The role of computer in research work
THE ROLE OF COMPUTER IN RESEARCH
Computer have always assisted to solve the problems faced by the mankind since the time of invention, the size of the computers have drastically reduced from that of a room to that can be accommodated in a human palm. The word computer means something which computes or a machine for performing calculations automatically, but, today computer means not merely a calculator. It does vast variety of jobs with tremendous speed and efficiency. Today people use computers in almost every walk of life. Computers have become a subject of study at schools electronic computers have now become an indispensable part of every profession: so do research.
COMPUTER IN RESEARCH PROCESS
There are five major phases of the research process. They are:
1. Conceptual phase
2. Design and planning phase
3. Empirical phase
4. Analytic phase and
5. Dissemination phase
1. Role of Computer in Conceptual Phase
the conceptual phase consists of formulation of research problem, review of literature, theoretical frame work and formulation of hypothesis.
Role of computers in literature review: computers help for searching the literatures (for review of literature) and bibliographic reference stored in the electronic database of the world wide webs. It can thus be used for storing relevant published articles to the retrieved whenever needed. This has the advantage over searching the literatures in the form of books, journals and other news letters at the libraries which consume considerable amount of time and effort.
2. Role of Computers in Design and Planning Phase
Design and planning phase consist of research design, population, research variables, sampling plan, reviewing research plan and pilot study
Role of Computers for Sample Size Calculation: Several software’s are available to calculate the sample size required for a proposed study. The standard deviation of the data from the pilot study is required for the sample size calculation.
3. Role of computers in empirical phase
Empirical phase consist of collecting and preparing the data for analysis:
Data Storage: The data obtained from the subjects are stored in computes are word files or excel spread sheets. This has the advantage of making necessary corrections or editing the whole layout of the tables if needed, which is impossible or time consuming incase of writing in papers. Thus, computers help in data entry, data editing, data management including follow up actions etc. computers also allow for greater flexibility in recording the data while they are collected as well as grater ease during the analysis of these data.
In research studies, the preparation and inputting data is the most labor-intensive and time consuming aspect of the work. Typically the data will be initially recorded on a questionnaire or record for suitable for its acceptance by the computer. To do this the researcher in conjunction with the statistician and the programmer, will convert the data into Microsoft word file or excel spreadsheet. These spread sheets can be directly opened with statistical software’s for analysis
4. Role of Computers in Data Analysis
This phase consist of statistical analysis of the data and interpretation of results.
Data analysis: many software’s are now available to perform the mathematical part of the research process i.e. the calculations using various statistical methods.
Softwares like SPSS, NCSS-PASS, STATA and SYSAT are some of the widely used. They can be like calculating the sample size for a proposed study, hypothesis testing and calculating the power of the study. Familiarity with any one package will suffice to carry out the most intricate statistical analysis.
Computers are useful not only for statistical analysis, but also to monitor the accuracy and completeness of the data as they are collected.
5. Role of Computer in Research Dissemination
This phase is the publication of the research study.
Research Publishing: the research article is typed in word format and converted to portable data format (PDF) and stored and/or published in the world wide web.