Research Aptitude Free Study Material (UGC NET Updated Notes 2020)

Extra points

1. Action research

It is the study of inquiry of a social situation with a view to improve the quality of actions within it.

2. Array

Arranging the items or data in specific order of magnitude.

3. Skewness

It refers to the lack of symmetry.

4. Causal research

  • Also called explanatory research.
  • These studies establish the why and the how of a phenomenon (cause and effect relationship).
  • Casual research explores the effect of one thing on another and more specifically, the effect of one variable on another.
  • They are slightly structured and require a rigid sequential approach to sampling, data collection and data analysis.
  • There are two research methods for exploring the cause-and-effect relationship between variables: experimentation (e.g., in a laboratory), and statistical research.

4. Universe

It can be defined as the total population. It is the laboratory for carrying out a research. In some cases it is not possible to carry out research on the entire population because of time factor, the financial factor, that is the expenditure involved and  some other constraints. So in that case when the whole universe cannot be studied we usually take out samples selected from the entire population. Sample is a small part of universe which is identical in all characteristics to that of the universe.

5. Empirical

It means the observation and propositions which are primarily based on some sense experiments or derived from experience by methods of inductive logic including mathematics and statistics. In empirical research we try to deduce some logic and principles based on our survey reports. In other words, when we want to analyse the survey report using some mathematical and statistical tools and deduce logic to authenticate our findings, we follow the empirical research method.

6. Scientific method is the application of valid and reliable research methods. It has three distinct characteristics

  • objectivity
  • accuracy
  • self-criticism

7. Discovery

It can be defined as getting the knowledge of something new without an urge to obtain that knowledge and without any doubt or question in mind regarding it, and is obtained accidentally and unknowingly.

8. Current status of Research in India

  • It is in growing phase
  • Pre-occupation in other areas
  • Misconception about usefulness of research
  • Low interest by small firms
  • Needs to develop consumer oriented approach

9. Limitations of research

  • helps in decision making and is not a substitute of decision making
  • provides a number of facts rather that actionable results
  • all problems cannot be researched
  • provides a set of guidelines
  • many a times relies more on intuition and judgment
  • time and budgetary constraints

10. Problems faced by researchers in India

  • Lack of a scientific training in the methodology of research.
  • Insufficient integration.
  • No secrecy and confidence of raw material supplied and information supplied.
  • Research studies overlapping one another are undertaken quite often for the want of adequate information.
  • Problems of conceptualization.
  • There is lack of timely availability of published data.
  • There is lack of adequate support from government of secretariat.
  • There is also the problem that many of our libraries are not able to get copies of old new acts/rules reports and other government publications in time.

11. According to Plutchick R , “Research has its origin in a term which means to go around or to explore …………………. And it is a combination of Re+Search.”

12. A citation is a reference to a document. It should include all the bibliographic details needed to trace the document.

13. Footnotes are listed at the bottom of the page on which a reference or citation occurs in the text. A number is placed in the text to indicate the cited work and again at the bottom of the page in front of the footnote. Footnotes are used when only a small number of references need to be made.

14. A reference list is the list of citations (material cited) in a written work. It shows the authority on which you base statements in the text, shows how well acquainted (how widely read) you are with the subject, and is a starting point for anyone else wanting to find out about the subject.

15. A bibliography is a list of documents (books, articles, papers) read for a specific essay or assignment. All these references are not necessarily included in the list of references.

16. Plagiarism involves deliberately or inadvertently presenting someone else’s ideas as your own. It is cheating. It doesn’t just apply to direct quotations but summarised and paraphrased argument too. Plagiarism is treated very seriously and usually results in disciplinary action.

17. Casual-Comparative or “Ex Post Facto”

To investigate possible cause-effect relationships by observing some existing consequence and searching back through the data for plausible casual factors.

18. True Experimental

To investigate possible cause-and-effect relationships by exposing one or more experimental groups to one or more treatment conditions and comparing the results to one or more control groups not receiving the treatment (random assignment being essential).

