The process of conveying information between two or more people is known as communication. Communication process is transmission of information or a message from the sender through a channel to the receiver (Barnlund, 2017). Research communication is defined as the process of translating and interpreting the results of a research into a language which can be understood by Non-expert people (Wilkinson & Weitkamp, 2016).
Communication methods that can be used in applied research are – written, digital, verbal, and graphic mediums. Written methods are presenting the research in the readable form like journal articles, summary statements, dissertations etc. Digital methods of communication are those methods which use the electronic mediums such as presentations, e-mails, etc. Verbal methods of communication are speaker presentations, conferences, etc. Graphical methods of communication are using posters, charts, tables for the communicating the important findings or results (Pettey, Bracken & Pask, 2017).
There are many data collection methods such as personal interviews, survey questionnaires, and telephonic interviews (Paradis et al., 2016).
Personal interviews – This method involves a trained interviewer approaching potential respondent for seeking answers to the questions relevant to the research. The responses can be collected manually and/or electronically. It is done manually when the interviewer records the responses, whereas it is done electronically when the data is saved on an electronic device there and then.
Survey questionnaires – In this method, the researcher sends the survey question via post/mail or electronically via e-mails to the respondents to fill and return. When the survey questions are sent via mail/post, it is the manual form of collecting survey data; whereas, when the researcher uses e-mails, it is the electronic form of collecting the survey data.
Telephone interviews – This is another method where the data is collected through telephone using humans as interface or using electronic interface.
Data analysis means processing the collected data to give a meaningful result which can answer the research issue and can be understood by everyone who reads it (Quinlan et al., 2019). The three types of data analysis techniques are statistical analysis, text analysis, and diagnostic analysis.
Statistical Analysis – It involves analysing the numbers for the purpose of driving meaningful information from it.
Text Analysis – It involves analysing the unstructured text to extracting useful information from them.
Diagnostic Analysis – It is an advanced form of analysis which analyse the data to understand the reasons for an outcome.
Researchers should comply by the following (Australian Government, 2019a) :
Section 3 of the UWA Code of Conduct for the Responsible Practice of Research is responsible for the management of primary data. It states that the original data must be held by the researcher at the school or university only for ensuring that the data is not mishandled.
Section 2 of Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research which states that data should be retained solely for the purpose of justifying the research outcomes, or for the use of future studies. It states that the data should be kept in safe and secure place when not in use.
Section 2.7 of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research states that the confidential data should be used confidentially, after obtaining consent from the providers of that confidential data (Australian Government, 2018b). The confidential data must always be stored in secure storage and data should be used only by the authorised personnel.
The freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) (https://www.arc.gov.au/about-arc/privacy-and-information/freedom-information ) provides a legal right to the researchers to access the public information in possession of the Australian Government. Also, this act is not enforceable for the data which protects the national security information (Australian Government, 2017c). The FOI Act provides right to the individual to access the documents held by the Australian government (except the exempted documents), rectify, update or modify any personal details, and seek review if the government refuses to amend the personal information or to allow the individual to view their personal details.
The key steps of applied research process are as follows (Blakenship, 2010):
Identification of the problem – the first of conducting a research is identifying the research problem or constructing research questions for which the entire research will be conducted.
Conducting literature review – after developing the research question, the research must review the literature related to the research problem which would provide the researcher the fundamental knowledge about the problem.
Defining the target population – it is important for the researcher to clearly identify and define the target group which would be studies for answering the research problem
Developing the research plan – it is important to form a road map for the entire research, in terms of which research paradigm, research approach, research design, data collection tool, data analysis techniques will be used in the research.
Data Collection – after developing the research plan it is important to collect data which would be further analysed for answering the research question. The Data can be collected through surveys, questionnaires, observations, or from already existing researches.
Data analyses – After collecting the data, it is analysed to provide meaningful results to the research question.
Presentation techniques that can be used for presenting applied research are: text presentation, table presentation and graphical presentation (Planning Tank, 2016).
Text presentation: In this technique, text or written language is used to convey information. The data in this technique is presented in paragraphs or small sentences. Text form makes the information difficult to be understood by the readers.
Tabular presentation: When the information to be presented needs equal attention, tabular form of presentation is most desirable, as it makes understanding the data more easy and comprehensive.
Graphical presentation: Graphical presentation is used primarily to understand the trend in the data, and comparing the two or more groups.
It is important for the researcher to understand the audience type before selecting the reporting method. The two ways of reporting a report are :
Written methods: Report can be presented as abstract or briefs, annual reports, fact sheets, empirical publications, and newsletters. A written report may be the requirement of the project or may be the best form of reporting to communicate information to the audience.
