Thomas, EdD, Jack K.
Scientific research involves a systematic process that focuses on being objective and gathering a multitude of information for analysis so that the researcher can come to a conclusion. This process is used in all research and evaluation projects, regardless of the research method scientific method of inquiry, evaluation research, or action research.
The process focuses on testing hunches or ideas in a park and recreation setting through a systematic process. In this process, the study is documented in such a way that another individual can conduct the same study again. This is referred to as replicating the study.
Any research done without documenting the study so that others can review the process and results is not an investigation using the scientific research process. The scientific research process is a multiple-step process where the steps are interlinked with the other steps in the process.
If changes are made in one step of the process, the researcher must review all the other steps to ensure that the changes are reflected throughout the process. Parks and recreation professionals are often involved in conducting research or evaluation projects within the agency.
These professionals need to understand the eight steps of the research process as they apply to conducting a study. Identify the Problem The first step in the process is to identify a problem or develop a research question.
The research problem may be something the agency identifies as a problem, some knowledge or information that is needed by the agency, or the desire to identify a recreation trend nationally.
In the example in table 2. This serves as the focus of the study. Review the Literature Now that the problem has been identified, the researcher must learn more about the topic under investigation. To do this, the researcher must review the literature related to the research problem.
This step provides foundational knowledge about the problem area. The review of literature also educates the researcher about what studies have been conducted in the past, how these studies were conducted, and the conclusions in the problem area.
In the obesity study, the review of literature enables the programmer to discover horrifying statistics related to the long-term effects of childhood obesity in terms of health issues, death rates, and projected medical costs. In addition, the programmer finds several articles and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that describe the benefits of walking 10, steps a day.
The information discovered during this step helps the programmer fully understand the magnitude of the problem, recognize the future consequences of obesity, and identify a strategy to combat obesity i.
Clarify the Problem Many times the initial problem identified in the first step of the process is too large or broad in scope. In step 3 of the process, the researcher clarifies the problem and narrows the scope of the study.
This can only be done after the literature has been reviewed. The knowledge gained through the review of literature guides the researcher in clarifying and narrowing the research project.
In the example, the programmer has identified childhood obesity as the problem and the purpose of the study. This topic is very broad and could be studied based on genetics, family environment, diet, exercise, self-confidence, leisure activities, or health issues.
All of these areas cannot be investigated in a single study; therefore, the problem and purpose of the study must be more clearly defined.
This purpose is more narrowly focused and researchable than the original problem. Clearly Define Terms and Concepts Terms and concepts are words or phrases used in the purpose statement of the study or the description of the study.
These items need to be specifically defined as they apply to the study. Terms or concepts often have different definitions depending on who is reading the study. To minimize confusion about what the terms and phrases mean, the researcher must specifically define them for the study. The concept of physical health may also be defined and measured in many ways.
By defining the terms or concepts more narrowly, the scope of the study is more manageable for the programmer, making it easier to collect the necessary data for the study.
This also makes the concepts more understandable to the reader.
Define the Population Research projects can focus on a specific group of people, facilities, park development, employee evaluations, programs, financial status, marketing efforts, or the integration of technology into the operations.
For example, if a researcher wants to examine a specific group of people in the community, the study could examine a specific age group, males or females, people living in a specific geographic area, or a specific ethnic group.
Literally thousands of options are available to the researcher to specifically identify the group to study. The research problem and the purpose of the study assist the researcher in identifying the group to involve in the study.
In research terms, the group to involve in the study is always called the population. Defining the population assists the researcher in several ways. First, it narrows the scope of the study from a very large population to one that is manageable. This helps ensure that the researcher stays on the right path during the study.
Finally, by defining the population, the researcher identifies the group that the results will apply to at the conclusion of the study.Research Methods To understand the use of statistics, one needs to know a little bit about experimental design or how a researcher conducts investigations.
A little knowledge about methodology will provide us with a place to hang our statistics. The research question, ethics, budget and time are all major considerations in any design..
This is before looking at the statistics required, and studying the preferred methods for the individual scientific discipline.. Every experimental design must make compromises and generalizations, so the researcher must try to minimize these, whilst remaining realistic.
The most common research methods are: literature searches, talking with people, focus groups, personal interviews, telephone surveys, mail surveys, email surveys, and internet surveys. A literature search involves reviewing all readily available materials. Organizational Research Methods (ORM), peer-reviewed and published quarterly, brings relevant methodological developments to a wide range of researchers in organizational and management studies and promotes a more effective understanding of current and new methodologies and their application in organizational settings.
Research Advocacy in Translational Science (Research Advocacy Network) – The first section of this guide provides general information on research in advocacy and how it . Each method has advantages and disadvantages that make it suitable for certain situations and unsuitable for others. Descriptive or Correlational Research Methods Case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation, and laboratory observation are examples of descriptive or correlational research methods.