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Variable or Construct

Avariableis defined as anything that has a quantity or

quality that varies.
A variable is anything that can vary, i.e. changed or be
changed, such as memory, attention, time taken to
perform a task, etc.
A variable is an object, event, idea, feeling, time period,
or any other type of category you are trying to measure
Variablemay refer to:
Variable (research): a logical set of attributes
Variable (mathematics): a symbol that represents a
quantity in a mathematical expression, as used in many
Variable (computer science): a symbolic name
associated with a value and whose associated value
may be changed
A variable is something that can change, such as 'gender'
Anattributeis a specific value on a variable
Attributes are sub-values of a variable, such as 'male' and 'female'.
Mutually exclusive attributes are those that cannot occur at the same time. Thus in
a survey a person may be requested to select one answer from a list of
alternatives (as opposed to selecting as many that might apply).
For instance, the variablesexorgenderhas two attributes:male andfemale. Or,
the variableagreementmight be defined as having five attributes:
1 = strongly disagree
2 = disagree
3 = neutral
4 = agree
5 = strongly agree
Types of Variables
Qualitative and Quantitative
Quantitative/ continuous variables
Quantitative data is numeric. This is useful for mathematical and statistical analysis
that leads to a predictive formula.
Interval scale
Continuous scale
Ratio scale
Qualitative variables /Discrete variables/categorical variables
Qualitative data is based on human judgement. You can turn qualitative data into
quantitative data, for example by counting the proportion of people who hold a
particular qualitative viewpoint
Nominal scale
Ordinal scale (dichotomous)
Dummy variables
Preference variables
Multiple response
Continuous variables or are numeric variables that can take any value,
such as weight. A variable that is not restricted to particular values (other
than limited by the accuracy of the measuring instrument). Continuous
variables can be further categorized as either interval or ratio variables

Categorical variables result from a selection from categories, such as

'agree' and 'disagree'. Nominal and ordinal variables are categorical.
Numeric variables give a number, such as age.
Discrete variables are numeric variables that come from a limited set of
numbers. They may result from , answering questions such as 'how
many', 'how often', etc. Variable having only integer values. For example,
number of trials need by a student to learn a memorization task.
Binary variable/dichotomous variable: Observations (i.e., dependent
variables) that occur in one of two possible states, often labelled zero and
one. E.g., improved/not improved and completed task/failed to
complete task.
Confounding variable: A variable that obscures the
effects of another variable. If one elementary reading
teacher used a phonics textbook in her class and
another instructor used a whole language textbook in
his class, and students in the two classes were given
achievement tests to see how well they read, the
independent variables (teacher effectiveness and
textbooks) would be confounded. There is no way to
determine if differences in reading between the two
classes were caused by either or both of the
independent variables.
Dependent and Independent
Independent variable (IV) : Variable the experimenter
manipulates (i.e. changes) assumed to have a direct
effect on the dependent variable. (a treatment or
program or cause)
Dependent variable (DV): Variable the experimenter
measures, after making changes to the IV that are
assumed to affect the DV.(effects or outcomes)
For example: (Time Spent Studying) causes a change
in (Test Score) and it isn't possible that (Test Score)
could cause a change in (Time Spent Studying)
Independent and dependent variables : synonyms

