INTRODUCTION health; heroine is addictive; cow dung is a




Research is a logical and systematic
search for new and useful information on a particular topic. In the well-known
nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star How I Wonder What You Are the use of
the words how and what essentially summarizes what research is. It is an
investigation of finding solutions to scientific and social problems through
objective and systematic analysis. It is a search for knowledge, that is, a
discovery of hidden truths. Here knowledge means information about matters. The
information might be collected from different sources like experience, human
beings, books, journals, nature, etc. A research can lead to new contributions
to the existing knowledge. Only through research is it possible to make
progress in a field. Research is indeed civilization and determines the
economic, social and political development of a nation. The results of
scientific research very often force a change in the philosophical view of
problems which extend far beyond the restricted domain of science itself. Research
is not confined to science and technology only. There are vast areas of
research in other disciplines such as languages, literature, history and
sociology. Whatever might be the subject, research has to be an active,
diligent and systematic process of inquiry in order to discover, interpret or
revise facts, events, behaviors and theories. Applying the outcome of research
for the refinement of knowledge in other subjects, or in enhancing the quality
of human life also becomes a kind of research and development. Research is done
with the help of study, experiment, observation, analysis, comparison and
reasoning. Research is in fact ubiquitous. For example, we know that cigarette
smoking is injurious to health; heroine is addictive; cow dung is a useful source
of biogas; malaria is due to the virus protozoan plasmodium; AIDS (Acquired
Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) is due to the virus HIV (Human Immuno Deficiency
Virus). How did we know all these? We became aware of all these information
only through research. More precisely, it seeks predictions of events,
explanations, relationships and theories for them. As stated by Gerald Milburn
Scientific research is a chaotic business, stumbling along amidst red herrings,
errors and truly, creative insights. Great scientific breakthroughs are rarely
the work of a single researchers plodding slowly by inexorably towards some
final goal. The crucial idea behind the breakthrough may surface a number of
times, in different places, only to sink again beneath the babble of an endless
scientific discourse.

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            Methodological assumptions
consist of the assumptions made by the researcher regarding the methods used in
the process of qualitative research (Creswell 2003). The procedures used by the
researcher are inductive and are based on the researcher’s own experience in
collecting and analyzing data. The research here is the product of the values
of the researcher. Through an inductive approach, raw textual data is condensed
into a brief, summary format. Clear links are established between research
objectives and summary findings derived from raw data. A framework of the
underlying structure of experiences or processes that are evident from the raw
data is developed.

In adopting this approach the research questions
might change in the middle of the study so that the research problem is better
understood. Due to this, the strategy to collect data, which is usually
developed before the study begins, has to be modifies to accommodate new
questions. The researcher analyzes the data to develop an in-depth knowledge
about the topic under consideration.




HYPOTHESIS Researchers do not carry out
work without any aim or expectation. Research is not of doing something and
presenting what is done. Every research problem is undertaken aiming at certain
outcomes. That is, before starting actual work such as performing an experiment
or theoretical calculation or numerical analysis, we expect certain outcomes
from the study. The expectations form the hypothesis. Hypotheses are scientifically
reasonable predictions. They are often stated in terms of if-then sentences in
certain logical forms. A hypothesis should provide what we expect to find in
the chosen research problem. That is, the expected or proposed solutions based
on available data and tentative explanations constitute the hypothesis.
Hypothesizing is done only after survey of relevant literature and learning the
present status of the field of research. It can be formulated based on previous
research and observation. To formulate a hypothesis the researcher should
acquire enough knowledge in the topic of research and a reasonably deep insight
about the problem. In formulating a hypothesis construct operational
definitions of variables in the research problem. Hypothesis is due to an
intelligent guess or for inspiration which is to be tested in the research work
rigorously through appropriate methodology. Testing of hypothesis leads to
explanation of the associated phenomenon or event. 21 What are the criteria of
a good hypothesis? An hypothesis should have conceptual clarity and a
theoretical orientation. Further, it should be testable. It should be stated in
a suitable way so that it can be tested by investigation. A hypothesis made
initially may become incorrect when the data obtained are analyzed. In this
case it has to be revised. It is important to state the hypothesis of a
research problem in a research report. We note that if a hypothesis withstands
the experiments and provides the required facts to make it acceptable, not only
to the researchers performing the experiments but to others doing other
experiments then when sufficiently reinforced by continual verification the
hypothesis may become a theory 6. According to Poincar´e, a scientific
hypothesis which was proved untenable can still be very useful. If a hypothesis
does not pass an empirical test, then this fact means that we have neglected
some important and meaningful element. Thus, the hypothesis gives us the
opportunity to discover the existence of an unforeseen aspect of reality. As a
consequence of this point of view about the nature of scientific theories,
Poincar´e suggested that a scientist must utilize few hypotheses, for it is
very difficult to find the wrong hypothesis in a theory which makes use of many



A variable is defined as anything
that has a quantity or quality that varies. The dependent variable is thevariable a researcher is
interested in. An independentvariable is
a variable believed to
affect the dependent variable.
Confounding variables are
defined as interference caused by another variable

Very simply, a VARIABLE is a measurable
characteristic that varies. It may change from group to group, person to
person, or even within one person over time. There are six common variable


. . . show the effect of
manipulating or introducing the independent variables. For example, if the
independent variable is the use or non-use of a new language teaching
procedure, then the dependent variable might be students’ scores on a test of
the content taught using that procedure. In other words, the variation in the
dependent variable depends on the variation in the independent variable.


