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Correlational, experimental and quasi-experimental research

Correlation research represents an analysis where a researcher correlates a variable with other variables for the purpose of determining whether relationships exist between them. Correlation form of research is utilized for the purpose of initiating the process of experimentation. Correlational research is, indeed, utilized to help determine when research is viable and ethical, especially when based on the practicability of the ideas at hand. Correlational research differs from other types of studies in a sense that researchers are not bent on manipulating variables but on gathering the necessary data through such methods as observation, questionnaires or surveys, and evaluation of archived information (Bordens & Abbott, 2003).

In most cases, experimental and quasi-experimental research studies are utilized for conducting some forms of controlled testing, especially on causal processes. Quasi-experimental and experimental research studies represent a general procedure where one or several variables are utilized and manipulated to help determine the effects on some other dependent variables. These designs are utilized in situations whereby time is prioritized, especially in a causal relationship, i.e. the relationship that exists between one event and another (the effect). In this case, the effect is considered to be the result of the causing event. In these studies, some form of consistency in the causal relationship exists when the cause agent always prompts the same effects. For an experimental research to proceed, the correlation magnitude has to be wide. Experimental and quasi-experimental research studies are mostly applied in such areas as experimental economics and marketing research. It proves to be extremely useful in these areas as it incorporates some aspects of social work, psychology, as well as sociology (Schum, 1987).

Data and data collection methods are determined by the nature of the problem as well as resources and time availability. Data is, in most instances, collected through the application of secondary sources. If reliable data is unavailable from the available literature, researchers are forced to collect primary data through other methods, which include surveys, experiments, observations as well as other in-depth techniques (Bordens & Abbott, 2005).

Research Planning

A study aimed at gauging the community’s satisfaction with the school system necessitates planning which help establish causality, i.e. the relationship that exists between one event and another (the effect). In this case, the effect ought to be, presumably, resulting from the causing event. The candidates for the causes and effects need to include facts such social-demographic data, variables, and the states of affairs like the expected and the realized performance. Some of these candidates need to be characterized by causal relationships, although these relationships do, at times, elicit much debate (Schum, 1987).

During the study, it is important to frame the querying process in a manner that enhances confidence with the results. The plan needs to incorporate data validation strategies that help in cross verifying several sources. In addition, the effectiveness of the study would be enhanced by combining the application of various methodological analyses while studying the perception of community members in regard to the schools in their locality. Combining multiple observations, empirical materials, and qualitative as well as quantitative methods will enable the research to avoid problems and intrinsic biases associated with a single observation, theory, and or use of a particular research method. Consequently, adequate samples, theory development, collection of a reliable set of data, and analysis have to be accomplished.

Broadening of the research questions during data collection provides for more flexibility in situations that facilitate the tackling of the matters which may arise once the study begins. Such social studies as evaluation of a community’s satisfaction with schools necessitate the utilization of methods that present broad options and enable researchers to select various tools for gathering data. For example, in addition to interviews, it would be significant to have the possibility to take notes and make observations of the prevailing circumstances in the researched institutions. In regard to qualitative data collection, the study should concentrate on such methods that would qualify inter-relationships between variables. The instruments used in gathering the data should facilitate the establishment of these inter-relationships as the researcher seeks to clarify and encourage the participants to air their views. However, the methods employed should not detach the research from the research work and its final output (Yin, 2009).

It would be imperative to search for those procedures that avoid biased data collection and findings presentations as they would avert future disorientation. In fact, disorientation would bar credible evaluation of the cause and effect relations that are evident between the discrete and pre-selected variables. For this reason, significant quantitative approaches will be utilized to avoid subjectivity when collecting and exploring the information about the issue of community satisfaction with the schools. Moreover, quantitative techniques will constitute specific research methodologies which will help make the data reliable.

Consequently, the research planning will undergo the following ultimate stages:

  • Development of research question and hypotheses;
    Identification of population and relevant samples (school students, teachers, community leaders, public experts in education, and random community members);
  • Collection of qualitative data (e.g. interviews, focus groups);
  • Collection of quantitative data (surveys, scale observations);
  • Data analysis for establishing relationship between community satisfaction with schools and significant variable within population samples;
  • Drawing conclusions and their representation.

Research Provisions

Decisive determination of how the community perceives its schools will necessitate the participation of all categories of the stakeholders, especially the guardians, community leaders, sponsors, as well as school authorities. The responses from the sample group representing students will also be necessary. Specially prepared questionnaires will be presented to the sample groups of students and teachers. The items in these questionnaires will be attained following an excise that facilitates the identification of the items which the community considers vital for evaluation. The samples of teachers and students will be representative of the entire school fraternity population. It is for this reason that they are termed as sample groups (Yin, 2009).

To be fair, the selection of the sample groups should be random in order to provide equal chances for  any individual of the sample become a participant of an interview or focus group session. It is, therefore, imperative to define the target population before sampling strategy commences. As many members as possible should, therefore, be involved in the selection of the sample. This will facilitate the realization of effective representation of the target population. For the purpose of ensuring that the data collected is uniform, it is imperative to utilize standardized data collection methods. Of course, every case or circumstance is unique and, as such, slight variations are unavoidable. Consequently, the research assistants and other teachers would perform excellently if properly guided.

Personal Reflection

The review of the current study and research has been satisfactory so far in terms of identifying necessary data, population and sampling, and research methods. Review of available literature might be insufficient and, thus, needs to be continued as there are many other relevant researches as well as new pieces of information becoming available with time. Nevertheless, the literature review is satisfactory, and can be assumed to be an adequate ground for facilitating progress and further progression of the research. The methodological section is well thought and considered in regard to the appropriateness of the topic and procedures that guide progress and determination of the research. As indicated earlier, the most frustrating aspect of this study is ineluctability of variations during the data collection stage. These variations, no matter how insignificant, have a significant impact in the latter stages of research. This is evident during data analysis and, consequently, may affect research conclusions. Like with most successful studies, it is interesting how the research may avail new pieces of information and knowledge. Additionally, it has been empowering to learn how to tackle challenges, even when they happen unexpectedly.

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