Research Methodology







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Research Methodology

Question 1

1.1. Study Design

The deductive approach said to characterize the quantitative methodology while inductive to qualitative (Bryman & Bell, 2011). The former has adopted when there are a predefined research question and theory-testing while the later focused on theory development in a much more naturalistic (Bryman, 2004). Quantitative research aimed to test a research hypothesis using numerical data and in contrast (Yilmaz, 2013), qualitative research gather the words of the participants and analyse them by looking for common themes (Creswell, 2005). In this case, researcher aimed to explain certain facts where the hypothetical question is to see any difference in stress levels between male and female carers without intervening but as they naturally occur. Therefore, a comparative quantitative methodology (non-experimental) would be the logical choice for discerning the exact differences in stress levels among male and female carers. The choice of tool would be structured, and validated questionnaire (Caramani, 2008) thereby would enable to calculate the difference in stress score across the first six months of caregiving and compared these score between male and female carers.

1.2. Sample

The aim of the quantitative comparative methodology is to identify the potential respondents who can answer the research question (Bryman, 2009). Therefore, participants for the study would be informal family caregivers who provide care for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (Mugera, 2013). Eligibility for inclusion would be that the participant should be a family member or loved one adult with dementia. The lists of names and address will be obtained from the agencies who will be qualified to participate. However, it will be ensured that there is an equal representative of male and female in the study to ensure comparative analysis before sorting out the lists.

Literature review

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1.3. Sampling

Although the quantitative methodology would although demand representative sample that reflect the population in a reliable way to ensure the generalizability of the findings (Creswell, 2009) but the comparative analysis with strictly defined restriction criteria such as first six of caregiving further limited the generalizability. To make the representative sample, the population has to be large enough who has the probability of choosing every unit. Since the participants in the study are family caregivers who cannot be individually identified, therefore in such situation, the selection sample depends on other consideration (Coyne, 1997). As the interest of the researcher is to compare the stress level of the male and female caregivers within the specified criteria who are likely to have the required information and also who can provide the best information to achieve the proposed objective, therefore, non-probability and convenience sampling would be the best choice. This would enable to identify and access the potential candidates, i.e., family caregivers. Although this is commonly used qualitative research (Creswell, 2009; Bryman, 2009) in this study, researcher adopted this method because they are the best positioned to provide the required information.

This will ensure that the desired population has been taken into consideration for the study and also includes the necessary male and female carers for the comparative analysis.

1.4. Data Collection Strategies

Although there are different types of data collection methods, the proposed design of comparative and quantitative methodology would demand to develop structured closed-ended questionnaire. As this would enable the researcher to identify the validated tool that has been used widely used and accepted previously to measure the level of caregiver’s grief experience (Marwit & Meuser, 2005). The questionnaire would be structured with either Likert scale (Agree to Strongly disagree) or ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ responses, thereby allows the researcher to analyse the data numerically and also with the highest accuracy of results (Phellas et al., 2011).

Yet, the making the choice between conducting an interview or a self-administered questionnaire wherein, the participant records their response on the questionnaire is important (Wæhrens et al., 2012) As the choice of interview or self-administration depends on the time, money and quality of information involved in the data collection (Polit & Beck, 2004). Since the participants are more familiar with the situation and need direct responses without any probing technique, the researcher decided to mail a copy of the research questionnaire in a pre-addressed, stamped return envelope to prospective participant. Due to age and other factors, it was assumed that these caregivers are less likely to interact with the technology. Therefore, online data collection would not be feasible. Further, the method of the postal survey would be the least restrictive method as this would enable to reach all members of the caregiving population.

Question 2

2.1. Study Design

The most commonly used research paradigms are interpretivism and positivism (Perry, 1998) that in turn takes qualitative and quantitative methodology (Jones & Bartlett 2013) respectively (Krauss, 2005). The former enables the researcher to test the theory based while the later in general allows developing a theory (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Easterby-Smith et al., 2012). Further, the naturalistic paradigm is used to derive information that is more in association with multiple realities that require a more holistic approach (Tavakol & Zeinaloo, 2004). Since the proposed research question demands to explore and understand the nurse’s experiences in a natural situation, which are unique to first year nursing students. Therefore, this would better fit with the Interpretivism and qualitative research as it permits exploration of whatever the phenomenon under study (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). On the other hand, quantitative research would not be suitable, for the following reasons. Firstly, the question is to explore the experiences and thoughts of first-year students with their first clinical placement but not to maximise the generalizability and replicability of the findings. Secondly, the researcher is not interested in examining the relationship between variables rather aimed to understand the experience (Silverman, 2011). In this case, the research question seeks to encompass broadly and explore how nurses cope, which is subjective and constantly evolving with each’s experience. Hence, the study design will be a qualitative, contextual, descriptive and exploratory study (Jones & Bartlett, 2013).

