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The next step after analyzing data is to present results to the target audience. In data presentation, it is not enough for you to tell your audience about your findings; you need to go further and show them the results. This is where data visualization…

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The starting point in the data analysis process is to define the type of data that you would like to analyze. The type of data will determine the method of analysis that you are going to use. Data can be classified into two broad categories: (1)…

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There are two main types of social science research; quantitative and qualitative. The difference between the two relies in their philosophy regarding the nature of reality/ truth (ontology) and how reality should be studied (epistemology). Quantitative…

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Reporting the Characteristic of the Sample

The characteristic of the study sample is often presented first when reporting the findings of a study. There is a general perception that reporting of sample characteristic is just a formality that adds little value to the study. However, this element of reporting is valuable in all studies. First, data on the characteristic of the sample helps the researcher and research consumers to determine the representativeness of the sample. For instance, if you are conducting an opinion poll for a presidential election and you get that 70% of the participants were female yet women account for only 50% of registered voters, it would mean that the sample is not representative.

Secondly, reporting the characteristic of the sample facilitates the generalization of findings to different people, places, contexts, and settings. It helps research consumers to compare the characteristic of the sample with the characteristic of the population to which they would like to generalize the findings. If there are close similarities between the participants described in the sample and the people in the population of interest, it means that the findings of the study can easily apply to that particular context.

The characteristic of the study sample is often presented first when reporting the findings of a study. There is a general perception that reporting of sample characteristic is just a formality that adds little value to the study. However, this element of reporting is valuable in all studies. First, data on the characteristic of the sample helps the researcher and research consumers to determine the representativeness of the sample. For instance, if you are conducting an opinion poll for a presidential election and you get that 70% of the participants were female yet women account for only 50% of registered voters, it would mean that the sample is not representative.

Secondly, reporting the characteristic of the sample facilitates the generalization of findings to different people, places, contexts, and settings. It helps research consumers to compare the characteristic of the sample with the characteristic of the population to which they would like to generalize the findings. If there are close similarities between the participants described in the sample and the people in the population of interest, it means that the findings of the study can easily apply to that particular context.

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Variable is one of the key elements in research. This refers to any entity that can take different values. The term is derived from the English world ‘vary’, which means to change. Therefore, if the factor you would like to investigate only assumes a constant value, it cannot be a variable. As a researcher, you have to device tools and procedures that measure your variables accurately. Inaccurate measurements flaw the entire research process. It is like the GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) principle; when you fail to measure variable correctly, you get inaccurate results.

There are different types of variables in research. The most common types include: independent, dependent, mediators, and effect modifiers. Dependent variables are the outcomes that the researcher would like to observe. For instance, if you investigating effect of a certain teaching method on students’ test performance, the dependent variable here is test performance. Independent variables are entities/ factors that the researcher chooses to manipulate so as to observe their effect on the dependent variable. In the example above, the independent variable is the teaching method.

Mediating variables are entities/ factors that explain the link between the dependent and independent variables. They explain how the independent variable affects the dependent variable. In the same example above, one of the mediating variables could be improved understanding. Effect modifiers are entities/ factors that could affect the strength or direction of the relationship between the independent and dependent variable. Teacher training could be one of the effect modifiers in the relationship between teaching method and students’ test performance. Variables can be measured at the nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio level. The type of measurement will determine the kind of test that you can use to assess these variable or relationships between them.

There are different types of variables in research. The most common types include: independent, dependent, mediators, and effect modifiers. Dependent variables are the outcomes that the researcher would like to observe. For instance, if you investigating effect of a certain teaching method on students’ test performance, the dependent variable here is test performance. Independent variables are entities/ factors that the researcher chooses to manipulate so as to observe their effect on the dependent variable. In the example above, the independent variable is the teaching method.

Mediating variables are entities/ factors that explain the link between the dependent and independent variables. They explain how the independent variable affects the dependent variable. In the same example above, one of the mediating variables could be improved understanding. Effect modifiers are entities/ factors that could affect the strength or direction of the relationship between the independent and dependent variable. Teacher training could be one of the effect modifiers in the relationship between teaching method and students’ test performance. Variables can be measured at the nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio level. The type of measurement will determine the kind of test that you can use to assess these variable or relationships between them.

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