Research Methods for Everyday Life

Introduction

Collecting data is different from presenting because the process of collection is just putting together facts that support an idea. The researcher understands the nature of a particular phenomenon by studying the data and interpreting it suit the hypothesis. This is not the case with the audience since they might not be professionals in the field of research, researchers therefore; device best ways of research presentation familiarizes the audience with collected information.

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Statistical Methods of Research Presentation

The commonly used methods are the mode, mean and median though the mean is mostly applied because it is not affected by extreme figures and has a universal formula unlike the median, which is affected by higher figures. The mean is obtained by dividing the sum of data by the number of items in the data. The mean considers all items in the series and further mathematical manipulation is possible. The mean is effected by measuring its measure of dispersion such as the range and the inter quartile range. Dispersion caters for variation of central tendency and description of data in distributions. The method is for statisticians or other learned members of the society (Lewis-Beck, 1995, p. 72).

Written, Visual and Oral Methods

The investigators may choose to present their researches using written or visual methods but observe certain formats that must be used consistently. Some researchers prefer oral presentation or use of soft ware such as power point presentation. The level of audience’s education and social class determine the method to be applied (Bowman, 1998).

Use of Diagrams

Diagrams and graphs are for lay people because they are easy to compare and interpret. They only give approximations hence cannot give much information as compared to tables (statistical methods). They include the use of pictograms, pie charts, bar charts and histograms. Diagrams must have titles, should be neat, simple, should have proper scale and finally include an index explaining different shades.

Quantitative Research Design

Introduction

The budgets in many governmental organizations are affected by economic obligations and are not expected to get better soon. Governmental institutions are faced by a challenge of establishing a middle path between using limited budgetary allocations and offering high quality service. It is a big challenge because government departments have limited qualified personnel making to contract experts from private sectors to boost service delivery. Investigators from both government and private non-profit institutions are studying the new trend and assessing whether it will bring high quality.

This plan examines Long’s (2011) ideas about testing cognition by contrasting the incidences of public sectors’ relationship with other non-profit agencies. The population studied is not for profit administrative leaders. The independent variable is definitely not for profit senior managers with long-term experience. The variable depending on others is whether the top management is in any kind of relationship with non-profit organizations.

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Hypotheses

Hypothesis1. The non-profit top managers occupying senior positions in governmental institutions should have advanced rates of excellence in unifying cooperation between public and non-profit sectors unlike the organizations with directors lacking public experience.

Hypothesis2. The administrators in non-profit sectors who have ever held public sector positions for significant periods occupy top positions.

Methodology-Strengths and Weaknesses

The investigation is conducted in line with Creswell’s recommendation, which suggest that participants should be chosen using non-random convenience sampling technique. The respondents should be from different cultures and social influences to enhance representativeness. The sample should be statistically correct to facilitate generalization (Creswell, 2009).

The question to ask oneself is whether the manager in the non-profit organization has ever held a public office. The investigator can as well aspire to know whether the non-profit organization under study has ever been in relationship with any public institution, this statement though acts as a dependant variable.

One of the strengths of the method is in instrumentation since the research takes the case of a survey. The study utilizes the services of a standardized data collection tool called a questionnaire. The survey study instrument tests the groups that participated in sampling to validate and filter survey matters. The researcher mails the questions to respondents who are supposed to fill them and submit within specified period. The researcher can, as well employ an assistant to distribute questionnaires in case interpretation of questions is needed (Creswell, 2009).

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One of the weaknesses of survey is that experiments depend on the researcher’s determination of gathering large amount of data. The investigator needs to categorize the respondents into those who have ever served in the public service, those who have never served and those who do not have knowledge about public sectors. The research is internally threatened by history arising from timeframe factor of civil service employment, non-random selection. Externally, historical relations with civil service interfere with findings.

Analyzing the Data to Answer the Questions

The researcher provides the comprehensive milieu of data in the findings of research by evaluating the data for more imminent information pertaining to relationships between public and non-profit. The researcher establishes other independent variables that crops up in the process of data collection such as gender, period of administration, age and type of relations between public and non-profit organization. The researcher balances the results with hypothesis and sees whether they match. By so doing, the investigator establishes whether the survey was able to address the question ‘does experience in public sector determine an individual’s success in managing non-profit organization? (Long, 2011)

Qualitative Research Design

This kind of research design addresses phenomena that is complex and cannot be quantified. The researchers apply it when they want to understand the reasons for human behavior, which aim at discovering the underlying issues. It uses interviews, word association texts, sentence completion texts and other similar techniques. For this case, it is utilized to explain how non-profit executives think about the partnership with public sector. The aim here is to understand the motives of behavior pertaining to non-profit organizational leaders. It is possible to analyze the different kinds of factors, which motivate leaders to behave in particular ways as far as non-profit management is concerned. The purpose of this paper is to uncover the meaning of trust as observed through the viewpoints of non-profit organizations and their role in inter-agency partnerships. The phenomenological inquiry enables understanding of non-profit experiences in partnerships, which facilitate trust among them (King, 2004, p. 42).

