The research question under study is ‘What is the effect of alcohol and drug abuse among university students?’ Design of an experiment will be based on a classical design (Sridhar, 2012). In the experiment, a group of 30 students who are alcohol or drug abusers will be studied for a period of one semester. This group will represent the experiment group. Another group of 30 students who are not drug or alcohol abusers will be studied for the same period of one semester. Therefore, the sample population will be chosen from university students in one faculty of study so as to ensure that all of them are subject to the same academic challenges. The process of assigning research participants will be selective in order to ensure that drug and alcohol users are chosen for the experiment group and non-users are chosen for the control group. The independent variable in this experiment will be represented by the degrees of drug or alcohol abuse. The dependent variable will be academic achievements. The causal relationship between the two is hypothesized to show that the use of alcohol and drugs has a negative effect on academic performance of students.
Bias arises from instances when a researcher has a specific perception of a study subject. Therefore, the research activities and results are most likely to be leaned towards the perception of a researcher (Hartman, Forsen, Wallace, & Neely, 2002). In the research study identified above, a biased question would be ‘How has the drug and alcohol abuse contributed to your low academic performance?’ While asking this question, the researcher has already made up his/ her mind that drug and alcohol abuse leads to the decrease in academic performance of users. Therefore, the research is not open for other results, hence is affected by the researcher bias. In such research, it is difficult to come up with results and conclusions which are independent of the researcher’s biased opinion.
A research project which can only be done via the use of participant observation methodology is a study on the efficiency and effects of a certain drug. It is mostly done by drug research and development companies. The close relationship between a participant and a researcher, which is foreseen by this method, enables a researcher to observe the finer details of the progress, responsiveness of a participant to the variable or element which is introduced to him or her. In such kind of a medical research project, a participant observation methodology is the best one to use. This is because it enables a researcher to have a chance to note critical details which are under study; hence, putting him/her in a better position to explain the course of an experiment (Kawulich, 2005).
Content analysis involves the analysis of human communications which have been recorded previously. These communications may include conversations, paintings, and writings, among others. On the other hand, comparative historical analysis involves examining literature on specific subjects under study and comparing the information and data from the sources used to come up with a conclusion (Mahoney & Rueschemeyer, 2003). A research project which can be analyzed using either content analysis or comparative historical analysis is a study of racial discrimination in America. In such study, a researcher may analyze all available literature and compare it to come up with a conclusion. He/she may also undertake a content analysis on communications used to convey messages related to this topic; for instance, songs, poems, speeches, and pictures. This methodology has been chosen due to the fact that the subject under the research is a social event which has already occurred; hence, the only method which can be used to analyze it is a theoretical analysis of the topic.