
The questions should be precise, adjusted to participants and without double-barrelled questions. Also special attention should be dedicated to emotional, directive and sensitive questions. Regarding precision, questions should be formulated in a manner everyone easily understand the question. The language should be adjusted to the level of participants and abbreviations should not be used. Double-barrelled questions are questions that touch more than one issue and allow only one answer. This may result in inaccuracies in the attitudes being measured for the question, as the respondent can answer only one of the two questions, and cannot indicate which one is being answered. In emotional questions which include prejudices or negative connotation (example fascists), the respondents tend to react to the word and do not answer the content. On the other hand, directive questions suggest certain answer. The formulation of sensitive questions (questions considered as unpleasant such as income or sexual life) is important because they can irritate participants and therefore are formulated in a manner that accepts their existence or makes participants feel that certain specific opinion is common.