Hypothesis and Research Questions

  • Hpothesis 1. Trust is what keeps the inter-agencies together, mistrust derail any efforts of achieving collective goals.
  • Hpothesis 2. Nonprofit organizations are expected to be more accountable and they are depended upon by public sectors due to their clean records in offering quality service.

The questions as earlier stated must follow Creswell’s theory of setting research questions in qualitative studies. The research questions for the inter-agency partnership include:

  1. Asking whether there exist any trust experience among officials working in inter-agency relationships. This serves to describe the exact position of the phenomena by giving full details of the study.
  2. The researcher needs to be sensitive on the theories that can be developed from the study by asking what kind of trust theory can be extracted from the work of non-profits in their quest for collaborating with public sectors. The focus is on development of grounded theory, as is the aim of all forms o researches.
  3. Actually how is trust described and expressed in non-profit organizations who work in inter-agency partnerships. This question seeks to answer the methodology used in collecting data.
  4. The last question will be concerning perception and social constructs among partners. The researcher seeks to uncover the deep instincts of leaders in non-profit organizations as far as trust is concerned.

The researcher works from unknown in attempting to uncover the behaviors of leaders. This implies that inductive theorizing is employed. The researcher needs to be careful in collecting information by recording every statement from the respondent. Data is collected in form of words, pictures or even objects. Since the design aims at giving detailed description, the researcher needs to be available himself to study the trends and variables. The emphasis is on subjective truth implying that reality has to be understood from respondent’s viewpoints. Each occurrence is treated independently hence efforts intended at summarizing data are discouraged (Quinn, 2002, p. 252).

Mixed Method

This research design is more reliable because it combines the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative researches. The weaknesses associated with each method are counterbalanced resulting to results that are more lenient. It starts with qualitative research by giving details of experiences and reasons for behavior among officials in the non-profit organizations. At this moment, little is known about them. The researcher only knows a pinch about inter-agency partnerships. Information is gathered trough narration. The researcher is directly engaged in collection process meaning that there is no substitution (Vanderstoep and Johnston, 2009, p. 308).

After that, the investigator moves to classify features of groups within the non-profit sector, count them and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed among them. The researcher at this point this summarizes details mathematically. It follows that the researcher knows much in advance when undertaking quantitative research. The research is recommended at advanced stage of the mixed model. The research aims at establishing the link between dependant and independent variables and their effect on partnerships in inter-agency cooperation (Vanderstoep and Johnston, 2009, p. 313).

Hypothesis and Research Questions

  • Hypothesis 1. Gender and age are the two factors that affect partnerships the most in relations between public sector and non-profit organizations.
  • Hypothesis 2. Older employees in the non-profit organizations are more conservative than the younger ones and tend to force their ideas irrespective of whether they are sound or not.

Some research questions are formulated to act as guides to answering specific questions. Again, the Croswell’s ideas were borrowed in forging these questions:

  1. What is the distribution ratio of men to women in non-profit organizations’ management, are they equally represented in decision-making.
  2. What could be the average age of top executive in the non-profit sector, does it have any implication in policymaking.
  3. Do individual behaviors such as mannerisms and level of individual orientation to the world affect inter-agency partnerships? For instance, some experts identify themselves with socialism while others are capitalists.
  4. How does individual experience contribute to high privileges in non-profit organizations?

Research Methodology

The study as earlier noted has an advantage because it benefits from the strengths of both methods. It should therefore employ fully integrated research design. The biases associated with qualitative designs are done away with. The use of standardized data collection tool comes in handy. The questionnaire, which is structured, should be used to collect information pertaining to age, gender and their effect on inter-agency partnerships. The issue of gender is so sensitive hence; the questionnaires should be made in such a way that they do not contain leading questions.

The researcher should avoid selection bias at the qualitative stage by observing and engaging various groups in discussions other than concentrating on the few known to them. The researcher keeps away from personal biases by using the data to interpret the results other than applying own knowledge and experiences (Plano & Creswell, 2010, p. 193).

Conclusion

For there to be valid findings in any field, researchers should learn to complement research designs. One design is not sufficient because weaknesses may exceed strengths. The mixed model finds its way in every day’s life because its ability to explain and compute data effectively. Anecdotal research is not helpful because information contained therein cannot explain an event or situation thoroughly; likewise, generalization of too much information is helpless since it cannot be applied in real practice.

References

Bowman, D. (1998). Presentations, Madison WI. F+W Publications Inc.

Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

King, N. & Horrocks, C. (2009). Interviews in Qualitative Research. London, UK: Sage.

Lewis-Beck, S. (1995). Data Analysis: an Introduction, Thousand Oaks, NJ: Sage Publications Inc.

Long, J. (2011). Experiential cognition theory applied. Journal of mixed metaphors, 23(1). Sage.

Plano, V. & Creswell, J.W. (2010). Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Quinn, M. (2002). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods, 3 Ed. Thousand Oaks, NJ: Sage Publications.

Vanderstoep, S. & Johnston, D. (2009). Research methods for everyday life: blending qualitative and quantitative approaches. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons.

Research Methods for Everyday Life
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