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To conduct research is to collect, analyze, and interpret data systematically so as to answer specific questions about a phenomenon of interest. These questions may be derived from conjectures about (a) an efficacious cause that brings about the phenomenon, (b) the intrinsic nature of the phenomenon, or (c) how the phenomenon is related to other phenomena. Tentative answers to these questions are research hypotheses if they are (a) consistent with the to-be-explained phenomenon, (b) specific enough to serve as guidelines for conducting research, and (c) testable (i.e., there are well-defined criteria of rejection).

Depending on the level of abstraction adopted, underlying an empirical research are three hypotheses at different levels of theoretical sophistication or specificity, namely, substantive, program, and individual research hypotheses (see Table 1).

A practical ...

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