Last week, Clare asked us to consider some sample questions and suggest possible methods we might use to answer these. Calre set us the following challenge:
- Which of these two laptops gives the best performance?
- Are virtual worlds like Second Life useful for teaching?
- Why don’t many school students (16-18yrs old) choose to study IT at Polytechnic or University?
- Which ISP in NZ gives the best value for money?
- How do I feel about trying to work with slow internet speeds?
- What are the main security issues associated with ‘cloud computing’Over the next week and following on from the discussions we have in class, I would like you to do the following:
for each of these 6 questions, I want you (on your blog) to describe
- what kind of evidence/knowledge would you need to answer the question
- what kind of research approach/method could you take to find that knowledge
(Identifying the Right Approach, http://res300.wordpress.com/)
In beginning to grapple with this challenge, I began to think about the type of information that we might like to obtain. Loosely, I would identify a number of key types of information:
- quantitative: is measurable. Often the result of some form of measurable experimentation
- qualitative: is observable and generalised. For example, you could say that “the fabric is blue”, which would be a qualitative observation. To quantify this, you might say “the fabric reflects light of 460 nm”.
- unsubstantiated: result without good grounds. For example, it may be generally considered that Doritoes are the best chips ever! If a big enough proportion of the population have this view, then it would be accurate to say: “it is generally accepted that Doritoes are the best chips ever!”. I am differentiating here from qualitative information, which can often be measured.
In a future blog, I will consider the types of research techniques that might be applied in each of these areas.
# to be continued…