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Research Design

Quantitative Methods

According to John W. Creswell, two methods used in research for data collection are the survey method plan and the experimental method plan. The difference between the survey and experimental method plan is that a survey design provides the trends, attitudes, and opinions of a population through the study of a sample, but an experimental design tests a variable that can impact the outcome. Both the survey method plan and the experimental method plan contain many components.

In a survey method plan, the first part of this method is to introduce the purpose of the survey research. The participants should be able to know whether the survey is cross-sectional or longitudinal, and how the data will be collected, such as through mail, Internet, or interviews. In order to choose a sample from a population for survey, random sampling is the ideal method for selection. In random sampling, every individual in the population has an equal chance of being selected. To select a sample through random sampling, choose a random start on a list of people and then select every X number of people. In the survey method plan, the researcher must also name the survey instrument used for data collection. For example, surveys can be made online through products such as Survey Monkey and Zoomerang. After data has been collected from the surveys, the information needs to be analyzed. In the interpretation of the data, there must be a method to determine response bias. In addition, the analysis should include the means, standard deviations, and range for independent and dependent variables.

Creswell states that an experimental method plan includes the participants, materials, procedures, and measures. Participants in the experimental design can be selected through quasi-experiment or true experiment. Quasi experiment does not have individuals randomly assigned to groups, while the true experiment does. Variables in the experimental design need to be clearly specified in order for the results to be measured and analyzed. The procedures for experimental design includes: identifying the type of experimental design being used, such as quasi, true, or single subject experiments; identifying what is being compared; and providing a diagram to illustrate the research design. There can be many threats in an experimental design that influence the validity of the results. Researchers need to be aware of internal and external threats. Internal threats can be experimental procedures, participants, and treatments. External validity threats are incorrect inferences and analysis made by the experimenter.

In research design, once the purpose and hypotheses has been determined, the researcher should determine the method for data collection and analysis. Either the survey design or experimental design can be used depending on the researcher’s questions and hypotheses. Researchers should conclude which quantitative research method will provide information to support or not support their hypotheses.

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