TRADE PROJECT NOTES

TOPIC 1

INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODS.

BRIEF OVERVIEW

The managers of tomorrow will need to know more than any managers in history.  Research will be a major contributor to that knowledge.  Managers will find knowledge of research methods to be of value in many situations.  Business research has an inherent value to the extent that it helps the management make better decisions. Interesting information about consumers, employers or competitors might be pleasant to have but its value is limited if the information cannot be applied to a critical decision.  If a study does not help the management to select more efficient, less risky, or more profitable alternatives than otherwise would be the case, its use should be questioned.  The important point is that research in a business environment finds its justification in the contribution it makes to the decision maker’s task and to the bottom line.

At the minimum, one objective of this study material is to make you a more intelligent consumer of research products prepared others, as well as be able to do quality research for your own decisions and those of others to whom you report.

Governments have allocated billions of dollars to support  research, driven motivation to overcome disease or to improve the human condition.  Nations driven threat of war and national pride have also played a major role in the advance of physical science.  Much of the findings of their research are in the public domain.

Business research is of much more recent origin and is largely supported business organizations that hope to achieve a competitive advantage.  Research methods and findings cannot be patented, and sharing findings often results in a loss of competitive advantage; “The more valuable the research result is, the greater the value in keeping it secret.”  Under such conditions, access to findings is obviously restricted.  Even though there is a growing amount of academic business research it receives meager support when compared to research in the physical sciences.

Business research operates in a less favorable environment in other ways too.  Physical research is normally conducted under controlled laboratory conditions. Business research normally deals with topics such as human attitudes behavior, and performance.  People think they already know a lot about these topics and do not really accept research findings that differ from their opinions.

Even with these hindrances, business researchers are making great strides in the scientific arena.  New techniques are being developed, and vigorous research procedures are advancing rapidly.  Computers and powerful analytical methods have contributed to this movement but a greater understanding of the basic principles of sound research is more important. One outcome of these trends is that research-based decision making will be more widely used in the future than it has been in the past.  Managers who are not prepared for this change will be at a severe disadvantage.

Business research could encompass the study of human resource management, marketing research, entrepreneurship  etc. for example, in marketing research we could address issues pertaining to product image, advertising, sales promotions, packaging and branding, pricing, new product development.

HINTS.

  • Clear title ,A study of the Factors that Enhance the Organisational Commitment of Employees.
  • Avoid jargons.
  • Avoid using ambiguous words and sentences.
  • Avoid plagiarism-Anti plagiarism software exists in the market.
  • Always plan your work-Failing to plan, is planning to fail.
  • Conform to stipulated guidelines font,font size,spacing,header,footer
  • Tense to use when developing proposal and project.
  • Recommened sample is usually 10% from population.
  • Avoid using 1.0,2.0 instead use 1.1,2.1
  • Cover page-Centre your details.
  • Chapters-centre
  • Sub headings-Sentence case and prepositions should be in lower case.
  • Conform to APA 6th edition format ( American Psychological ) referencing style
  • No fullstop at the end.
  • Capture author sur-name.
  • 10 years down the line 2020-10=2010

Example

Kamau,J(2006) Methods of Research OR

Kamau,J(2006) Methods of Research(3rd ed.)Longhorn Publications Nairobi

  • Capture Appendices (Any detail that reinforces the body of the proposal and project can be included in an appendix)
  • Time schedule
  • Budget
  • Data collection instruments and any other document that the researcher may consider important for the readers

REPORT/PROJECT FORMAT

  • Preliminary information
  • Chapter One: Introduction
  • Chapter Two: Literature Review
  • Chapter Three: Methodology
  • Chapter Four: Data Analysis Presentation, and Interpretation
  • Chapter Five: Summary of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations

References; names of authors of books reviewed. Use APA style.

 

INTRODUCTION

Definitions of research.

  • Research is a structured inquiry/enquiry that makes use of scientific method (step step) of investigation to generate new knowledge and solve problems.
  • Kerlinger Fred N. has defined scientific research as a systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of natural phenomena guided theory and hypothesis about the presumed relations among such phenomena.
  • C Crawford defines research as a systematic and refined technique of thinking, employing specialized tools, instruments and procedures in order to obtain a more adequate solution to a problem.
  • Research can be defined as a careful and systematic means of solving a problem.
  • Research also involves critical analysis of existing conclusions or theories with regard to new existing facts.
  • Research is a process of arriving at effective solutions to problems through systematic collections, analysis and interpretation of data.

 

WHY STUDY RESEARCH?/IMPORTANCE/PURPOSE/USES OF RESEARCH STUDY/METHODS.

  1. To generate new knowledge-Through research we open up and acquire advanced knowledge discovering new facts and even adding to existing ones on a given phenomenon.
  2. Development of theories-Through research, we are able to formulate concepts, laws and generalizations about a phenomenon.Research may also be done to test previous theories so as to affirm or refute them.
  3. Description of phenomena-We may wish to describe for example what happens when substance A is added to substance B.The aim of description is to answer the following questions;
  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • How
  • Where

For example, Factors leading to poor performance among primary school students in Nairobi county.

A phenomenon may be described in terms of size, weight, color, age, shape and change over time.

  • Explaining causality-Research tries to explain the cause and effect of relationship between or among phenomena, parameters or variables.
  • Generate data-Through research, we are able to gather data or information.Data can either be qualitative (in form of words) or quantitative (inform of statistics,facts and figures).
  • To make predictions-Information gained through research may be useful to predict a particular phenomenon e.g. Most time spent a candidate watching TV may lead to poor performance and an alcoholic may experience marriage breakup.
  • Educational research is considered a problem oriented activity that aims at improving conditions or solving problems in education-REPORT WRITING.

 

Examples of key issues

  • Crowded/congested classes
  • Shortage of chairs
  • Constrained infrastructure.

Educational research can also aim at improving decision making and planning in education eg form 1&2 being served meals together and form 3& 4 or considering freshers in vocational, colleges and universities in connection to accommodation due to their unfamiliarity with the new environment.

Research can be undertaken to satisfy an individual curiosity.

Research enables control-In scientific research, control is concerned with ability to regulate phenomenon under study.

Example: In Laboratory, rats are subjected to drugs that support growth and normal diet without drugs.

 

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF RESEARCH.

Basically refers to the methods of getting knowledge or information to use in research. We usually have four main methods.

  1. METHOD OF TENACITY.

People hold firmly to the truth because they have always known it to be true.

  1. METHOD OF AUTHORITY.

Refers to means of established beliefs. Example, If the bible or Koran says it, then it is so. Information received from someone with expertise e.g. from library, doctor,engineer,teachers,administrators,pharmcists,architectures,surveyors,security officer, scholar,parent,peer,adult,clergy etc.

  1. PRIORI METHOD/INTUITION METHOD.

Based on logical reasoning and not mainly on experience.

  1. METHOD OF SCIENCE.

Forms the basis of current research studies. This method is based on development of truth that is independent of our opinions, beliefs and reasons.

SUMMARY OF HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF RESEARCH-SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE.

  1. Experience-Human beings learn through experiences in their own life.
  2. Authority-One may report according to information adopted from an expert in a specialized area e.g. a doctor emphasizing that one can’t get/ AIDS via handshake.
  3. Intuition-This is the perception or explanation of an instinct. Refers to unexplained feelings you have that something is true even when you lack evidence or proof of it.
  4. Tradition-All human beings inherit a culture. Culture is a reflection of an adopted system of rules, standards and values.
  5. Research itself.

CHARACTERISTICS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

  1. Purposiveness: The research must have a definite aim and purpose for achieving objectives.
  2. Rigor: The research must have a good theoretical base and sound methodology that enables collection of the right of information for data analysis.
  3. Testability: This means that hypothesis must be developed after a study of the problem.
  4. Replicability: The results of the research and hypothesis should be supported in subsequent studies conducted under similar circumstances for confidence in the research design.
  5. Precision and confidence: This refers to how close the findings based on a sample are to the reality. the closer the results are to the predicted phenomena, the higher the precision. Confidence refers to the probability that estimates are correct.
  6. Objectivity: Conclusions drawn through interpretation of results of data analysis should be objective and based on facts from actual data collected/
  7. Generalizability: This refers to the scope of applicability of the research findings. The wider the range of applicability of solutions research, the more useful the research. It depends on the sampling design, instruments used for data collection and objectivity in the interpretation of data.
  8. Parsimony: This is the simplicity in explaining phenomena and challenges that occur in the application of solutions from research outcomes.
  9. Ethical-This is the most important characteristic in carrying out research.

CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD RESEARCH

Good research generates reliable data and follows the standards of scientific methods, which include:

  1. Clear definition of purpose of the research and research problem. This should include its scope, limitations and definition of terms.
  2. The research process should be described in sufficient detail to permit other researchers to repeat the research.
  3. The research design should be carefully planned to yield objective results. The sample of a population should include evidence of the degree of representation of the sample.
  4. High ethical standards must be applied. A research design must include safeguards against mental or physical harm to participants, exploitation, invasion of privacy and loss of dignity.
  5. Limitations of the study that may arise from research design must be revealed in the research report.
  6. Data analysis should be sufficiently adequate for revealing the significance of the research. Data analysis should give rise to findings and conclusions.
  7. Findings must be presented in clear, precise assertions that are carefully drawn. Presentation of data should be comprehensive and easily understood. Findings should be presented unambiguously
  8. Conclusions must be justified the data collected from the research, with detailed findings.
  9. The research report should contain information that gives the qualifications of the researcher for greater confidence in research reports.

 

TYPES OF RESEARCH.

CLASSIFICATION OF RESEARCH.

In business world there exists different kinds of problems. Consequently different types of research are also used. The following are the basic modes of classification:

  • The field of study in which the research is conducted. i.e. Discipline; for example educational research, sociological research, marketing research etc.
  • The place where the research is conducted. Hence we talk in forms of field research, laboratory research, community research etc.
  •  Application of the research – the way/mode in which the findings of the research will be used eg, Action research(small scale and situational), service research etc A good example is census that is mainly used the government to plan.
  • Purpose of the research i.e. basic research (pure and fundamental research), action research, applied research and evaluation research(analyze data to make a decision).
  • By methods of analysis, i.e., descriptive research(mean,mode,median,variance,standard deviation) and empirical research (practical rather than theory),
  • Character of data collected i.e. qualitative research and quantitative research.
  • Procedure/Design used – experimental research, survey research, observation or historical/documentary etc.

 

TYPES OF RESEARCH

  1. Basic research
  • It is also referred to as pure or fundamental research.
  • It is a type of research which is characterized a desire to know or to expound the frontiers of knowledge.
  • It is research based on the creation of new knowledge.
  • It is mainly theoretical and for advancement of knowledge.
  • Basic researchers are interested in deriving scientific knowledge which will be a broad base for further research.

2.Applied Research

  • The type of research which is conducted for purpose of improving present practice, normally applied research is conducted for the purposes of applying or testing theory and evaluating its usefulness in solving problems.
  • Applied research provides data to support theory or suggest the development of new theories. It is the research done with the intention of applying the results of its findings to solve specific problems, currently being experienced in an Organization.

3.Action Research

  • This is a small scale intervention in the functioning of the real world and a close examination of the effects of such interventions.
  • Normally situational and it is concerned with diagnosing a problem in a specific context and attempting to solve it in that context.
  • Conducted with the primary intention of solving a specific, immediate and concrete problem in a local setting.
  • Not concerned with whether the results of the study are generalized to other settings, since its major goal is to seek a solution to a given problem.
  • Limited in its contribution to theory, but it is useful because it provides answers to problems that cannot wait for theoretical solutions.

