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Surveys using standardized questionnaires

In answering the supervisor’s question about surveys using standardized questionnaires and interviews as methods of collecting data, this paper will highlight several points of contrast. Firstly, the two data collection methods mentioned both deal with having a set of questions to ask, which are presumed to be designed to gather the needed responses for the research project. Using the questions as a point of contrast, a survey has a set of questions that are usually encoded onto a questionnaire. This questionnaire is then presented to the respondent who is required to answer all the questions as best he or she could.

This also means that he or she will answer only the questions presented in the questionnaire, nothing more, and nothing less. In an interview there is a set of questions as well, but the mode of delivery of these questions differs from that of a survey questionnaire. In a survey questionnaire, the respondent merely sits down with a pen and the questionnaire and writes away, or in the online or electronic type of survey, he or she sits in front of a computer. As for the interview, one could say that a more ‘human’ approach is used, and the exploration of data is more in-depth.

The respondent in this case is called the ‘interviewee’ and the researcher may be present as the ‘interviewer’. The two set up a meeting wherein the interviewer will ask the interviewee the set of questions that are prepared. However, the questions that are asked are not restricted to those in the questionnaire. In providing a more in-depth form of data, an interview may not strictly adhere to the questions only. When the interviewee responds in such a way that offers more room for exploration, the interviewer may opt to ask the interviewee to continue the train of though or the answer to the question.

Thus the set of questions that were so strict and rigid in a survey questionnaire is then turned into a set of ‘guide’ questions within an interview. The questions will serve as a guide for the interviewer as to what is the data needed by the research, but the interviewer is able to ask questions not indicated in the set. From this comparison it may be put forth that survey questionnaires are easier to administer than interviews. Some methods for the delivery of survey questionnaires may include mailing the questionnaires, either in hard paper or in the electronic form.

Another consideration in survey questionnaires is the validity of the responses. There is no way to verify the responses or to ensure that the respondents are on track and completely aware of the research questions’ meaning. With an interview, on the other hand, the data collected is much deeper and easily verified through more prodding of the interviewee and other follow-up questions. Another point of contrast is the number of respondents in both methods. With surveys, the data may be validated by the sheer number of respondents to the questionnaire.

Many copies of the questionnaire may be sent, but thus does not mean that all those that were sent out will be returned. The cost for covering all the mailing of the procedure is high as well. The interview features validation by more in-depth questioning. Thus the use of these two methods may be discussed as well. With surveys, the respondents are required to be able to read and write to answer the questionnaire. This may not be a plausible method for gathering data if the respondents are not literate.

This may be the case with juvenile delinquents, people native to another language or people who live in areas were most civilization has not reached such as tribes in the mountains. Question #2 The major advantage of field research is the validity and depth of the data that can be acquired. In this type of research, immersion and contact with the respondents outside the confines of a strict research design may improve the quality of the data and the analysis of it using the appropriate tools. Field research also helps establish ‘context’ for the researcher to understand the data presented by the respondents.

At times, misinterpretation may happen in analyzing data. Field research allows the researcher to observe, interact and even participate with the respondents in their activities and even concerning the question of the study (Tungpalan, 2005). Another feature of field research is the amount of data that may be acquired. This method would no doubt produce a vast amount of data that the researcher might become overwhelmed with everything he is tasked to analyze. This would mean that the researcher is tasked to filtering or sieving the data that he acquires and making sure that the data he uses is only the most relevant (Tungpalan, 2005).

An overflow of data would no doubt fall heavily on the shoulders of the researcher, so one must be able to discern which data concerns the study. Field research presents many advantages to researchers. The previously-mentioned features of field research show that data acquired using this method is easily-validated, in-depth and contextualized. However, the manner of conducting field research is crucial in determining the nature of the data that is acquired. The attitude, perceptions and principles guiding the researcher in his field work determine the level and nature of the analysis of the data as well.

Thus several paradigms and approaches to field research have emerged in order to guide and help researchers decide on how their field work experience will be. One paradigm in this discussion is the spectator or observation paradigm which indicates a passive role and attitude during the field research. In this paradigm, the researcher goes into the field and merely observes the subject of the data. In social science research, this would include observing human behavior without any interaction with the human subjects.

This would presuppose the detachment of the researcher from the subjects of the research, giving the research credibility in terms of objectivity. Another paradigm in field research which is the opposite of the spectator paradigm is the participant-observer paradigm. In this paradigm, the researcher seeks to immerse himself or herself in the community or environment of his or her subjects. One example in which these two paradigms differ in their methods as well as the nature of the data that is mined is in studying communities or groups that are notorious for their crime rates.

