CASE STUDY 9
Researchhas become one of the most crucial elements in the scientificstudies. In the social sciences, it is usually an inclusive area,which students have to familiarize with. In the social sciences,research provides learners with firsthand knowledge concerning aparticular issue, which is exceedingly crucial. This helps learnersto have a practical experience of the world or learnt issues ratherthan having the theoretical part of an issue only. It is throughresearch that a lot of issues have been put in the open, while othershave been discovered and rediscovered. For instance, it is due toresearch that various medicines have been discovered to cure certaindiseases for example, research led to the discovery of penicillin.If it were not for research, such medicines could not have beendiscovered. Therefore, learners need to be introduced to research inorder to help in the continuation of discoveries. This assignmentwill present what I learnt concerning research at an introductorylevel and how this can be critiqued from a Christian, biblicalperspective.
IssuesLearnt Concerning Research at an Introductory Level
Thereare various issues that I learnt concerning research at introductorylevel. One of the issues that I learnt was that, when conductingresearch it is vital to first identify the research problem. Theresearch problem helps in identifying the objectives of a research.It is exceedingly difficult to conduct a research without having aresearch problem since it will be like trying to work on somethingthat is ambiguous. The research problem is usually broad such thatone cannot address it sufficiently by conducting a single research.The research problem is usually narrowed down to a more specificquestion, which a researcher hopes to address. For instance, aresearcher can identify a problem as causes of earthquake. However,the researcher can narrow down his/her research in trying to find outwhether earthquake is caused by the collision of plates. Therefore, Ilearnt that it is exceedingly vital to have a research problem priorto conducting a research since without a research problem there willbe no research.
Anotherissue that I learnt concerning research at an introductory level isthat, a social research has always to be carried out in a socialcontext. This implies that, when conducting a social research, theresearcher asks people some questions, or observe individualsinteracting, or even measure the opinions of individuals in a certainarea in order to have answers to his/her findings. The unitsparticipating in a research is a critical component in a socialresearch. Since it is impossible to involve all the individuals thata research would want to include, it is critical to choose wisely therepresentative sample of the entire population that a researcherwould like to study (Boothet al, 2008). This is critical since it ensures that the researcherobtains results that are close to, or that reflect the entirepopulation. In case the researcher fails to choose a sample thatwould represent the entire population, it is likely that the resultsobtained from a research would be biased that is, the results wouldnot represent what the entire population would say concerning anissue. Take, for instance, a researcher may want to conduct aresearch in a university, where he would like to find out studentsthat are left handed in the university. In such a research, it isexceedingly impossible to conduct a research involving the entirepopulation therefore, the researcher must select a representativesample in order to get results that represent the entire population.In order to ensure that the sample selected is a representative ofthe entire population, it is vital to place the sample into differentclasses. Different classes or groups help in obtaining results thatwould reflect the perspective of the entire population.
Ialso learnt that, when conducting a research, it is crucial toconsider avoiding the use of leading questions. Leading questions arethose questions that are posed to an interviewee by the interviewer,which seek to encourage a particular answer. Leading questionsusually have a suggestive way of leading an interviewee intoproviding the answers that are desired, or that go in the way of theperson collecting data thinking. These questions need to be avoided,when collecting data since they may lead to obtaining a biased resultin a given research, which is unethical (Boothet al, 2008). Besides, when doing human research on sensitive issues,leading questions should be avoided since they may lead tostigmatization for instance, when doing human research on HIV. Inaddition, leading questions are unethical since they cannot be reliedon as they can lead the person collecting data on the court barsanswering questions. There is a need to avoid these questions whencollecting data based on human research. There are different ways ofavoiding these questions. One such way entails writing and revisingthe questions that will be used in research (Lal, 2008). When aresearcher just writes the questions to ask while collecting datawithout revising them, there is a probability that he/she will pose aleading question. Thus, it is always vital to write and revise thequestions that will be used in collecting data so as to avoid thesequestions. Another way of avoiding these questions entails involvinga partner prior to conducting a research (Lal, 2008). The purpose ofinvolving a partner is to conduct a research trial with him in orderto see if there are any leading questions. This is critical sinceleading questions may be identified early enough prior to the realstudy, which gives an opportunity to eliminate the questions. Inaddition, these questions can be avoided by ensuring that enough timeis allocated to research. Research that is prepared in a hurry islikely to have leading questions because everything is done in ahurry.
Inaddition, I learnt that there are various ethical concerns, whenconducting research. One of the principal ethical issues, whenconducting a research entails informed consent. Informed consentimplies that an individual knowingly, intelligently and voluntarilygives his/her consent. When conducting research for example, in anursing setting, informed consent emerges as a means by which thepatient’s right to autonomy becomes protected. Autonomy is theability for self determination in action according to an individualplan. An informed consent seeks to combine the rights of autonomouspersons through self determination. It also tends to prevent assaultson the integrity of research units and protect personal veracity andliberty. Individuals can make informed decisions in participating inresearch voluntarily only if they have information on the likelybenefits and risks of the research. Free and informed consent needsto integrate an introduction to a study and its purpose as well as anexplanation regarding the selection of the research subjects and theprocedures to be followed (O`Leary,2004). It is critical to describe any discomfort or physical harm,any invasion of privacy, and any threat to dignity as well as how thesubjects should be compensated in such a case. Besides, the subjectsneed to know any projected benefits either to the science or subjectby gaining new knowledge. Therefore, it is apparent that disclosure,competency, comprehension, and voluntariness are four criticalsections of consent, when conducting a research.
