Research Methods

Respond to student’s post with significant comments that demonstrate critical thinking by asking additional questions or adding to the body of knowledge started. If you argue, controversial issues use a reference to support your argument that adds credibility to your position. Your response to your peers work should be engaging and informative with good substance. Your responses should contribute in a meaningful way to helping advance our knowledge of the topics the class explores.

All follow-up responses should require 250-300 words.

Being able to understand research methods is a valuable skill for any aspiring university student. As a consumer of research, being able to understand what kind of research method led to the resulting final research allows an insight into the process the researcher undertook.

Consumer research is described as “often conducted by individuals or companies in order to determine specific needs or attitudes.” (APUS, 2016) This kind of research is often conducted by private corporations, companies or individuals in order to determine attitudes or preferences for potential customers. Consumer research is generally not academically driven or peer reviewed. An aspiring degree seeker will normally want peer reviewed, academically driven research to cultivate facts and ideas from. For use in an academic environment, consumer research will generally not meet the standards for sources and references.

Scholarly research on the other hand, is the preferred option for the academic environment. Scholarly research is “conducted with the intent of advancing academic knowledge regarding a social phenomenon.” (APUS, 2016) Scholarly research is led by an individual, university or corporation in an academic capacity with an academic result as the goal. Another big difference between consumer research and academic research is the fact that academic research is peer reviewed. The peer review process allows other academics a chance to fact check and challenge the results of an academic study. This makes scholarly research more of a community effort with many people in the quality control chain before the research is adopted. Private entities that would normally be associated with consumer research can also conduct academic research. Think of a pharmaceutical company researching a cure for a disease or a way to generate a new pill that will help ill people. While their motivations may be to sell more pills and make money, the data that comes from that research could be used in an academic environment. Understanding the differences in motivation, end-goal and review methods allows a student to properly focus their research for the best possible results.

Being a consumer of research, vice conducting actual research is an important distinction between a student and an academic researcher. A consumer of research is an individual who is looking to further their understanding about a particular subject. The consumer is drawing upon the research already compiled by the academic community for their own need or use. An academic researcher is looking to fill in gaps of knowledge in the already established knowledge base. They would generate a hypothesis and develop an experiment or observation to test that hypothesis. A simple consumer of research will do neither of these things.

Understanding how research proposals and research results are presented is also an invaluable tool. The different sections of a research journals or articles can allow you to browse through potential sources quickly. The abstract of a research journal or article should contain, “the primary research question or hypothesis, a brief description of the selected sample, information about the main variable used to evaluate the primary research question, and the primary conclusion.” (Berndt, 2009) Understanding the research methods and what the final formatted product contains can allow swift source filtering for a consumer of research.

References

Research Methods In Social Sciences. (2016). Retrieved December 4, 2018, from https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/Universal/SSGS/300/elf/lesson-1/elf_index.html

Berndt, A. (2009). How to Be a Critical Consumer of Research: Two-step Approach and Five Statistical Concerns. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 35(6), 559–560. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jen.2009.07.005

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