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Descriptive Research methods. Dr. Surej P John. Main Topics . C onceptual Framework Hypothesis development Descriptive research methods Survey Observation. The Theoretical/Conceptual Framework.
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Descriptive Research methods Dr. Surej P John
Main Topics • Conceptual Framework • Hypothesis development • Descriptive research methods • Survey • Observation
The Theoretical/Conceptual Framework • The primary purpose of the conceptual framework is to lead to hypotheses that are subject to testing. • The conceptual framework may be viewed as an analysis of the research problem using a theory. • In a conceptual framework development, the theories are identified and then used in a conceptual analysis of the specific research problem.
Need for a conceptual framework • It is not necessary to include a conceptual framework in every research • The Theoretical framework discusses the interrelationships among the variables that are deemed to be integral to the dynamics of the situation being investigated. • Developing such a conceptual framework helps us postulate or hypothesize and test certain relationships and thus to improve our understanding of the dynamics of the situation.
Type of variables in a conceptual framework: • The dependent variable (also known as the criterion variable) • The independent variable (also known as the predictor variable) • The moderating variables • The mediating variables.
The Dependent variable (DV) • The dependent variable is the variable of primary interest to the researcher. • The researcher’s goal is to understand and describe the dependent variable, or to explain its variability, or predict it. • Through the analysis of the dependent variable, it is possible to find answers or solutions to the problem.
The Independent Variable ( IV) • An independent variable is the one that influences the dependent variable in either a positive or negative way. • With each unit of increase in the independent variable, there is an increase or decrease in the dependent variable also. (the variance in the dependent variable is accounted for by the independent variable.
The Moderating variable • The moderating variable is one that has a strong contingent effect on the independent-dependent variable relationship. • That is, the presence of a third variable (the moderating variable) modifies the original relationship between the independent and the dependent variables.
Mediating variable • A mediating variable is also known as intervening variable. • In statistics, a mediating variable refers to the variable that explains how, rather than when an effect will occur by accounting for the relationship between the independent and dependent variables.
Hypotheses and hypotheses testing • Hypotheses result from the reasoning done in the conceptual framework. • Hypotheses are tentative assertions that are subject to testing. • Hypotheses can take the form of a simple proposition of an expected outcome, or can assert the existence of a relationship • Hypotheses need to be testable and refutable.
Hypotheses development • H1: There is a relationship between cost of the studies and college choice decision • H2: There is a relationship between Location and college choice decision • H3: There is a relationship between High School personnel and college choice decision • H4: There is a relationship between Peers and friends and college choice decision • H5: There is a relationship between Programs offered and college choice decision • H6: There is a relationship between Campus visit and college choice decision.
Descriptive research • Descriptive research, is used to describe characteristics of a population or phenomenon being studied. • It does not answer questions about how/when/why the characteristics occurred. Rather it addresses the "what" question (What are the characteristics of the population or situation being studied?) • Survey & Observation are the most common descriptive research methods.
Survey Methods • The survey method of obtaining information is based on questioning respondents. • Perhaps the biggest issue researchers face is how to motivate respondents to candidly answer their questions. • Questions regarding behavior, intentions, attitudes, awareness, motivations, and demographic and lifestyle characteristics all lend themselves to survey research.
Advantages of Survey Methods • Ease: Questionnaires are relatively easy to administer. • Reliability: Using fixed-response (multiple-choice) questions reduces variability in the results that may be caused by differences in interviewers and enhances reliability of the responses. • Simplicity: It also simplifies coding, analysis, and interpretation of data.
Disadvantages of Survey Methods • Respondents may be unable or unwilling to provide the desired information. • Structured data collection involving a questionnaire with fixed-response choices may result in loss of validity for certain types of data, such as beliefs and feelings. • Properly wording questions is not easy.
Figure 7.4 Classification of Survey Methods Classification of Survey Methods Survey Methods Electronic Telephone Personal Mail In-Home Mail/Fax Interview E-Mail Traditional Telephone Mall Intercept Mail Panel Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing Internet
Personal In-Home Interviews • Respondents are interviewed face-to-face in their homes. • The interviewer's task is to contact the respondents, ask the questions, and record the responses. • In recent years, the use of personal in-home interviews has declined.
Mall-Intercept Personal Interviews • Respondents are intercepted in shopping in malls. • The process involves stopping the shoppers, screening them for appropriateness, and either administering the survey on the spot or inviting them to a research facility located in the mall to complete the interview.
Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) • The respondent sits in front of a computer terminal and answers a questionnaire on the screen by using the keyboard or a mouse. • Help screens and courteous error messages are provided. • The colorful screens and on- and off-screen stimuli add to the respondent's interest and involvement in the task.
Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) • This method has been classified as a personal interview technique since an interviewer is usually present to serve as a host and to guide the respondent as needed. • This approach is used in shopping malls, preceded by the intercept and screening process described earlier.
Self-Administered Surveys • This is a data collection technique in which the respondent reads the survey questions and records his or her own answers without the presence of a trained interviewer.
Self-Administered Surveys Advantages: • Low cost per survey • Respondent control • No interviewer-respondent bias • Anonymity in responses Disadvantages • Minimum flexibility • High non response rate • Slow data collection
Mail Surveys • A typical mail interview package consists of the outgoing envelope, cover letter, questionnaire, postage-paid return envelope, and possibly an incentive. • Those individuals motivated to do so complete and return the questionnaire through the mail. • There is no verbal interaction between the researcher and the respondent.
Mail Panels • Mail panels consist of a large and nationally representative sample of individuals who have agreed to participate in periodic survey research. • Incentives in the form of cash or gifts are often offered to the individuals who agree to participate.
Mail Panels • Once the individuals have been admitted to the panel, detailed demographic and lifestyle data are collected on each household. • The researcher uses this information to select targeted mailing lists within the panel based on client needs.
Email Surveys • If the addresses are known, the survey can simply be mailed electronically to respondents included in the sample. • Respondents key in their answers and send an e-mail reply.
Internet Surveys • An Internet survey is a questionnaire posted on a Web site that is self administered by the respondent. • The questions are displayed on the screen and the respondents provide answers by clicking an icon, keying in an answer, or highlighting a phrase. • Web survey systems are available for constructing and posting Internet surveys.
Internet Surveys • As compared to email surveys, Internet surveys offer more flexibility, greater interactivity, personalization, automatic skip patterns and visual appeal. • Several Web sites, such as WebSurveyor, surveymonkey, Google form etc. allow users to design surveys online without downloading the software.
Observation Methods Mechanical Observation Content Analysis Personal Observation Trace Analysis Audit A Classification of Observation Methods Classifying Observation Methods
Observation MethodsPersonal Observation • A researcher observes actual behavior as it occurs. • The observer does not attempt to manipulate the phenomenon being observed but merely records what takes place. • For example, a researcher might record traffic counts and observe traffic flows in a department store.