19. Quasi-Experimental

To approximate the conditions of the true experiment in a setting which does not allow the control and/or manipulation of all relevant variables. The researcher must clearly understand what comprises exist in the internal and external validity of his design and proceed within these limitations.

20. UNESCO 4 pillars of Education

  • Learning to know, by combining a sufficiently broad genera! knowledge with the opportunity to work in depth on a small number of subjects. This also means learning to learn, so as to benefit from the opportunities education provides throughout life.
  • Learning to do, in order to acquire not only an occupational skill but also, more broadly, the competence to deal with many situations and work in teams. It also means learning to do in the context of young peoples’ various social and work experiences which may be informal, as a result of the local or national context, or formal, involving courses, alternating study and work.
  • Learning to live together, by developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence – carrying out joint projects and learning to manage conflicts -in a spirit of respect for the values of pluralism, mutual understanding and peace.
  • Learning to be,so as better to develop one’s personality and be able to act with ever greater autonomy, judgement and personal responsibility. In that connection, education must not disregard any aspect of a person’s potential: memory, reasoning, aesthetic sense, physical capacities and communication skills.

21. Control group

The group of people (or plants or animals) in an experiment who do not experience that treatment given to an experimental group-allegedly as identical as possible to the experimental group. In theory, the purpose of a control group is to show what would have happened to the experimental group if it had not been exposed to the experimental treatment.

22. Discourse analysis

A general term used to encompass a range of approaches to analyzing text, writing etc. mainly concerned with analyzing what is being communicated and how, looking for codes, rules and signs in speech or text

23. Epistemology

The study of the nature and validity of human knowledge e.g. the difference between knowledge and belief. The two traditional camps have been : rationalism, which stresses the role of human reason in knowing ; and empiricism which stresses the importance of sensory perception. Immanuel Khan argued that most knowledge  is a synthesis or combination of the two approaches.

24. Ethnography

A methodology with its roots in anthropology (literally, the study people); aims to describe and interpret human behavior within a certain culture; uses extensive field work and participant observation, aiming to develop rapport and empathy with people studied.

25. Formative evaluation

Evaluation carried out in the early or intermediate stages of a programme, a course or an intervention while changes can still be made; the formative evaluation shapes and informs those changes. Summative evaluation is carried out at the end of a program or intervention to assess its impact.

26. Grounded Theory

Grounded theory is a research methodology which operates inductively, in contrast to the hypothetico-deductive approach. A study using grounded theory is likely to begin with a question, or even just with the collection of qualitative data. As researchers review the data collected, repeated ideas, concepts or elements become apparent, and are tagged with codes, which have been extracted from the data. As more data is collected, and re-reviewed, codes can be grouped into concepts, and then into categories. These categories may become the basis for new theory. Thus, grounded theory is quite different from the traditional model of research, where the researcher chooses an existing theoretical framework, and only then collects data to show how the theory does or does not apply to the phenomenon under study.

27. Hermeneutics

The art or science of interpretation, a term first coined by William Dilthey. The term may now apply to the interpretation of a text, a work of art, human behabiour, discourse, documents and so on. Hans-Georg Gadamer proposed hermeneutics as a form of practical philosophy or methodology; the aim is to interpret and understand the meaning of social actions and social settings.

28. Induction

Inductive approach, also known in inductive reasoning, starts with the observations and theories are proposed towards the end of the research process as a result of observations.  Inductive research “involves the search for pattern from observation and the development of explanations – theories – for those patterns through series of hypotheses”. No theories or hypotheses would apply in inductive studies at the beginning of the research and the researcher is free in terms of altering the direction for the study after the research process had commenced.

29. Logical positivism and logical empiricism, which together formed neopositivism, was a movement in Western philosophy whose central thesis was verificationism, a theory of knowledge which asserted that only statements verifiable through empirical observation are meaningful. The movement flourished in the 1920s and 1930s in several European centers. The Berlin Circle and Vienna Circle—groups of philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians in Berlin and Vienna—propounded logical positivism, starting in the late 1920s.

