Research and Inquiry

Originally published here.

This week’s assignment has been much trickier and more time consuming than the previous assignment. ¬†However, it is also much more informative and helpful. I learnt that the research process is a lengthy and thoughtful process, with many factors you have to consider before actually carrying out your research or indeed, researching something for yourself. For example, although it is very easy and tempting to conduct research on the Web and take the first answer you find as genuine and truth, this is not always the case. You must consider the reliability of the source and whether the information you are reading is really accurate or true. However, this is not always easy to notice. I have learnt that there are specific websites to be wary of, with a popular choice being Wikipedia. Although the content seems extremely detailed and therefore could easily be mistaken as truth, it must be approached with caution.

As well as this, the type of data received is also important. Data can either be qualitative and quantitative, Qualitative data refers to data in the form of words. This method is concerned with opinions, feelings and experiences. The benefit of this type of data is that data rich in detail can be collected and is usually genuine. However, it is extremely difficult to record.

On the other hand, quantitative data is much simpler and comes in the form of numbers. E.g. used in Questionnaires/for natural sciences. An advantage of this method would be that it can easily be recorded, however the data is not usually very detailed or elaborated.

Both these methods are important in recording data and which method to use when carrying out research should be taken into consideration. Previously, I was not aware that such factors had to be thought about but I have learnt that they are extremely important in determining the course of your research.

The research project for this week posed the question: ‘What is the best way to cook an egg?’
This title proved to be extremely deceiving as it sounds quite simple! However, there were many things that we had to consider before tackling the question. For example, what is the definition of ‘best’? Were we, as a group, going to go down the route of ‘healthiest’ or ‘tastiest’ way as a means of defining ‘best’? These were just a few of the questions we had to take into consideration.

As for the success of our group project, I found it quite difficult to communicate with other team members in regards to the path we were going to take. I found that, working as a team via online sources and not face-to-face, was extremely difficult as it is difficult to be online at the same time as other team members, and some members may not co-operate as much as others. This made getting well under way with the project difficult and we made slow progress. Admittedly, if every member of the team made a conscious effort to help the project get going, I think we would have made much better progress however it was difficult to get a response.
As of yet, the project has not been completed.

I think I was quite effective at collaborating, however due to the lack of response within the group, it was difficult to be online long enough to get things going and truly find out whether I was good at collaborating. However, I think I could have helped push things by assigning roles to different people earlier on in the project and so made sure every member had an active role in completing our assignment earlier and more effectively.

Critical Skills – Week 3

Originally published here.

Week 3 - Research Evaluation

The research carried out to determine "the best way to cook an egg" proved an interesting as well as ambiguous task. The way in which this carried out through primary and secondary methods to allow for cross-referencing and triangulation to reach valid and reliable conclusions. However, due to the several factors that decide the preferable form of egg, the implications of what the original question entails had to be re-visited and redefined. In this, the ethical, health, price and convenience.

From the way in research was carried out, reliability was fairly high as primary research was aimed at small but diverse population to gain as fair a representation of people as realistically achievable with the time frame and resources available. In addition, the questions on the survey were structure to avoid bias or leading to ensure that answers were genuine to allow for a fair analysis and comparison. In addition, questions assessed all areas required to analyse the factors discussed in the early stages of the investigation while keeping the questions to a minimum so responses are short and easy to process as well as to maintain that attention of applicants for the survey. In addition, the responses from the survey showed correlations in views on preparation and consumption of eggs. Through triangulation of ideas from each method of research consolidate each other  which suggests a decent level of reliability. Despite this, it could be said that this investigation would be more reliable if the survey was carried out on a larger scale and/or if more secondary sources were utilised.

The validity of this research maintains a good standard as the report represents exactly what is claimed as it goes through the steps of the research with evidence and appropriately selected sources of secondary information. Although, the range of areas considered could reduce this as inferences were made to link ideas to reach conclusions which could suggests that the question was not very conclusively answered.