Quantitative Survey Research Proposal Assignment
Pick a topic or theme below to explore for this proposed survey research assignment. Please note: Your proposed study must be a quantitative survey study
- Experiences for students with informal science learning in museums
- Issues with equity and access to informal science learning
There are multiple parts to this assignment:
1. Your first assignment will be to draft the introductory section of your methodology. Specify and justify the research questions of your planned survey. State the research questions, indicating both the main and second-level questions, if applicable. The second-level research questions should be nested under the subsuming main research questions. Explain how you decided on these research questions, indicating the problem that they address, the potential significance, and how your review of existing scholarly literature informed the questions. The introduction will include a brief statement of the theory (if one is being used) and a brief summary of the research evidence that provides the foundation for the study. You will specify and justify (a) the research questions and (b) the research design for the study.
2. Examine your research questions to determine the most appropriate research design. Indicate the research design that will be used to answer the research questions. If you have more than one type of question you must decide which is of paramount interest and it will dictate your overall research design (i.e., your plan for selecting participants, introducing an intervention [or not], collecting and analyzing the data, and stating appropriate conclusions). Be specific about the group or subgroups to be surveyed and the temporal ordering of the data collection relative to any induced or naturally occurring interventions of interest (if any). Briefly explain why you selected the design and also acknowledge the limitations (weaknesses). Note that the details of the various elements of the research design should not be presented–they will be developed in subsequent assignments. For example, for this assignment you may indicate that your population is represented by a randomly selected sample of third grade teachers. The details of how you will achieve this random sampling, however, will not be presented until assignment 2. Think of this as an overview of your design with the focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the design.
3. Specify whether you will be using a census or a sample in your survey.
For a census, indicate the population (what it includes and does not include), why you have targeted that population rather than broader or narrower ones, why you have chosen a census rather than sample, and how you will identify all units in the population and get contact information on them.
For a sample, indicate the following:
a. The population: what it includes and does not include; why you have targeted that population rather than broader or narrower ones.
b. The sampling frame: why you chose it rather than possibly available alternatives; its percentage of the population; and if less than 90%, how the frame is likely to differ from the population.
c. The type of random or nonrandom sample to be used: rationale for using that type rather than possible alternatives; procedures that will be used for drawing the sample from the sampling frame; if nonrandom sampling will be used, precautions that will be taken to minimize biased selection.
d. The sample size and rationale for it: if strata, clusters, or multiple stages of sampling are to be used, indicate the size for each and the rationale for those sizes.
4. Indicate and justify the strategies that you will use to maximize the response rate to your survey. Briefly describe the interests and concerns that your intended respondents are likely to have when being asked to participate in your survey. Indicate the means that you will take to boost the response rate, and explain why you think they are the best ones. Also indicate the nonresponse analysis that you will undertake if the response rate is less than 75 %.
When constructing the final assignment, this part of the assignment may be broken up and appear in the “Population”, “Procedures”, and/or “Instrument” section depending upon the procedure that you are using. It may make sense to keep it together as a subsection within one of these headings (e.g., “Procedures”), or it may be better to note different procedures under the more closely aligned section. For example, procedures related to the content and appearance of the survey would go under “Instrument”, whereas, discussion of updated sampling frame would go under “Population”.
5. If you are planning a mailed, e-mailed, or Web survey: Develop cover letters for your initial contact with the sample and for each planned follow-up contact.
If you are planning in-person or telephone interviews: Develop the advance notification (if any), introductory comments, and responses to anticipated resistance.
This will be referenced at the appropriate point in your text but appear in an appendix.
You should use APA writing style and avoid self-references and personal reasons for your selection of your research questions.
Submit a complete formatted survey form, assigning a unique identification number to each item (there can be subnumbers or lettering).
Develop the Instrument section of your chapter. Begin with an overview of the survey that includes information about the number of items, type of items (e.g., Likert scale, numerical rating scale, open-ended), response format (e.g., 7-point response scale), whether items form a subscale, index, scale, or evaluated individually. And, a brief mention of the mode of data collection to be used in your survey. It should include a discussion of the following:
1. Your research questions and the identification numbers of the items in your survey that will be used to answer each question. This may be best presented as a table. This may eventually appear as an appendix in your final document so be sure that you have sufficient explanatory text so that the reader can visualize how the survey data will be used to answer the research questions.
