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RESEARCH IN PERSPECTIVE Research Methods, Management and Thesis Course (MAEE 508 – UZ) B.T. Hanyani-Mlambo OVERVIEW Research as a way of knowing (scientific method). Classification of research. Where, with and for whom? Role of professionals in rural transformation. Appropriate values and approaches. RESEARCH AS A WAY OF KNOWING (SCIENTIFIC METHOD) Research – art/process aided by skills of enquiry, experimental design, data collection, measurement and analysis, interpretation and presentation. Research is broader (observation, exploration, informal, etc.). Research purpose – solving problems, overcoming obstacles, and finding a way to a solution. Research consists of 4 parts:(i) Reviewing the field – study of current thinking (GA). (ii) Theory building – induction (SC), deduction (GP). (iii) Theory testing – inferential statistics (WPs), triangulation. (iv) Reflection and integration – lessons, difference, current thinking, further research, integration. Other considerations: (i) Planning - need for careful and strategic planning. (ii) Feasibility - choosing a topic which can be studied within the constraints of time and money. (ii) Design – formulating a project which will produce the information required. CLASSIFICATION OF RESEARCH Broad classification Academic (pure). Policy (applied). Detailed classification Basic. Applied (problem solving). Disciplinary (values/value-free positivist). Inter – or multi – disciplinary. Analytical. Descriptive. WHERE, WITH AND FOR WHOM? Where? – type of research. With who? – community of reseachers. For whom? - millions SHFs, RPFs, 70% in SSA. - farmer participation in research. - empowerment (HH FS, NS, IS). - ?? Why do numerous developed technologies still on the shelf?? - SSA compared to Asia & L. America e.g. agric vs. industrialization – Ghana vs. Korea (per capita income, > GDP in 1957). Role of universities. ROLE OF PROFESSIONALS IN RURAL TRANSFORMATION ???? Rural transformation (% still in agriculture, prominence of agro-processing, % GDP). Focus – change in capacity to drive change. Challenges & necessary conditions: Colonial influence – e.g. intercropping – Internal dynamo (self-propelling/pple-driven). Trained incapacity to reckon with local conditions. Top-down approach – participatory research. Facilitation – re-orientation. Integrated AKIS (ITK). APPROPRIATE VALUE AND APPROACHES Ethics in research – honest – inadvertently unethical. Ethics – set of principles of good human behaviour. Risk – infringe accepted code of conduct (research). Professional Codes Examples (Greenfield, 2004): Every research project should be preceded by careful assessment of predictable risks in comparison with foreseeable benefits. Views or opinions based on general knowledge or belief should be clearly distinguished from views or opinions derived from statistical analysis reported. In publication of the results of research preserve the accuracy of the results. Common scientific fraud (ethical) matters: Hoaxing – imaginary accounts of non-existent cases. Forging – e.g. industrial research or experimental data [statistical methods] + [APS]. Trimming – clipping off observations differing from the mean [quantitative/qualitative]. Cooking – giving ordinary observations appearance of the highest accuracy e.g. multitudes + selecting only those that “agree”. Obfuscation – deliberate obscuring e.g. long-winding sentences, meaningless jargon.