Social research - Assignment Example

There are several different methods a researcher may use for collecting primary data. Primary is data the researcher collects himself and that no one else has access to. Some of those methods include observation, interviews and a mail survey. Secondary data refers to data that has been collected by another source that is accessible to anyone. This type of data would include official government documents, international sources, unofficial business sources or electronic sources. Observe Fifty Classes for Several Hours Recording data through observation is difficult.

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Using structured observation, a researcher would only collect data relevant to answering certain questions. In the specified classroom scenario the process would entail identifying and recording the teaching methods and characteristics of the instructor and the participation of the students. In using undisguised observation the subjects are aware that they are being observed and therefore they may act differently. In order to collect more reliable data, disguised observation would be the best method. Overall, observation is time consuming.

Whether the researcher is observing in real time or observing a recording, it will take a great deal of time to collect data from fifty classes. It will also be time consuming to analyze the data that’s collected. Some of the expenses will include the cost of a camera and recording equipment which can cost as little as $200. A better quality picture and recording will obviously require more expensive equipment. Unless the researcher can install the camera himself, there will also be installation fees. Of course, used equipment can also be purchased for less.

Use Government Documents for a Large Number of Countries Collecting data for the purpose of identifying infant mortality rates in different countries wouldn’t be very difficult. There are government statistics for several countries available through online sources or in libraries. Due to the accessibility of the data, it wouldn’t be a time consuming process. Expenses would be limited to paper and ink for printing out the information or the cost of a disk to save the information on. A Survey Questionnaire Mailed to Three-hundred People

Collecting data through the use of a survey questionnaire for the purpose of determining whether unemployment has a greater psychological impact on people in their twenties or fifties is a difficult and somewhat unreliable method. Although the researcher mails the questionnaires to people who have contacted the unemployment office, they have no real control over who actually fills them out. Therefore, the questions have to be fairly simple. Survey questionnaires generally have a low response rate. The low response rate and incomplete questionnaires make this method unreliable.

Developing the questions and addressing the envelopes would be time consuming. Since the researcher must wait for the surveys to be returned in the mail it extends the time frame even more. The cost would include printing the surveys, postage to mail them out as well as return postage. Despite the disadvantages of this method, it is fairly inexpensive. Use Data from the U. S. Census Bureau Collecting data from the U. S. Census Bureau in order to determine what regions of the United States have experienced the greatest population growth in the past twenty years would be a fairly easy process.

The Census Bureau has a large website which gives the public instant access to data and statistics. Since information from the U. S. Census Bureau is available online it wouldn’t be time consuming or expensive to view and collect the necessary data. Interview One-hundred People for Approximately One Hour Each Interviewing one-hundred people to determine whether those who are religiously observant are more satisfied with their lives than those who are not would be an easy method for collecting data.

The researcher may choose either a telephone interview or a personal interview. The advantages of a telephone interview are that they are inexpensive, quick, they can cover a larger geographic area, there’s know waiting and the answers are spontaneous. Conducting personal interviews has many advantages as well such as accurate information, good response rate, the information is complete and immediate and recording equipment can be used. Although interviewing would be an easy and accurate method for collecting data, it would also be time consuming.

Planning the interview would require developing questions that would glean appropriate information from the interviewee, testing the questions on a friend or family member and rewriting the questions if necessary. The researcher must also find one-hundred people willing to submit to an interview and then set appointments with respondents to conduct the interviews. When the interviews are completed, analyzing the data will also be time consuming. The cost of conducting interviews can be expensive.

Unless the researcher has previous experience in this method, he would benefit greatly from a crash course in conducting interviews. Depending on geographic location of the respondents, the cost of gas may be a factor. If the researcher intends on recording the interview then he would need to purchase a tape recorder and cassette tapes. It’s important to note that advances in information technology have made the process of collecting data easier. Email, messaging, government and business websites and online libraries are just a few developments that have made life a little easier for researchers.