30. Longitudinal Research

A longitudinal study (or longitudinal survey, or panel study) is a research design that involves repeated observations of the same variables (e.g., people) over short or long periods of time (i.e., uses longitudinal data). It is often a type of observational study, although they can also be structured as longitudinal randomized experiments. Longitudinal studies do not require large numbers of participants.

31. Occam’s razor

Ockham’s razor or Ocham’s razor ; further known as the law of parsimony (Latin: lex parsimoniae)) is the problem-solving principle that essentially states that “simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.” When presented with competing hypotheses to solve a problem, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions. The idea is attributed to English Franciscan friar William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), a scholastic philosopher and theologian.

32. Ontology

The study or theory of ‘what is’, i.e. the characteristics of reality. Ontology is the philosophical study of being. More broadly, it studies concepts that directly relate to being, in particular becoming, existence, reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.

33. Paradigm

A term which became fashionable following Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions; now commonly over-used to mean perspective/view of the world, methodological positions, viewpoint, community of researchers, cognitive framework and so on. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a paradigm as “a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model”. The historian of science Thomas Kuhn gave it its contemporary meaning when he adopted the word to refer to the set of concepts and practices that define a scientific discipline at any particular period of time.

34. According to HUNT, E.F and Colander D.C. Human knowledge is classified into three major fields: Natural Science, Social Science and Humanities.

35. Cross-Sectional Study

A cross-sectional study is one which collects data abut various variables of the sample at one point of time in order to uncover relationships existing among those variable. Thus a study to examine the relationship between job satisfaction and style of leadership or between similarity of automobile preferences between husbands and wives and the amount of time the couples has been married is cross-sectional study.

36. Bruce W. Tuckrnan (1978) has enumerated the following purposes of the review of literature:

i. discovering important variables.

ii. distinguishing what has been done from what needs to be done.

iii. synthesizing the available studies to have perspective.

iv. determining meanings, relevance of the study and relationship with the study and its deviation from the available studies.

37. Edward L. Vockell (1983) has pointed out the following two purposes of review of literature:

i. to put the hypothesis to be examined in the research report into its proper context.

ii. to provide readers with guidelines regarding where they can look to find more information and to establish the author’s credential by letting readers know that the researcher is aware of what has been going on with regard to the current and related topic.

38. Replication

It refers to repeating an earlier study to verify its findings. In physical sciences it refers to repetition means the same conditions using identical procedure. But in economics when such studies are made they cannot be conducted under the same condition.

39According to Greenwood, ‘ an experiment is the proof of hypothesis which seeks to loop up two factors into a casual relationship through the study of contrasting situations which have been controlled on factors except the one of interest the latter being either the hypothetical cause or the hypothetical effect.

40. According to Festinger, ‘ the essence of experiment may be described as observing the effect on a dependent variable of the manipulation of an independent variable.’

41. Synopsis is an abstract form of research which underlines the research procedure followed and is presented before the guide for evaluating its potentiality. In one sentence it may be described as a condensation of the final report.

42. Dichotomous questions

The dichotomous question is a question which can have two possible answers. Dichotomous questions are usually used in a survey that asks for a Yes/No, True/False or Agree/Disagree answers.

43. Mann-Whitney U Test

A test that compares the location of two populations, based on samples from each population. The variables used are measured on an ordinal scale.

44. Multi-collinearity

A state of high-correlations among independent variables.

45. Multi-stage Sample

A sample that is selected in stages, where the sampling units at each stage are sub-samples from the previous stage.

46. Multiple Regression Analysis

A statistical technique used to analyze the relationship between one dependent variable and many independent variables.

47. Mean Square Error

A measure of the total error to be expected for a sample estimate. It is equal to the square root of the sum of the standard error squared and the bias squared.

48. Multiple Regression Analysis

A statistical technique used to analyze the relationship between one dependent variable and many independent variables.

49. MANOVA – Multiple analysis of Variance

50.  Non-response error

The difference on measure between those who respond to a survey and those who do not respond.

51. Non-Sampling error

An error that may occur in the research process, other than the sampling error.

52. Normal Distribution

A symmetrical bell shaped statistical distribution where the mean, the median and the mode all have the same value.

53. Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis is the proposition that implies no effect or no relationship between phenomena or populations. Any observed difference would be due to sampling error (random chance) or experimental error. The null hypothesis is popular because it can be tested and found to be false, which then implies there is a relationship between the observed data.

54. Response Bias

Response bias (also called survey bias) is the tendency of a person to answer questions on a survey untruthfully or misleadingly due to such factors as respondent fatigue, boredome, desire to please etc.  For example, they may feel pressure to give answers that are socially acceptable

55. Primary Data is original and collected first hand for the problem under study using methods like surveys, interviews or experiments. Secondary data is information that has been collected and compiled earlier. For example, company records, magazine articles, expert opinion surveys, sales records, customer feedback, government data and previous researches done on the topic of interest.

56. Deductive thought

This kind of thought is a culmination, a conclusion or an inference drawn as a consequence of certain reasoned facts. The reasons cited have to be real and not a figment of researcher’s judgment and second the deductions or conclusions must essentially be an outcome of the same reasons.

57. Inductive thought

Here there is no strong and absolute cause and effect between the reasons stated and the inference drawn. Inductive reasoning calls for generating a conclusion that is beyond the facts or information stated.

58. According to Green et al (2008) research design is the specification of methods and procedures for acquiring the information needed. It is the overall operational pattern or framework of the project that stipulates what information is to be collected from which sources by what procedures. If it is a good design, it will insure that the information obtained is relevant to the research questions and that it was collected by objective and economical procedures.

59. According to Thyer a research design is a blueprint or detailed plan for how a research study is to be completed-operationalizing variables so they can be measured, selecting a sample of interest to study, collecting data to be used as a bias for testing hypotheses, and analyzing the results.

60. According to Kerlinger a research design is a plan, structure and strategy of investigation so conceived as to obtain answers to research questions or problems. The plan is to complete scheme or programme of the research. It includes an outline of what the investigator will do from writing the hypotheses and their operational implications to the final analysis of data.

61. Internal validity

It tries to examine whether the observed effect on a dependent variable is actually caused by the treatments (independent variables) in question. For an experiment to be possessing internal validity, all the other causal factors except the one whose influence is being examined should be absent. Internal validity is the basic minimum that must be present. It is impossible to draw inferences about the casual relationship between the independent and dependent variables if the observed effects on test units are influenced by extraneous variables.

62. External validity

External validity refers to the generalization of the results of an experiment. The concerns is whether the result of an experiment can be generalized beyond the experimental situations. If this is possible to generalize the results, then to what population, settings, times, independent variables and the dependent variables can the results be projected.

63. Nomothetic research seek understanding of the general case. It aims to discover general explanations for phenomenon and to make generalizable predictions to further cases. Theory consists of sets of such rules, together with the conditions under which they apply.

64. Idiographic research focuses on the individual case. It aims to describe and understand what is unique and distinctive about a particular context, case or individual.

65. Fallacy is an error in reasoning, usually based on mistaken assumptions. Researchers are very familiar with all the ways they could go wrong, with the fallacies they are susceptible to. There are two important fallacies-

66. Ecological fallacy

It occurs when you make conclusions about individuals based only on analyses of group data. For instance, assume that you measured the math scores of a particular classroom and found that they had the highest average score in the district. Later (probably at the mall) you run into one of the kids from that class and you think to yourself ‘ she must be a math whiz.’ That is a fallacy just because she comes from the cass with the highest average doesn’t mean that she is automatically a high-scorer in math. She could be the lowest math sorcerer in a class that otherwise consists of math geniuses.

67. Exception fallacy is sort of the reverse of the ecological fallacy. It occurs when you reach a group conclusion on the basis of exceptional cases. Thus is the kind of fallacious reasoning that happens when a person who sees a women make a driving error and concludes that ‘women are terrible drivers’. This is also a fallacy.

68. Dissertation

A dissertation is a substantial piece of research work that is usually the final module or section of an undergraduate degree such as BA (Hons) or BSc. (Hons) or a Master’s degree – MA or MSc. It is intended to be very academic piece of writing and therefore should include a rigorous treatment of academic theory and literature and, moreover, have a theoretically underpinned methodology.

