Dissertation Information for Mary Sue Stephenson
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Title: RELATIONSHIP OF CHARACTERISTICS OF THE RESEARCH METHODS USED IN TWO SUBFIELDS OF GEOLOGY AND THE GROWTH OF PUBLISHED RESEARCH IN THOSE SUBFIELDS
Abstract: The major problem addressed by this study was to investigate the relationship between characteristics of the research methods used in selected subject subfields and the growth of published research in those subfields. In order to carry out the investigation a non-experimental design was employed, and an evaluative instrument was developed for assigning a quantitative score to published research based on characteristics of the research methods utilized. Evaluative scores were thus assigned to 244 randomly selected research studies drawn from two scientific subfields manifesting different rates of growth. The data thus obtained were analyzed to test the hypothesis that a correlation exists between the characteristics of the research methods used in a subject subfield and the growth of the published literature of that subfield. In testing this hypothesized relationship the field of geology was selected as the major discipline of interest, and the two subfields studied were geochemistry and vertebrate paleontology. A Kendall tau c coefficient of .57182 (p < 0.00001) was obtained using ungrouped evaluation scores. Using grouped research methods evaluation scores, a Kendall tau b coefficient of .41838 (p < 0.00001) was obtained. In both cases the major hypothesis was supported. The hypothesized relationship also remained substantially unchanged when possible effects of selected control variables (relating to author characteristics) were considered.
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