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Question one – research approaches
a. Distinguish between the different types of issues/questions that research seeks to address using qualitative and quantitative approaches.
The differences in questions and issues used under both approaches are as follows:
This approach is used for collecting the numerical data which is analysed by the researcher by applying mathematical concepts and statistical methods.
This approach is used to explore the details about the manner and behaviour of people in a particular situation or their attitude and perception about a specific thing.
The questions used in this approach aim at collecting the numerical data which relate to figures and numbers.
The questions used in this approach aim at collecting the data which relates to facts and qualities.
The sources include surveys conducted online, in person or at phone by asking same set of questions to a large group of persons, observations by counting number of times a phenomena occurs and secondary sources such as company accounts.
The sources include interviews which may be structured, semi-structured or unstructured, focus groups involving multiple participants discussing over an issue, postcards or questionnaires, secondary sources such as diaries, past events, company reports etc. and observations which include role-play and demonstrations.
The analysis of these questions is being made by using statistical techniques and graphs.
The analysis of these questions is done by applying various methods which involve structuring and coding the data into different groups and themes (Liamputtong, 2013).
b. Explain how theory is used differently in quantitative and qualitative research.
A theory is used differently for the two different approaches of research qualitative and quantitative since under the quantitative approach the theory is used for summarising and analysing the facts and behaviouristic characteristics whereas under the quantitative approach, the theory is used for the summary and analysis of numbers, figures and values. In this way a same theory is used in two different ways since the context of the application of the theory differs under the two approaches. The qualitative and qualitative approach of business research uses different types of questions for conducting research. Also the issues covered under both the approaches differ in their scope as well as their context (Vogt & ebrary, 2013).
Question two - drafting a research proposal
a) Explain providing reasons whether a qualitative or quantitative approach is appropriate for this research (do not use mixed methods).
Quantitative research is used for collecting the numerical data and statistics about the facts and figures and qualitative research is used to collect the data which relates to the nature and behavioural characteristics of people about a specific product or service or under a specific situation. The research of Quick and Fast Courier Company relates to finding the reasons for the high volume of accidents that take place at the company. The number of workplace accidents has increased for each of the offices of company in different states of Australia and on occurrence of each accident a report is prepared including details of staff involved and details of the situation. In this case the quantitative research will explore only the number of accidents occurred at each office or the amount of loss incurred which will not satisfy the research objective. The qualitative research in this case will be able to explore the findings about the major reasons causing the increase in number of accidents since the qualitative research aims at collecting the data about the characteristics and responses under various situations. Since the aim of the research for company is to find out the methods and practices that can be used to reduce the number of accidents, therefore the qualitative method will be more appropriate for this research. The reason for this is the findings from qualitative research about the reasons that highly contribute to the accidents will provide for the solutions to reduce the number of accidents (Plonsky & Gass, 2011).
b) Write a research proposal outlining how you will go about this task.
Research Objective – The objective of conducting the research for Quick and Fast Courier Company is to find the methods and solutions which can be used by the company to reduce the number of its workplace accidents. The research will aim at gathering the data about the practices and procedures which can be adopted to improve the health and safety of people at workplace.
Participants: The participants of the research will be the managers of the company and the delivery staff of the company who make delivery of the packages throughout Australia from various offices in different states.
Selection of participants: The participants from the target population will be selected using sampling techniques. The sampling frame for the research will comprise of managers of all the offices of company and the delivery staff of all the offices. Out of the sampling frame the sample of participants will be selected by applying stratified sampling method which includes selecting a defined number of participants from both the categories and groups covered under the sampling frame. This sampling method is used since there are two groups of participants and the selected participants shall be from each group.
Data collection methods: The method which will be used for collection of primary data will include questionnaires distributed to managers and staff and collecting the duly filled in responses from them. The secondary data will be collected by studying the accidents reports prepared by the company for past accidents (Gorard, 2013).
Data analysis: The research is being conducted using qualitative approach, therefore the analysis of data collected will be made using various methods of data analysis applied to different types of responses such as trend and forecasting, presentations etc.
Question three – mixed methods
Distinguish between explanatory sequential mixed methods and exploratory sequential mixed methods explaining when each type of research design might be appropriate.
Mixed methods refer to as the use of multiple methods or ways to explore the solutions for a given research problem rather than applying a single method. He mixed methods can be of two types explanatory sequential mixed methods and exploratory sequential mixed methods. The differences in both types of mixed methods are as follows:
Explanatory sequential mixed methods
Exploratory sequential mixed methods
These methods cover those issues which relate to the details of the research topic which explains the research phenomena
These methods cover those issues which relate to other aspects with regards to research topic rather than the details of topic and focuses on exploring the factors and aspects of the phenomena.