. . . are those that the
researcher has control over. This “control” may involve
manipulating existing variables (e.g., modifying existing methods of
instruction) or introducing new variables (e.g., adopting a totally new
method for some sections of a class) in the research setting. Whatever the
case may be, the researcher expects that the independent variable(s) will
have some effect on (or relationship with) the dependent variables.


. . . refer to abstract processes
that are not directly observable but that link the independent and dependent
variables. In language learning and teaching, they are usually inside the
subjects’ heads, including various language learning processes which the
researcher cannot observe. For example, if the use of a particular teaching
technique is the independent variable and mastery of the objectives is the
dependent variable, then the language learning processes used by the subjects
are the intervening variables.


. . . affect the relationship
between the independent and dependent variables by modifying the effect of
the intervening variable(s). Unlike extraneous variables, moderator variables
are measured and taken into consideration. Typical moderator variables in
TESL and language acquisition research (when they are not the major focus of
the study) include the sex, age, culture, or language proficiency of the


Language learning and teaching are
very complex processes. It is not possible to consider every variable in a
single study. Therefore, the variables that are not measured in a particular
study must be held constant, neutralized/balanced, or eliminated, so they
will not have a biasing effect on the other variables. Variables that have
been controlled in this way are called control variables.


. . . are those factors in the
research environment which may have an effect on the dependent variable(s)
but which are not controlled. Extraneous variables are dangerous. They may
damage a study’s validity, making it impossible to know whether the effects
were caused by the independent and moderator variables or some extraneous
factor. If they cannot be controlled, extraneous variables must at least be
taken into consideration when interpreting results.
Levels of measurement
The level of
measurement refers to the relationship among the values that are assigned to
the attributes for a variable. What does that mean? Begin with the idea of
the variable, in this example “party affiliation.” That
variable has a number of attributes. Let’s assume that in this particular
election context the only relevant attributes are “republican”,
“democrat”, and “independent”. For purposes of analyzing
the results of this variable, we arbitrarily assign the values 1, 2 and 3 to
the three attributes. The level of measurement describes
the relationship among these three values. In this case, we simply are using
the numbers as shorter placeholders for the lengthier text terms. We don’t
assume that higher values mean “more” of something and lower
numbers signify “less”. We don’t assume the the value of 2 means
that democrats are twice something that republicans are. We don’t assume that
republicans are in first place or have the highest priority just because they
have the value of 1. In this case, we only use the values as a shorter name
for the attribute. Here, we would describe the level of measure
is hardly measurement. It refers to quality more than quantity. A nominal
level of measurement is simply a matter of distinguishing by name, e.g., 1 =
male, 2 = female. Even though we are using the numbers 1 and 2, they do not
denote quantity. The binary category of 0 and 1 used for computers is a
nominal level of measurement. They are categories or classifications. Nominal
measurement is like using categorical levels of variables, described in
the Doing Scientific Research section of the Introduction





Lunch, Dinner



Buddhist, 2 = Muslim, 3 = Christian, 4 = Jewish, 5 = Other



Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Green

Nominal time of day – categories; no additional information
Ordinal refers to order in measurement. An ordinal scale
indicates direction, in addition to providing nominal information.
Low/Medium/High; or Faster/Slower are examples of ordinal levels of
measurement. Ranking an experience as a “nine” on a scale of 1 to
10 tells us that it was higher than an experience ranked as a
“six.” Many psychological scales or inventories are at the ordinal
level of measurement.





1st place, 2nd place, … last place



OF AGREEMENT: No, Maybe, Yes



ORIENTATION: Left, Center, Right

Ordinal time of day –
indicates direction or order of occurrence; spacing between is uneven
Interval scales provide information about order, and also
possess equal intervals. From the previous example, if we knew that the
distance between 1 and 2 was the same as that between 7 and 8 on our 10-point
rating scale, then we would have an interval scale. An example of an interval
scale is temperature, either measured on a Fahrenheit or Celsius scale. A
degree represents the same underlying amount of heat, regardless of where it
occurs on the scale. Measured in Fahrenheit units, the difference between a
temperature of 46 and 42 is the same as the difference between 72 and 68.
Equal-interval scales of measurement can be devised for opinions and
attitudes. Constructing them involves an understanding of mathematical and
statistical principles beyond those covered in this course. But it is
important to understand the different levels of measurement when using and
interpreting scales.





OF DAY on a 12-hour clock



ORIENTATION: Score on standardized scale of political orientation



scales constructed so as to possess equal intervals

Interval time of day – equal intervals; analog (12-hr.) clock, difference
between 1 and 2 pm is same as difference between 11 and 12 am
In addition to possessing the qualities of nominal,
ordinal, and interval scales, a ratio scale has an absolute zero (a point
where none of the quality being measured exists). Using a ratio scale permits
comparisons such as being twice as high, or one-half as much. Reaction time
(how long it takes to respond to a signal of some sort) uses a ratio scale of
measurement — time. Although an individual’s reaction time is always greater
than zero, we conceptualize a zero point in time, and can state that a
response of 24 milliseconds is twice as fast as a response time of 48





inches or centimeters

of work experience



money earned last year

of children



grade point average

ment as “nominal”.
research is an investigation on basic principles and reasons for occurrence
of a particular event or process or phenomenon. It is also called theoretical
research. Study or investigation of some natural phenomenon or relating to
pure science are termed as basic research. Basic researches some times may
not lead to immediate use or application. It is not concerned with solving
any practical problems of immediate interest. But it is original or basic in
character. It provides a systematic and deep insight into a problem and
facilitates extraction of scientific and logical explanation and conclusion
on it. It helps build new frontiers of knowledge. The outcomes of basic
research form the basis for many applied research. Researchers working on
applied research have to make use of the outcomes of basic research and
explore the utility of them.

Methodological Assumptions