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Understand how to formulate a research specification Essay

Research plays an important role in our lives as it helps to seek solution to our problems especially when it comes to healthcare issues. A broad definition of research is given by Martyn Shuttleworth – “In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge. Based on that given meaning, research is a way to investigate or study a certain phenomenon in order to provide evidence or solutions to its problem and also a way to create new ideas or discoveries that we can use to improve the services that we provide. It helps us to gather information or data that we need in order to evaluate our performance and the services that we provide.

As a student and a researcher, it is necessary for me to have a clear understanding about what I want to study as it is better to start with something that interest me personally. Once I had decided to start with a topic to study, I must now create a question or a problem to be solved then decided for a research method to be used. Quantitative and qualitative methods are both used in research in order to provide data or information needed. The method will be used depends upon what the researcher needs to measure. Qualitative research gathers data or information through: observation; participation of the researcher to direct object; individual and open-ended interviews; and analysis of unstructured data from book reviews; films; journals; and the internet for references.

Quantitative research as referred to “Statistics” is a method used in collection; description; analysis and interpretation of numerical data. Mathematical theories were used to create hypothesis for the research. Data’s are gathered through the use of questionnaires and interviews. Questionnaires can be either open-ended (for qualitative research) or close ended (quantitative research). Open-ended questionnaires allow participants to express themselves freely. They can give their own opinions without restrictions.Informations are being measured through the data given by the participants, although at some point it is very difficult to measure as each participants give different data. In-depth analysis is needed in order to measure the outcome of the data gathered. Quantitative method provides questions with choices.

Participants will just choose the best answer that fits their opinion about a certain thing or services based on the choices given. Through the choices given, the researcher will able to measure what it is needed to be measured using mathematical theories. Datas are being interpreted easily compared to qualitative method. Once the researcher had decided to what method to be used, the researcher can now determine the tools needed to gather data. The researcher must use questions that are easy to understand; realistic and easy to measure. The researcher must also identify the respondents and the method used in interviews. Sampling or the process of taking a sample (subset of population) to participate in the interview process (data gathering procedure) enables the researcher to gather information that he/she needs based on the population (set of individuals which have given characteristics).

Once the researcher had carry out survey based on a sample, the researcher must first analyse the procedure for selecting the sample; the size of sample; elimination of bias; and the method needed in taking the sample. A health and social care related research may use all users of healthcare service as samples including their families; friends and individuals who works for them. The researcher must ensure that the validity and the reliability of the research in order to ensure the consistency, stability and dependability of results.Variables defines characteristic on which observation can be made in health and social care related researches.

Height and weight are sample variable that can be measured from each sample or respondents. With the use of resources, the researcher will able to gather information that he/she can use to make his/her study more credible. Statistical techniques for data analysis such as the use of statistical significance (standard deviation or the use of frequency distribution) helps to measure what it is needed to be measure in the study. The researcher must also consider the scope and the limitation of the study. The researcher must not go beyond what the study is restricted to. The researcher must be focused on the aims and objectives of the research study and must also use a literature review in order to support his/ her study by making it credible.

1.2 Identify the factors that contribute to the process of research project selection

Outlining the specifications of the study helps the researcher to understand the whole concept of the study itself. Specification of the study also provides a clear understanding about the direction of the study. Before conducting the study, the researcher must first assess his/ her skills, knowledge, capabilities and interest. As a student and a researcher, I can say that it is very difficult to conduct a study that we are not interested with. Once we had already chose a topic to start with, then the next step is to identify the problem that we need to solve and create attainable and answerable aims and objectives. Objectives of the study must be simple and understandable as it is the statement of the outcomes in relation with the variables.

The rationale of the study or its importance allows the researcher to inform the public about the benefit of the outcome of the research. The rationale of the study provides explanations of the principles that involves in the study. It also provides an explanation why a certain conclusion is credible or realistic. Literature review is used to analyse, evaluate and summarize scholarly materials such as the use of journals, researchers, and book reviews about specific tools. Literature review provides information that can either support or contradicts previous predictions in the study. Hypothesis testing provides evidence about the relationship of variables in the research.

It also helps to identify if there is or there is no significant relationship between the variables that was been measured. With the use of statistical computation, the researcher will able to provide a hypothesis for the research. Methodologies of the study provides systematically rules or procedures to follow in order to implement the purpose of the research such as identifying the location of the study; sampling and sample; sampling techniques; data gather procedures; data analysis; and the operation definition or description of variables.