Anotherprincipal ethical concern, when conducting research entailsbeneficence. This principle includes the professional responsibilityof doing effective and significant research in order to better serveand enhance the welfare of the community. This principle emphasizesthat research should not do harm, but should be of benefit. It issometimes difficult to predict beneficence, when developing ahypothesis, especially for qualitative research. Therefore, whenconducting a research, it is critical for the researcher to ensurethat the research has some benefits to the community. Another ethicalconcern entails respect for anonymity and confidentiality. I learntthat the issue of anonymity and confidentiality is closely associatedwith the rights of beneficence, fidelity and respect for dignity.Anonymity is protected, when the identity of the subjects cannot beassociated with personal responses. In case the researcher is notcapable of promising anonymity he/she has to address confidentiality,which entails managing the private information so as to protect theidentity of the subjects. Confidentiality implies that individualsare free in giving and withholding as much information as they wishto the individuals that they choose. The researcher is usuallyresponsible for maintaining confidentiality, which exceeds ordinaryloyalty. Although confidentiality of the subjects has to bemaintained by the researcher, sometimes it becomes necessary to breakthe confidentiality for the moral duty of protecting the society.According to the utilitarian perspective, the happiness of thesociety is of immense importance. Since the researcher must considerconfidentiality, when carrying out a research, it is always good forresearchers to bear in mind all social and psychological implicationsthat a breach of confidentiality will have on the subjects. Inprotecting the participants in a research, the researchers have toinform the participants on their rights, and utilize all possiblecoding systems, which they view appropriate in every case.
Onthe other hand, I learnt that it is crucial for a researcher torespect the privacy of the participants. Privacy entails the freedoma person has in determining the extent, time and general situationsunder which private information should be shared with or withheldfrom other individuals. Invasion of privacy occurs when privateinformation like beliefs, attitudes, records, and opinions, becomesshared with others, without the participants’ knowledge or consent(O`Leary,2004). A researcher should not decide on behalf of other individualson delicate issues. Therefore, it is always good to respect theprivacy of participants, when carrying out a research. Failure torespect the privacy of research participants may arouse ethicalconcerns in a research.
Furthermore,I learnt that it is critical to consider the ethical concern ofincluding vulnerable groups of individuals in a research. Sometimes,the researchers have used vulnerable groups as research subjects,which call for an ethical concern. Vulnerable groups entail groupswith individuals, who do not have the capacity of protecting theirown welfare and rights (Wilson,1990). These groups include captives, mentally ill individuals,children, aged people, and individuals with learning disabilities.There is an ethical concern for these groups since it is speculatedthat these individuals do not have the capacity of giving informedconsent concerning a research problem. Besides, these individuals area greater risk of being threatened, deceived, or forced toparticipate in a research. Therefore, a researcher should considerusing individuals with the capacity of giving informed consent, thusthe vulnerable groups should be avoided by the researcher, whenconducting research.
Fromthe lessons learnt concerning research at an introductory level,there are some perspectives that stem from Christian perspective. Oneof the issues that is highly encouraged by the Christian perspectiveentails ensuring moral or ethical standards while conductingresearch. The researcher should always follow ethical or moralstandards, which are all about doing good to the participants and thecommunity at large. According to the biblical teaching in Philippians4.8, the bible urges individuals to engage in everything that isright, pure, and noble. This implies that the Christian perspectiveon research entails engaging in research that is beneficial toindividuals, and research that do not cause harm to individuals. Incase a certain research does not lead the benefit of individuals orthe community, it should be allowed to occur according to theChristian perspective. This perspective is in line with theprinciples of research learnt at the introductory level sincebeneficence is a key requirement of any research. Therefore, theChristian perspective and the lessons learnt concerning research atan introductory level go hand in hand. On the other hand, the issueof respecting the rights of the participants is also an issue underChristian perspective. According to the Christian teaching,individuals should respect others this does not limit the extent ofrespect, which implies that respecting of participants’ rights is avital consideration in research. Hence, the Christian perspective onthe issue of research matches what I learnt concerning research anintroductory level.
Researchis exceedingly critical as it helps in coming up with solutionsconcerning a particular problem. Different researches that have beenconducted have in one way or another assisted in solving a problemthat has existed in the past. The future of research is rich and ofprofound benefits if individuals continue participating in beneficialresearches. The chief reason why learners are introduced to researchis to ensure that enough research knowledge is imparted to futureresearchers. Besides, introducing learners helps in ensuring thatthere is a continuation of research to the future generations. Ilearnt several issues concerning research at an introductory level,which entails the ethical concerns while conducting research forexample, respecting the rights of participants and ensuring that theparticipants used in a research do not belong to the vulnerablegroups. Besides, I learnt that a problem must first of all beidentified prior to conducting a research, and leading questions mustbe avoided by the researcher while carrying out a research becausethey usually encourage a participant to give an opinion that goesalong with the perspective of the researcher, which gives biasedresults.
Booth,W., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2008). TheCraft of Research.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lal,D. D. K. (2008). Doingsocial research: A source book for preparing dissertation.Delhi: Kalpaz Publications.
O`Leary,Z. (2004). Theessential guide to doing research.London: SAGE.
Wilson,E. B. (1990). Anintroduction to scientific research.New York: Dover Publications.