RESEARCH EVALUATION 2 1

Research Evaluation 2

Introduction

The nature of human beings keeps on changing with the evolving world. In order to understand human beings behaviour and mind Psychology was introduced as an applied science where it is studied in schools as an academic discipline. Psychology attempts to understand human beings more through establishing theories and conducting research to try and prove those theories and also researching different areas of interest with intention of gaining knowledge that explains human behaviour and mind.

Methodology can be defined as the theoretical and systematic analysis of applied methods to a study field. It comprises the following concepts: theoretical model, paradigm, qualitative and quantitative techniques and phases. Unlike a method which tries two provide solutions, methodology tries to provide a theoretical explanation for understanding which set of methods, method or best practices can be used in a specific case study to obtain specific results. However, many people use the word method as a synonym for methodology even though the two terms have different meaning, it is critical for a researcher not to confuse the two terms. There are two types of research generally exploratory research which includes qualitative design and explanatory research which includes hypothesis testing and quantitative design. Epistemology which is also known as philosophy of knowledge is a relative of methodology. Epistemology is concerned with how humans come to know the reality while methodology points out the steps followed to realize the reality.

In the article Advertising in social network sites –Investigating the social influence of user generated content on online advertising effects, the researcher’s aims at investigating ways in which the surrounding content, by deducing from the theory of social influence affects online advertising. The researchers made a specific assumption that interpersonal relationship and collective influence shared by web users with user-generated content authors are strongly affected in their advertising response than the users who are unrelated. An experiment to test the assumptions was carried out in a 2 by 2 between-subject experiment with a sample population of 118 students (Knoll & Schramm, 2015).

The methodology section of the article, Advertising in social network sites –Investigating the social influence of user generated content on online advertising effects answers the following two major questions: How the data was generated or collected by the researchers and how the researchers analysed the collected data (Knoll & Schramm, 2015). The importance of this articles methodology section is that: it provides enough information that can enable other researchers to employ this methodology, it fulfils the objectives of the study and helps readers to know how the data was generated and analysed and lastly, this section provides the reader with crucial information on the research methods used to carry out the study. The methods section of the article consists of the research design and stimulus, sample population and procedures and measures. In research there are two types of research methods namely quantitative and qualitative designs. The researchers of the above article employed the quantitative research design for deductive reasoning (Theory testing) and hypothesis testing.

Quantitative research design

This approach attempts to be empirical in its nature by being objective, generalizing findings and being replicable. It ensures validity through conducting pilot experiments and an enhanced process of clarification. By being objective this means that the experiment or the research work is not connected directly to the researcher that is the researcher and the experiment are apart. It is based on quantitative data that is mathematical calculations and numbers. In this paradigm the researcher starts by choosing a topic, then the researcher narrows down the topic down to focus on a specific research question that is possible to be confirmed in the study. The second step is concerned with data collection. Information is recorded and verified carefully by the researcher before saving the data for future use. This data that is recorded help in establishing correlations between variables and the possible outcomes. The researcher then analyses the large amounts of recorded data and provides interpretation and meaning to the data. After interpreting the data the researcher then writes a conclusive report that explains the results for study.

The epistemological assumption of quantitative research assumes that the researcher is independent from the subject of research. The methodology assumes that the process of research is a deductive process, establishes cause and effect and is free of context. The sole purpose of quantitative research is to facilitate social change through providing useful information that can be used to understand individuals and create awareness of specific groups of people or situations that are not being researched on. In psychology Quantitative research is used in statistical data analysis where a research is carried out on a phenomenon either through observation or questionnaires and the data gathered is used statistically to establish a correlation between the cause and effect of that particular phenomenon. In terms of data collection, it uses methods such as shared interpretation, observation, surveys and questionnaires.

The advantages of Quantitative research design

It can be administered and also be evaluated quickly. Secondly data obtained from the research is used to facilitate comparison between groups and organizations and measure the level of participation by the participants. Lastly the researcher obtains legitimate quantitative data that is reliable.