1.3 Undertake a critical review of key references

Completing a critical review with the key references such as books; journals; other researches; and the internet helps the researcher to gather ideas that he/she can use to support his/her research study. Key references also help the researcher to learn useful information that is related to his/her study. Key references shows the pros and cons of the research study as the information gathered from the literature can be either support or contradict the study. Key references are often used to strengthen the introduction of the research report. Through key references, the research will able to learn techniques that they can use to provide support with their study. Key references provide credibility to the study.

1.4 Produce a research project specification

Based on my own understanding, research project specification defines the statement of aims and objectives of the research as the aims and the objectives are those that the researcher needs to achieve in the study. The significant of the study and the rationale for the selection of the study states its importance and the reason why it is conducted. Research questions define the direction of the study. It helps the researcher to identify possible barriers and challenges in which helps the researcher to look for possible solutions. Data gathering tools were used in order to gather information needed in the study. The use of literature review helps to support the study and justify why study is being conducted. The methodology used in gathering primary data and analysing it must be planned and implemented very well. All data’s gathered must be properly managed and implemented.

As the researcher is not allowed to fabricate the data’s gathered even the statistical analysis for personal reasons. Data analysis defines the type of statistics that is used in analysing the data. With the use of referencing through key references promotes ethical issues in accordance with the code of practice. Through it, the researcher is able to respect the owner of the ideas in the study to promote ethical considerations When conducting the study, the researcher must provide informed consent to individuals or participants before questioning them.

Participants are given the right to withdraw with the study anytime they are not happy to participate anymore. All data’s gathered from participants must be stored and managed properly and must not be disclosed to anybody that is not part of the research team to promote confidentiality and to comply with the data protection act. The researcher must only present the data when the research is done.

1.5 Provide an appropriate plan and procedures for the agreed research specification

Planning the procedures for agreed research specification helps the researcher to plan an overall strategies and its duration in order to identify the strategy to be used to conduct the research as well as identifying its duration or how long would it take for the research to accomplish. The researcher must create long term goals with target dates in order to monitor its progress and to make sure that the research will be finished on time. Once the research is done, it must be presented to the public or interested parties. Presenting the results helps the researcher to gather feedbacks from the public about the how individuals view his/her research and to measure its impact to the public. Feedbacks helps the researcher to identify if there is a need to modify his/her research or to conduct a follow-up research to meet the needs and expectations of the public.

LO2 Be able to implement the research project within agreed procedures and to specification

2.1 Match resources efficiently to the research question or hypothesis

Matching the resources efficiently to research questions or hypothesis provides evidence that the study complies with the ethical standards and that the study is legally and harmoniously done. The researcher must able to observe and comply with the policies apply in regards with the ethical boundaries of the study. The researcher must give respect and consider the credibility of the owner of the resource materials used. Respecting means giving credit to the original writer/s of the research studies used. The researcher must also observe the possible effect of conducting the study individuals, or to the natural and social environment. The researcher must able to identify and assess the possible risk associated with the study.

The researcher must also be aware about his/her legal responsibilities in conducting the research as he/she is responsible with his/her promises and conditions that stated in the agreement. The researcher must be prepared with the consequences brought by his/her actions in regards in conducting the research study. The researcher must be also consider and respect the decisions of all participants in case that they refused to participate in a given activity of withdraw their participation in the study.

2.2 Undertake the proposed research investigation in accordance with the agreed specification and procedures In order to provide a systematic implementation of a research proposal, the agreed specification procedure and the implementation of the research must be well implemented. Targets sets in the methodology must be followed accordingly and must be finished within a specific time. Finishing tasks or completing the project on time helps to provide an accurate interpretation of findings in which measures the validity and the reliability of the study. Validity measures if the test given met the standards set by the research.

Measuring the reliability of the study or using the same instruments used to get same accurate results provides efficient answers to solutions as reliability is concerned with the consistency and stability of results. Pilot testing is used to identify the instruments that are answerable through feedbacks gathered from respondents who used a specific product or services that the researcher provides. Through it, the researcher will able to measure if the research instruments are answerable

2.3 Record and collate relevant data where appropriate
Selecting participants that fits with the requirements needed in the study helps to provide accurate and consistent outcome from the research. All participants must be screened in order to make sure the accuracy of data’s and to prevent negative or inconsistent results. Selecting appropriate tools when conducting the research like designing the questionnaires, creating interview questions, and providing systematic recording and keeping of data must be all considered in order to provide positive results. All information gathered from the participants during the study must be evaluated very well using tools (depends upon the type of research) such as the use of statistical equations for quantitative methods and observation for qualitative methods.