2.2. Sample

The proposed research design, a qualitative approach attempts to understand the human experience based on their lived experiences (Silverman, 2011) that would reflect certain characteristics of the groups within the population being studied (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003). Since the objective is to explore the coping ability of first-year students during their first clinical placement, the sample would be Nursing students who pursue their first-year undergraduate courses.

2.3. Sampling Strategy

As the outcome of the research question is a subjective one, non-probability sampling will be the most appropriate choice. This is also because the aim of the study is to understand and explore a human lived experience and also selecting information-rich cases (Patton, 1990). Therefore, purposive sampling is chosen here which enables the researcher to select first-year students who have enriched knowledge (Palinkas et al., 2015). This method of sampling will also provide new insights into the proposed phenomenon. Non-probability sampling is a convenient method of the researcher is not looking for a representative population, but rather specific about engaging first year nursing students only. Therefore, a purposive and convenient type of sampling would be justifiable as it involves choosing the most similar cases and is convenient as the participants are selected based on their availability and willingness to participate.

2.4. Data Collection Strategies

Keeping in mind that the research question is based on a social or anthropological perspectives, an unstructured interview for data collection may be chosen (Zhang & Wildemuth, 2009). An unstructured interview process was developed to examine the different perspectives of each but seemed so within a research setting (Dana et al., 2013). Unstructured interviews may be used as an interpretive research paradigm wherein; an outcome is derived after the conduction of the study. An unstructured interview is an extension of an observational outcome. They are based on each one’s reaction to a situation, and the questions are hence not pre-defined ones, although they are neither random nor undirected (Zhang & Wildemuth, 2009). These interviews are most useful in observing or deriving patterns from the groups in question. Unstructured interviews also offer in-depth information and analysis derived from these narrative interactions with the participants. Hence, this is the most suitable type of data collection for this study.

Question 3

3.1. Study Design

The objective of the research question is to quantify the impact of staff training in person-centred caring on patient satisfaction. Quantitative research is classified into three types of study design namely experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental study (Polit et al., 2001). The non-experimental design is adopted when little is known about the phenomenon and built based on existing knowledge that will be either cross-sectional or longitudinal study design (Seers & Critelton, 2001). This design is adopted when there is a need to examine the relationship between the variables. In the case of experimental design, are used when examining the cause and effect relationship between the dependent (outcome) and predictor, where typically use random assignment. In contrast, quasi-experimental study design, where random assignment would be missing (Blink & Wood, 1998). Since the objective is to look at staff training in person-centred care, a quasi-experimental design was chosen for the following reasons. The quasi-experimental design is also called the pre-post intervention design will enable the researcher to evaluate the impacts of or benefits of an intervention. Although randomised controlled trials provide more accurate information, the quasi-experimental design will be used as it enabled the researcher to overcome the hurdles about ethical considerations, difficulty in administration across location for e.g. wards (in this case) and a limited availability of the sample size.

3.2. Sampling Strategies

As quasi-experimental study designs are most commonly used in non-randomised settings, the randomisation sampling cannot be used here. This is because, in cases such as examination of staff training in patient satisfaction, randomisation cannot be carried out as the ward to be used is not specified. Hence randomising across wards is difficult. Even if the ward to be taken is given, the population size will be very small, and randomisation cannot take place (Harris et al., 2006). Convenience sampling, on the other hand, is used to select participants who are practically more suitable to the study, who are currently available for participation and convenience of the geographical location. Essentially, convenient sampling is also a voluntary means of participation for the subjects, hence also reduces the issues of ethicality (Farrokhi & Mahmoudi-Hamidabad, 2012). Further, convenience sampling is a non-probability sampling that is most commonly used in quasi-experimental designs.

