Application of ICT in research
ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology. It involves the use of computer, internet, and other modern technology. ICT has revolutionized all aspects of our life. It has proved to be very useful in areas like learning, higher education, research, innovations, and so on. ICT can be used in research for the following:
Collecting data ICT can be used for collecting data. In case of study based on primary data, online questionnaires, surveys, forms can be used to collect data instead of collecting data manually from the respondents. It can help in saving time and money. There will be no geographical restrictions in collecting data. Data can also be collected through online interviews organized using audio- or videoconferencing.
Accessing data Secondary data can also be accessed online. There are online portals which can be used by the researchers for accessing data online. Various departments of government, institutions, and organizations upload their annual reports online. E-books, digitized rare resources, manuscripts can also be accessed online for research purposes. Data.gov.in, is an open data portal of the Government of India where data and documents of different ministries and departments are available online. Some states have also developed their online open data portals.
Storing data Data can be saved electronically in spreadsheets and databases. These can be protected by password. There are various softwares which can used for creating spreadsheets and databases like Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, SQL, and Oracle. Data can also be saved on cloud servers, then it can be accessed from anywhere with the login credentials. Softwares can also be used for cleaning data and removing errors.
Processing data Data can be processed and analysed using computer programs. Computers are capable of performing even complex calculations within a fraction of the second. Averages, ratio, proportion, standard deviation, correlation, regression, values of statistics, etc. can be found using computer programs. SPSS, Stata, R, EIKON, Nesstar, Atlas.ti, MAXQDA etc. are some of the data analysis tools.
Interpreting data Computer programs can also be used for interpreting data and presenting it in visual forms. Data tables, graphs, charts, etc., can be used for making data presentable. These can be used for making comparisons, showing growth, visualizing compositions, and so on.
Communicating research findings ICT can also be used in communicating the research findings. Many of the journals and magazines are available in the electronic form, which is easy to share. Thesis can also be uploaded online on the designated portals. ‘Shodhganga’ is one of such platforms. It is mandatory for research fellows to upload their thesis online on Shodhganga.
In most research studies three parties are involved: the researcher, the user and the subject. The interaction of each of these parties with one or both of the other two parties identifies a series of ethical issues. A number of questions arise because researchers believe they have the right to seek information, and subjects believe that they have a certain right to privacy. Just as there are ethical aspects concerning all human interaction, there are some ethical questions about business research. Some of the code of ethics to be followed by the researchers are as given below:
- Researcher should maintain high standards to ensure that the data are accurate.
- Researcher should not intentionally try to prove a particular point.
- Researcher should ensure that the data have been scientifically investigated and his findings are totally objective.
- Researcher should not misrepresent the statistical accuracy of the data, nor should he overstate the significance of the results by altering the findings.
- Researcher should ensure that privacy and anonymity of the respondents are preserved.
- Researcher, prior to entering business research, should check for code of ethics set out by the professional associations.
From the time immediately after World War II until the early 1990’s there was a gradually developing consensus about the key ethical principles that should underlie the research endeavor. Two marker events stand out as symbolic of this consensus. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial following World War II brought to public view the ways German scientists had used captive human subjects as subjects in often tomes gruesome experiments. Events like these forced the reexamination of ethical standards and the gradual development of a consensus that potential human subjects needed to be protected from being used as ‘guinea pigs’ in scientific research.
By the 1990s, the dynamics of the situation changed. Cancer patients and persons with AIDS fought publicly with the medical research establishment about the long time needed to get approval for and complete research into potential cures for fatal disease. In many cases, it is the ethical assumptions of the previous thirty years that drive this ‘go-slow’ mentality. After all, we could rather risk denying treatment for a while until we achieve enough confidence in a treatment, rather than run the risk of harming innocent people. But now, those who were threatened with fatal illness were saying to the research establishment that they wanted to be test subject, even under experimental conditions of considerable risk. You had several very vocal and articulate patient groups who wanted to be experimented on coming up against an ethical review system that was designed to protect them from being experimented on.
Although the last few years in the ethics of research have been tumultuous ones, its is beginning to appear that a new consensus is evolving that involves the stakeholder groups most affected by a problem participating more actively in the formulation of guidelines for research. While it’s not entirely clear, at present, what the new consensus will be, it is almost certain that it will not fall at either extreme: protecting against human experimentation at all costs vs. allowing anyone who is willing to be experimented on.