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MHS Library | Extended Investigation (VCE)

Affect or Effect and Extent

Affect is usually a verb, and it means to impact or change. Effect, on the other hand, is usually a noun that you would use to indicate the result of a change.

Definition of extent

The range over which something extends : scope the extent.

The point, degree, or limit to which something extends.

Comparing wording of questions used in qualitative and quantitative research

For research questions in qualitative research (collecting and analyzing non-numerical data - e.g., text, video, or audio - to understand concepts, opinions, or experiences), the use of open words such as “how” or “what” allow for greater exploration of issues, as opposed to words such as “why” which imply exploration of cause and effect, which is more characteristic of quantitative research (collecting and analyzing numerical data. It can be used to find patterns and averages, make predictions, test causal relationships, and generalize results to wider population).

Suggested verbs to use in qualitative research questions are: discover, understand, describe, explore.

Suggested verbs to use in quantitative research questions are those which convey the idea of cause and effect i.e. they indicate the link between variables: compare, relate, cause and influence.

However it should be noted that this is only a guide and there are many examples of research questions that do not fit these ‘rules’.

Wording your research questions | MESHGuides. (2011).

CT language

Anecdotal evidence vs empirical evidence.

Anecdotal evidence is using personal experiences and stories to illustrate your point. 

Empirical evidence is measured and replicable.

Brown & Smith’s argument is strong because it is based on reasoning xyz.

Brown & Smith’s argument is strong because their work considered/negated the counter argument abc.

Brown & Smith’s argument has weaknesses because it did not consider the counter argument abc.

Brown & Smith’s claim xyz is strong, as it is supported by reasoning.

Brown & Smith’s claim abc is weak, as it is an opinion.

Brown & Smith’s claim xyz is strong, as it is supported by opinion (gained through research methods).

Brown & Smith’s conclusion is logical because it does not work from unstated premises (or assumptions).

Brown & Smith’s conclusion is valid because the premises are strong.

Brown & Smith’s conclusion is sound as there is evidence to support their premise/and or arguments.

Brown & Smith’s has made inductive generalisations - due to their sample/participation being too small for the population.

Do you have a result that was inconclusive?

Therefore did your method include confirmation bias?

A survey question that uses asking the same question twice – once using a positive voice and again using a negative voice.

If yes, make sure you mention this in your method, if no, make sure you mention this in your limitations.

Therefore did your method include group think?

Therefore did your method include social desirability bias?

Focus group feedback is valid because participants in the focus group are extremely subject relevant (construct validity). 

Likewise targeted participants who sign up for your research including intervention - are extremely subject relevant (construct validity).

Add this in your method.

Adversely - focus groups and targeted participants could be disadvantaged due to moderator bias. That is when you, intentionally or inadvertently, inject your personal biases into the participants' exchange of ideas. This can result in inaccurate results. Moderators can also lead focus group participants into reaching certain assumptions or conclusions.

Add this to your limitations.

Add this to your recommendations for further research.

1. Identification Terms: These direct you to present the bare facts such as a name, a phrase, a date, etc.

Define - Give a concise and accurate definition of what is called for.

List - Provide an itemized list.  Present a group of names or items in a category in concise form. 

State - Identify briefly.  No discussion required.


2. Description Terms: These ask you to tell about a topic with some detail.

Describe - Mention the chief characteristics or specific features of the topic.  Show how it is different from similar or related items.  Give an account of, tell about, give a word picture of. 

Discuss - Present various sides or points, talk over, consider the different sides.  Usually longer than an explanation of the same subject. 

Summerise - Present the main points in condensed form.

Outline - Organize your answer into main points and details.

Trace - Present items in chronological sequence; give description of progress. 

Illustrate - Give examples. Or where appropriate, provide diagram or figure. 

3. Relation Terms: These direct you to describe the similarities, differences, or associations between two or more subjects.

Analyse - To examine critically the parts or elements. 

Compare - Point out both similarities and differences.

Contrast - Point out differences.

Differentiate or Distinguish - When things are of approximately the same class, the  word “differentiate or distinguish” is used.  Show the differences.

Relate - Show the connection between the things mentioned; how one influences the other.

4. Demonstration Terms: These tell you to show why something is true or not true.

Explain - Give reasons for what is asked.  Make plain or clear; tell “how” to do; provide the causes.

Justify - Show good reasons for; give your evidence; present facts to support your position.

Prove - Provide factual evidence or, where appropriate, a logical or mathematical proof.

Demonstrate - Show by example.


5. Evaluation Term: These ask you for your opinion or judgment on something.

Evaluate - Express an opinion concerning the worth or merit.  Give the good and bad points; appraise; give an opinion regarding the value of something.

Criticize - Point out the weaknesses as well as the advantages or approval as well as disapproval of the idea presented.  Make your own judgment about the item in question.

Comment - Freedom to express your own opinion in relation to the subject matter. 

Interpret - Translate, solve, or comment on a subject, usually giving your own judgment about it.