Research Methods

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  • Research Methods
    • Correlation: When a change in one variable is associated with a change in another variable (said to co vary) - Statistical technique which measures the relationship between two variables. Correlation coefficient = test of correlation. Value on scale between +1 & -1.
    • Questionnaires:: Allows researchers to ask questions about things and can be conducted face to face, internet, post or phone. Two types: 1) Closed questions: researcher determines the range of possible answers (quantitative data)  2) Open ended questions: the researcher doesn't  chose the range of available answers, allows them to answer in words (qualitative data)
      • Strengths - Simplicity : Once developed they can be used with a minimum of training, quantitative data obtained through closed questions are easy to analyse so easy to compare answers * Speed and cost: large amounts of information can be gathered fairly quickly and cheaply from a large number of respondents within a short period of time
      • Weaknesses: Problems with question wording: If the wording of the question is ambigouous, then respondents may interpret  the question in a different way and their answers may reflect this, Different interpretationsof language can also be problamatic, E.g. there may be  different interpretations of the word rarely.
    • Interviews - 3 types of interviews: 1) Structured interviews: Questions decided in advanced, produces quantitative data. 2) Unstructured interviews: less ridiged, starts with one or two set questions and further questions pick up on issues that the interviewee raises. Qualitative data 3)  Semi structured interview: Some prepared questions with opportunity for the interviewee to expand their answers.
      • Strengths - *Flexible - can enable the researcher to explore complex issues that may be difficult to investigate using other techniques. Can tailor questions to responses of interviewee so that issues can be explored in depth. * Tackling sensitive topics - Interviews also allow the researchers to identify aspects of behavior that are private or personal to the individual concerned.
      • Weaknesses: - *Social desirability bias: :Demand characteristics may also occur where those being interviewed provide answers that cast them in a favorable light or are intended to impress the interview rather than truthful answers..


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