Surveys Vs. Tests Vs. Experiements Essay

1246 words - 5 pages

Using examples, explain when it would be appropriate to use experiments, surveys and tests as research methods. In your explanation, comment on the differences and similarities of these three methods of quantitative data collection and analysis.

When doing research, there are two types of ways you can come about with data. Firstly is qualitative data. This method provides data in the form of words, or even visually. Data in this method is collected in ways such as interviews and focus groups. The second method of collecting data is quantitatively. This method deals with more detail, focusing on emotions and habits of people, but coming out with numerical data. There are three ways to ...view middle of the document...

So in the Asch experiment data was collected about the number of times a subject conformed to the group norm even when the answer given by the group was clearly wrong. Data could also be collected about individual characteristics, for example, age, sex, level of education attainment and so on. Statistical analysis could then be performed in order to see which, if any, of these characteristics influenced the level of conformity. In surveys and tests, as you are not manipulating any variables, so you can only draw a correlation conclusion which can relate to associations between variables rather than casual links.
As opposed to experiments, surveys are asking individuals about how they would respond to a situation, or hey they feel about a situation, rather than putting them into the actual situation as in the experiment and seeing how they actually do respond. An example of surveys will take place in the form of a questionnaire. This essentially consists of a series of questions about a particular topic, which the respondent is asked to complete. Questions on the questionnaire can ask you things in three sections. Firstly, your gender, and have you considered leaving your job in the last four weeks. The results of this would be in numerical code. Such as 45% of the sample is male, and 55% is female, while 60% has considered leaving the job in the last 4 weeks, and 40% have not. Secondly, list the most important sources of satisfaction in your present job. In order of most importance to least importance was interesting work, supportive colleagues, helpful supervisor, company pension plan, money, chance of promotion and finally fringe benefits. From this, it can be derived that interesting work is the most important source of satisfaction on average, while fringe benefits is the least important. Thirdly, using a Likert-type scale asking questions such as, “How important is money as a source of satisfaction in your present job?” and, “How important is interesting work as a source of satisfaction in your present job?” Similar to the rank, it is simply to average the score from all the respondents for each of the items, for example, Money was 3.4, Supportive colleagues was 4.1, Interesting work was 4.9, chance of promotion was 3.2, helpful supervisor was 3.4, fringe benefits was 2.3 and company pension plan was 2.8. This indicates again that interesting work is the most important source of satisfaction. Here, however, give that each of the items has been rated on the same scale; it is possible to actually directly compare the scores on the different items- they are measured on an ordinary...

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