Using the spectator/observer paradigm, one would merely look at how the groups interact, their language patterns, and their behavior to stimuli that they themselves create or set up in an experimental situation by the researcher. As for the participant observer paradigm, this would require the researcher to play a more active role in his immersion with the subjects. The researcher would participate in the group’s or community’s activities in order for him to be accepted or recognized in their group (Tungpalan, 2005).

This way, deeper data and information may be mined and the subjects are more comfortable in revealing more data that they would otherwise keep from a bystander or observer. However, this paradigm comes with the question ‘How can I analyze the data objectively when my method of acquiring it may be affected by my participation? ’ This shows how the two paradigms both have their advantages and disadvantages and that the researcher is tasked to balance and consider so many factors in doing research. Question #3 Research Design Title of Research Project: Trends of Early Child Abuse in Female Juvenile Delinquents Research Questions:

1. Does events of previous abuse during early childhood relate to female juvenile delinquents? 2. How many female juvenile delinquents had been abused before they were 13 years old? 3. How has this type of abuse affected their chances of committing a crime during their teenage years? Hypotheses 1. Previous events of abuse are related to the status of females as juvenile delinquents in such a way that most female juvenile delinquents had some form of abuse during their early childhood years, whether from a parent, sibling, relative or stranger. 2. This type of abuse is seen to be a common precursor to female juvenile activity.

Subject: 1. Female juvenile delinquents from 13-17 years of age in one rehabilitation facility. Methods 1. Content Analysis a. Proper documentation and annotation of all literature relevant to the topic, mainly on child abuse, juvenile delinquency in females i. Community statistics ii. Cases iii. Reports 2. Survey a. Respondents will be the clients of a rehabilitation facility for female juvenile delinquents b. Random sampling within the facility c. 30 respondents Variables for study 1. Independent variables a. juvenile delinquent status b. type of offense c. number of offenses 2.

Dependent variables a. incidence of abuse in early childhood (12 years old and below) b. type of abuse (sexual, physical, verbal, etc. ) c. frequency of abuse d. identity of abuser Types of Data collected a. Quantitative a. Statistics b. Qualitative a. Accounts of abuse and crime Strengths a. Method may be replicated Limitations a. The research is conducted only in one facility b. Immersion in their natural environment would be difficult Question #4 In asking questions as to whether a research project is feasible, one must consider the nature of the data and the availability of the data as well.

Determining the correct research methods will be crucial to the success of the study. In this case, the variables of concern would be traffic stops and racial profiling. This would mean that definitions of traffic stop and race would have to be established. Questions of relevance could be: 1. What constitutes a traffic stop? 2. Would a warning suffice or should the offense be documented to warrant the definition? 3. What are the races of concern? Essentially, a relation would be sought between the incidences of traffic stops to the race of the person incurring the offense. Firstly, the definition of the traffic stop must be established.

If a warning would suffice, then gathering data would require one to accompany a police officer or traffic rule enforcer to be able to document incidences of warnings. If the traffic stop would only constitute a documented incident with the presence of a ticket, then the researcher may just have to go to the station and request access to their statistics and traffic reports. This way, the study would be essentially a quantitative study wherein the numbers of the incidences and the offender’s race would be correlated using the standard statistical methods. In this study, content analysis would be a preliminary method of data gathering.

Even if the definition of traffic stop would include warnings, the researcher must be able to acquire data on how many offenses are incurred by a specific racial profile. This would give the researcher an idea of what to expect in the field. Feasibility would be dependent upon the availability of the data and how it had been documented. At times, when police officers would request stops to be made by motorists, the tickets that are filled out might not be complete and at times some confusion and mistakes may occur. For this study to be feasible, it is necessary to assume that the tickets documented are complete and reliable.

Secondary data analysis is much easier to accomplish but much harder to defend and analyze. At some point the researcher may find conflicting data, but to which the study might be determined infeasible would be dependent on how conflicting the data would be. Cross-referencing to the racial profile of the area would be important as well, in order to sift through what might be conflicting data or the racial profile of the area itself. The feasibility of this study would then be completely dependent on the data to be collected. Traffic stops are documented, but only those that the officers had discretion to consider.

Discretion is an important feature of traffic officers’ duty and privilege, and it might impede or put enough stock in rendering data incomplete. The alternative to secondary data gathering, however, would be to immerse oneself in field research with the traffic officer. This would entail more questions and a new study of feasibility such as the vehicle of accompaniment and the length of time that the officers are out on duty. Bibliography Tungpalan, M. T. (2005). Handbook for Researchers. Metro Manila, Philippines: Univeristy of the Philippines College of Social Work and Community Development.

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