This paper is aimed to investigate the issue of doing good research, including discussing its peculiarities, based on the examples of three articles under consideration. The paper will take into account three types of research designs. They are the large N, the small N, and the interpretive designs. In the course of the analysis, the paper will speculate on the research question and hypothesis of each article. Besides, it will dwell upon the method which the authors have used to receive the empirical evidence. Apart from that, the paper will reflect on the weaknesses of the research in each article, as well as outline a question that is possible to be asked to the authors. What is more, the paper will discuss the validity and reliance of each research. Finally, it will give recommendations to improve each of the articles.
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The Large N Design
The article which illustrates the large N design is the article “A Statistical Analysis of the Privacy Norms and State Compliance with Anti-money Laundering Regulations” by Allison Blavelt. The author hypothesizes that “tracking and preventing money laundering is an important part of national defense” (Blavelt 2). Her research question is whether the state’s actions against money laundering comply with anti-money laundering regulation. The author obtains empirical evidence to investigate her topic by the analysis of the related literature, as well as by testing one independent variable and six dependent variables. She specified the independent variable, defined the dependent variables, and dwelt upon the country selection. As a result, the author managed to obtain the correlation coefficient which suits the investigation.
Her method is acknowledged to be observation. As for validity and reliability, the research conducted by Blavelt is valid and reliable, since the method and the variables appear to comply with its aims. The weakness of the work is as follows. The author has a purpose of considering too many facts and too much information. However, a feeling persists that, for this, she failed to have either sufficient data or enough time. Thus, the research has appeared to be done in a very compressed manner, without giving necessary details. Therefore, the article resembles a list of mere theses, without thorough explanations. The question is if the author should have grasped such an ambitious topic if it had not been possible to provide as much consideration as it seems to be required. To improve the paper from a methodological viewpoint, it is necessary to take more time for the investigation of a larger amount of information. Besides, it might be crucial to apply some other methods, apart from observation, for example, a survey. However, it is not obligatory.
Small N Design
The article which illustrates the small N design is the article “How Solid is Mass Support for Democracy – And How Can We Measure it?” by Roland Inglehart from the University of Michigan. The author’s research question is to investigate the popularity of democracy in different countries, including Islamic countries. In the article in question, the author has claimed that he has found “surprisingly widespread support for democracy among Islamic publics – at least, by conventional measures” (Inglehart 51). The author obtains empirical evidence to investigate his topic by analyzing corresponding data and conducting a survey. The latter provides the required quantitative information. Thus, the author’s methods are analysis and survey. The amount of data collected in the course of the survey and its further detailed analysis can be considered sufficient to admit that the research is valid and reliable. However, the research proves to have a weakness. The validity and reliability of the research can be questioned by the number of dependent variables which can be viewed as insufficient. Thus, the question which can be asked to the researcher is whether the survey covers as variable data as it might be required for such an investigation. Hence, to improve the paper from a methodological viewpoint, it is necessary to include more dependent variables while preparing and conducting the survey.
The article which illustrates the interpretative design is the article “Power, Ideas, and New Evidence on the Cold War’s End: A Reply to Brooks and Wohlforth” by Robert D. English. The research question focuses on the lack of the agreement among various researchers on the following matter: “the sources of the Soviet Union’s retreat from the confrontation and embrace of a “new thinking” in foreign policy” (English 70). As for the reasons for this disagreement, English states that this appears to be “the Soviet Union’s subsequent collapse” (70).
The author obtains empirical evidence to investigate his topic by analyzing historical facts that are described in archives and acknowledged to be true from the historical viewpoint. Besides, he considers various stances on the subject matter which are expressed by other researchers. Apart from that, he underlines their advantages and points out their drawbacks. Therefore, the author uses an analytical method of research which allows him to provide a thorough consideration of the matter. As for a probable weakness of the paper, it might be as follows: the author might have failed to take into account all the existing viewpoints on the matter. This might entrain his position being biased. Therefore, the question which can be asked to the author is whether he has managed to consider all the possible opinions on the topic which might exist in the scientific world and give a neutral evaluation of the issue. As for validity and reliability, the paper can be accepted to be both valid and reliable, since it gives much scientific evidence. When it comes to some recommendations for the research to be improved methodologically, the only suggestion is to make sure that various opinions are considered in the framework of the issue.
This paper has considered the issue of doing good research, including its peculiarities, based on the examples of three articles under consideration. The paper has taken into account three types of research designs which are the large N, the small N, and the interpretive designs. In the course of the analysis, the paper has speculated on the research question and hypothesis in each article. Besides, it has dwelled upon the method which the authors used to receive the empirical evidence. Apart from that, the paper has reflected on the weaknesses of the research in each article, as well as outlined a question that is possible to be asked to the authors. What is more, the paper has discussed the validity and reliance of the research. Finally, it has given some recommendations to improve each of the articles.
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Blavelt, Allison. A Statistical Analysis of the Privacy Norms and State Compliance with Anti-money Laundering Regulations. Clocks & Clouds: Journal of National and Global Affairs, vol. 5, pp. 1-19.
Inglehart, Roland. How Solid is Mass Support for Democracy – And How Can we Measure it? PS: Political Science and Politics, vol. 36, no. 1, 2003, pp. 51-57.
English, Robert D. Power, Ideas, and New Evidence on the Cold War’s End: A Reply to Brooks and Wohlforth. International Security, vol. 26, no. 4, 2002, pp. 70-92.