Data For Historical Research
The data for historical research are majorly collected from two major sources the primary and secondary source.
The primary sources includes the records of eye
witnesses, and evidence from direct source such as
photographs, certificates, decrees and edicts, report
of meetings, buildings, and furniture. In secondary
sources, the information is obtained in-directly. Ás
Nkpa (1997: 8) puts it ‘in secondary sources, a non-
observer-mediates• between the original evidence
and. the investigator” Secondary sources of
information or data include books, news reports from journalist, and reviews of research. Both
primary and secondary data are valuable to the
historical researcher. However, data obtained from
primary source is preferred due to its directness and
significance as authentic accounts. Avoid excessive
use of secondary source of information.
There are two. forms of criticisms employed in the
evaluation of historical data. These are external and
internal criticisms. External criticism of historical
data seeks to determine the authenticity of the sources of the information or data. It seeks answers
to questions such as:
- Who was the author – his position, qualification and skills as a reporter of the events?
- What personal interest had he in the matter?
- How soon after the event was the documents
Internal criticism of historical data is concerned
with the validity of the information or the data
provided by the source. The following questions seek to establish the authenticity of the data or content of the document.
- Is the information a true account of the
events?Is there any evidence that the reporter was
influenced by interest groups, or personal
biases?Is there any statement that is not true, or
contradicts establish facts about the event?
(b) Descriptive Research
Descriptive studies are concerned with either describing and interpreting the current status of a
problem such as attitudes, teaching methods, beliefs, students’ achievement, Or comparing existing relationship in educational practices. There are various types of descriptive research. The major types are; survey research, case studies, and documentary analysis.
(i) Survey Research
A survey research involves a large number of
people or items. It is used to ascertain the current
status of a problem or phenomenon by studying a
true representative of the population, or the entire
population. A survey_ that covers the entire
population is called census, and one that studies a
representative portion of the population is called a
sample survey. In sample survey, it is important to
use appropriate sampling techniques to obtain a true representative sample, in order to make reliable inferences about the target population. Examples of survey studies include;
- Survey of infrastructures in secondary schools.
- Opinions of undergraduates on cultism In tertiary institutions.
A good quality survey study require valid and reliable instruments of data collection. Survey instruments include; questionnaires, interview
observation, ete. survey research has had profound
influence on the field of education and social sciences.
(ii) Case Studies
A case study is an in-depth study of a phenomenon
in one individual or a given social unit such as a
Tamily, school, church, community, or association.
The findings are not generalisable, because the
sample is limited in size, and lacks representation.
However, such findings provide useful background
information, which may result to more extensive
investigation. As Nkpa (1997) remarked, Piaget’s
theory of intellectual development were rooted in
case studies of the intellectual maturation of his
three children. Another limitation of case studies is
subjectivity. That is, it may involve bias in the
selection of the unit to be study, perhaps on the
basis of pre-conceived ideas and convenience,
rather than the typicality of the unit in relation to the population.
(iii) Documentary Analysis
This involves the examination of the content of
document and records such as minutes of meeting
school diaries, panel reports, library records, curriculum materials in schools, and official
gazettes. It provides useful information for auditing
and supervisory purposes.
(c) Experimental research
Experimental research is used to establish cause and effect relationships. It involves a systematic and
logical procedure of identifying and evaluating the
cause of any given effect under controlled conditions. The essence of control in an experimental research is to ensure that if there is
any difference between the groups under study, the
difference is attributed to the treatment effect and
nothing else. The technique involves experimental group (s), control group (s), and treatment conditions.
Read Also: History of Educational Research
The experimental group is the group that was
manipulated, or exposed to treatment conditions.
The control group is the group that was not exposed
The treatment is the variable being manipulated and whose effect is under investigation. Such effect is observed by comparing the experimental or
treatment group with the control group. If there is
any difference between the control and experimental groups, such difference is attributed to
the treatment provided all other influencing
variables are properly controlled.
Experimental researches in Education and other
areas of Behavioural sciences are limited because
the researchers are usually concerned with human
beings and animals that are difficult to be
manipulated or placed in a controlled laboratory.
Experimental researches in Education therefore, are
not pure experimental research, but are usually
called Quasi- experimental research. Pure experimental research is possible in areas such as
chemical sciences where chemical compounds are
made to react in a closed conical flask under
Types of Variables in Experimental Research
There are four types of variables considered
in experimental research designs as outlined
by Ukwuije (1988: 8). These variables are;
1. Independent Variables
Independent Variables are the variables Or conditions that the researcher manipulates. They are variables whose effects are under investigation, and are often called treatment variables. For example, consider a study in mathematics education, geared towards investigating the effects of specifically designed visual, audio, and audiovisual materials on learners’ performance in trigonometry. The independent variables are the visual material, audio material, and audio-visual material. The complexity of experimental research
design and analysis increases às the number independent variables increase. An experimental study that involve one independent variable is less difficult to handle compared to a study that involves two or more independent variables.
2. Dependent Variables
The dependent variables is not manipulated. When
the independent variable is manipulated, the effect
of the manipulation or changes is observed on the
In the example given above on our discussion of independent variables, the dependent variable is learners academic performance in trigonometry.