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A trainee of science conducts a research study in order to check a hypothesis or a theory. He/she is guided by an issue and or questions that he/she wish to respond to in order to refute or verify existing theoretical constructs. A research study is an application of the scientific method and a scientist looks into that with a set of established hypotheses. There are numerous methods of conducting researches but experiments are the most appropriate if the research study looks for to establish cause and impact.
The Hawthorne studies began out with the function to prove that lighting in the workroom had an effect on worker productivity (Ballantyne, 2000). Although the motivation for conducting the research study was utilitarian it nevertheless permanently altered the concept of management and provided birth to the “Hawthorne Result”. The insights I gained from absorbing the Hawthorne studies were that a research study does not necessarily confirm our research study presumptions (Fawcett & & Downs, 1999).
Conducting a research is actually like wading into a pool full of disparate objects and sometimes what we find is not what we are looking for. It is important to maintain objectivity and we must not force or lead our discussions and findings towards supporting our hypothesis if we truly want to be scientific and maintain academic integrity. Another thing I learned was that even if we are guided by a research problem that we wish to answer, it is how we measure and manipulate the variables that we want to explore dictates the results that the study yields.
In the Hawthorne studies on lighting and work productivity, although the variable degree of illumination was manipulated to test whether work output increased, the relationship was not established because the researchers was not able to identify beforehand that the presence of the researchers was an extraneous variable (Levine & Parkinson, 1994) hence the concept of the “Hawthorne effect” which referred to the phenomenon where the presence of the researcher corrupts the results of the experiment. Lastly, the Hawthorne studies demonstrated that even the most rigorous experiments or study has limitations and anyone who wishes to conduct experiments must recognize in the outset what the limitations of his/her study are.
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