The limitations of Quantitative research design

It does not give room for human perceptions and beliefs this is because it only deals with numbers and human perceptions emotions and identities cannot be measured in numbers. An effective quantitative research requires a wide coverage in order to have larger sample size, however this wide coverage is sometimes limited by the scarcity of resources to fund the research both in terms of finances and skilled labour. Lastly, quantitative data fails to provide an in depth coverage of information by not being thorough where the data obtained is not accurate and hence hinders the action intended to be taken after the research was completed.

Stimulus

The researchers also used materials of visual nature such as the Facebook profile and comments of a young professor whom the students would be free interacting with (Knoll & Schramm, 2015). The purpose of this stimulus was to stimulate the students in becoming more relaxed so that the data collected can be more accurate. The stimulus provides a focal point for research participants. It also makes the participants to be focused on one thing only making the experiment to be controllable. Stimulus also evokes emotional responses from participants.

Random sampling

In the data collection process the researchers selected a sample population of 118 students who took part in the study. In determining the sample population the researchers used a simple random sampling technique. This technique is important in that the selection of a single individual depends on probability of selection since every individual has an equal opportunity of being selected thus removing biasness. Simple random sampling provides grounds for generalizing the results obtained from the experiment to the population from which the sample population was selected, it is therefore important in drawing conclusions of the research.

Data collection procedure

The researchers used survey questionnaires (online survey method) as the data collection procedure for the study that involved predetermined questions. Correct data collection procedures are crucial to maintaining a study’s integrity. A formal procedure for data collection is a requirement for it makes sure that the collected data is accurate and defined and that the succeeding decisions made on the basis of the embodied arguments in the results are valid. The main objective of data collection procedures is to get hold of quality evidence which can then be translated to rich analysis of data and permit the formation of a credible and convincing answers to the hypothesis. However, if the correct data collection procedure is not followed, the researcher cannot provide accurate answer to the research questions and is also unable to validate the study.

Measures

One of the advantages of quantitative research is that it provides a measure for the results. In the research article on advertising in social media, the researchers used a Likert scale measurement procedure (Knoll & Schramm, 2015). The researchers employed this measurement procedure because it is commonly used in surveys particularly in the measurement of attitudes and makes assumptions of experiences intensity been linear. The likert scale used by the researchers employed questionnaires. In this type of questionnaires, the participants responded by specifying their agreement or disagreement level on the symmetric scale of disagree-agree based on a series of pre-determined statements.

The purpose of this scale is to capture the feelings intensity of the various participants in regard to given item. The likert scale has five levels namely: Strongly disagree, disagree, neither disagree nor agree, agree and strongly agree. However, the likert scale has various limitations in that it encourages central tendency biasness, social disability biasness, acquiescence biasness where a participant agrees with all the statements presented and lastly, a participant may also disagree with all the statements provided in order to prevent negative consequences that may arise.

Theoretical Model

When conducting research it is imperative to employ the theoretical model for social sciences research. This is because it directs and guides the research, assists an individual in meaningful interpretation of the study and provides a foundation for future investigations, reference frame, research structure and a rationale for predicting relationships among the variables.

If a researcher wants to ensure that his or her research report is reliable, replicable and valid, the researcher should adhere to the following:

Irrelevant detail

Even though the methodology section of the research report is supposed to be thorough, it should also be straight to the point. The researchers should only provide any background information that they know will directly assist the reader in understanding reasons as to why a specific method was selected, the data collection procedures and analysis.

Literature Review

Just like the report section of literature review, the researchers should make sure that the methodology section cites only the sources that the researchers used in informing their choice and adoption of a certain method.

Explanation of procedures considered basic

The researchers should always assume that the readers of the research report have a basic comprehension of the ways to investigate the problem under research. Therefore, the researcher should not explain in detail about the methodological procedures used in their research. The researcher should focus on the method application.

Problem Blindness

In the course of conducting research, it is highly likely that a researcher will encounter challenges in the data collection or generation process. Researchers should not dismiss these challenges, instead they should device ways of overcoming these challenges and document them because they form an important part of the methodology in providing a rationale for the conclusions they made.

Reference

Knoll, J., & Schramm, H. (2015). Advertising in social network sites–Investigating the social influence of user-generated content on online advertising effects.