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What is Primary Research and How Do I Do It?

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1 What is Primary Research and How Do I Do It?

2 Primary research is any type of research that you go out and collect yourself.
Examples include surveys, interviews, analysis, participation-observation…

3 Primary Research Also called field research Involves the collection of data that does not already exist, which is research to collect original data. Primary Research is often undertaken after the researcher has gained some insight into the issue by collecting secondary data.

4 Primary Research Quantitative Qualitative Quantify (measure)
Large number of test subjects Broad results – narrow focus Achieve results based on a large sample group Examples: survey, experiments Qualitative Small number of test subjects Develop detailed knowledge of participants Human-based – emotion, opinion, experience Examples: interview, observation

5 Method Advantages Disadvantages
Survey - Quantitative Experiments- Quantitative Interview - Qualitative Observation - Qualitative

6 Research Method – Survey
Advantages Carried out in a natural setting Since they usually involve larger numbers of people, results can be used to generalize and draw conclusions Can be anonymous No bias from interviewer Disadvantages Difficult to obtain random sample Large amounts of data to organize and analyze Cannot contact subjects for clarification (unless survey is not anonymous) Can’t ask complicated questions

7 Research Method – Experiments
Advantages Clearly allow you to determine causality (a certain factor or variable causes a change in the person or group) Disadvantages Difficult to make generalizations to other situations May be difficult to find participants Time consuming for participants

8 Research Method – Interview
Advantages Can apply more detailed and complex questions Interviewer can clarify questions Interviewer can control environment (quiet) and order of questions Disadvantages Participants may be reluctant to reveal personal information Time consuming Possibility of biased results due to interviewer (hints, explanation, body language) No anonymity

9 Research Method – Observation
Advantages Can be carried out in a natural setting Can allow for detailed information regarding human behaviour Disadvantages People may change behaviour if they know they are being observed Data may be difficult to analyze Observer must be completely partial and unbiased

10 For the purpose of your Phase 4 ISU, you are going to choose between doing either a survey or interview. The following is some basic advise on how to properly create survey or interview questions. Follow the directions on your Phase 4 assignment outline on how to incorporate the survey/interview into your final research report.

11 What is an Interview? Interviews: Interviews are one-on-one or small group question and answer sessions. Interviews will provide a lot of information from a small number of people and are useful when you want to get an expert or knowledgeable opinion on a subject. It is based on qualitative research (feelings, in-depth experiences, personal responses to situations)

12 Researcher asks the subjects to describe and explain his or her behaviour.
Useful for determining the motivation for the subject’s behaviour. To be valid, the interview questions should ask subjects to discuss actions after they occur rather than to speculate about what they might do. It should be expected by the interviewer that a subject may choose not to answer all questions. The privacy and anonymity of a subject is essential to ethical research.

13 What is a Survey? Surveys: Surveys are a form of questioning that is more rigid than interviews and that involve larger groups of people. Surveys will provide a limited amount of information from a large group of people and are useful when you want to learn what a larger population thinks. This means that it is based on quantitative research

14 The questions are written out and given to the subjects to answer in written form – can be done online as well. Usually the questions are closed questions that require the subject to select from the answers required. It is possible to use a combination of closed and open-ended questions depending on the focus of your research. For purposes of compiling accurate statistical data, closed questions are easier to analyze.

15 Consider the following questions when beginning to think about conducting primary research:
What do I want to discover? How do I plan on discovering it? (This is called your research methods or methodology) Who am I going to talk to/observe/survey? (These people are called your subjects or participants) How am I going to be able gain access to these groups or individuals? What are my biases about this topic? How can I make sure my biases are not reflected in my research methods? What do I expect to discover?

16 Creating Good Interview and Survey Questions

17 There are a few issues that researchers must confront all of the time
There are a few issues that researchers must confront all of the time. Here are some of the most common ones:

18 Over generalizing your results
It is impossible to make sweeping generalizations about groups of people based solely on a few interviews, observations, or surveys. You can find general patterns or trends, but should never assume that what you have found is what exists or what will always exist. In fact, it is hard to make concrete generalizations about any occurrence that relates to people because people themselves are dynamic and situations are always changing. Biased methodology If you create a biased survey or ask biased questions, you’ll get biased results. See the "creating good survey and interview questions" section for tips on how to make your questions non-biased. Correlation does not imply causation Remember that just because two results have a relationship between them does not necessarily mean that one causes another to occur. For example, although video games and violent behaviors are shown to have a link, it has not been proven that video games cause violent behavior (instead, it could be that individuals who are predisposed toward violent activity are drawn to violent video games).

19 Not considering other related factors
It is very difficult to be able to study all the factors that relate to a specific group of people, event, or occurrence. Even so, if you do not include these factors within your primary research, they should still be considered when you begin to analyze your data. For example, if you are studying the parking issue on campus and look at the amount of cars being parked on campus vs. the student population, you are omitting other factors like the amount of commuter students, the number of faculty who drive, accessibility of public transportation and many others. Being able to know what data is valid Some participants in your research may not take it seriously and will provide silly, inaccurate answers or engage in purposely aberrant behaviors. This most likely occurs with surveys that individuals complete but occasionally can occur during interviews or even with observations. These answers can throw off your entire research project, so it is very important that you examine your surveys or interviews for this type of erroneous information. If you find information that is highly questionable, it is best to not include it in your analysis of results. Reported behavior vs. actual behavior What people report as their behavior might not actually how they behave. People will often report their own behavior in a more positive light than it may actually be. For example, if you are surveying college students about their study habits, they may report that they study for more hours than they actually do.