Examples;

  • Studies done on new teaching programmes in mathematics for secondary schools
  • Effective ways of dealing with absenteeism in work place
  • Effective ways of dealing with absenteeism in schools
  1. Descriptive Research
  • Undertaken in order to ascertain and be able to describe the characteristics of variables in a situation.
  • Descriptive studies are undertaken in organizations in order to learn about and describe characteristics of employees. g. Education level, job status, length of service etc
  • The most prevalent method of gathering information in a descriptive study is the questionnaire. Others include: interviews, job analysis, documentary analysis etc.
  • Descriptive statistics such as the mean, standard, deviation, frequencies, percentages are used in the analysis of descriptive research.
  1. Correlational Research
  • Usually descriptive in that it cannot presume (not certain) a cause-and-effect relationship.
  • It can only establish that there is an association between two or more traits or performance.
  • Involves collecting data to determine whether a relationship exists between two or more quantifiable variables.
  • Main purpose of correlation research is to describe the nature of the relationship between the two variables.
  • Helps in identifying the magnitude of the relationship.
  1. 6. Casual Research
  • Refers to one which is done to establish a definitive ‘cause’ ‘effect’ relationship among variables.
  • The researcher is keen to delineating one or more factors that are certainly causing the problem.
  • The intention of the researcher conducting a casual study is to be able to state that variable X cause’s variable Y to change.
  • A casual study is more effective in a situation where the researcher has already identified the cause of the problem.

 Examples

  • Relationship of young and old employees in an organization.
  • Remuneration package
  • end month and mid moth performance
  • Facilitation e.g. transport.
  1. Historical Research (USE OF DOCUMENTS)
  • This is the systematic and objective location and synthesis of evidence in order to establish facts and draw conclusions about past events.
  • The act of historical research involves the identification and limitation of a problem of an area of study which is based on past events.
  • The researcher aims to:
  • Locate as many pertinent sources of information as possible concerning the specific problem.
  • Then analyze the information to ascertain its authenticity and accuracy, and then be able to use it to generalize on future occurrences.
  • Historical research is important because:
  1. It enables solutions to contemporary problems to be solved in the past.
  2. Throws light on present and future trends.
  • Allows for the revelation of data in relation to select hypothesis, theories and generalizations that are presently held about the past.
  • Ability of history to employ the past, to predict the future and to use the present to explain the past gives historical research a dual and unique quality which makes is exceptionally useful for all types of scholarly study and research.
  1. Experimental Research
  • The investigator deliberately controls and manipulates the conditions which determine the events to which he is interested in.
  1. Qualitative Research.(Human behaviors and aspects).
  • Includes designs, techniques and measures that do not produce numerical data.
  • Data is usually in form of words rather than numbers and this words are grouped into categories

 

THREE METHODS OF COLLECTING QUALITATIVE DATA.

  1. Direct observation
  2. Participant observation
  3. Interview method.
  • Human behaviors are explained best using qualitative research.

10 QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH.

  • Includes designs, techniques and measures that produce discrete numerical or quantifiable data.
  • Radom sampling is usually done to ensure a representative of a sample is given.

ADVANTAGES OF USING BOTH QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE DATA.

  1. A researcher has several objectives of study, hence they can be assessed using both.
  2. No bias
  3. Both supplement each other.

DISADVANTAGES.

  1. Combining both methods can be expensive (time, energy and money)
  2. Researcher may not have been sufficiently trained in this method to be able to use them effectively.

HOW DOES RESEARCH BEGIN?/RESEARCH PROBLEM.

Research usually begins with clarification of a topic in which one has some interest or about which increased knowledge is clearly needed.

The term topic refers to subject issue or area under discussion. The topic is essential in success of research project. One’s interest in topic is mandatory in order to sustain the research.

Research problem refers to an area in any field where researcher would like to find an answer/solution.

CONDITIONS TO BE MET AFTER IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM.

  • There must be an individual,group or organization to which the problem can be attributed(sample)eg teachers,farmers,doctors,engineer,workers,students etc
  • There must be some environment which the problem pertains(place/location ie Nairobi county).
  • There must be some objectives to be attained.

FACTORS AFFECTING THE TOPIC SELECTION/POINTS TO OBSERVE WHEN SELECTING A RESEARCH PROBLEM

  1. Personal interest-Interest produces enthusiasm on what one is doing. It is the interest that makes the experience adequately rewarding.
  2. Topic one selects should be important-The topic selected should not be brought forward just because of personal interest but also because it will add to knowledge.
  3. Time-Due to time limitations, writers of academic research need to avoid complex topics as they may require large population samples. It is important to compare the time that topic will take against time available.
  4. Newness-It is always good to look at a new area so that, what one is doing is a little different from what others have done in past.
  5. Accessibility to material and respondents-A suitable topic is one which allows researcher to access the material. It is important to note that getting materials and respondents in some areas might not be an easy task.

Examples include

  • Senior government officials.
  • Vice chancellor of a university private or public.
  • Health officials.
  • National intelligence service.
  1. Ethical consideration-It is both unethical and illegal to conduct research that may slander or do physical or psychological damage to subjects involved hence a researcher needs to take care of a subject in a very humane manner.
  2. Subject /topic selected for research should be familiar.ie known to unknown or general to specific.
  3. Costs involved
  4. Selection of a problem must be pre-decided a preliminary study.
  5. Avoid the following;
  6. A subject that have been overdone
  7. Too narrow/fake problem
  8. Controversial subjects.

STEPS IN TOPIC SELECTION.

  • Identify areas that puzzles an interest to you-Many issues may interest or puzzle a researcher and this may be social, economic, political, hr related issues, culture and religion.
  • Identify/select key words for the topic-Researcher should narrow  down to the real aspects that are puzzling or interesting him/her and express the in specific key words. Example in human resource management, researcher may be interested on how mergers and acquisitions affect company loyalty.
  • Define the topic-Researcher analyses selected key words and tries to put them together meaningfully.
  • Formulate the topic-After problem identification and definition it is important that reseacher comes up with a complete topic e.g. impact of mergers and acquisitions on company loyalty in a private sector.

QUALITIES OF AN EFFECTIVE RESEARCH TOPIC.

  1. Clear and an un ambiguous.
  2. Supported credible evidence.
  3. Should captivate or interest researcher.
  4. Should be researchable.

WHERE TO GET RESEARCH TOPIC FROM/SOURCES OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS.

  • Current issues(Newspaper)
  • Observation of environment behavior.
  • Personal Experience
  • Course;lecturers,discussion groups and literature.
  • Lifestyle
  • Previous research work i.e. impact of microfinances on SMEs
  • Natural calamities
  • Review of related literature-Review of published literature eg textbooks,journals,magazines etc.Other sources in this categories include. Research bulletin,research projects,research thesis,journals of management research,dissertations and internet.
  • Consultation with experts and research institutions.
  • Participation in professional discussions-forums,seminars,workshops and conferences.
  • Social development –social changes and technological changes.
  • Media-news like alcoholism,drug abuse,addiction and immorality.

STEPS OF RESEARCH PROCESS.

  1. 1. Problem identification.

Research problems can emanate from different sources i.e. area of interest, results from observation of phenomenon, issues being shared in media, practical problems shared in newspapers that require attention and area of specialization.

  1. Formulating research objectives and questions/hypothesis.

To address research problem.

  1. Literature review.

After identifying research problem, research of related literature on research problem are conducted. This is the process of finding out what is already and not known about study.

  1. Research design.

Researcher should come up with a design that will help him or her arrive at answers to research questions. The research design is basically mechanism employed for sampling population, data collection and analysis.

  1. Hypothesis formulation-Optional.
  2. Objectives and research questions(RQ)
  3. Objectives and hypothesis(HOs)

Its possible to carry out a research study without hypothesis in which case, RQ will be necessary.

  1. Data collection.

Researcher selects instruments/tools for data collection. Data collection tools include:

  • Questionnaires
  • Interview schedules
  • Interview guides
  • Focused groups
  • Experiments
  1.  Sampling.

Select people who will be in your study as participants.

  1. Data collection.

Researcher goes to field to gather data required for answering research questions. Data collection can be undertaken administering questionnaires to students, focused group discussions and carrying out experiments.

  1. Data processing.

Data is usually collected in raw form and should be processed so that meaning can be made out of it.

10 Report/project writing.

This is the last stage in research process where the researcher documents important details of research. The report should explain in detail the various stages of study and present results as well as the recommendations.

 

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Refers to an

RESEARCH ETHICS

Ethics are guidelines that deal with the conduct on an individual. Ethical considerations must be kept in mind when dealing with respondents. Ethical research requires personal integrity from the researcher.

  1. Confidentiality and Privacy
    • Respondent’s anonymity request must be adhered to when promised.
    • Confidentiality must be kept where promised.
  2. Physical and Psychological harm
    • Asking embarrassing questions, expressing disgust when collecting data, using threatening statements, etc.
  3. Voluntary and Informed consent.
    • Respondents must willingly participate in research. Researcher must disclose the real purpose of the research. Informed consent includes the following information
      • Purpose of the study
  1. Any unforeseen risks
  • A guarantee of anonymity and confidentiality
  1. Identification of the researcher
  2. An indication of the number of subjects involved
  3. Benefits and compensation or the lack of them
  1. Use of vulnerable and/or special populations such as children, mentally disabled people, and sick people etc. permission must be obtained from those who care for these special populations.
  2. Financial Issues and Sponsored Research

Sponsor of a research demands compromise on quality of research to save time and/or money. Sponsors may demand that research findings be distorted. An ethical research should never accept such compromise in order to protect their integrity. Unethical conduct also occurs when researchers divert research funds for other purposes. This affects the quality of research and may yield misleading data.

  1. Dissemination of Findings

A research must not conceal research findings after conclusion of research. Where findings are sensitive, modalities of releasing results should be agreed on. It is a waste of resources to undertake research only to hide the findings.

  1. Research Plagiarism and Fraud

Plagiarism is a situation where a researcher refers to another person’s work as theirs without acknowledging the author. Stealing ideas from another scholar is also considered plagiarism. This is a crime punishable law. It erodes the integrity of the victim and has serious professional consequences.

Fraud occurs when a researcher fakes data that has actually not been collected. Fraud also includes false presentation of research methodology and results. It is a punishable crime.

 

RESEARCH METHODS TERMS

  1. Concepts: a concept is a bundle of meaning or characteristics associated with certain events, objects, conditions or certain situations. Classifying and categorizing objects or events that have common characteristics beyond the single observation creates concepts. Concepts are acquired through personal experience. Some concepts are unique to a particular culture and not readily translated into another. For instance, we might ask respondents for an estimate of their monthly total income. We might receive confusing answers unless we restrict the concept specifying the following:
  • Time period. I.e. weekly, monthly or annually.
  • Before or after income taxes.
  • For the head of the family or all family members.
  • For salary and wages only or also for dividends, interest and capital gains.