All data’s must be reviewed in order to measure the validity and reliability. Information gathered must be kept properly and not disclosed to the public unless the whole study was done and ready for public disclosure. All data’s must be transcribed in order to have a hard copy of the information gathered which can be served as a record for future references. Challenges also occurs when conducting the research as some problems may also arise during the data gathering stage and computing the data’s gathered as errors and uncertainty might occur. Monitoring and reviewing the outline specification helps to identify what it is needed to improve in order to provide positive results in terms of the outcome of the study.

LO3 Be able to evaluate the research outcomes

3.1 Use appropriate research evaluation techniques

Analysing the aims and objective of the study helps to measure or predict the success or failure of the study. In order to evaluate the outcome of the study it is necessary to monitor and re-evaluate the reliability and the validity of the study as it ensures that the data’s collected are accurate and to identify possible errors done during the research process. Accurate and effective results will only be attained if the researcher is able to follow the research plan and understand his/her ethical boundaries. Aims and objectives must be clearly stated and achieved on time. Hypothesis testing can be used to determine which hypothesis will be accepted or rejected. Reliability of data’s gathered can be measured and evaluated through the information’s collected by interview, questionnaires and observations.

3.2 Interpret and analyse the results in terms of the original research specification Analysis, interpretation and measurement of data’s can be done in different ways. Quantitative research used statistical techniques such as measurement of frequency; central tendencies; measurement of dispersion; correlation; and probability to measure data’s in order to prevent biases in the study. With the use of statistical techniques or mathematical theories, the researcher will able to identify errors from the data’s gathered. Comparing the results helps the researcher to determine the hypothesis of the study.

Data’s gathered from transcriptions, book reports, journals, researches and other resource materials helps the researcher to learn views from different perspective in relation with his/her study. It also helps the researcher to be familiarized with the latest trends and issues that is relevant with his/her research study. Through the resources or with the use of related literature, the researcher will able to see comparisons between studies that helped to identify if the hypothesis are been proved or disapproved. All data’s gathered in the research must be managed and evaluated properly in order to prevent biases and misjudgement.

3.3 Make recommendations and justify areas for further consideration A recommendation provides suggestions based on the conclusion of the study. Through recommendations, the researcher will able to identify if there is a need to improve the outcome of the study or if the researcher still needs to do a follow-up research to support his/her existing study. A recommendation also provides information about what it is needed to expect from the study through the use of different research tools. Recommendations also states what the researcher thinks about his/her research study. If the researcher is not happy with the result of his/her study, he might conduct a follow-up study. Once the researcher had finished the whole study, he/she may present the study to the public or concerned individuals wherein the researcher may gather feedbacks which he/she can use to evaluate his/her research.

LO4 Be able the present the research outcomes

4.1 Use an agreed format and appropriate media to present the outcomes of the research to an audience Using agreed format and appropriate media to present the outcome of the researcher to an audience helps the researcher to introduce and educate the audience with the outcome of his/her study. Presentation can be with a small group or with an auditorium full of individuals. The researcher can deliver his/her research study through the use of Microsoft PowerPoint presentation or even with the use of movie maker application. The researcher can only present his/her study when it is totally finished. The researcher must prepare written form of the research in order for the public to evaluate and understand it very well as the view of the audience is very essential to the researcher. Feedbacks from the audience helped the researcher to assess and evaluate his/her study. Presenting the research study to an audience provides other avenues for the researcher especially if the research study is something that is useful for individuals.

Creswell, J. W. (2008). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Education, Inc Kara H (2012) Research and Evaluation for Busy Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide, p.102. Bristol: The Policy Press Kumar, R. (2005). Research Methodologies: A step by step guide for beginners. 1st Edition, UK. SAGE publications Ltd. Shuttleworth, Martyn (2008). “Definition of Research”. Experiment Resources. Experiment-Research.com Thomas, M. (2003). Blending Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods. 1st edition. USA. Cornwin Press, Inc. www.abeuk.com {accessed 04/11/2013}

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