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conceptualisation leads to better clarity while doing research . It provides road map to progress and verify the outcome of research . Research questions , objectives , gaps and hypothesis can be mapped on the conceptual framework . It also helps in operationalisation of the variables.
Conceptualizing in Research:An
Dr.Aloysius H. Sequeira,
National Institute of Technology Karnataka,
email : email@example.com
Alice’s adventures in wonderland
Part of Alice’s conversation with the Cheshire Cat :
Alice asks the Cat :„would you tell me, please , which way I ought to walk
„That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,‟ said the Cat
„I don’t much care where,‟ said Alice
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,’ said the Cat.
Formulating and clarifying your research topic is the starting of
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Imagine you speak of abstract words –
“ satisfaction”, “happiness”,“healthy” , etc.
We cannot research these words until we
know exactly what they are.
Everyday language is often vague and
Most fundamental process of science is
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Conceptualization is to specify exactly
what we mean and don‟t mean by the
terms we use in our research.
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• Conceptualization is mental
process of organizing one‟s
observations and experiences
into meaningful and coherent
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Term „concept’ (also referred as
„construct‟)refers to end product of
Concept could be a word or complex set of
events or ideas referred by the word.
Concept can be word or symbol used to
represent a meaningful whole .
Words we use to form the description of
a concept are also concepts.
To fully understand the description of a
given concept , each concept in that
definition must also be understood.
In addition to organizing observations
into meaning wholes , concepts also
needed to be organized into separate
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Limitations in conceptualization.
Data-gathering process is a complex
interplay between the conceptual process
and the actual observation or
There are : Physical , Psychological,
limitations to conceptualization and
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Concept vs Reality
Facts do not speak for themselves or
They are limited by the creation of
conceptual and perceptual frameworks
and by measurement techniques.
Concepts are not completely arbitrary ;
they must match with reality .
Disagreements arise about whether
reality is always exist or we create
reality by using concepts?
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Framework for Design
1.Ontology – claims about what is knowledge-
theoretical vs reality -philosophical- lies in
methodology behind questions ( positivism , post-
positivism , constructivism, interpretivism ,
pragmatism , etc )
2. Epistemology- science of knowing
(objectivism , subjectivism, etc ).
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Framework for Design
3. Methodology –science of finding
(experimental, survey , observation,
ethnography, etc )
4. Methods – ways to capture data
(questionnaire, interview , focus group , etc )
5. Structure ( flow in writing- intro,
literature review , methodology , analysis of
data , findings and conclusions )
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The idea that looking at something from
Multiple points of view for same
phenomenon- improves accuracy .
eg A persons health –observation ,
questionnaire , interview , physical
examination , la/medical reports –multiple
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Four types of Triangulation
1. Measures-Quantitative units
2. Observes- Independently watch
3.Theory- compare theories
4. Method- Mix methods
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Filling Knowledge Gaps - Positivism ,
Objectivism , Hypothesist – Common in
Problem Solving -Interpretivism
,Constructivism , Pragmatism – Common
in Qualitative Research
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The process of moving from definition to
measurement and back to the definition .
One does not always start with a clear ,
observable , complete and useful conceptual
definition and then attempt to observe(measure)
Process of explication indicates that final
conceptualization and measurement results from
interplay of these two activities.
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Most Conceptual Elaboration of Final
Abstract definition conceptual conceptual
of Indicators of indicators
Development Possible Valid
of operational modification and
Most definition of measures Reliable
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Indicator is a class , set , or group of
potentially observable phenomenon
which stand for or represents a
Indicators indicate the presence or
absence of the concept we are studying.
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Operational definition is complete set
of instructions for what to observe and
how to measure a variable (concept) .
Indicators previously selected serve as
the bases for development of operational
Putting operational definition into
practice is called measurement .
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Research question Methods Paradigm
What Surveys Positivist-single reality
Why Case study Interpretivist-describe
How Grounded theory Pragmatist
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Standing on the shoulders of the
giants- Issac Newton
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There is no one best way of conducting
Each study is unique , has its own
strengths and weaknesses.
Three common approaches used in
research include: qualitative , quantitative
They contain philosophical assumptions
about knowledge claims , strategies for
inquiry and specific research methods.
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When philosophy , strategies and
methods are combined , they provide
different frameworks for conducting
Choice of research approach to use is
based on the research problem , personal
experiences and the audience for whom
you want to write.
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Dahlia K. Remler and Gregg G. Van Rayzin , Research Methods In Practice , SAGE ,
London , 2010.
Michael H. Walizer and Paul L Wienir, Research Methods And Analysis-Searching
For Relationships, Harper & Row Publishers , London , 2012.
Lawrence Neuman W. , Social Research Methods: Quantitative And Qualitative
Approaches , Pearson , 7th
John W. Creswell , Research Design-qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods
approaches, SAGE , UK, 2nd
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