Public Administration Coursework Paper on Research Process

Research Process

Discuss the pre-modern, modern, and postmodern views of reality with examples

            People have always endeavored to establish reality from different view point. The pre-modern view started before the modern world view of reality. According to the pre-modern, both supernatural and natural forces existed alongside each other. For example, the people believed that natural occurrences result from supernatural causes. Modern view is the typical current view, especially among the western society. The viewpoint centers on science, logic, and rationality. For example, a modernist believes that a person can apply science and logic in becoming impartial in drawing conclusions and addressing any issue. They reject supernatural existence since it cannot be justified by science. Post modern view of reality reacts to the modern views by pointing that there is no impartial observer in the society. Each person has a personal way of perceiving the world according to the postmodernism. They accept science and logic but do not believe that these can create neutrality.

What is science? Describe the traditional model of science.

            Science can be seen as the systematic creation and development of knowledge that is useful for improving people’s understanding, manipulation and prediction of the physical, psychological and social environment. The traditional model of science involved theory followed by operationalization then observation. It is from theory that the scientist will derive the hypothesis to be tested. Operationalization encompasses coming up with working definitions and identifying the activities to be performed to measure a variable while observation is taking a look at the aspects and taking the measurements of the observed aspects.

Differentiate the terms with examples: face validity, criterion-related validity, construct validity, and content validity.

            Face validity is the extent to which research questions appear to measure the concepts they were intended to measure when viewed from the appearance. This is the common sense approach to research which is important especially in encouraging participation of the laypeople. For the criterion related validity, the focus is on the correlation between the test score and the result. For example, the first year scores can be used as the criterion for success of a college student. It can either be predictive or concurrent. Construct validity is the extent to which a test measures the theoretical construct it is said to be measuring while content validity is the ability of the research questions to match or align with the content or the field of research. The content or field of research is always known as performance domain.

Differentiate the terms; precision, accuracy, validity, and reliability, with examples

            Precision is the extent to which repeated measurement of a particular phenomenon yields close outcomes. For example, when measurement results are similar or very close, then precision is high with divergent results described as low precision while accuracy is the level of conformity exhibited by a measurement. High level of accuracy means the result is close to the actual value. A quantity can be precise but fails to be accurate.Validityis the extent to which an instrument measures what it is intended to measure and performs as it is designed to perform while reliabilitycan be thought of as consistency. It questions the ability of the instrument to consistently measure what it is intended to measure. For example, if a researcher selects a group of six persons and give each of them standard personality test, the researcher should be able to give the participants the test again and get the same results no matter how many times the test is repeated.

Discuss the relationship between paradigm and theory with examples.

            A paradigm is principally a thought system or view that has been developed from theories. A theory is founded on concepts and statements that have been established as true. The two are related since paradigms are simply a combination of theories. For example, Marxism represents a worldview that uses societal conflicts and social class to explain historical development. Marxism is either a theory or a paradigm.

Discuss with examples the three criteria for causation.

            Many researches are aimed at understanding the causal relationships. The criterion for causation includes; concomitant variation, temporal priority and removal of other plausible alternatives. It follows from concomitant variation that there is always a relationship between an outcome and the treatment received. From temporal priority, cause comes before effect while from the removal of plausible alternatives, there must be control of the other potential causes. For example, marital satisfaction can be eroded by conflicts in marriage and the aspects of sexual dissatisfaction among the couples can predict common disillusionment with the spouse.

What are the three purposes of research? Write an essay to describe three different researches in studying an issue of public administration and how it can achieve each of the purposes.

            The principal reasons for conducting research are to come up with an explanation, to describe or to explore. In exploration, the researcher endeavors to become more familiar with an area of concern by discovering the components and features of the area of study. When the research purpose is to describe, for example from the National Census Reports of many countries, the information can be used in describing the National food consumption or predicting poll results. Research can be used to explain why events are unfolding the way they occur or why certain things are in particular state. For example, after knowing who may lead in the polls, one may want to know why. Categories of voters who may prefer a particular candidate may be studied in order to come up with a valid conclusion.

            Research can be categorized into three such as causal research, descriptive research and explanatory research. The categories of research serve distinct purposes and may also be conducted differently. Causal research is preplanned, has structured design and is quantitative in nature. It aims to give an explanation of cause and effect correlation between the variables. There is a difference between causal research and the other forms of research because it attempts to establish whether the relationship arises from experimentation. It has two objectives; to find out the cause variables and effect variables and also to find out the nature of the correlation that exists between the effect variables and the causal variables. For example in public administration, when there is need to understand the outcome of some new policies in state departments, the government may not opt for descriptive research of asking departments whether the policy would be appropriate. It is possible for the government to introduce pilot project to test the applicability of the policy in some of the departments. The success of the pilot project is an indicator of positive impact while a failure may mean rejection or need for further amendments.

            Descriptive research has structured design and also preplanned. The type of research gives the understanding of the behaviors, attitude and opinions that people hold regarding a particular issue. A leader may seek the opinion of the people by structuring questions with multiple choices that can help categorize the people according to their individual characteristics. The information obtained can be inferred on the entire population because classifying the responses yields inferable data.

            Exploratory research has proved its relevance in the commercial sector. It gives the opinions and ideas rather than obtaining statistically accurate statistics. In public administration, this kind of research can be carried out by hold forums where people present their views relating to the given issues. Through this, insight on the issues can be realized leading to improved outcome in the practice of public administration since growth potential, alternative ways and priority areas may be discussed. The conclusions from such forums are always accepted by the people because they tend to own them.

Discuss the advantages and limitations of scientific research in public administration.

            Scientific research in public administration has produced a mixture of reactions which are either beneficial or limiting. To begin with, it is important to conduct scientific research on public administration to help in predicting the outcomes of any action taken by the public administrators. As a public administration student, the skills acquired during the research process can be applied while in the field of duty as a professional public administrator. It can also equip the learner with the necessary experience needed during practice. This is because most of the scientific researches are conducted within the general public which always forms the subject of study or the respondents. The experience is achieved when the researcher interacts with the people during the research work.

            Research is a fountain of knowledge and therefore, to develop knowledgeable public administrators, it would be significant to conduct scientific research. The knowledge acquired from the research can be used to further generate addition knowledge that is relevant for the growth and development of public administration both as a field of study as well as professional practice. Informed public administrators are likely to make sound judgments that positive impact of the general public.

            The limitation of scientific research is however seen in the fact that a great diversity exist among the different people such that the outcome of a given scientific research conducted on some population may not find application on the another group of people. This renders the research useless especially where the research was intended to be inferred on the larger population or another population. Research can also be a waste of resources particularly where large sums of money are consumed in conducting research that does not bear comparable significance. The other challenge to scientific research is the influence of cultural and personal beliefs on the interpretation and perception of phenomenon. People always try to eliminate the influence by using standardized techniques and process during research but the challenge is yet to be eradicated. The research findings have individual opinions embedded in them with the possibility of the report user introducing further personal opinions. For example, it has been shown that some lawyers can develop convincing explanations for wrong view points, which is also likely in interpretation of the research findings.