 

  1. Constructs: this is an image or idea specifically invented for a given research or for theory building purposes. Constructs are built combining simpler concepts especially when the idea or image we intend to convey is not directly subject to observation.
  2. Definitions: words may have different meanings to parties involved. An operational definition is a definition stated in terms of specific testing criteria or operations. These terms must have empirical references. We must be able to count, measure or gather information through our senses. Whether the object being defined is physical, e.g. a machine or abstract, e.g. motivation, achievement, the definition must specify the characteristics to be studies and how they are to be observed. The specifications and procedures must be clear so that any competent person using them would classify the objects in the same way.
  3. Variables: a variable is a measurable characteristic that assumes different values among the subjects. There are 5 types of variables that one is likely to find in a study.
  • Independent variable (IV): this is the variable the researcher manipulates in order to determine its influence on another variable. It influences the dependent variable either positively or negatively.
  • Dependent variable (DV): this variable attempt to indicate the total influence arising from the total effect of the independent variable.
  • Moderating Variable (MV): in typical situations and relationships, there is at least one IV and one DV. For simple relationships, all other variables are considered extraneous and ignored. E.g. in a typical office, we might be interested in studying the effect of the 4 day work week on the productivity. Our hypothesis will be: the introduction of the 4 day work week (IV) will lead to higher office productivity (DV). However, a simple one on one relationship needs revision to take other variables into account. The MV is the second IV that is included because it is believed to have a significant contributory effect on the original IV, DV relationship. Our hypothesis is; The introduction of the 4 day work week (IV) will lead to higher productivity (DV) especially among older workers (MV).
  • Extraneous Variable (EV): these are at times referred to as confounding variables because they confound the effect of the IV on the DV. They affect the outcome of a research study, either because the researcher is not aware of their existence or if the researcher is aware, there is no control for them. In routine office work (EV control), the introduction of a 4 day work week (IV) will lead to higher productivity (DV) especially among older workers (MV). For example Teaching methods are the IV, genes of students (EV) and performance (DV).
  • Intervening Variables (IVV): this is a conceptual mechanism through which the IV and MV might affect the DV. It is defined as that factor that theoretically affects the observed phenomenon but cannot be seen, measured or manipulated. It must be inferred from the effect of the independent MV on the observed phenomenon. E.g. Introduction of a 4 day work week (IV) will lead to higher productivity (DV) especially among older workers (MV) increasing job satisfaction (IVV).
  1. Research Theory: a theory is a systematic explanation of facts. A good theory is simple and free of jargon and has predictive accuracy. It should also be of importance to the society and discuss current issues. These are characteristics of an “elegant theory”.

RESEARCH PROPOSAL

A research proposal is a document written a researcher that provides a detailed description of the proposed study.  It is an outline of the research process that gives a reader a summary of the researchers’   intention to carry out a study.

It is therefore a detailed work plan on how a research activity will be conducted. The research proposal is ones way of showing that one has an idea that is of value and can contribute important knowledge to the specific field.  A research proposal is intended to convince the readers that one has a worthwhile research study and that one has the competence and the work-plan to complete it.

The proposal should have sufficient information to convince readers that one has an important research idea, that one has a good grasp of the relevant literature and the major issues, and that methodology is sound. A research proposal should address the following questions:

  • What one plan to accomplish,
  • why one want to do it and
  • How you are going to do

To propose means to state an intention, suggestion. It indicates a researcher’s intention to carry out a study. A Research proposal is written in future tense since the study has not yet been carried out. A research study starts with a brief introductory section that narrows down to the specific problem to be studies.

FORMAT OF A RESEARCH PROPOSAL

A proposal is divided into the following sections

 

COVER PAGE

PRELIMINARIES

This is the first section of the proposal. However it is the last to be written. It includes  the following:

  1. Title page

It is often times referred to as the cover page, this section is where one indicates the title of the  research, name, institutional information . This section includes

  • The research title
  • Name and student number
  • Statement- A research proposal submitted in partial fulfillment for the degree of (insert the name of the Degree) of kenya Methodist University
  • Month and year of submission
  1. Declaration Page

This includes the declaration the student and supervisor:

Declaration student

I declare that this research s proposal is my original work and has not been presented for a degree or any other award in any other university

Name…………………Signed………………………….Date……………………….

Declaration university supervisor (s)

This research proposal has been submitted for examination with our approval as university supervisors

Signed   ……………………..                                       Date……………………………

Name…………………………………………………………………………………..

Signed   ……………………..                                       Date……………………………

Name…………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. c) Dedication

This is not compulsory and may apply to an individual who has had a major impact on the researcher. It should not exceed 25 words

d)Acknowledgement

This refers to individuals who in one way or the other have contributed to the success of the study. It should not exceed 150 words

e)Abstract

This summarizes the major areas in the proposal. It should not exceed 500 words. It should be comprehensive with no paragraph.

  1. f) Table of contents

This indicates all the section in the proposal. The page numbers should be included

  1. g) List of tables
  2. h) List of figures
  3. g) Abbreviations and acronyms

The Research Process

The research begins with a selection of identification of a subject/problem to be studied. Once the subject has been identified, the researcher takes the following steps:

  • Formulating the research problem.
  • Defining the hypothesis.
  • Research design.
  • Determination of the type of data to be collected.
  • Data collection procedures and data analysis and generalizations

CHAPTER ONE: 

INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY

The first section of a research   proposal is referred to as the introduction. This is because it indicates how the study will flow. It is the opening /beginning of the study. The main purpose of the introduction is to provide the necessary background or context for the research problem. Its purpose is to establish a framework for the research. This section is divided into the following:

1.0 Introduction

  • Background of the study
  • Statement of the problem
  • Objectives of the study
  • Research questions
  • Significance of the study
  • Scope of the study
  • Operational definition of terms

1.1 Background of the study

This sections aims to create reader interest in the topic. It lays the broad foundation for the problem that leads to the study. It places the study within the larger context of the scholarly literature. (Creswell, 1994, p. 42). The background should be concise, interesting and written in language which is understandable to a well-informed but non-specialist audience. It should assist the readers to understand the dependent and independent variables.  It puts the topic into perspective. In writing this section one should

  • Provide the contemporary context in which the proposed research lies
  • Identify the key independent and dependent variables
  • specify the phenomenon one wants to study
  • Briefly describe the major issues and sub-problems to be addressed the research.

This section gives a background of what should be studied. It puts the topic into perspective. It should be about three pages.

1.2  Statement of the problem

This is the issue of concern. It is the “why” of the study. It refers to what has propelled the need for the study. “A problem might be defined as the issue that exists in the literature, theory, or practice that leads to a need for the study”. It is important in a proposal that the problem stand out—that the reader can easily recognize it. One should state the problem in terms intelligible to someone who is relatively uninformed in the area of investigation. Effective problem statements answer the question “Why does this research need to be conducted.”

 

The following should be considered while formulating a problem

 

  • What is the problem one aims to solve and
  • Why is it important to be investigated?

The problem statement should be given in the clear and understandable form.

It indicates a gap between the actual and desired state. This is an essential and focal point of the proposal. Without a problem there is no study. Citations to justify the issue of concern should be included.

It should be precise, specific

Characteristics of a good research problem are as follows:

  1. It should be written clearly in a way that captures the reader’s interest.
  2. The specific problem identified is objectively researchable.
  3. The scope of the specific research problem is indicated.
  4. Importance of the study in adding new knowledge is clearly stated.
  5. The problem statement must give the purpose of the research

Research Problem

The research problem is formulated using the following criteria.

  1. Workability
    1. Is the research within the range of resources and time constraints?
    2. Is the necessary data accessible?
  • Can you come up with an answer to the problem?
  1. Is the required methodology manageable and understandable?
  1. Critical Mass
    1. Is the problem of sufficient magnitude to fulfill the motivation of the study?
    2. Are there enough variables?

 

  1. Interest
    1. Are you interested in the problem area?
    2. Does it relate to your background and career?
  • Will you learn useful skills from pursuing it?

 

  1. Theoretical Value
    1. Does the problem fill a gap in literature?
    2. Does it challenge previously held opinions?
  • Will others recognize its importance?
  1. Will it contribute to the advancement of knowledge?
  2. Is it publishable?

 

  1. Practical Value
    1. Will the solutions to the problem improve available knowledge?
    2. Are other researchers likely to be interested in the results?
  • Will your own research skills be improved as a result of the study?

 

Sources of Research Problems

  1. Existing theories that contain generalizations of hypothesized principles. This is suitable for theory based studies.
  2. Existing literature as a source requires systematic and extensive reading in the general area of interest. E.g. books, articles etc.
  3. Discussions with experts on general topics, in class or seminars.
  4. Previous research studies that indicate areas of further research.
  5. Replication, which involves carrying out a research project that has been done previously to establish if the findings hold over time and across regions.
  6. Media frequently reports issues that can form the basis of a research problem since the issues are discussed the public and are important to the majority of people.
  7. Personal experiences, which include first hand observations and reflection on experiences lead to vivid images and intuition on the part of the researcher.

1.3 Objectives

This is the ultimate goal or aim of the study. It is what the researcher hopes to achieve the end of the study. It should provide a specific and accurate synopsis of the overall purpose of the study”    What will be achieved at the end of the study. It is linked to the research Title.

Purpose of the Study

The researcher conveys the focus of the research study in one or two sentences. This is the purpose of the study. The purpose should be accurately expressed for the research process to be carried out with ease. The criteria used in formulating a purpose of the study are as follows:

  1. It must be clearly indicated, unambiguous and in a declarative manner.
  2. It should indicate the concepts or variables in the study.
  3. Where possible, the relationships among the variables should be stated.
  4. The purpose should state the target population.
  5. Variables and target population given in the purpose should be consistent with the variables and target population operationalized in the methods section of the study.

Specific Objectives

These are the measurable tasks that will assist meet the purpose of the study.

These are what the researchers hope to achieve the end of the study.

Active verbs are used

  • To analyze……………..
  • To assess…………………
  • To find out………………
  • To examine……………
  • To evaluate……………..
  • To determine

At least 3 to 5 objectives

 

1.4 Research Questions

research question poses a relationship between two or more variables but phrases the relationship as a question. These are specific objectives in question form. When answered the research objectives will be addressed.

OR

(Research Hypothesis)

Formulating a Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a researcher’s prediction regarding the outcome of the study. They are derived from existing theories, previous research or personal experiences and observations. A study can have one hypothesis or where there are several variables, multiple hypotheses can be formulated. When a researcher analyzes collected data to determine whether the hypothesized relationship exists and the results fail to support a stated hypothesis, it does not mean that the study has failed. Such a situation implies that existing theories need revision or testing under different environments. Purposes of hypotheses are as follows:

  • They provide direction bridging the gap between the problem and the evidence needed for its solution.
  • They ensure collection of the evidence necessary to answer questions in the statement of the problem.
  • They enable the investigator to assess information collected examining the relevance and organization.
  • They sensitize the investigator in ascertaining aspects of the study that are relevant regarding the problem at hand.
  • They permit the researcher understand the problem with greater clarity.
  • They guide the collection of data and provide the structure for their meaningful interpretation.
  • They form the framework for the ultimate conclusions as solutions.

Formulating a sound hypothesis requires reviewing of literature or existing theories. This is carried out after the literature review but prior to data collection.

Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis

  1. Must be clearly and briefly define the expected relationship between the variables.
  2. Must be based on sound theory, previous research or personal experience.
  3. Must be consistent with common sense or generally accepted truths.
  4. Must be testable and within a reasonable time.
  5. Must be related to empirical phenomenon.
  6. Variables stated must be consistent with purpose statement, objectives and the operationalized variables in the method’s section.
  7. Must be simple and concise as much as the complexity of the concepts involved allow.
  8. Must be stated in a way that implications can be deduced in the form of empirical operations.

Types of Hypothesis

  1. Null hypothesis: also called a statistical hypothesis. It always states that no real relationship or difference exists between variables. E.g. there is no difference in maize productivity during rainy seasons or dry seasons. Mathematically expressed as:

H0: µ1= µ2

  1. Alternative hypothesis: also known as a research hypothesis. It usually states that there is a relationship or difference but the researcher does not know the nature of such difference or relationship. E.g. high rainfall increases maize productivity. Mathematically expressed as:

H1: µ1≠ µ2          Or        H1: µ1 > µ2         Or        H1: µ1 < µ2

There are statistical tests applied to hypothesis i.e. one tailed or two tailed tests. It is easier to obtain statistical significance with one tailed tests.

