My research project’s title is “Wireless Security: The prevalence of vulnerable legacy WLAN 802.11 protocols”. The purpose of the proposed project will be to determine the existence of a digital force protection vulnerability on the Ft. Bragg military reservation in the form of wireless access points broadcasting with enough strength to be picked up by an easily constructed apparatus, which are either unsecured or using outdated and inherently weak security protocols for the security of the network and the transmission of data. Discovery of the statistics involving these systems will better inform those wishing to better secure networks in the area.
Given what the subject of my study is, and the methods that I am going to use to gather my data, I can classify my research proposal as a non-experimental study. It is non-experimental in that there is no hypothesis that I am trying to prove or disprove by gathering the data, and I am not establishing test conditions, or developing controls. It is not quasi experimental for the reasons mentioned earlier. This is probably one of the simplest research methods to conceptualize and operationalize given the dependency of other research methods on the researcher developing procedures minimizing bias, and establishing relevant controls. Observation of a given situation is easier to manage than artificially creating a situation to observe, to validate or invalidate a hypothesis.
The reason I am using a non-experimental method is because I do not believe that an experimental method is useful or appropriate in this case. It is not necessary to use an experiment to prove anything about the wireless access points being surveyed, and I see little utility in constructing an arbitrary hypothesis for the sake of proving or disproving something that isn’t strictly relevant to the task at hand. I could use this data as a basis for constructing hypotheses regarding the efficacy of efforts to inform consumers on wireless security practices, but I still need to have said data to determine whether or not said efforts will have any effect on the overall environment, doing otherwise would be putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.
The typical school science fair project model where one must come up with a testable hypothesis for the sake of it is a good introduction to the concept of the scientific method, expressed at its purest and most ideal, which exposes young people to science with inherent purpose, but not every incidence where data must be collected requires adherence to such a model. A question you ask about the world initially, may only require an explanation stemming from data collected on reality itself. Non-experimental studies are often purely observational and the results intended to be purely descriptive, and the relatively low level of scientific rigor present may dissuade those attempting to prove theories with data collected in this manner, as opposed to using data in well-designed controlled studies (Thompson & Panacek 2007, 19). I would not be able to prove any causation through association of variables involved in my study based on mere observational data.
Thompson, C. B., & Panacek, E. A. (2007). Research study designs: Non-experimental. Air Medical Journal, 26(1), 18-22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amj.2006.10.003
This week we are being inquired about our proposed usage of, and the possibility of our usage of, an experimental or a non-experimental approach. These approaches describe the broad terminology that is commonly used to designate a couple of the different types of experimental design for our research proposals.
Experimental design is classified as the methods which are used in order to gather data for a research project. There exist many different approaches when it comes to conducting research for an experiment. While some may argue that one particular method of experimental design is superior to another method, what really matters is the focus of the experiment itself (CSU, 2016).
The experimental design of research is an approach is simply an approach in which the researcher attempts to determine a causal relationship between two different variables. These variables are usually a dependent variable and an independent variable. What this means is that one variable, the independent one, is controlled and changed by the researcher in order to come to a conclusion about their theory. Meanwhile, the dependent variable should stay stagnant in order for the researchers to properly witness what kinds of changes the independent variable has caused upon it. Considered the closest thing to a true experiment, much like the ones that are found in natural science, the experimental design method should have the strongest case in terms of proving internal validity (CSU, 2016).
The non-experimental design is different from the experimental design of research, but not inferior to it. The experimental design method is relatively rigid in its criteria, because in order for a research design to be classified as experimental, there should be a dependent and an independent variable. Non-experimental research designs involve the usage of all manner of different factors. Any time the facets of a research design are different than the aforementioned ones of an experimental design, this design would now be classified as an experimental design. Although there are many types of non-experimental design methods, the experimental design method has been proven to be more of a valid design, mainly due to its rigidity (Price, 2016).
My research proposal, entitled, “Artificial Intelligence: A Dangerous Future”, will be focused on the potential outcomes of arming artificial intelligence (AI) and of giving AI access to certain administrative facets of military and police jobs. Because of this, I will be utilizing a non-experimental design. More specifically, this design in particular will be the qualitative design. I will be placing the main focus of my research gathering on the method of gathering data and peer reviewed articles, along with other research from experts in their fields which I will deem relevant to my research proposal. A qualitative design involves data which is gathered in large amounts from a small number of experts of their fields. From this gathered and qualifiable data, the researcher may draw a conclusion or at least gain more of an understanding about a topic than the researcher previously had. I plan on utilizing a combination of research done into this topic and of interviews and other material I can glean and research from various credible sources online.
Colorado State University. (2016). Basic concepts of experimental and quasi-experimental research. Retrieved from http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1361&guideid=64.
Price, P.C. (2016). Overview of nonexperimental research. Research methods in psychology: Core concepts and skills. Flat World Education.