Research involves a controlled, systematic approach to obtain an answer to a question.1 A number of research types are recognized:
- Experimental research: involves the manipulation of a variable and then measuring the effects of this manipulation.1 A variable is a measurement of phenomena that can assume more than one value or more than one category (see later).1
- Nonexperimental research: does not manipulate the environment but may describe the relationship between different variables, obtain information about opinions or policies, or describe current practice.1
- Basic research: generally thought of as laboratory-based research in which the researcher has control over nearly all aspects of the environment and subjects.1
- Clinical or applied research: refers to research that seeks to solve practical problems by finding solutions to everyday problems, cure illness, and develop innovative technologies.
Statistics is a branch of applied mathematics concerned with finding patterns in data and inferring connections between events.2 A number of statistical terms and definitions are outlined in Table 3-1.
Table 3-1. Statistical Terms and Definitions |Favorite Table|Download (.pdf)
Table 3-1. Statistical Terms and Definitions
A summary of the paper, usually between 100 and 500 words, that describes the most important aspects of the study, including:
- The problem investigated
- The subjects and instruments involved
- The design and procedures
- The major findings/conclusions
The conclusion responds to the original research question and hypothesis to describe what the study showed. It should bring coherence to the study.
Research methods and data-gathering techniques supported by measurable evidence, not opinion or speculation.
Numerical measurements describing some characteristic of the population.
A process by which research studies are examined by an independent panel of researchers for review. The purpose of such a process is to open the study to examination, criticism, review, and replication by peer investigators and ultimately incorporate the new knowledge into the field.
The population of a study refers to the group of people represented in a study. For example, if a researcher took a nationally representative sample of 1500 fourth-grade students, the sample is the 1500 fourth-grade students, but the population of the study would be fourth graders, in general.
A population consists of all subjects (human or otherwise) that are being studied.
- Prevalence: the proportion of a population who has a particular disorder or condition at a specific point in time.
- Incidence: a rate of development of new cases of a disorder in a particular at-risk population over a given period of time.
- Parameter: a characteristic or measure obtained by using all the data values from a specific population.