The alternative hypothesis takes several forms. In statistical form, directional hypothesis make use of the signs > or < in which case a one tailed test is applicable. In a non-directional hypothesis, a two tailed test is used.

1.5 Significance of the study

This section indicates who will gain from the study and how.  One should think about implications—how results of the study may affect scholarly research, theory, practice, educational interventions, curricula, counseling, and policy. The major issues to be addressed are:

  • What will be improved or changed as a result of the proposed research?
  • Why is the study important
  • How will results of the study be implemented, and what innovations will come about

1.6. Scope of the study

This refers to the parameters of the study, the area that the study will focus on. It is a general outline of what the study will cover. “This helps one to remember and keep within the accepted range of one’s study. This also reminds a researcher that this method of investigation should be centered around trying to solve the problem within the provide scope.

1.7  Operational Definition of Terms

In this section all terms assumed to have a unique meaning should be defined

 

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

  • Literature refers to the analysis of textbooks or manuscripts. “the term literature” means the works the researcher consulted in order to understand and investigate the research problem.
  • A literature review therefore is an account of what has been published on a topic accredited scholars and researchers.
  • It is a critical look at the existing research that is significant to the work that the researcher will be carrying out. It involves examining documents such as books, magazines, journals and dissertations that have a bearing on the study being conducted.
  • Literature is the process of reading, analyzing, evaluating, and summarizing scholarly materials bout a specific topic. It is an analysis of textbooks and manuscripts related to ones area of study. Its purpose is to summarize, synthesize and analyze the arguments of others. In effect, a literature review compiles, outlines and evaluates previously established research and relates it to ones own study.   A literature review is a body of text that aims to review the critical points of current knowledge. Most are aware that it is a process of gathering information from other sources and documenting it

The section reviews the relevant studies upon which the research is based and introduces the conceptual framework. This section indicates the theoretical concepts used. This section provides relevant readings from previous works. The materials should be relevant to the topic of the research.  The literature review accomplishes the following

  • It shares with the reader the results of other studies that are closely related to the study being reported (Fraenkel & Wallen, 1990).
  • It relates a study to the larger, ongoing dialogue in the literature about a topic, filling in gaps and extending prior studies (Marshall & Rossman, 1989).
  • It provides a framework for establishing the importance of the study, as well as a benchmark for comparing the results of a study with other findings.
  • It “frames” the problem earlier identified.

Importance of Literature Review in Research

Literature review is essential in research. This is due to the following:

  • It sharpens and deepens the theoretical foundation of the research. Literature review enables the researcher to study different theories related to the identified topic. By studying these theories, a researcher gains clarity and better understanding of the specific objectives
  • It gives the researcher insight into what has already been done in the selected field, pinpointing its strengths and weaknesses. This information guides the researcher in the formulation of a theory that aims at addressing the identified gaps.
  • It enables the researcher to know the kind of additional data needed in the study. This helps avoid duplication of work.
  • An understanding of previous works helps the researcher to develop a significant problem which will provide further knowledge in the field of study. It also helps in delimiting the research problem. This is through portraying what has already been done and what would be useful to focus on in the current study.
  • Wide reading exposes the researcher to a variety of approaches of dealing with the research issue. This contributes to a well designed methodology. The researcher can avoid methods indicated in the literature to have failed and adopt new approaches. This will result in a significant study.

In general therefore the literature review serves the following:

  • Ensures that you are not “reinventing the wheel”.
  • Gives credits to those who have laid the groundwork for ones research.
  • Demonstrates ones knowledge of the research problem.
  • Demonstrates ones understanding of the theoretical and research issues related to your research question.
  • Shows the  ability to critically evaluate relevant literature information.
  • Indicates your ability to integrate and synthesize the existing literature.
  • Provides new theoretical insights or develops a new model as the conceptual framework for your research.
  • Convinces reader that the  proposed research will make a significant and substantial contribution to the literature (i.e., resolving an important theoretical issue or filling a major gap in the literature).

Qualities of an effective Literature Review

The following are qualities expected from an effective literature review.

  1. It is critical, organized and analytical in orientation:.
  2. It Justifies the need for the study:
  3. It highlights the relationship between the past and the current study: An effective literature review links the current study with past studies. It evaluates and shows the relationships between the work already done other scholars and the researchers work. This link brings consistency and continuity in relation to the identified topic.
  4. It puts the research problem into perspective: By quoting and analyzing various studies related to the selected topic, the literature review helps define the research problem. It also acts as a guideline in assessment of the research questions.

 

Guidelines in formulating effective Literature Reviews

  1. a) Identify key issues to be addressed the literature review:
  2. b) Identify sources of information: The researcher needs to identify books, articles, professional papers and other relevant publications that relate to the research title and the research problem. .
  3. c) Analyze critically the articles identified:
  4. d) Synthesize the information gathered: Select studies that relate most directly to the problem at hand
  5. e) Evaluation

After carrying out the review and writing, the researcher should reflect on the following:

Challenges faced in the formulation of a Literature Review

  1. Failure to connect the reviewed studies with the current study:
  2. Poor presentation:
  3. Lack of/poor referencing:
  4. Lack of critique:
  5. Failure to review current studies:

Reviewed literature may also be rejected due to the following:

  • Lacking organization and structure
  • Lacking focus, unity and coherence
  • Being repetitive
  • Failing to cite relevant studies
  • Failing to keep up with recent developments
  • Failing to critically evaluate cited papers
  • The reviewed literature should be stimulating.

 The References in the Body of the Text

The appropriate point at which to indicate the source of an idea is as soon as is convenient. When it is at the beginning or middle of a sentence, the researcher should indicate the surname of the author and year of publication. The year of publication should be enclosed inside brackets e.g. Orodho(2003)pointed out that…., Kombo (2004) indicated that …..At the end of a sentence or paragraph, one needs to enclose the surname of the author and year of publication in brackets. The name and year should be separated a comma. For example (Orodho, 2003);  (Kombo, 2004).

Referencing Within the Text

There are 2 methods of accrediting a statement:

  1. The authors last name and year of document publication are put after a paraphrased statement in a text. E.g.

Income has been found to be positively related with quality of life (Williams, 2011).

  1. The authors name comes at the beginning of a sentence with the year following in brackets. E.g.

Williams (2011) found a positive relationship between income and quality of life.

According to William (2011), there is a positive relationship between income and quality of life.

References & Bibliography

References refer to a list of works the researcher read and cited in the text. A bibliography refers to a list of material read whether they are cited or not. There are various ways of writing references. The most commonly used in Kenyan universities is the American Psychology Association (APA) style.

 

 

 

FORMAT

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

This section briefly indicates the content to be covered in the study

2.2 Theoretical orientation

In this section the researcher identifies 2/3 theories related to the variables of the study and highlights the contribution of the theories to the study

2.3 Empirical Review

This is the longest section in the chapter. The researcher indicates what various authors have stated in relation to each specific objective. The authors should be cited.

2.4 Conceptual Framework

A concept is an idea. A conceptual framework is the researcher’s idea of the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable. It should be in diagram form and explained

2.5 Operationalization

In this section the researcher identifies the specific areas that will be focused on in the independent variable. It should be in diagram form.

 

This section should be 10-20 pages

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This chapter contains definitions, procedures, and explanations of techniques used to collect, analyze and present information. The section deals with the description of the methods applied in carrying out the study.

  1. RESEARCH DESIGN

Research design is the conceptual structure within which research should be conducted. Research design provides the glue that holds all the elements of a research study together. It indicates how all of the major parts of the research project work together to try to address the central research questions. It is the scheme, outline or plan that is used to generate answers to research questions. It is an arrangement of conditions for collection and analysis of data. The function of research design is to provide for the collection of relevant information. It constitutes the blue print for the collection, measurement and analysis of data.

Selection of Research Design:

In selecting a research design one should consider the following:

  • What the study is about- Objectives of the research study.
  • Why the study is being carried out
  • Where the study will be carried out
  • Method/techniques of Data Collection to be adopted
  • Time required
  • Data Analysis– qualitative and quantitative

In selecting a research design a researcher should :

  • Name and describe the research design
  • Justify why it was selected
  • Explain how it will be used.
  • One must state the rational for selecting the research design

TYPES OF RESEARCH DESIGNS

  1. a) Descriptive Research Designs

This design describes phenomena as they exist. Descriptive studies generally take raw data and summarize it in a useable form. Descriptive Research addresses issues of who, what, where, how related to research. It provides further insight into the research problem describing the variables of interest.  This method can be used for profiling, defining, segmentation, estimating, predicting, and examining associative relationships. In a descriptive study, no attempt is made to change behavior or conditions. One measures things as they are.  This method describes the state of affairs as they are. It results in the formulation of knowledge and solutions to problems. The focus of interest is the respondent’s opinion and views. Questionnaires/interviews are mainly used to gather information.

  1. Experimental Research Design

This design is used to test the cause-effect relationship through the manipulation of variables. The experimental group is manipulated while the control group is not. Environmental factors are also controlled. It involves the systematic manipulation of some characteristics and examination of the outcome. In an experimental study one take measurements, try some sort of intervention, then take measurements again to see what happened.

  1. Correlational Research Design

This method determines whether or not and to what extent an association exists between two or more variables. Data is collected from varied groups of subjects and then compared for their similarities and differences. It provides procedures for understanding relationships. It enables the researcher to assess the degree of relations that exist between two or more variables.

  1. Case study

This is an intensive, in-depth analysis of a single entity. It aims at gaining in-depth insight of an issue using smaller samples. The findings can be generalized to a wider population. It seeks to describe a unit in details. In a case study a great deal can be learned from a few examples of a phenomenon under study. It is an in-depth study of an individual group, institution, organization or program. Data gathering include interviews, field notes of observations, archival data and biographical data.

  1. Survey Design

This is an investigation of views from   a wider population such as the opinion polls. These are general views affecting a wider group in general. The method is used to analyze and discover occurrences. It explains events as they are, were or will be.

  1. Exploratory Research

Designed to generate basic knowledge, clarify relevant issues uncover variables associated with a problem, uncover information needs, and/or define alternatives for addressing research objectives. This is a very flexible, open-ended process.

  1. Historical research

This refers to exploration, explanation and understanding of past phenomenon from data already available. It is the Collection and evaluation of data related to past events that are used to describe causes, effects and trends that may explain present or future events. Data are often archival. It aims at arriving at conclusions about causes, trends, and effects of past phenomenon in order to explain the present and predict and control the future. This method is useful where primary data cannot be collected.

  1. Cross cultural research design

This method is mainly used to analyze to what extent cultural beliefs and practices in ones immediate environment influences ones attitude hence development.

  1. B) SAMPLING PROCEDURE
A sample is a subset, a portion or a segment of a population that is used to represent the entire group as a whole. It is a specimen representative of a group and comprises a set of elements drawn from and analyzed to estimate the characteristics of a population. When doing research, it is often impractical to survey every member of a particular population because the total number of people is simply too large. It is therefore more sensible to draw conclusions of an investigation from observing a sample representative of the whole population.

 

A Sample is a representative group of the population on which the research data is to be              obtained. Sampling is the process of selecting some parts of an aggregate or totality on the basis of which judgment or interference is made. According to Parkash (1985) a sample is a finite part of a statistical population whose properties are identified for research .Sampling involves selecting a number of individuals to participate in research study. The basic idea of sampling is that selecting some of the elements in a population, we may draw conclusions about the entire population.

