1 Instituto Politécnico de Tomar (PORTUGAL)
2 Polytechnic Institute of Aveiro (ISCA-UA) & CGOVCOOP-UA (PORTUGAL)
3 Escola Superior de Tecnologias de Fafe (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 323-329
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.0146
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Today, a vast number of learners, especially undergraduate and master students, are required to do scientific research. By an analogy, this article aims to introduce the basic steps of planning the academic research methodology by means of a practical application to the decision-making process. The objective is providing learners with an introduction to make a research plan as an analogy to a real problem. The main aim of this article is to make the text simple to all students, to be understood by all interested learners, and demystify the complex issue of academic research methodology for the beginners.

Descriptive quantitative research is one of the most accepted and used scientific practices, including the positivist researchers, but it can also be considered as transversal to all areas of science because the results are measured.

The work was divided into a few stages:
i) the first stage is the identification of the main problem to raise the best possible question,
ii) the second stage is the definition of the objective that would be considered the best, or the most appropriate, to answer the question raised,
iii) the third stage is the foundation, which will give consistency to conceptualize variables and identify indicators, as well as raise hypothesis and respective relationships,
iv) the fourth stage is the methodology, which explains how the investigation will be performed,
v) the fifth stage is the result analysis, and
vi) the last stage is the conclusion of the study.

Reliability depends on a common thread between:
i) the problem issue,
ii) the objective,
iii) the theoretical ground, and
iv) the methodology plan.

Coherence between these topics is essential to consider that the results are scientific and can be validated.

In order to help students to understand notions of research methodology, an analogy is presented. After the problem raised, the work suggests reviewing the available information, identifying and conceptualizing variables in order to hypothesize, and propose a theoretical model that relates the variables and their indicators. Dependent and independent variables and dimensions of the indicators were also presented.

It would be possible to found methodological flaws in the master's dissertations. And one of the reasons may be the lack of a deeper understanding of the relevance of methodology and the theoretical framework. It can be justified by the fact that there are is only one curricular unit (UC) of scientific research methodology (SM) in the curricula plan of most Master Courses. There are many master students who have never had the opportunity to deepen the subject.

No matter the reasons, the fact is the need to understand the methodology before developing or implementing any scientific plan. Different plans have distinct implications for the results.

This work does not intend to present a formula for it. The main goal is to help the student get a handle on the process. And one of the alternatives is to simplify the understanding, in this case, by analogy to a day-to-day decision. By being simplified, and presented through an analogy, the underlying objective is to demystify the problem.
Teaching Scientific Methodology, Teaching by Analogies, Research Scientific Methodology, Descriptive Quantitative Research.