Learning about research is a lot like learning about anything else. To start, you need to learn the jargon people use, the big controversies they fight over, and the different factions that define the major players. We'll start by considering five really big multi-syllable words that researchers sometimes use to describe what they do. We'll only do a few for now, to give you an idea of just how esoteric the discussion can get (but not enough to cause you to give up in total despair). We can then take on some of the major issues in research like the types of questions we can ask in a project, the role of time in research, and the different types of relationships we can estimate. Then we have to consider defining some basic terms like variable, hypothesis, data, and unit of analysis. If you're like me, you hate learning vocabulary, so we'll quickly move along to consideration of two of the major fallacies of research, just to give you an idea of how wrong even researchers can be if they're not careful (of course, there's always a certainly probability that they'll be wrong even if they're extremely careful).
Copyright ©2006, William M.K. Trochim, All Rights Reserved
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Last Revised: 10/20/2006