A census is a count of all the elements in a population. A census is feasible when the population is small and necessary when the elements are quite different from each other. When the population is small and variable, a census is applied. .

Advantages of Sampling

  • It is cheaper to administer when compared to a census.
  • It saves on time and cost
  • It has the possibility of better testing and more thorough investigation
  • It provides results faster than a census.
  • In some cases, it would be dangerous to use an entire population e.g. when testing vaccines or medication
  • Most appropriate in some experiments where destruction is involved

Steps in Sampling Procedures

  • Define the population. This is determined the purpose of the study.
  • Determine the sampling frame. This is a list of objects from which the sample will be drawn. Sampling frames can be obtained from research agencies, government departments and organizations.
  • Determine the sampling procedure i.e. probability or non-probability techniques.
  • The researcher must then determine the appropriate sample size. The larger the sample the more accurate the conclusions drawn are likely to be.
  • Finally the researcher then selects the specific study objects to be included in the sample.

 

 

Types of Sampling Designs

There are 2 types of sampling techniques; Probability & Non-Probability Sampling.

PROBABILITY SAMPLING

Probability sampling method is any method of sampling that utilizes some form of random selection. Verdugo (1998) explains that probability sampling is also known as random sampling or chance sampling. Under this sampling design, every item of the universe has an equal chance of inclusion in a sample. In this case, a lottery method is applicable in which individual units are picked up from the whole group not deliberately but some mechanical process. It is a blind chance alone that determines whether one item or the other is selected.

Advantages

  • Ideal for statistical purposes

Disadvantages

  • It is difficult to achieve a representative sample in practice
  • It requires an accurate list of the whole population
  • It may prove expensive to conduct as those sampled may be scattered over a wide area

 

Types of probability sampling

a)Simple Random Sampling

In this case, each member of the population has an equal chance of being chosen. The method is used when the group is homogeneous. There are several ways of achieving a random sample. Simple random sampling is simple to accomplish and is easy to explain to others. This includes the lottery method when names or numbers are written on pieces of paper and the lucky number is selected.

b)      Systematic random sampling

The researcher calculates a sampling interval, and the interval becomes his or her own quasi random selection method. The starting number is an integer that must be less than the total number of individuals in the population. This integer will correspond to the first subject. The interval will serve as the constant difference between any two consecutive numbers in the progression.

c)Stratified random sampling

This method involves the division of a population into smaller groups known as strata. It is used when the group is heterogeneous with the aim of ensuring that all categories participate in the study. The researcher looks at the variables that are likely to affect the results, and stratifies the population in such a way that each stratum becomes a homogeneous group within itself. Then draw the required sample using the table of random numbers. A stratum is a subset of the population that share at least one common characteristic.

Advantages

  • Stratification will always achieve greater precision provided that the strata have been chosen so that members of the same stratum are as similar as possible in respect of the characteristic of interest.
  • It is often administratively convenient to stratify a sample as the results from each stratum may be of intrinsic interest and can be analyzed separately.
  • It ensures better coverage of the population than simple random sampling.

Disadvantages

  • Difficulty in identifying appropriate strata.
  • More complex to organize and analyze results.

d) Cluster Random Sampling

This is a survey method in which groups i.e. clusters of sampling units but not individual units, are selected from a population for analysis. The purpose of cluster sampling is to sample economically while retaining the characteristics of a probability sample. Groups or chunks of elements that, ideally, would have heterogeneity among the members within each group are chosen for study in cluster sampling. This is in contrast to choosing some elements from the population as in the other methods described above.

Advantages

  • saving of travelling time, and consequent reduction in cost
  • useful for surveying employees in a particular industry, where individual companies can form the clusters

Disadvantages

  • units close to each other may be very similar and so less likely to represent the whole population
  • larger sampling error

 

 

 

NON PROBABILITY SAMPLING

In non-probability sampling, the sample is not based on chance. It is determined a person. It is not possible to assign to an element of population the probability of its being selected in the sample. One may use his/her personal judgment in the selection of the sample. In this case the sampling is called judgment sampling. This sampling does not use random selection. Respondents are selected at researcher’s discretion. These are individuals that the researcher feels will offer vital information. This method involves the following:

  • Purposive/judgmental sampling
  • Accidental/haphazard /convenience sampling
  • Quota sampling
  • Snowball sampling

TYPES OF NON PROBABILITY SAMPLING

1. Judgmental/purposive sampling  

In this form of sampling the researcher targets respondents that may provide the information being sought for. There is a specific predefined group that the researcher is seeking. The selection of respondents is based on whether they fit in the researcher’s judgment of an appropriate group. The researcher relies on his/her expertise to select respondents that the researcher thinks are representative of the target population.

2. Accidental/Haphazard /convenience sampling

This is the use of clients who are available at the time of study for example, the media interviewing someone on the street to get a quick response on an issue. The researcher simply selects a number of respondents who are conveniently available when the researcher is around. This method is simple to use as it saves time and cost. However it is difficult to determine to whom the results apply.

3. Quota Sampling

Respondents are selected according to a fixed quota. Parkash (2007) explains that, Quota sampling involves dividing the population into sub-groups based on variables known about them and then purposively selecting samples from each sub-group or strata.

4. Snowball Sampling

In this method a researcher identifies a respondent who meets the criteria for inclusion in the study. The respondent identifies others. This method is useful when a researcher is trying to reach an inaccessible or hard to find respondents.

Difference between probability and non- probability sampling

i) Probability sampling Involves Random selection, non- probability sampling does not involve random selection.

ii) Probability samples can depend upon the rationale of probability theory, non-probability cannot.

iii) Probability Sampling represents the population well, non- probability samples, may or may not represent the population well.

v)The opposite of probability sampling is non-probability sampling, and simply means sampling without using random selection methods.

 

DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENTS

RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS

  1. Types of research instruments.

There are three major types of research instruments. These are

  • Questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Observation

QUESTIONNAIRES

These are research instruments that gather data over a large sample. Respondents note down their views. Each person is asked to respond to similar questions.

Advantage Disadvantage
Information can be collected from a large sample and in diverse regions. Response rate can be quite low.
Confidentiality is upheld. No direct contact so researcher cannot deal with any misunderstanding or clarify. There is no opportunity to ask for further information related to answers given
Saves on time -economical to use .Needs respondents who are literate
Since they are presented on paper format there is no opportunity for interviewer bias. No clear reason can be given for incomplete responses.
Easy to analyze\administer May omit important information required in study.
  Rigid.

Types of questionnaires

  1. Self administered questionnaires
  2. Postal\mail questionnaires.

Self administered questionnaires

This refers to cases where the researcher hand delivers the research instrument

Advantage Disadvantage
Response rate is high. Costly
Researcher interacts with respondents. Issues can be clarified Time consuming
Researcher can observe situation. Cannot reach large numbers- limited scope.

 

Post/mailed questionnaires

This refers to questionnaires that are sent to respondents through the mail.

Advantage Disadvantage
Cost of collecting data in terms of time and finance is low. Response rates can be quite low
Confidentiality is upheld. No direct contact so researcher cannot deal with any misunderstanding or clarify
Since there is no face to face interaction bias is reduced. There is no opportunity to ask for further information related to answers given.
Large numbers of respondents can be reached. Requires respondents with postal services
Ideal when subjects are dispersed geographically apart. No way of knowing if intended respondent actually completed the questionnaire

 

  1. B) INTERVIEWS

Refers to oral administration of questions

Advantage Disadvantage
Provides in depth information Expensive- the researcher has to meet respondents
Questionnaires can be clarified Requires high skill in communication
Flexible; Interviewer can adapt to the situation Interviewers bias and subjectivity can occur
Sensitive and personal information can be extracted Requires a small sample.
Probing questions can be used Respondents can react to interviewer, may become bias
Higher response rate  

 

Types of interviews

 

Structured/ unstructured interviews

Structured interviews

Advantage Disadvantage
Systematic/organized Rigid therefore in-depth information not gathered
Easy to analyze Can be biased
Saves on time  

Unstructured interviews

Advantage Disadvantage
Minimal control over the sequence of answers. In-depth information can be gathered Difficult to analyze data
Sensitive topics can be studied Time consuming
Respondents are relaxed not intimidating irrelevancies

 

FACE TO FACE INTERVIEWS

This refers to cases where the researcher has direct communication (face to face) with respondents.

Advantage Disadvantage
Response rate is high Costly
Researcher interacts with respondents. Issues can be clarified. Time consuming
Researcher can observe situation and witness non verbal behavior Cannot reach large numbers- Limited scope.  Geographical limitations.
Researcher can pick up any non-verbal cues. Respondents may be uncomfortable.

TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS

This refers to oral questions asked through the telephone.

Advantage Disadvantage
Cost of collecting data in terms of time and finance is low. At times cheaper to call than travel. Can be very expensive
Confidentiality is upheld. Respondents may be more relaxed and respond better. Respondents may not be honest
Since there is no face to face interaction bias is reduced. Respondents may be impatient. This may affect accuracy of results. Respondents can terminate concentration.
Large numbers of respondents can be reached. Researchers may not establish trust.
Ideal when subjects are dispersed geographically apart. Respondents may refuse to participate or answer some questions.
Easy accessibility and speed. Allows research to make contact with respondents with whom it may have been impossible. E.g. outside countries Not able to get non-verbal communication.
Eliminates any discomfort that may have occurred face to face.  

 

FOCUS GROUP DISCUSIONS

There are group interviews where the researcher acts as a facilitator.

Advantages Disadvantages
Detailed information can be got. Some respondents may dominate conversations thus affecting its reliability.
Because of several respondents a variety of ideas can be suggested. Time consuming.
Reliable information may not be collected. Results may be unreliable.
  Difficult to analyze results.

 

OBSERVATION

This is a research instrument that deals with analyzing what people do. It involves the systematic watching, recording, analyzing and interpreting of people’s behavior.

Advantage Disadvantage
Detailed information can be got Not all behaviors can be observed
Researcher shares experience of respondents Limited number of respondents can be studied
Reliable information may be collected. Results may be unreliable
  In studies where more than one observer is needed training should be undertaken.

Types of observations:

  1. participant observation
  2. non-participant observation

Participant observation

This refers to a study I which the observer becomes a part of or an active participant in the study. The subjects may not be told about the participant observer. The researcher attempts to participate fully in the lives and activities of the subjects. E.g. Phenomenological studies. Respondent becomes comfortable with researcher.

Advantage Disadvantages
Get detailed information Ethical can pose difficult ethical dilemma for the researcher.
Valid results Bias
Provides complete picture of the environment being studied. Difficult to quantify and interpret records.
Researcher shares experience. Impossible to accurately observe and write down everything. A lot of information may be left out. Data recording difficult for researcher.
All data collected useful Conflicts or emotional involvement may occur.
  Time consuming.

Non-participant observation

In this study, the participant is not directly involved in the situation to be observed. The researcher may not intentionally interact with respondents.

Advantage Disadvantage
Saves on time Observer may lack detailed information on the situation.
Confidentiality is upheld Researcher may not experience real situation.
Since there is no face to face interaction bias is reduced There is no opportunity to ask for further information related to the situation.
Easy to record data  

 

 

 

FORMAT

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction

This section should be brief and indicate the content in the study.

3.2 Research design

This refers to the outline/scheme or plan that will be used to collect information. The researcher should identify the design and justify why it was selected. Justify with citation. (1/2 page)

3.3 Target Population 

This section indicates the group the researcher would like to focus on in the study. The researcher should justify why the group has been selected and its contribution to the study.  The researcher should indicate the group’s characteristics including size.

