Question 1: Research
The process of research involves several steps that can help researcher find information effectively. The information to be collected depends on the topic being researched.
The first step before beginning is developing or identifying a topic. The topic defines the scope of the research and is best expressed in the form of a question since the researcher intends to answer it. For instance, one may be interested in finding out why so many prisoners on parole end up violating the terms and eventually are brought back into the prisons. A good question to pose for beginning the research would be: why do parolees defy the terms of their release? The question has got to have key words that will help in the research process. Tools of project management can be used in this step. For instance the purpose, aims, and goals of the project or research can be described at this step. This is basically setting the terms of reference of the research project. If the research will involve getting first hand information, then it would be appropriate to plan by establishing the people who will have to be interviewed and coming with a budget for the entire project. The best tool of project management to use is the Gantt and PERT chats. These tools will help the researcher to outline all the tasks that are needed for the project completion. The tools also knowing who is responsible for completion of each of the tasks. They are therefore tool for monitoring progress of the project.
After identifying the key words in the topic, the researcher will be able to focus on the scope of the research without deviating from the topic. Information about the key words can be searched in encyclopedias and book at the index section. Tools of internet and web searching techniques can be applied at this point of the research project. The key words can also be searched online through the help of search engines such as Google and Yahoo. The bibliography section of the books can also help to identify any relevant items that can help with the research. After doing this, one can make a list of all the literature material that will be used to help gather information for the research. These materials can then be located in the library. The source materials can be found online, computer based periodicals, and print periodicals.
In case the project or the research requires performance of some its tasks through modeling and simulation, the tools for simulation can be located on the internet. For instance if the project is scientific and requires experimentation, then it can be done through with the help of the modeling and simulation tools.
The next step is to begin reading the material to understand deeper about the topic. Techniques for information source assessment can be used at this point. This can also help the researcher to redefine the thesis statement by making it clearer. The research can begin making an outline that will guide him or her in presenting the information in the form of an academic paper.
If the project requires collection of data and analysis, then tools of probability, descriptive statistics and mathematics can come in handy. The data collected will be analyzed through statistical methods of analysis where measures of central tendencies, measures of distribution and regression will have to be calculated.
Evaluation and citation is the next and final step before beginning to write the research paper. The sources have to be evaluated, so that only the ones with needed information are cited. Evaluation will also require problem solving techniques.
Question 2 a
An internet search engine that is good for research must have a large size of web document database. One must be able to search a big percentage of the entire World Wide Web.
The other thing that makes a search engine good is its freshness. This means that the search engine must have updated information regarding any topic. The database has got to be refreshed often so as to find new web pages with fresh information regarding a topic. The texts provided in the web pages have to be complete. Sometimes, search engines retrieve web pages that do not display full texts with some of its words not indexed.
It is important to also find out if the search engine offers more than just web pages. There are other documents that be found on the web in the form of power point, excel, word, and PDF. These documents can be very reliable for a research. The speed and consistency of the search engine also matters.
Question 2b: Examples of search engines include www.google.com, www.yahoo.com,www.Bing.com, and www.AOL.com
In order to complete this exercise, the topic that was searched is ‘search engine’. This topic was search in Google and in AOL.
Google search results evaluation
AOL search results evaluation
The results by Google indicated a total of 1.6 billion results. This means that the materials or the web pages in the database with regards to the research topic are many. The data base is therefore large
The results by AOL indicated a total of 240 million results. But when the results are enhanced by Google they come to a total of 1.3 billion. It obviously clear that the materials or web pages in the database are fewer compared to Google. Therefore the AOL database is small.
With regards to speed and consistency, all the 1.6 billion results were retrieved from the database in 0.13 seconds. This is very fast for a search engine with a large database
The search results by AOL did not even indicate the time that was used to retrieve the 240 million web pages. But based on the time used to wait for the page to load, then it probably took more than one minute.