Oral Methods: There are audiences who understand and learn by seeing or sharing things, thus giving presentations helps the researcher to present the report, seek feedback from the audience, and clarify their queries. A report can be presented in the form of presentations, exhibits, news releases, and posters (CYFAR, 2020).
Five basic ethical principles in research are as follows (Brown, et al., 2016):
Principle One: Minimising the risk of harm: a research should not harm the participants in any manner – physical, psychological, social status, harming the participants’ financial status or harming the privacy and anonymity.
Principle Two: Obtaining Informed consent: taking consent from the participants is important for using the information obtained from them in the research. They should be made aware and should have no problem in taking part in the research.
Principle Three: Protecting anonymity and confidentiality: Since participants are generally volunteers, so the data collected from them should be kept safe and the details of the participants should be kept confidential; specifically when the data collected is of private or sensitive nature.
Principle Four: Avoiding deceptive practices: a research should not be based on any deceptive practices. This simply means a research should not be conducted without informing the participants that they are required by the research and their information will be used as data in the research. However, when the data collected is based primarily on the basis of observations, without direct interactions with the participants, and it is not possible to tell everyone in the observational scenario about the research and take their consent, then it may not be deceptive practices. However, it is a controversial principle and the researcher should try and avoid all the possibilities of deceptive practices in their research.
Principle Five: Providing the right to withdraw: the researcher should always provide the participants the option of withdrawing from the research if they are not comfortable in participating, and should not be forced to participate in the research.
Key principles of conducting a responsible research are as follows (Massey University, 2018):
A research culture should promote integrity and honesty.
A research culture should respect the all the participants of the research: environment, animals and humans.
Good public resources should be used for conducting a research.
People involved in the research should be given their due credits and acknowledgement.
All the results and findings should be disseminated responsibly.
Research institutions should have good management practices, policies in place, and trained staff.
The researchers should conduct their research in a truthful manner.
Applied research is used to solve specific problem of an individual or group. This research is used in the daily life to find solutions or cure to a scientific problem, disease, technological gap, educational gap, business gap etc. Tools of conducting research are (Market links, 2020):
Surveys: Collecting information from the target people for the purpose of analysing that data for answering the research questions.
Interviews: Collecting information from a small set of target audience to understand the views and opinions of the target audience.
Direct Observation: Collecting information through observation, without asking respondent anything and is commonly used for behavioural studies.
Research aimed at solving a social or a business problem is known as applied research. Some examples where applied research may be used are:
How to improve agricultural crop production?
How will a disease be treated and cured?
How to improve the energy efficiency of homes?
Australian Government. (2019a). Management of data and information in research. Retrieved from https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/attachments/Management-of-Data-and-Information-in-Research.pdf.
Australian Government. (2018b). Australian code for the responsible conduct of research. Retrieved from https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-code-responsible-conduct-research-2018
Australian Government. (2017c). Freedom of Information Act 1982. Retrieved from https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00364.
Barnlund, D. C. (2017). A transactional model of communication. In Communication theory (pp. 47-57). Routledge.
Blankenship, D. (2010). Applied research and evaluation methods in recreation (Vol. 10). Champaign, Human Kinetics: Canada.
Brown, B., Weilenmann, A., McMillan, D., & Lampinen, A. (2016, Five provocations for ethical HCI research. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 852-863).
CYFAR. (2020). Reporting methods. Retrieved from https://cyfar.org/reporting-methods.
Market Links. (2020). 3.2.3 research and interview tools and techniques. Retrieved from https://www.marketlinks.org/good-practice-center/value-chain-wiki/research-and-interview-tools-and-techniques.
Massey University. (2018). Code of responsible adult. Retrieved from https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/PolicyGuide/Documents/c/code-of-responsible-research-conduct.pdf
Paradis, E., O'Brien, B., Nimmon, L., Bandiera, G., &Martimianakis, M. A. T. (2016). Design: selection of data collection methods. Journal Of Graduate Medical Education, 8(2), 263.
Pettey, G., Bracken, C. C., &Pask, E. B. (2017). Communication research methodology: A strategic approach to applied research. United Kingdom: Routledge.
Planning Tank. (2016). Data presentation and analysis (with Examples & Images). Retrieved from https://planningtank.com/planning-techniques/data-presentation-and-analysis.
Quinlan, C., Babin, B., Carr, J., & Griffin, M. (2019). Business research methods. United States: South Western Cengage.
University of New Castle Library Guides. (2019). Research Methods: What are research methods? Retrieved from https://libguides.newcastle.edu.au/researchmethods
Wilkinson, C., &Weitkamp, E. (2016). Creative research communication: Theory and practice. United Kingdom: Manchester University Press.
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