How research works

"However, we have discovered some stuff about the process of doing research. We began by looking at how research questions are formulated through observing phenomena or collecting data about a ‘hunch’. Once the observation has been confirmed, theories can be generated about why something happens. From these theories we formulate hypotheses that we can test. To test hypotheses we need to measure things and this leads us to think about the variables that we need to measure and how to measure them. Then we can collect some data. The final stage is to analyse these data. In this chapter we saw that we can begin by just looking at the shape of the data but that ultimately we should end up fit- ting some kind of statistical model to the data (more on that in the rest of the book). In short, the reason that your evil statistics lecturer is forcing you to learn statistics is because it is an intrinsic part of the research process and it gives you enormous power to answer questions that are interesting; or it could be that they are a sadist who spends their spare time spanking politicians while wearing knee-high PVC boots, a diamond- encrusted leather thong and a gimp mask (that’ll be a nice mental image to keep with you throughout your course). We also discovered that I was a curious child (you can interpret that either way). As I got older I became more curious, but you will have to read on to discover what I was curious about."