20 How Do We Know What Research to Believe? – Bias in Science Research
Ben Goldacre is a best-selling author, broadcaster, medical doctor and academic who specializes in unpicking dodgy scientific claims from drug companies, newspapers, government reports, PR people and quacks. Unpicking bad science is the best way to explain good science.

21 When Creating Questions You Want to Avoid:
Biased questions Biased questions are questions that encourage your participants to respond to the question in a certain way. They may contain biased terminology or are worded in a biased way. Biased question: Don't you agree that campus parking is a problem? Revised question: Is parking on campus a problem?

22 Questions that assume what they ask
These questions are a type of biased question and lead your participants to agree or respond in a certain way. Biased question: There are many people who believe that campus parking is a problem. Are you one of them? Revised question: Do you agree or disagree that campus parking is a problem?

23 Double-barreled questions
A double-barreled question is a one that has more than one question embedded within it. Participants may answer one but not both, or may disagree with part or all of the question. Double-barreled question: Do you agree that campus parking is a problem and that the administration should be working diligently on a solution? Revised question: Is campus parking a problem? (If the participant responds yes): Should the administration be responsible for solving this problem?

24 Confusing or wordy questions
Make sure your questions are not confusing or wordy. Confusing questions will only lead to confused participants, which leads to unreliable answers. Confusing questions: What do you think about parking? (This is confusing because the question isn't clear about what it is asking--parking in general? The person's ability to park the car? Parking on campus?) Do you believe that the parking situation on campus is problematic or difficult because of the lack of spaces and the walking distances or do you believe that the parking situation on campus is ok? (This question is both very wordy and leads the participant. Revised question: What is your opinion of the parking situation on campus?

25 Questions that do not relate to what you want to learn
Be sure that your questions directly relate to what it is you are studying. A good way to do this is to ask someone else to read your questions or even test your survey out on a few people and see if the responses fit what you are looking for. Unrelated questions: Have you ever encountered problems in the parking garage on campus? Do you like or dislike the bus system?


27 Survey/interview format

28 Title Should be bold and attractive
It reveals to the respondent the topic being investigated

29 Introduction May appear at the top of the first page or as a covering letter Information to be included: Introduce yourself The purpose of your study Request for co-operation Instructions for completing and returning the form Assurance of confidentiality Deadline for return Name of contact person Expression of appreciation for the respondent’s participation

30 Background Information - Questions for Respondents
Information asked must be relevant to the research: Examples - Gender, Education, Age, Marital Status, Occupation, Children etc. These are not part of your required questions

31 10-15 Research Questions Required for Phase 4
If you feel you need more questions to get you point across, you may exceed 15 questions Must be a minimum of 10 questions Ask questions that relate to your study - ensure that each question serves a clear purpose

32 Conclusion Thank the respondent for participating and indicate if and when there will be any follow up. Remember that all respondents are entitled to see the results of your research.

33 Types of Survey Questions
Multiple Choice Questions with two or more answer options. Useful for all types of feedback, including collecting demographic information. Answers can be "yes/no" or a choice of multiple answers. Beware of leaving out an answer option, or using answer options that are not mutually exclusive. Example 1: Are you a U.S. Citizen?     Yes / No  Example 2:  How many times have you called our agency about this issue in the past month? Once Twice Three times More than three times Don't know/not sure

34 Types of Questions for Survey and Interview

35 Types of Survey Questions
Scale/Ranking Participants are typically asked whether they agree or disagree with a statement. Responses often range from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree,” with five total answer options. (For additional answer options, see table below.) Each option is ascribed a score or weight (1 = strong disagree to 5 = strongly agree), and these scores can be used in survey response analysis. For scaled questions, it is important to include a “neutral” category (“Neither Agree nor Disagree” below).

36 Types of Survey Questions
Open-Ended Questions Questions where there are no specified answer choices. These are particularly helpful for collecting feedback from your participants about their attitudes or opinions. However, these questions may require extra time or can be challenging to answer, so participants may skip the questions or abandon the survey. In addition, the analysis of open-ended questions can be difficult to automate, and may require extra time or resources to review. Example:  What are two ways we could have improved your experience with our agency today? We take your feedback very seriously and review comments daily.

37 Interview Questions (a) informal conversational interview
spontaneous generation of questions in a natural interaction, typically one that occurs as part of ongoing participant observation fieldwork (b) general interview guide approach more structured than the informal conversational interview although there is still quite a bit of flexibility in its composition (c) standardized open-ended interview extremely structured in terms of the wording of the questions. Participants are always asked identical questions, but the questions are worded so that responses are open-ended

38 Interview Questions Examples of open-ended interview questions:

39 Resources to Help You With Primary Research
Interview Questions: Survey Questions:

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