3.3. Data Collection Strategies

For the data collection, the questionnaire method is the most valid method. Research by Harris and Brown (2010) has shown that while interview coupled with questionnaires is an effective data collection tool, but there exists a difficulty in the correlation between the qualitative results with the quantitative. This is mainly because researchers failed to assess the discrepancies between the interview and the questionnaires. The questionnaires are more objective in nature than interviews. In the field of research, the two methods are seen to complement each other even though they vastly differ from each other. These methods may further exhibit differences when it comes to the coding and analysis of the data especially. Since questionnaires provide more objective data while interviews are usually interpretations drawn from the opinions of the interviewer. The two methods also have a difference between the coverage of the topics. While participants in survey method covered all the topics in an equal manner, but the participants in the interview chose to elevate as well as ignore a few topics. For the subject of the impact of staff training on patient satisfaction, the questionnaire method is the most viable option, as not only does all aspects of the topic get covered, but all gives the research more objective results. The questionnaire may be administered before the intervention (pretest) and after the intervention (post-test).

Question 4

4.1. Study Design

Since the objective is to gather experience of post-graduate students on a research method course, it would be justifiable to adopt qualitative research than quantitative methodology (Creswell, 2009). As the former would enable to gather rich and in-depth phenomenon of interest rather than examining the relationship as like later. Further, qualitative research is based on four main principles that are grounded theory, ethnography, case study and phenomenology (Creswell, 2006). Grounded theory specifically deals with the phenomenon and the ‘grounded’ on the views of the participants (Bitsch, 2005) and employs logical steps to help generate views by using “theoretical sampling” (Glaser, 1978). Ethnography is a qualitative study that is based on determining the aspects of cultural differences across different ethnic groups. Also, they can be used to infer or determine the changes that may be required for a particular ethnic group (Glaser, 1978). It is based on prolonged observations. The case study format is used to represent a set of patients by the use of just one case as a representative of that population that is also specific to that region. A case study is mainly involved with determining specific patterns or evidence to define the said patterns. A case study can also be represented by a group of cases which is entirely dependent on the research question (Bitsch, 2005). Phenomenology is the class of qualitative research that dwells upon the description of an individual’s experience or peoples’ experience. This method finds its roots in philosophy and is usually collected by the use of extensive narratives typically from a smaller population (Curry et al., 2009). This study is, therefore, a narrative inquiry type that would take phenomenology as the aim of this research is to discern the experiences of students in the research methodology course.

4.2. Sample

Since the objective is to explore the experiences of the students who underwent research methodology (RM) course, the sample would be specifically post-graduate students who attended the RM course. The participants will be recruited from XX University who have been exposed to the specific course conducted by a specific mentor.

4.3. Sampling

For the purpose of sampling in this particular case study, it is important to consider a purposive non-random sampling technique. According to Teddlie and Yu (2007), choosing a purposive sampling is done in cases where there is a need to represent the population. Wherein, sampling is required for special or unique population or sampling of the sequential type. Purposive sampling is also known as “non-probability sampling” or “qualitative sampling”, where the participants are chosen for a specific purpose rather than just at random (Curry et al., 2009; Palys, 2008). For instance, in this case, are the students from ‘postgraduate who have already exposed to RM courses conducted by the university. Therefore, these students will be selected purposively to obtain rich information about the course and their experience.

4.4. Data Collection Strategy

For a qualitative study, the most commonly used data collection techniques are interviewing and focus groups (Gill et al., 2008). Interviews may be subdivided into structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews. While the interview methods have advantages regarding interpersonal relations, it may be restrictive for this particular study as students may not feel comfortable to discuss negative aspects of their experience to the researcher's face to face as they may feel that it impacts their course. Participants in the focus groups too face a similar problem, except in focus group there is discomfort in discussing views both to the researcher as well as in front of their peers. Given this, the narrative data that are collected from the students may prove to be helpful. Narrative data does not follow a certain structure and also is not just data that answers a set of questions. Rather, it is more broadly based and also allows for the participant to explore different aspects of the topic whether positive or negative. It also encourages the participant to be more forthcoming and honest in their view that may be completely unrestricted by peer pressure (Aarikka-Stenroos, 2010). Therefore, it can be concluded that narrative type of data collection written by the participants themselves on their experiences in the course of research methodology is the most suitable option.

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Reference

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