With regards to freshness and updated information, Google search results provided an option where it is possible to filter information by time. So incase, one wants to get information dating within the last 24 hours, it can be achieved by filtering it. A total of 101 million results were retrieved within the last 24 hours
Just Google, AOL also has provision for filtering a search by time. A total of 1.6 million results were retrieved from the database with enhancement of Google search. This therefore means that AOL database may not be refreshed constantly to update or include new web pages.
Based on the comparison table above, the search engine that can be rated as good is Google. It has met all the three rating criteria for a good search engine. Google has a large data base with consistent and updated information regarding almost any topic. It even provides other search filtering options such that, if one wants to only get information from blogs or scholarly article, the search can be narrowed down to Google scholar or Google blogs. AOL uses enhancement of Google search in order to find more sources in its database. This means that search is not very reliable on its own and its rating therefore is not good.
Question 2 d
In order to identify whether an online resource is reliable, certain evaluation guidelines have to be followed.
The first thing to consider is the credibility of the information. Since decisions are mostly made based on information, then the credibility of the information has to be established. Credibility will help an individual know whether or not to believe particular information. In order to test for credibility, then the author’s credentials have to be identified. This includes, educational background, training, affiliated organization, contact information, and author’s position in the organization.
The other thing to look at is accuracy. This is the freshness of the information and its truthfulness. A piece of information which was correct some fifty years ago may fail to apply today. Other information is timeless. It is also important to determine the comprehensiveness of the information. This means that any online resource that fails to critically analyze an issue based on facts may fail to prove to be comprehensive. It needs to look at alternative, consequences, qualifications, and other important facts. Sometimes the information presented online may be targeting a specific audience. This is also an important factor to consider when evaluating the credibility of a source.
Lastly, the final thing to look at is the reasonableness of the information. This guideline ensures that the online source present consistency, objectivity and fairness of the information. Fairness is basically how the argument is balanced. If an argument focuses on one specific side, then it lacks balance and hence no fairness. With regards to consistency, the information presented in the source must not contradict itself.
Question 3 a
This type of unit testing is becoming more limited with the sophistication witnessed in the development of software programs. However the advantage with this type of testing is that it can respond to the changes and sophistications of software development quickly compared to other types of unit testing. Despite the fact that the method is able to achieve a lot in terms of response to the changes, it is still based on some of the old traditional sequential approach.
A common traditional method is the waterfall methodology. The agile methodology is therefore able to achieve the quick response since it is a collection of practices, principles and values that integrate iterative testing, development and feedback and transform it into a new model of development. There are therefore several differences between agile methodology of unit testing and other traditional methodologies:
The first difference between the two methodologies is that the agile model is able to bring out the product’s working version quicker and earlier compared to the traditional model of waterfall. More of the features of the product are delivered incrementally. This enables a customer to identify the benefits of the software product very early.
The other difference emerges when it comes to testing cycle time. The testing cycle time of the agile model is very short compared to the old traditional waterfall model. The main reason behind this benefit is because of the fact that in agile unit testing, the testing is conducted parallel to the development.
The old traditional waterfall model lacks flexibility. This means that it is very rigid and cannot respond effectively to the changes and sophistications of software development. Agile unit testing is specifically designed to respond to the developments in software programs. Despite the fact that the method is able to achieve a lot in terms of response to the changes, it is still based on some of the old traditional sequential approach.
The development in agile methodology ensures small and consistent incremental releases. Each of the increments is supposed to build on the previous ones. They all therefore are linked together to support one another. The incremental releases are seriously tested to make sure that every necessary issue is sufficiently addressed before the process proceeds to the next iterative.
The emphasis in agile unit testing is on people and interactions while the emphasis on the old traditional methodologies is on the tools and processes. Recent software programs used for business are such that the testers, the customers, and the developers are in constant interaction. This makes the old unit testing methodologies not to be viable for testing.
Agile testing methodology is such that it relies on collaboration and communication with people. The priority is to ensure that the software program is working and not detailing documentation.
The traditional methodologies such as waterfall methodology are mainly sequential. The progress of unit testing is not based on one phase but several phases. The stages therefore are analysis of the software program, design of the program, development, testing and implementation. This is the sequence from the top to bottom.
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