A dissertation is usually intended to comprise a substantial piece of work. The length of a dissertation can vary substantially ranging from 5,000-20,000 words, however, many institutions elect to make the document length approximately 10,000-15,000 words.

69. Hypothesis

Hypothesis is usually considered as the principal instrument in research. Its main function is to suggest new experiments and observations. In fact, many experiments are carried out with the deliberate object of testing hypotheses. Decision-makers often face situations wherein they are interested in testing hypotheses on the basis of available information and then take decisions on the basis of such testing. In social science, where direct knowledge of population parameter(s) is rare, hypothesis testing is the often used strategy for deciding whether a sample data offer such support for a hypothesis that generalisation can be made. Thus hypothesis testing enables us to make probability statements about population parameter(s). The hypothesis may not be proved absolutely, but in practice it is accepted if it has withstood a critical testing. Before we explain how hypotheses are tested through different tests meant for the purpose, it will be appropriate to explain clearly the meaning of a hypothesis and the related concepts for better understanding of the hypothesis testing techniques.

Types of hypothesis

i. Null hypothesis

It is the base of a study. This signifies there is no difference between two phenomena or situations. It is denoted by Ho or Hn- For example,

  • H0: There is no difference between the effect of drug A and B.
  • H0: Skin problems are not caused by the chemicals in make-up products.
  • H0: Girls and boys perform equally well in mathematics test.

ii. Alternate hypothesis

Alternate hypothesis is considered to be true if the null hypothesis is rejected. It is the opposite of null hypothesis. It is denoted by Hi or Ha- For example,

  • Hi: There is a difference between the effectiveness of drug A and B. (or)
  • Hi: Drug A is more effective than drug B.
  • Hi: Skin problems are caused by the chemicals in make-up products.
  • Hi: Girls and boys do not perform equally well in mathematics test.

Hypothesis can be a positive or a negative statement. Suppose the hypothesis is ‘Women perform better in administrative jobs than men’. It will not be a null hypothesis, as null hypothesis is hypothesis of no dif­ference. This will be an alternate hypothesis. Null hypothesis, in this case, will be ‘Women and men per­form equally well in administrative jobs’, this means that there is no difference in their performance.

H0: Women and men perform equally well in administrative jobs.

Hi: Women perform better in administrative jobs than men.

70. Hypothesis of no difference

Such a hypothesis states that there is no difference between two groups, situations, actions, or phenomena.

71. Declarative hypothesis

Such a hypothesis is used to declare the relationship between two variables. For example, skin problems are caused by the chem­icals in make-up products.72. Directional hypothesis Such a type of hypothesis states the direction of the difference or association. For example,

  • ‘Drug A is not effective than drug B’ is direc­tional null hypothesis.
  • ‘Drug A is more effective than drug B’ is direc­tional alternate hypothesis.

72. Non-directional hypothesis

Such kind of hypoth­esis states only the difference or association between variables, and not the direction. For example,

  • ‘There is no difference between effectiveness of drug A and drug B’ is non-directional null hypothesis.
  • ‘There is a difference between effectiveness of drug A and drug B’ is non-directional alternate hypothesis.

73Congress Congress is a formal meeting or gather­ing of delegates for discussions about a particular topic. It is usually held once a year.

74. Colloquium It is a gathering like an academic meeting or seminar where specialists and experts deliver lectures on a particular topic followed by a question and answer session like a forum. Its plural is colloquia.

75. Webinar These are like seminar over the inter­net. Participants sitting across distant geographical places can attend a webinar together as there is no compulsion of physically visiting the place. It can be economical than seminars as lesser arrangements will be required. But the presenter and audience should have good internet connection for conduct­ing webinars successfully; otherwise its purpose will not be served. Webinars can be streamed in the form of live sessions over YouTube, Facebook, etc., where they will be free for everyone or a registration fee can be set and the stream can be made private, so that only those persons who have paid for it can watch it online.


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