2. If there are items in the survey not used to answer any of the research questions, a brief explanation of why they are included.
3. The source of, and rationale for, items adopted from existing instruments, or conversely, how you searched for appropriate existing items and why you chose not to use them.
For each existing instrument from which you drew items, list the instrument, author, and the identification numbers of items in your survey that were drawn from the existing instrument.
Think carefully as you construct each item in the survey form, trying to take advantage of all the advice in the prior two sessions on creating good items and avoiding bad ones. After writing the items, check each against that advice and revise it as appropriate. Think carefully about organizing questions with sections, provide brief instructions for each section, and ordering the sections. The layout should be inviting and professional looking. It also should be selected to minimize recording errors and subsequent keying errors. The submitted survey form should look approximately like what you would plan to duplicate and distribute. For planned Web surveys, you may submit either a mock-up of the Web page (as a Word file) or the draft Web page (as an html file).
If you are using an existing survey you will provide much of the same information. However, be sure that you are compliant with copyright laws.
Prepare the data collection procedures for your survey. Provide sufficient detail such that someone else could use your plan to execute the data collection.
For a self-administered survey (such as a mailed, e-mailed, or Web-based one), indicate at least the following:
1. The approximate schedule for each wave of distribution (the initial one and the follow-ups);
2. All the survey materials that will be given to potential respondents;
3. The number of people in the initial sample and the number who are expected to need each follow-up;
4. Procedures for logging in and storing the responses; and
5. Based on (1-4) and any incentives specified in Assignment 2, the estimated cost of the survey data collection.
Alternatively, for in-person and telephone interviews, indicate at least the following:
1. The sample size, number of interviewers involved, estimated time to complete each interview (presuming some people won’t always be reached or available when first contacted), and approximate period over which the interviews will be conducted;
2. The contact procedures to schedule interviews including the form (e.g., email, phone call), number of, and timing of contacts;
3. The procedural guidelines to be followed by the interviewer(s), training to be provided to them, and the procedures to be used to monitor their performance;
4. Procedures for collecting the data (e.g., audio recording, notes) and for logging in and storing the responses; and
5. Based on (1-3) and any incentives specified in Assignment 1, the estimated cost of the interview data collection.
Regardless of the mode of data collection, identify ethical concerns in your planned survey and explain how you will deal with them. Particularly address protection of human participants, including trauma that might be caused by responding to the survey and harm that might be caused if information provided with assurances of anonymity/confidentiality might become publicly revealed. If you promise anonymity/confidentiality, indicate the measures you will take to fulfill the promise. If you will use copyrighted materials verbatim, discuss measures you will take to avoid copyright infringement.
Indicate briefly the data edits, data entry procedures, and data transformations that you will undertake before analyzing your survey data to answer your research questions. Describe your data cleaning and treatment of missing values. This may also include reverse scoring of items, adding items to form composite scores, etc.
Next, indicate any analysis to describe your sample. This will help in later chapters where you can use this information to talk about how your sample did or did not represent the larger population. This is also helpful when it comes to defining the external validity of your study. You should also present any analyses that you will do to support your study (e.g., test demographic differences to argue the equivalence of your groups) before addressing the research questions. This begins with a discussion of your response rate.
You would also indicate any analyses that would be conducted to enhance the reliability of your results (e.g., Cronbach alphas). You will want to present how you will compare these values to ones obtained during your pretest or to those of other researchers if using an existing instrument. (Large discrepancies can be used to explain unexpected outcomes.)
Finally, specify the data analyses that will be used to answer your research questions. Justify your choices considering the nature of your research questions, the level of measurement of your data, and the manner in which the data were collected. Each analysis should be directly linked to each research question. Be sure to include all the necessary tests (e.g., post hoc pairwise comparisons), a measure of effect size, as well as how the assumptions of your tests will be met.
This section should be presented chronologically. First you must manage your data–enter, clean, transform; before you can analyze the data. Do not talk about analyzing data before you talk about how you will get them into a form that is ready to analyze and verified (as much as possible) that they are reliable (e.g., Cronbachs or inter-rater reliability).