Collection and analysis of quantitative data at initial stage after which collection and analysis of qualitative data are made.
In the initial phase the collection and analysis of qualitative data is made followed by the analysis and collection of quantitative data.
Using qualitative results for explaining and interpreting the findings and results of quantitative study (Niglas, 2014).
To explore a phenomenon such as applying a business strategy while developing and testing a new instrument.
Question four – quantitative methods
a. What gap in previous research does the study seek to explore?
The study in this research seeks to explore the gap created by previous research by proposing a model which examines the mediating processes that establish a relationship between learning style and e-learning performance and testing it. It also extends the previous study in terms of analysing the moderating effects of prior knowledge.
b. The abstract states “Learning style is traditionally assumed to be a predictor of learning performance, yet few studies have identified the mediating and moderating effects between the two”. Explain what is meant by a mediating and a moderating effect.
Mediating effect: It is the effect caused by a function which itch establishes the relation between the predictor and the criterion. This effect demonstrates the manner in which external factors influence internal psychological significance. The manner and the reason of the effect are defined under his approach.
Moderating effect: his is the effect caused by qualitative or quantitative variable upon the direction which defines the relationship between independent predictor variable and dependent criterion variable. It defines the situations under which the effect will take place.
c. What are the suggested mediating and moderating effects in the study?
The moderating effect in the study establishes that the greater the prior knowledge a learner has, the stronger relationship will exist between online participation and learning performance. The mediating effect in the study relates to the manner and causes which define the relationship between the online participation and learning performance.
d. The study identifies three control variables. Explain the meaning of control variables and why it is important to identify control variables.
The three control variables used in the study include gender, computer experience and internet experience (Huan et al, 2012). Control variables are the variables which are used for the analysis of other variables and the correlation of variables inn order to identify and control the potential effects of variables. It is important to identify the control variables in a study so that the observation and analysis of relationship among variables can be made.
e. Explain the meaning of independent variables in quantitative studies.
In quantitative studies, the independent variables mean those variables which are not affected by other variables or in other words no correlation exist for the independent variables with other variables used in the study.
f. Identify the independent variable/s in Huang, Lin and Huang’s (2012) study.
Out of the three control variables included in the given study which are gender, internet experience and computer experience, the variables internet experience and computer experience are independent variables since these variables are not likely to effect the observations of study as most of the students at the college can proficiently use internet and computer systems.
Question five – critiquing research
a. What research approach and design has been used for the study?
The research approach used in the given article relates to collection of primary data from primary sources. The primary sources are those which are used specifically for the purpose of research to collect the data that relates specifically to the subject matter of research. For the above article demonstration technique was used to communicate information to respondents and then responses were collected from them through personal interview. This design has been used to collect quantitative data about the attitude of respondents towards people wearing branded and non-branded clothes. Thus the research method is interview method to gather the responses. In another experiment the practical exercises were used by the presenters involving the participation of students to gather the qualitative data bout the perception of the students towards people wearing branded and non-branded clothes.
b. Comment on the validity of the findings in relation to the approach to the research. (Does the way the research was carried out lead to results that could be relied upon? E.g. were the participants knowledgeable about the research question? How was the data gathered?)
The data in the article was gathered by the respondents through two practical experiments where under first experiment demonstration was made in front of students and questions were asked from them about the demonstrated activity to collect responses and in the second experiment the demonstration was made but questions were not asked rather the involvement of respondents was made through practical activity for collecting responses. The participants were not knowledgeable about the research question initially but after his demonstration they were able to obtain an understanding of the research questions and responded accordingly. The research was carried out effectively since the practical exercises were used and direct involvement of respondents was made to make them understand the research topic and its objective. The validity of the research findings depends upon the quality and effectiveness of the research approach and methodologies used. Since the responses collected in the above article were directly and instantly obtained from the respondents based on the analysis made by them through understanding developed from the demonstrated exercises, therefore there are higher chances that the results and findings are valid and appropriate (Creswell 2013).
Huang, EY, Lin, SW & Huang, TK 2012, 'What type of learning style leads to online participation in the mixed-mode e-learning environment? A study of software usage instruction', Computers & Education, vol. 58, no. 1, pp. 338-49.
Liamputtong, P. 2013, Qualitative research methods, 4th edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.
Vogt, W.P. & ebrary, I. 2011;2013;, SAGE quantitative research methods, Four-Volume Set edn, SAGE, London.
Plonsky, L. & Gass, S. 2011, "Quantitative Research Methods, Study Quality, and Outcomes: The Case of Interaction Research", Language Learning, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 325-366.
Gorard, S. 2013, Research design: creating robust approaches for the social sciences,SAGE, London.