The course on research projects covered a broad range of issues that extends beyond the definition of research and sampling. The course highlighted the fundamentals of research sampling, quantitative and qualitative research designs as well as data analysis, research data presentation, and ethical dilemmas. These lessons and key areas of research projects converged to paint a picture of the instrumental role research plays in shaping governmental and organizational policies and the implementation of best practices. The course was well structured and ideas clearly articulated with practical examples which facilitated better learning. Consequently, the course also equipped me with important skills that have shaped my perspective on conducting research and research consumption. The overall purpose of this reflection and essay is to highlight how the lessons and skills learned during the course transformed my current and future perceptions as a researcher.
Conducting a valid and reliable research whose results can be used to make inferences and generalizations requires meticulous preparation and methodical approach. This was one of the lessons that was resoundingly evident throughout the course. Throughout the course, I was constantly confronted by the need to be intentionally systematic when conducting a research to avoid the drawbacks of poorly planned survey including lack of credibility and validity of collected data and ethical issues. It is only through proper planning that researcher will be able to settle on right research design and data collection, analysis and presentation methods. How well a researcher carries out these processes and protocols determines the quality of data collected and the overall success of the whole research process.
Important components of these processes were covered during the course through comprehensive analysis of data collection methods and instrumentation techniques such as questionnaires. The course materials carried in-depth analysis of these techniques and methods with the view of empowering the learners towards becoming successful researchers. By discussing different types of surveys including online surveys, the course materials equip learners with the requisite knowledge on how to conduct surveys. Data analysis tools such as Chi-Square, t-test, ANOVA, and deductive reasoning are important when it comes to understanding interactions, interrelationships and interplays of different variables under study. By focusing on surveys and qualitative research design, the course helps learners to go beyond the narratives by giving them multiple practical examples on how to develop both open-ended and closed questionnaires. Consequently, the course activities underscored the importance of questionnaires as one of the primary data collection methods.
The course covered the topic of research in a comprehensive and objective manner that facilitated better understanding of research issues such as ethics and children as research participants. Dealing with ethical dilemmas in research is critical when it comes to safeguarding and guaranteeing the authenticity and credibility of any research methodology, data, discussion and conclusion. As rightly emphasized during the course, conducting any major research project requires the signing of informed consent forms and seeking of permission from authorities and parental consent in case of underage participants.
I found the course on research was very informative and significantly transformed my perception on research. The course was well-structured with course materials and activities facilitating greater understanding of important concepts and principles on conducting research. By giving multiple practical examples on key concepts of survey including informed consent forms and different forms of questionnaires and surveys, the course equips learners with practical head-starts to becoming good researchers. A good researcher must understand issues pertaining to research beyond the research design and data collection, analysis and presentation. Ethical, confidentiality, credibility and validity issues are critical in determining research consumption. These issues were well articulated during the course with the view of nurturing researchers with a holistic approach and view of the concept of research.
Additionally, the course touched on important areas of research which are easily yet misleadingly relegated to the back when it comes to studying research: data cleaning. Despite sounding rather unnecessary, data cleaning is critical in determining the quality of the data collected and consequently, the overall quality, validity and credibility of the research. Checking for data outliers and analyzing them are important steps towards entrenching the importance of research in shaping decision making through the adoption of evidence-based practices in policy making. However, the effectiveness of such critical processes depends on data cleaning. This just goes a long way in underscoring the comprehensiveness and objectivity with which the topic of research was covered during the course.
The course equipped with important skills and experience that has shaped my present and future perception of research especially when it comes to its importance. Through the course, I have learned new ideas and skills on how to develop both open-ended and closed surveys and informed consent forms. My knowledge on the basic components of these important research instruments have improved tremendously. I am now more knowledgeable on research designs including different methods to analyze qualitative data. I am now well versed in the primary heuristics used to making inferences in qualitative research.
Each research project exponentially improved my perspective, skill levels and experience. The first two projects were eye-openers. They introduced to new concepts on research while also cementing old ones. They also heightened my expectation of what to come in the preceding projects while also improving my skill level on research. I learned the art and science of observation and the important role it plays in determining the success of any research project. The projects on interviewing and surveying tested my interpersonal communication skills while at the same time improving them. It exposed to challenges that researchers face in the field as they collect data. Additionally, I also learned vital lessons on how to tackle ethical moments experienced by researchers while they are out in the field interviewing participants. My perspective on how to ensure data validity and credibility has changed. I am now more aware of other contributing factors to data credibility and validity including data cleaning. Overall, the course has changed my perspective on research as a career. I am now more inclined to take it up as a profession. I believe research is an integral part of policy and decision making processes at all levels of government.
In conclusion, the structuring of the course and learning materials played an important role in shaping my perspective, skills and experience. Well-structured, the course comprehensively and objectively underscored the importance of various aspects and concepts of research including interviewing, observing and surveying. From developing questionnaires and informed consent forms to tackling ethical and confidentiality issues and settling on the right analytical method, the course equipped with vital knowledge and skills in research.