3.4 Sampling procedure

This section indicates how the sample will be selected and the sample size. One should justify the sample design

3.5 Data collection instruments and procedures

In this section the researcher identifies the research instrument (s) that will be used in data collection. The researcher justifies why the instrument(s) has/have been selected. The quality of the instrument (Validity/reliability) is addressed. One should indicate the procedures of administering the research instruments. It should indicate how the authority to collect data will be sought, methods of ensuring high response rates, ethical values to be considered.

. Mugenda and Mugenda (2003) asserted that the accuracy of data to be collected largely depended on the data collection instruments in terms of validity and reliability. Validity as noted Robinson (2002) is the degree to which result obtained from the analysis of the data actually represents the phenomenon under study.

Validity will be achieved pre-testing the instrument to be used to identify and change any ambiguous, awkward, or offensive questions and technique as emphasized Cooper and Schindler (2003). Reliability on the other hand refers to a measure of the degree to which research instruments yield consistent results (Mugenda & Mugenda, 2003). In this study, reliability will be ensured pre-testing the questionnaire with a selected sample. The pre-test exercise will take place at the convenience of both the researcher and the research assistant

3.6 Methods of data Analysis

This section should indicate how the variables will be measured and presented. The statistical methods used should be justified

3.7 Research Limitation

In this section the researcher highlights some of the challenges likely to be encountered during the study and how they will be addressed.

3.8 Research Ethics

This section indicates some of the values that the researcher will reinforce during the study

 

 

 

 

SAMPLE

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the methodology that will be used to carry out this study. Research methodology is defined as an operational framework within which the facts are placed so that their meaning may be seen more clearly. The methodology includes the research design, population to be studied and sampling strategy, the data collection process, the instruments used for gathering data, and how data is analyzed and presented.

3.2 Research Design

In this study a descriptive survey design will be used. Descriptive research portrays an accurate profile of persons, events, or situations (Robinson, 2002). It allows the collection of large amount of data from a sizable population in a highly economical way. It allows one to collect quantitative data, which can be analyzed quantitatively using descriptive and inferential statistics. Therefore, the descriptive survey is deemed the best method to fulfill the objectives of this study. The design is preferred because it is concerned with answering questions such as who, how, what which, when and how much, (Cooper and Schindler 2001). A descriptive study will be  carefully designed to ensure complete description of the scenario, making sure that there is minimum bias in the collection of data.

3.3. Target Population

Target population is the specific population about which information is desired. A population is a well defined or set of people, services, elements, events, group of things or households that are being investigated. The target population will consist of the following population: Top level management, middle level management and lower level management from Kenya Revenue Authority.  The target is as follows:

Table 3.1 Target Size

Population category Target Percentage (%)
Top level Management 13 11
Middle level Management 97 81
Lower level Management 10 8
Total 120 100

Source: Author (2013)

3.4 Sample Design

The researcher will use stratified sampling procedure to select samples that are representative of the target population. This procedure is preferred since the entire target population has an equal chance of being selected. Mugenda and Mugenda (1999), point out that stratified sampling method ensures inclusion of small groups which otherwise could have been omitted entirely other sampling methods. Thus the population will be divided into stratus. The sample is as follows:

Table 3.2 Sample Size

Population category

(management)

Target Sample size

(50% of target)

Percentage (%)
Top level 13 7 11
Middle level 97 48 81
Lower level 10 5 8
Total 120 60 100

Source: Author (2013)

3.5 Data Collection Instrument and Procedures

Primary data will be used in this study. According to Ochola (2007), primary data refers to what is collected directly the researcher for the purpose of the study. The data will be collected the use of questionnaires and interviews. Research questionnaires having both structured and unstructured questions will be designed and administered. This enables the researcher to get vital data directly from the respondents. The researcher will interview the respondents in person and also through telephone using interview questions that will be both structured and unstructured; Interviews will ensure immediate feedback, accuracy, clarity and they will help reveal sensitive information. Interviews were used as a primary data collection technique.

This method is advantageous because of the direct feedback to the researcher. There is an opportunity to reassure respondent(s) should s/he be reluctant to participate, and the interviewer also clarifies certain instructions or questions. The interviewer also has the opportunity to probe answers asking the respondent to clarify or expand on specific response(s). Finally, the interviewer can supplement the answers recording his/her own observations, for instance; gender, time of day/place where the interview will take place.

3.5.1 Validity and reliability

Mugenda and Mugenda (2003) asserted that the accuracy of data to be collected largely depended on the data collection instruments in terms of validity and reliability. Validity as noted Robinson (2002) is the degree to which result obtained from the analysis of the data actually represents the phenomenon under study.

Validity will be achieved pre-testing the instrument to be used to identify and change any ambiguous, awkward, or offensive questions and technique as emphasized Cooper and Schindler (2003). Reliability on the other hand refers to a measure of the degree to which research instruments yield consistent results (Mugenda & Mugenda, 2003). In this study, reliability will be ensured pre-testing the questionnaire with a selected sample. The pre-test exercise will take place at the convenience of both the researcher and the research assistant

3.6. Data Analysis

The data will be collected use of questionnaires. Questions will be analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively first editing to get the relevant data for the study. The edited data will then be coded for easy classification and to facilitate tabulation. The tabulated data will then be analyzed calculating various frequencies and percentages where possible. The collected Data will then be calculated use of statistical inferences such as mean and mode where applicable. Presentation of data will be in the form of tables and figures.

3.7 Research Limitations

3.8 Research Ethics

 

 

SAMPLE 5

CHAPTER FOUR

DATA ANALYSIS PRESENTATION AND INTERPRETATION

This chapter is written after the completion of data collection. It is written in past tense. It contains the results of the data analyzed.

4.1 Introduction

This section discusses the content in the chapter

4.2 Research findings

This section analyzes the research findings with particular emphasis on the objectives of the study. The results are presented in quantitative and qualitative analysis where applicable. Tables and graphs are used where applicable to facilitate clarity of the results.

The results presented should be discussed and should be linked to the literature reviewed.

Subheadings should be used.

 

4.3 Summary

This section should briefly summarize the major highlights of the study with emphasis on the objectives. The researcher should ensure that all items in the data collection instruments are addressed.

Types of Scales

A scale measures the magnitude or quantity of a variable. A variable is a symbol e.g. X or Y that represents any of a specified set of values. There are four types of scales commonly used as levels of measurement.

  1. Nominal scales allow for qualitative classification. They deal with categorical responses that take on values that are names or labels. E.g. gender is categorized as male or female, ethnicity, marital status, religion etc. The appropriate statistics for nominal data include mode, frequency and chisquare.
  2. Ordinal scales are similar to nominal variable but it can be ordered in a meaningful sequence. Ordinal data has order but the intervals between the scale points are uneven because of lack of equal distances, arithmetic operations are impossible. However logical explanations can be performed.
  3. Interval scales deal with interval variables which give better information than ordinal scales. They have an equal distance between each value. E.g. the distance between 1 and 2 is equal to the distance between 99 and 100. Appropriate statistics are the same as the nominal and ordinal scale including mean, standard deviation, correlation, regression, ANOVA.
  4. Ratio scales measure variables that have the same properties as the interval variables except that with ratio scaling, there is an absolute zero point. E.g. height, weight, length, unsold units etc. All statistics permitted for the interval scale including geometric mean, harmonic mean and logarithms.

Characteristics of Sound Measurement

There are 3 major criteria for evaluating a measurement tool.

  1. Validity: includes internal validity which refers to the outcome of the study based on the function of the program. A study has internal validity if the outcome of the study is a function of the approach being tested. It is justified the conclusion that the researcher has been able to control the threats of other variables i.e. IV, MV or EV.

Internal validity is further classified as:

    1. Content validity: if the measuring instrument is adequate to cover the topic under study.
    2. Criterion related validity: reflects the success of measures used for prediction or estimation. A researcher may want to predict an outcome or estimate the existence of a current behavior or condition; these are the predictive and concurrent validity.
    3. Construct validity: where we consider measurement of abstract characteristics for which no empirical validation seems possible.
  1. Reliability: is measure is reliable to the degree that it supplies consistent results. Reliability is concerned with accuracy and precision of a measurement procedure.
  2. Practicability: is concerned with a wide range of factors of economy, convenience and interpretability.

DATA PREPARATION METHODS

According to Cooper & Schindler (2011), data preparation is conducted using the following methods: editing, coding and data entry. These activities ensure the accuracy of their data and their conversion from raw form to reduced and classified forms that are more appropriate for analysis. The methods are discussed as under:

  1. Data Editing

It is the first step of data analysis which involves detection of errors and omissions correcting them when possible to certify that maximum data quality standards are achieved. The purpose of editing data is to guarantee accuracy, consistency, uniformity, completeness and proper arrangements to simplify coding and tabulation of data. Editing: involves checking raw data to eliminate errors or points of confusion in data. The main purpose of editing is to set quality standards on the raw data. The analysis will then take place with minimum confusion. Editing detects errors and omissions, corrects them when possible. This is to guarantee that the data is accurate, consistent with other information, uniformly entered, complete and arranged to simplify coding and tabulation. There are 2 stages in editing:

To establish whether actual data collection was conducted in the field. For example for interview the approach to check responses to open ended questions might be used to unearth falsification of responses.

To correct data inconsistencies for instance if instead some data captured in form days instead of number of weeks.

Data Coding

According to Mugenda and Mugenda (2012), coding is a system of classifying a variable into categories and assigning different numbers to various classifications to enable quantitative analysis to be conducted for example a variable like occupation would have different classifications for example teacher, nurse, driver etc which would each have a numerical cods like teacher-1,nurse-2,driver-3,clerk-4 etc. Coding: involves assigning numbers or other symbols to answers so that the responses can be grouped into a limited number of classes or categories. The classifying of data into limited categories sacrifices some data detail but is necessary for efficient analysis. For Male or Female, a researcher may use M or F and code 1 for male and 2 for female or use 0 and 1. Coding helps the researcher in reducing several thousand replies into a few categories containing the critical information for analysis. The researcher determines appropriate categories into which responses are placed. Different numerical codes are assigned to each response category. Researchers frequently use summary statistics for presenting findings. These include measures of central tendency (mean, median and mode), measures of dispersion (variance, standard deviation, range, interquartile range), measures of skewness and kurtosis and percentages. They enable generalization about the sample of study objects. Frequency tables, bar charts and pie charts are used in displaying data.

Tabulation:

This involves counting the number of responses that fit in each category. Tabulation may be in form of simple tabulation which addresses one variable (e.g. number of cigarettes smoked per day) or cross tabulation that combines variables (e.g. number of cigarettes smoked per day with the age of the respondent). These are used for simple studies. Studies involving large numbers of respondents with many items to be analyzed rely on computer tabulation and computer packages for analysis. Data entry involves converting information gathered secondary and primary methods to a medium for further manipulation. There is wide variety of ways to enter the data into the computer for analysis. Probably the easiest is to just type the data in directly. In order to ensure a high level of data accuracy, the data analyst should use a procedure called double entry (entering data only once).

Dealing with “Don’t Know” Responses

Causes

First, there is the legitimate DK response from respondents who do not sincerely know the question being asked.

Second, DK responses from respondents who ignore to answer questions or refuse to give the questionnaire the seriousness it deserves may be encountered.

The best way to deal with undesired DK answers is to design better questions at the beginning. Researchers should identify the questions for which a DK response is unsatisfactory and design around it. During interview process, a good rapport should be established between the interviewer and interviewee so that more probing can be done easily so that respondents can provide definite answers. The interviewer may also record verbatim any elaboration the respondent and pass the problem on to the editor.

