Research Methodology Section Dissertation

This would give you a very good idea of the variety of ideas and feelings people have, it would enable them to think and talk for longer and so show their feelings and views more fully.

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Their layout is an art form in itself because in poorly laid out questionnaires respondents tend, for example, to repeat their ticking of boxes in the same pattern.

If given a choice of response on a scale 1-5, they will usually opt for the middle point, and often tend to miss out subsections to questions.

The Household Survey and Census ask closed questions, and often market researchers who stop you in the street do too.

You might ask them to indicate how true for them a certain statement was felt to be, and this too can provide both a closed response, and one which can be quantified (30% of those asked said they never ate rice, while 45% said they did so regularly at least once a week... The problem with closed questions is that they limit the response the interviewee can give and do not enable them to think deeply or test their real feelings or values.

Look at the very brief outlines of different methods below.

Consider which you intend using and whether you could also find it more useful to combine the quantitative with the qualitative.If you are going to use interviews you will have to decide whether you will take notes (distracting), tape the interview (accurate but time consuming) rely on your memory (foolish) or write in their answers (can lead to closed questioning for time’s sake).If you decide to interview you will need to draw up an interview schedule of questions which can be either closed or open questions, or a mixture of these.Data is often used to generate new hypotheses based on the results of data collected about different variables.One’s colleagues are often much happier about the ability to verify quantitative data as many people feel safe only with numbers and statistics.However, often collections of statistics and number crunching are not the answer to understanding meanings, beliefs and experience, which are better understood through qualitative data.And quantitative data, it must be remembered, are also collected in accordance with certain research vehicles and underlying research questions.You will need to ensure that questions are clear, and that you have reliable ways of collecting and managing the data.Setting up a questionnaire that can be read by an optical mark reader is an excellent idea if you wish to collect large numbers of responses and analyse them statistically rather than reading each questionnaire and entering data manually.This is a common approach and helps you to 'triangulate' ie to back up one set of findings from one method of data collection underpinned by one methodology, with another very different method underpinned by another methodology - for example, you might give out a questionnaire (normally quantitative) to gather statistical data about responses, and then back this up and research in more depth by interviewing (normally qualitative) selected members of your questionnaire sample.For further information see Chapter 8 of by Gina Wisker.

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