Any type of research needs tools that help the research to get the best results and conclusions. So, without these tools, no research is done correctly. These scientific tools play an important role in the research process; as they perform an essential function in scientific research, which is collecting information. What are these scientific tools? How does a scientific tool work? And how do these tools gather information and from whom? All these questions will be answered in this article.
Scientific tools are those tools that collect information from many sources. This information is collected from samples of research that discuss a certain phenomenon. These tools are entities that have their shape and method of performance that differ from one tool to another. Also, the tools used in scientific research are the main providers of data related to statistical analysis. In this article, we will single out each major tool used in scientific research. Here are the most important aspects that are related to the tools used in scientific research:
The sample: The sample is the source of information from which the tools collect information. Research tools serve as the link between the sample and the researcher, and these tools are directed to the sample. For example, the questionnaire tool is one of the direct tools for studying the sample; while the observation tool is an indirect tool.
Phenomenon: The study may require collecting information about a particular phenomenon; where this phenomenon may be environmental, societal, or otherwise. Therefore, through the tools used in scientific research, this task can be done.
Statistical Analysis: As we mentioned in the previous definition, these tools are the main providers of the data needed by the statistical analysis process. It is impossible to start the statistical analysis except by emptying the data from the study tools in the special table to know the variables and their nature.
Content of the Research: It is obvious that the study tools are related to research. When we say research, we are talking about the research plan, the theoretical framework. And previous studies with all the contents of curricula, limits, references, and others.
The questionnaire is the most widely used tool in scientific research; as it is suitable for addressing the sample and taking information from it. The questionnaire can be defined as one of the study tools that is a template that contains a set of questions directed to the research sample. This sample aims of answering the sample to these questions. Then emptying the answers as data ready to enter the statistical analysis and other implications within the research. And in the following points we give a more detailed explanation about the questionnaire:
- Firstly, the set of questions contained in the questionnaire contains two types of questions. The first type is multiple-choice questions in which the answer is limited to the choices made by the researcher only. And the second type is essay questions that the sample members can answer freely and unrestrictedly. The essay questions including justification questions and the causation questions and which tools are used (why, how).
- Secondly, the questions are the most highlighted element in the questionnaire. But other elements are present in the questionnaire such as the introduction to the questionnaire, which is written by the author in a way that paves the way for the reader to enter answering the questions of the questionnaire. As well as a conclusion to the questionnaire.
- Thirdly, the questionnaire is limited to the number of paper copies that will be distributed to the sample members, meaning that the questionnaire contains a specific number of sample members who will be studied.
- Fourthly, the questionnaire is one of the tools used in scientific research and is recognized by many members of society, which makes the questionnaire widely accepted by members of society.
An observation is a study tool concerned with following up on phenomena and is one of the tools widely used in scientific research. Also, it is a study tool through which observations about the phenomena being studied are recorded through observation and follow-up of these phenomena to know their details and collect information about them. The observation is performed in a very simple way, as the note cards are prepared according to the date and time in which the observation is made. And these observations are recorded, then sorted and the information necessary for research. So, we put several points that are more clarified for the observation tool as follows:
Firstly, observation can be used when it was difficult to contact the sample members. For example, observation is frequently used in studies where the sample is in places where infection with a disease is common.
Secondly, during observation, everything that the researcher sees about the phenomenon being studied is recorded. But here must be followed by a selection process for important information only.
Thirdly, when we say that observation is related to phenomena, here we do not mean a specific type of phenomena. Observation can be used in environmental phenomena, societal phenomena, and so on. So, it is wrong to believe that phenomena are not related to the sample members. For example, observing the aggressive behavior of a certain group of members of the community.
Fourthly, the preparation of observation cards must include basic matters, which are the exact date, place, and timing, and the nature of the situation that the sample members are going through during the observation. For example, in writing (note on Wednesday 20/5/2020 at four o’clock in the afternoon, when blood samples were drawn from 50 people from sample members).
It is a tool used in scientific research face to face with the sample. The face-to-face method is intended to meet the researcher with the sample members faces to face. That is because the personal interview takes place in which the researcher says by talking with the sample members and asking them several questions. We put the following points about the personality and its nature:
Firstly, the personal interview must be between the researcher himself and the sample members. And the sample members here may be gathered in the same place or separate places. So, the answers and opinions of the sample members must be recorded directly during the interview.
Secondly, personal interviews are often used in research in which a sample is a small number of individuals. Or research in which the opinion of some sample members can be generalized to all.
Thirdly, the personal interview is one of the tools used in scientific research in all fields, but it is widely used in the medical field.
Fourthly, what about the phone? What about direct communication programs via the Internet? Is it considered a personal interview? Yes, the personal interview is important for the broadcaster to address the sample members, and it is not a condition for him to see them, but it is better for the researcher to interview them personally to see the circumstances surrounding them.
In the context of the previous paragraphs, we mentioned the most important three main tools used in scientific research. These main tools are questionnaire, observation, and personal interview, but there are still some other tools, but they are used less than the three main tools. Because the questionnaire, observation, and personal interview are easy to implement and accepted by society, and the following we offer a set of these tools:
First: Referendum: through this tool, people’s opinions are collected on a specific matter, and it is usually used in case the sample is large. Also, the referendum is often used in studies of politics and economics to determine purchasing power or feasibility studies.
Second: The experiment: the experiment is used by exposing the sample members to certain conditions to see the results. For example, providing a group of intensive reinforcement lessons to a group of students in a short period. But the experiment is difficult for community members to accept and therefore is of little use.
Third: Measurement: it is one of the tools whose results are considered inaccurate, but many researchers may have to use it. As through measurement, information is built based on previous studies and results that exist in reality.
You must choose the most appropriate tool for the content of scientific research because not all tools are valid for all studies. And for this, you must first know the sample and know its properties and the nature of its study. As well as you must know your real ability to deal with different types of study tools. Here you know the sample well and then present the sample to the study tools and select which tools are more suitable for the sample. As well as link the study tools to the subject of research and the information required by this research. And you must also choose the study tools according to your financial capabilities, as well as the opinions of the supervisors are important and necessary.
Video: Types of research tools
With greetings: Al - Manara Consulting to help researchers and graduate students