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Research Methods

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What is research?
Research in common parlance refers to a search for knowledge (Kothari, 2004)
What is Knowledge?
The Oxford Dictionary defines “Knowledge” as: * The information, understanding and skills that you gain through education and experience; * The state of knowing about a particular fact or situation;
What other ways of knowing exist?
“There are four ways of knowing” (Gakuu & Kidombo, 2014)
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Sensory Experience
The Oxford Dictionary defines “Sensory” as “Connected to your physical senses”
By this definition we can infer that we use our “Sensory Organs” to Know or Gain Knowledge.
Our sensory organs include eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin,
We use our eyes to see things hence gaining knowledge; we use our ears to hear and gain knowledge…….etc. etc.
We should not forget that this information or knowledge is first processed by our brain then and only then do we understand what it is we are seeing, hearing, tasting and so on and therefore understand.

Normally we, see, hear, and smell taste touch. We gather a lot of data through our senses.
“However, sensory knowledge is undependable and in some cases incomplete. The data we take through our sense do not account for all (or even most) of what we seem to feel is the range of human knowing. For us to obtain reliable knowledge, therefore, we cannot rely on our senses alone, but must check what we think we know with other sources” (Gakuu & Kidombo, 2014)
The opinion of other is another source of knowledge. We can share our sensations with others and also check on the accuracy and authenticity of these sensations. The problem with such common knowledge is that it can be wrong. A majority vote in a meeting is no guarantee of the truth. Two groups of eyewitnesses to an accident may disagree as to which driver was on the wrong. Hence we would require considering additional ways to obtain reliable knowledge (Gakuu & Kidombo, 2014).
An expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. (Wikipedia, 2014)
However experts like everybody else can be mistaken (Gakuu & Kidombo, 2014)
No expert, however, has studied or experienced all there is to know in a given field, and thus even an expert can never be totally sure
We also get to know by logic. That is by our intellect- the capability we have to reason things out. This allows us to use sensory data to develop a new kind of knowledge (Gakuu & Kidombo, 2014).
Survey research is often used to assess thoughts, opinions, and feelings.[1] Survey research can be specific and limited, or it can have more global, widespread goals. Today, survey research is used by a variety of different groups. Psychologists and sociologists often use survey research to analyze behavior, while it is also used to meet the more pragmatic needs of the media, such as, in evaluating political candidates, public health officials, professional organizations, and advertising and marketing directors. A survey consists of a predetermined set of questions that is given to a sample. [1] With a representative sample, that is, one that is representative of the larger population of interest, one can describe the attitudes of the population from which the sample was drawn. Further, one can compare the attitudes of different populations as well as look for changes in attitudes over time. A good sample selection is key as it allows one to generalize the findings from the sample to the population, which is the whole purpose of survey research. "

Scheuren in his publication for the American Statistical Association has described the word “survey” is used most often to describe a method of gathering information from a sample of individuals (Scheuren, 2004)
This “sample” is usually just a fraction of the population being studied (Scheuren, 2004)

The Research Methods Knowledge Base (a web based research text book)
Survey research is one of the most important areas of measurement in applied social research. The broad area of survey research encompasses any measurement procedures that involve asking questions of respondents. A "survey" can be anything form a short paper-and-pencil feedback form to an intensive one-on-one in-depth interview. (Trochim, 2006)
Surveys can be divided into two broad categories (Trochim, 2006): * the questionnaire * the interview.
This “sample” is usually just a fraction of the population being studied (Scheuren, 2004) (Scheuren, 2004)
A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. Although they are often designed for statistical analysis of the responses, this is not always the case. The questionnaire was invented by Sir Francis Galton.[citation needed]
Questionnaires have advantages over some other types of surveys: in that they are cheap, do not require as much effort from the questioner as verbal or telephone surveys, and often have standardized answers that make it simple to compile data. However, such standardized answers may frustrate users. Questionnaires are also sharply limited by the fact that respondents must be able to read the questions and respond to them. Thus, for some demographic groups conducting a survey by questionnaire may not be practical.

Advantages of Questionnaires include: * Cheap * Do not require as much effort from the questioner as verbal or telephone surveys, and * Often have standardized answers that make it simple to compile data

Interviews are a far more personal form of research than questionnaires. In the personal interview, the interviewer works directly with the respondent. Unlike with mail surveys, the interviewer has the opportunity to probe or ask follow-up questions (Trochim, 2006). And, interviews are generally easier for the respondent, especially if what is sought is opinions or impressions. Interviews can be very time consuming and they are resource intensive. The interviewer is considered a part of the measurement instrument and interviewers have to be well trained in how to respond to any contingency (Trochim, 2006).

Selecting the Sample

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