CHAPTER F IVE

SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter summarizes the major findings highlighted in chapter four

5.1 Introduction

The section addresses the content in the chapter

 

5.2 Summary of research findings

This section summarizes the views expressed various respondents in relation to the objectives of the study

 

5.3 Conclusion

This is a summation of the researchers view in relation to the responses raised based on each of the objectives. The conclusion must be based on the results obtained.

5.4 Recommendations

This must be derived from the results. They should address each of the specific objectives.

5.5 Recommendations for Further Research

This should be based on issues that emerged in t he process of research but were not investigated.

References

Use the American Psychological Association (APA) format

 

 

RESEARCH REPORT

Presenting Results: Written Reports

The research report communicates the findings of the research project. The project should answer questions raised in the statement of the problem and objectives of the study. For a report to communicate effectively it should satisfy the following criteria.

  1. Completeness: should provide all information relevant to the readers.
  2. Accuracy: data generated during data collection should be accurate for the report to be accurate.
  3. Clarity: this is achieved clear logical thinking and precision of expression. Short simples sentences, no grammatical errors and uniform style and format should observed.
  4. Conciseness: the writer must be concise in their writing. The report should be brief and to the point.

1

WAYS IN WHICH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CAN IMPROVE RESEARCH.

  1. Globalization

Information technology has not only brought the world closer together but it has allowed the world’s economy to become a single interdependent system. This means that a researcher cannot only share information quickly and efficiently but can also bring down barriers of linguistic and geographic boundaries (Kothari, 2010). Of great importance is the issue that the world has developed into a global village due to the help of information technology allowing researchers not only separated distance but also language to share information with each other in the language one understands.

  1. Innovation

Mugenda and Mugenda (1998) state that, there has been growing interest in research networks and its implications on the creation of new knowledge. The rapidly increased use of the web, internet, intranets, extranets, e-business, e-commerce and mobile computing changes the manner in which research is done and even application in business transactions.  Of special importance is the emergence of the second generation e-commerce applications such as m-commerce, c-commerce, e-learning and e-government where research can be carried out effectively. It enables researchers to stimulate, visualize, model and experiment with complex, real-world problems, promoting exploratory and inquiry- based models of researching. Further in research, information technology enables and fosters development of critical thinking skills, visualization, conceptualization, integration of disparate data and resolution of patterns within data  (Kothari, 2010)

  1. Online interviewing and focus groups

The internet is used to communicate with research subjects and in addition to quantitative surveys, online approaches to qualitative research have been tried. Online interviewing and focus groups can be an effective means to collect qualitative data. Careful planning and attention to rapport building is useful to elicit the kind of accounts that researchers hope for.  People can take part from home and this be able to fit in the interview even though they would travel to a face to face meeting. They may feel more comfortable discussing sensitive subjects online such as fertility problems. According to Slavin (2007), where people are comfortable with the idea of communicating online, it can be possible to use email to collect rich qualitative data. People being interviewed feel that the online interaction puts them more in charge than they would be face-to-face, allowing them to think carefully and reflect on their answers and also respond only when they feel able to cope with the interaction. Data collected online can therefore be useful to researchers and can sometimes provide insights that face to face methods do not.

  1. Fieldwork on online settings

There is a large quantity of naturally occurring data on the internet that allows a researcher to observe what people do under less controlled circumstances. The internet is a filed site for ethnographic research in which the researcher uses some familiar techniques from more conventional ethnography to explore the culture in the online setting. Ethnography research involves a combination of techniques. When carried out online, it includes observation through reading messages or being present in interactions together with online interviews. Sometimes face to face interviews may be carried out particularly when participants themselves have face to face meetings in the normal course of events (www.researchnavigator.com)

  1. Publications

To publish is to bring specific information to the public domain through written documents or posting such information in a website. Publications refer to published documents including books, periodicals, scholarly journals, magazines among others.. Publishing also includes the distribution of copies of the written work to the general public with the consent of the author. The document may be distributed free on sold. Researchers are encouraged to publish their findings in journals books or other forms of publication. This facilitates wider sharing of research findings among researchers, professionals and policy makers. Publishing research findings and regularly reading journals papers published other researchers improve ones research skills.

Published articles thoroughly describe the research methodology that the author has followed in conducting the study. Experience has shown that prolific writers of research materials also tend to be exemplary researchers. What such people share with the research community helps to shape the way research is conducted setting certain standards. Subjecting journal papers to referees, ensures that high standards are maintained in  research (Mugenda and Mugenda 1998).

  1. Bridging the cultural gap

Information technology has helped to bridge the cultural gap helping people from different cultures to communicate with one another and allow for the exchange of views and ideas thus creating awareness and reducing prejudice. Further, a researcher is facilitated information technology in connections across disciplinary, institutional, geographical and cultural boundaries (Slavin 2007).

  1. Saving time

Internet is open for twenty four hours daily all over the globe. This means that a research can be undertaken all the time in a twenty four hour basis. This is unlike the library or research sample which has restricted time. This includes printing the literature one may find fit for benchmarking or aiding his research study.

 

  1. Information technology to researchers aids and illustrates the workings of complex methods exploring cause-effect relationships and hypothetical scenarios. It aids research encouraging collaboration with other individuals, teams or institutions while exposing researchers to different ideas and perspectives within a limited time frame.
  2. Calculations/ tabulation of data

Computers perform calculations almost at the end speed of light. They are ideally suited for data analysis concerning large research projects. Researchers are essentially concerned with huge storage of data, their faster retrieval when required and processing of data with the aid of various techniques (Baikie 2003). Researchers in economics and other social sciences have found electronic computers to constitute an indispensable part of their research equipment. Computers can perform many statistical calculations easily and quickly. Software packages are readily available for the various simple and complicated analytical and quantitative and complicated analytical and qualitative techniques of which researchers generally make use of.

 

To the researcher, the use of computer to analyze complex, data has made complicated research designs practical. Electronic computers have now become an indispensable part of research students in the physical and behavioral sciences as well as in the humanities. The research student, in this age of computer technology, must be exposed to the methods and use of computers. A basic understanding of the manner in which a computer works helps a person to appreciate the utility of this powerful tool. Researchers using computers can carry on the task at faster speed and with great reliability. The developments now taking place in computer technology will further enhance and facilitate the use of computers for researchers. Programming knowledge would no longer remain an obstacle in the use of a computer (Kothari 2010)

 

WAYS IN WHICH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY HAS BEEN MISUSED IN RESEARCH

  • Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of close imitation of the language and thoughts of another and representation of them as their one’s original work or simply copying of another’s written work. This is the biggest challenge in research work. It is no secret that plagiarism is the biggest trouble that a writer can get into. A thousand of free information provided the internet has allowed dishonest writers who steal other peoples work and present it as their own. Most research scholars have misused Information Technology just copying what others have already researched on and posted their results in the website, this contributes to lack of originality because the work is only but a duplication of other’s work. Some times because the work in the website may have been produced a long time ago, the information at the time of duplication is not up to date especially when the information relies on data or numerical values because time has passed since the data that is in the website was produced hence the duplicated work is not a true reflection of the current time (data is not up to date)

 

  • Over reliance to information may lead to getting irrelevant information

Technology has rocked the research with quite a chunk of literature. This information may be very relevant to one title or topic but equally the literature may be quite large that for one to go through and sieve this requirement is quite a task, this is further made worse the fact that one in the process may carry out unnecessary information which does not add up properly and this contributes to irrelevant information being gathered. More so today the tools used in research are so complicated that if not correctly and rightly controlled will give out wrong perception including researcher’s conclusion and recommendation which may be disastrous if implemented. This implies that some of these techniques of research like sampling and gathering information must be practically done and results analyzed rather than using the Information Technology to generate them.

 

  • Lack of originality

Since the introduction of Information Technology on research, it has come to notice that most of the researchers especially the scholars do not produce their own original work from the field since they may be undertaking a similar project that is already posted in websites. Since the work could be accessible to anybody this could lead to duplicating work that has already been done without even getting data from the actual field but simply doing exactly what others have already done, this contributes to lack of originality and creativity and this may make the whole research lose its meaning because no much personal effort has been made but only relying on others efforts.

 

  • Lack of privacy or confidentiality (impact on confidentiality)

Confidentiality is one of the ethical issues in research work. A research project should guarantee confidentiality when the researcher can identify a given person’s responses but essentially promises not to do so in publicly. In an interview survey for example the researcher could make public the income reported a given respondent, but the respondent is assured this will not be done. When a research project is confidential, it is like researchers responsibility to make that fact clear to the respondent. This is not always an easy task to follow. Once the researcher does not keep this confidentiality and the information spreads to the public either through the media or the website, it spreads to a large number of populations and this creates much harm to the feelings of the respondent, because information that is in the internet can be accessed to everyone hence compromising privacy or confidentiality. J. Steven (1996a, 1996b) points out that a certificate of confidentiality to protect confidentiality of research subject data against disclosure can act as an important protection through both filed reports and data in the websites.

 

  • Hacking of research information

Researchers may use computer to steal research data and information stored from other computers through hacking. Computer hacking is the practice of modifying computer hardware and software to accomplish a goal outside of the original purpose. People who engage in computer hacking are called hackers. This involves manipulating other person’s security details (password) and accessing his/her information in the computer software without his/her consent. This is a crime, in some cases, computer hackers or thieves often take advantage of one’s effort to access their information has already been exposed to the public with or without her knowledge. It is true that internet has made research work easier but it is also reflecting an uglier side to its existence through a number of problems to its users. Internet theft and misuse of information has been a great challenge. Cases of people using someone’s information and research and using it as if it were their own have been reported through this practice of hacking. Since at times protection in the computer software may not be effective to keep off hackers, researchers find it difficult to do their work and at times are forced to do it manually.

 

  • Production of poor results

Hokanson and Hooper (2000 ) report that technology use in Education research has generated poor results .He argues out that technology has been used only to automate existing educational processes and thus has short changed its potential. The computer technology be realized leading to improved Educational quality and productivity. In cases where one relies on only what others have already done is a topic related to what one may under take leads to production of results that are not a true reflection.

  • Encouragement of cheating through impersonification through the websites

Impersonification in the act of using another person’s identity and details to perform a certain task for him/her. Today people do not do their own work anymore. More and more students and researchers rely on the web to do their work for them. This can range from copy and pasting to paying a website to write a paper for them. This encourages cheating in ones paper in research because the work has been done another person.

 

  • Use of dominance culture that may be irrelevant to our situation

While information technology may have made the world a global village, it has also contributed to one culture dominating another .In all aspects of life including scholarly work, business among others, for example it is now argued that the US researchers influence others all over the world on how to perform their research and if one does not conform with their standards no matter how relevant the results are, it may be nullified. Languages too have become overshadowed with English becoming the primary mode of communication for research everywhere, bearing in mind that not all countries or nations speak or communicate in English.

 

  • Loosing of data through over reliance

Since most researchers store their information in computer storage devices which includes flash disks, CDS and tapes, without proper backup the information may be lost. It is no longer important to file one’s work in written records because they type their work in computers, store the data in the computers, when these devices get destroyed the information is lost. This issue is brought about over reliance on technology.

 

HYPOTHESIS

  1. Null/ Alternative Hypothesis

Null Hypothesis- There is no significant relationship e.g there is no significant relationship between training and performance.

Alternative Hypothesis- indicates a relationship-If employees are trained, performance will improve

 

  1. Directional/ Non Directional Hypothesis

The direction of the relationship between the variables- positive or negative is indicated. The greater the stress the lesser the performance Non directional Hypothesis do not indicate the direction of the relationship- There is a relationship between rewards and sales

 

  1. Inductive/deductive hypothesis

Generalization based on observation.

  • Observation
  • Analysis
  • Critical Thinking
  • C conclusion
  • Recommendations

Deductive Hypothesis- Derived from theory

  • Hypothesis (based on Theory)
  • Data collection to support hypothesis
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion

QUALITIES OF AN EFFECTIVE HYPOTHESIS

  • States researchers expectation concerning the relationship between variables
  • Indicates what the researcher thinks the outcome of the study will be
  • The data collected either supports or refutes the hypothesis
  • The hypothesis is testable
  • Clear and brief
  • The hypothesis is consistent with the existing body of  knowledge

REFERENCING

Academic conventions and copyright law require that you acknowledge when you use the ideas of others. In most cases, this means stating which book or journal article is the source of an idea or quotation. Referencing is a standardized method of formatting the information sources used in assignments or written work and serves the purpose of acknowledging the source and allowing the reader to trace the source.

There are several styles used for referencing among them are;

  1. Havard AGPS Referencing guide.
  2. American Psychological association (APA) Referencing guide.

The APA style consists of rules and conventions for formatting term papers, journal articles, books e.t.c in the behavioral and social sciences.

Reference lists and bibliography

A reference list is a list of all the sources that have been used as in-text references in the research report. A bibliography is a wider list of reading that includes both in-text references and other sources which may have informed thinking on the topic, but may not have been placed as an in-text reference in the research writing.One of the main reasons why referencing is important is to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is taking, using and submitting the thoughts, writings etc. of another person as one’s own.

APA CITATION SPECIFICATIONS – IN TEXT

One Author: If a book has just one author, the author’s last name followed the publication date is usually provided. For example: Freud (1900) found out……Or …as Jones (2001) described…

Direct Quotation: If a direct quotation is used, the APA citing should always include the page number where the source can be found.

No Author: Some sources lack information on authorship. In-text citations should use a short article title enclosed in parentheses and the date. When article titles are long, simply use the first word or two of the title.

For example: The study revealed a strong positive correlation between the two variables (“Learn APA,” 2006).

Referencing materials without dates : According to the official APA style website, the correct way to do this is to include the notation “n.d.” for no date. For example, you would cite an article from a website as follows:

Cherry, K. (n.d.). How to become a psychologist. About.com. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/careersinpsychology/ss/become-a-psychologist.htm

Two Authors: When a source lists two authors, in-text citations should provide the last names of both authors and the publication date. For example: …later studies demonstrated a similar effect (Ross & Hudson, 2004).Or Ross and Hudson (2004) found a similar effect in later studies.

Three to Seven Authors: Proper APA format for sources with three to seven authors requires listing the last names of all authors the first time they are cited as well as the publication date.For example: …results indicated a strong positive correlation between the two variables (Robsen, Hutchkins, Ru, & Selanis, 1989)., Or Robsen, Hutchkins, Ru, & Selanis (1989) found a strong positive correlation between the two variables.

Subsequent citations should list only the last name of the first author along with the publication date. For example: Robsen (1989) demonstrated the affects of…Or …in a study demonstrating these effects (Robsen, et al., 1989).

Seven or More Authors: To cite sources with more than seven authors a listing of the last name of the first author as well as the publication date should suffice. For example: …students demonstrated competence after reading about APA format (Smith et al., 2005). Or Smith et al., (2005) found that…

Organizations as Authors: The full name of the organization is always included the first time the source is cited in-text. The citation should also include the acronym of the organization if one is available. Subsequent citations can simply list the acronym and the publication date.For example: The American Psychological Association (2000) reported that… Or …found that students responded positively (American Psychological Association [APA], 2000). and subsequent citations (APA, 2000).

APA Citing for Electronic Sources

The exact format used for APA citing of electronic media depends upon the type of source that is used. In many cases, the format will be very similar to that of books or journal articles, but one should also include the URL of the source and the date it was accessed in the reference section.

Online Documents: The basic structure for referencing online documents is very similar to other references, but with the addition of a retrieval date and source. Date of accessing the document online should be given and the exact URL where the document can be found.

For example: Cherry, K. (2006). Guide to APA format. About Psychology. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/apastyle/guide

Online Journal Article: Online journal articles should be cited much like print articles, but they should include additional information about the source location. The basic structure is as follows:

Author, A. B., Author, C. D., & Author, E. F. (2000). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume number, page numbers. Retrieved from source

For example: Jenet, B. L. (2006) A meta-analysis on online social behavior. Journal of Internet Psychology, 4. Retrieved from http://www. journalofinternetpsychology.com/archives/volume4/ 3924.html

Article Retrieved from a Database: Articles that are retrieved from online databases are formatted like a print reference. For example: Henriques, J. B., & Davidson, R. J. (1991) Left frontal hypoactivation in depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 535-545.

Online Newspaper Article: When citing an online newspaper article, you should provide the URL of the newspaper’s home page. For example: Parker-Pope, T. (2011, November 16). Practicing on patients. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Electronic Version of a Print Book: One should only include electronic book references if the book is only available online or is very difficult to find in print. The reference will be very similar to a regular print book reference, except the electronic retrieval information takes the place of the publisher location and name.

For example: Freud, S. (1922). Totem und Tabu: Einige Übereinstimmungen im Seelenleben der Wilden und der Neurotiker [Kindle version]. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37065.kindle.images

Online Forums, Discussion Lists, or Newsgroups: Messages posted users on forums, discussion lists, and newsgroups should follow the basic structure for citing an online document. When possible, the posters real name starting with the last name is used and followed a first initial. If this is not possible, the author’s online screen name is used. The exact date that the message was posted should also be included.

For example: Leptkin, J. L. (2006, November 16). Study tips for psychology students [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://groups.psychelp.com/forums/messages/48382.html

APA CITATION SPECIFICATIONS – REFERENCE LIST

APA format establishes a number of clear rules for how to list reference works using author information. Reference listings vary based on the number of authors to whom the source is attributed.

The basic structure of a book reference should list the author’s last name, first initials, publication year, book title, location and publisher. The reference should appear as follows:

Author, I. N. (Year). Title of book. Location: Publisher.

For example:

Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person.Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

No Author: Articles and other works that do not provide an author attribution should begin with the title of the work. If the title is a book, list the title first in italics. The volume number and page numbers should follow article titles, while book titles should be followed the location and publisher name. For example:

A student guide to APA format. (1997).Psychology Weekly, 8, 13-27.

and

The ultimate APA format guidebook. (2006). Hartford, CT: Student Press.

Single Author: Works a single author should list the author’s last name and initials. The date of publication should be enclosed in parentheses and followed the title of the article or book. Books and journals titles should be listed in italics. The volume number and page numbers of the article should follow journal titles, while book titles should be followed the location and name of the publisher.

For example:

McCrae, R. R. (1993). Moderated analyses of longitudinal personality stability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 577-585.

and

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Two Authors: Works two authors should list last names and first initials separated an ampersand (&). These names should be followed the date of publication enclosed in parentheses. If the work is a journal article, the title of the article should immediately follow the publication date. Next, the title of the book or journal should be listed in italics. If the reference is a journal article, provide the volume number and page numbers. For books, list the location and name of the publisher.

For example:

Kanfer, F. H., & Busemeyer, J. R. (1982). The use of problem-solving and decision-making in behavior therapy. Clinical Psychology Review, 2, 239-266.

and

Buss, A. H., & Pomin, R. (1975). A temperament theory of personality development. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Three to Seven Authors: Works three to seven authors should list last names and first initials of each author separated an ampersand. Author names should be followed the date of publication enclosed in parentheses.

If the work is a journal article, include the title of the article immediately following the publication date. The title of the book or journal should then be listed in italics. If the reference is a journal article, provide the volume number and page numbers. For books, list the location and name of the publisher. For example:

Abma, J. C., Chandra, A., Mosher, W. D., Peterson, L. S., & Piccinino, L. J. (1997). Fertility, family planning, and women’s health: New data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. Vital and Health Statistics, 23(9), 1-67.

and

Alper, S., Schloss, P. J., Etscheidt, S. K., & Macfarlane, C. A. (1995).Inclusion: Are we abandoning or helping students? Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

More Than Seven Authors Authors: When a work is credited to more than seven authors, the reference is listed providing the names of the first six authors followed . . . and then the final author. The remainder of the reference follows the same format as that for seven or less authors.

Author last names and initials are followed the date of publication enclosed in parentheses. The name of the article is listed immediately after the publication date. The title of the journal or the book title should be provided in italics. The volume number and page number should follow journal titles, while book titles should be followed the location and publisher name.

For example:

Black, C. P., Arlo, S. T., Rechit, R., Machlen, J. P., Sempson, K., Bee, A. L., . . . Smith, R. K. (1999). Citing seven or more authors in APA format. Journal of APA Style and Format, 17, 45-75.

and

Black, C. P., Arlo, S. T., Rechit, R., Machlen, J. P., Sempson, K., Bee, A. L., . . . Clark, S. P. (2001). APA format for psychology students. Newark, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Edited Book with One or More Authors: Edited books with one or more authors should follow the basic structure of a book reference and include the initials, last name, and ‘Ed.’ in parentheses after the book title.
For example:

Adler, A. (1956). The individual psychology of Alfred Adler: A systematic presentation of selections from his writings. (H. L. Ansbacher & R. R. Ansbacher, Eds.). New York: Basic Books.

Edited Book with No Author: Edited books with no author should list the last name and first initials of the editor or editors, followed ‘Ed.’ or ‘Eds.’ in parentheses. The remainder of the reference should follow the basic structure and include the publication year, book title in italics, location, and publisher. For example:

Atkinson, J. W. & Rayner, J. O. (Eds.). (1974). Motivation and achievement.Washington, DC: V. H. Winston.

Article Featured in an Edited Book: Articles individual authors that appear in edited books should list the last name and first initial of the author, followed the publication date and book title. Next, the editors should be noted followed the location and publisher. For example:

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2005) History of Forensic Psychology. In I. B. Weiner & A. K. Hess (Eds.), The Handbook of Forensic Psychology (pp.1-27). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Translated Books: Books translated from another language should include the last name and first initial of the author, followed the year of publication and book title. The first initials and last name of the translator and the notation ‘Trans.’ should then be included in parentheses. Next provide the location, publisher and a note of the original date of publication. For example:

Freud, S. (1914). The psychopathology of everyday life. (A. A. Brill, Trans.). London: T. Fisher Unwin. (Original work published 1901).

REFERENCE PAGES FORMAT

  • References should begin on a new page. Title the new page “References” and center the title text at the top of the page.
  • All entries should be in alphabetical order.
  • The first line of a reference should be flush with the left margin. Each additional line should be indented (usually accomplished using the TAB key.)
  • While earlier versions of APA format required only one space after each sentence, the new sixth-edition of the style manual now recommends two spaces.
  • The reference section should be double-spaced.
  • All sources cited should appear both in-text and on the reference page. Any reference that appears in the text of your report or article must be cited on the references page, and any item appearing on your reference page must be also included somewhere in the body of your text.
  • Titles of books, journals, magazines, and newspapers should appear in italics.

REFERENCE LIST

Cherry, K. (n.d). Guide to APA format. About Psychology. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/apastyle/p/articlesapaform.htm

Mugenda, O. and Gitau, A (2008), Social science research, Kijabe printing press, Nairobi

Neuman, L.W.(2006), ‘Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches’, 6th edition, Allyn & Bacon

University of Southern Queensland (USQ) (n.d). APA referencing style. Retrieved from http://usq.edu.au/library/referencing/apa-referencing-guide

Wikipedia (n.d). Research. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research

 

 

 

 

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