Independent variables Dependent

Predictor Criterion
Presumed cause Presumed
Stimulus response
Manipulated Measured
Moderating variables
Amoderator variable, commonly denoted as just M, is a thirdvariablethat affects the
strength of the relationship between a dependent and independentvariableIn correlation,
amoderatoris a thirdvariablethat affects the correlation of two variables.
Moderating variables have a significant contributory or contingent effect on the originally
stated IV-DV relationship.
Most of the moderator variables measure casual relationship using regression coefficient.
The moderator variable, if found to be significant, can cause an amplifying or weakening
effect between x and y.
InANOVA, the moderator variable effect is represented by the infraction effect between
the dependent variable and the factor variable.
For example:
*The switch to compensation from salary compensation system (IV) will lead to increased
sales productivity (DV) per worker, especially among the younger workers (MV).
Extraneous variables
Extraneous Variables areundesirablevariables that influence the
relationship between the variables that an experimenter is examining.
Variables that influence the outcome of an experiment, though they
are not the variables that are actually of interest.
An extraneous variable that an investigator does not wish to examine
in a study. Thus the investigator controls this variable. Also called a
For example:
With new customers the switch to compensation from salary
compensation system (IV) will lead to increased sales productivity (DV)
per worker, especially among the younger workers (MV)
Josh is in love. He's been with his girlfriend a while now and wants to
propose. But he doesn't know how he should do it. Should he propose in a
crowd? When they're alone? At the place where they went for their first
date? After he whisks her off to Paris or the Bahamas?
Josh is a psychologist and does research for a living, so he decides to do a
study on marriage proposals and figure out which one women like best.
That's how he'll decide how to propose. He gathers a bunch of women,
shows them videos of marriage proposals, and then measures their
reactions: whether they cry or if their heart races or if they just watch it
and go, 'Eh.
Dependent variable: ?
Independent variable: ?
Moderating variable: ?
Extraneous variable:?
in Josh's study, the videos are the independent variables
and the women's reactions are the dependent variables.
If Josh changes which videos he shows the women, he
sees different reactions. If his internal validity is high, he
can say that the difference in videos caused the
changes in the reactions.
Extraneous variables are usually grouped into three
Physical or situational reaction
Personal variables
Researcher variables
Intervening variables (Mediating
A variable affects the observed phenomenon but cannot
be seen, measured, or manipulated; its effect must be
inferred from the effects of the independent and
moderator variables on the observed phenomenon.
For example, there is an association between being poor
and having a shorter life span. Just because someone is
poor doesnt mean that will lead to an early death, so
other hypothetical variables are used to explain the
phenomenon. These intervening variables could include:
lack of access to healthcare or poor nutrition.
Mediators explain how external physical events take on
internal psychological significance. Whereas moderator
variables specify when certain effects will hold,
mediators speak to how or why such effects occur."
Endogenous variable
Anendogenous variableis a classification of
avariablegenerated by a statistical model that is
explained by the relationships between functions within
the model.
A variable that is an inherent part of the system being
studied and that is determined from within the system.
A variable that is caused by other variables in a causal
For example, the equilibrium price of a good in a supply
and demand model is endogenousbecause it is set by
a producer in response to consumer demand.
Endogenous variables are used ineconometricsand sometimes inlinear
regression. They are similar to (but not exactly the same as)dependent
Endogenous variables have values that are determined by other variables
in the system (these other variables are called exogenous variables.
Ex. a manufacturing plant produces a certain amount of white sugar. The
amount of product (white sugar) is the endogenous variable and is
dependent on any number of other variables which may include weather,
pests, price of fuel etc. As the amount of sugar is entirely dependent on the
other factors in the system, its said to bepurely endogenous.
However, in real life purely endogenous variables are a rarity; its more
likely that endogenous variables are only partially determined by exogenous
For example, sugar production is affected by pests, and pests are affected
by weather. Therefore, pests in this particular system are partially
endogenous and partially exogenous.
Exogenous variable
A variable entering from and determined from outside of
the system being studied. A causal system says nothing
about its exogenous variables.
An exogenous variable is avariablethat isnotaffected
by other variables in the system.
For example, take a simple causal system like farming.
Variables like weather, farmer skill, pests, and availability
of seed are all exogenous to crop production.
Exogenous variables
are fixed when they enter the model.
are taken as a given in the model.
influence endogenous variables in the model.
are not determined by the model.
are not explained by the model.
In other words, an exogenous variable is one that isnt
affected by any other variables in the model (although it
could be affected by factorsoutsideof the linear
regression model being studied).
Classifying Variables within a System
Unlikeindependent variablesand dependent variables in an experiment,
identifying which variables are exogenous, and which are endogenous
variables, can pose a challenge.
Using the sugar production example again, something might cause the
amount of sugar produced to rise.
For example, a new conveyor belt might result in an increase in sugar
output. In order to decide if this new variable is exogenous, you would
have to decide if the increase in output would cause the new variables to
change. A variable like weather is definitely exogenous as a rise in
output would have no effect on the weather. But what about Price? The
price of sugar certainly isnt affected by one small manufacturing plants
output, but what if this was a major manufacturing plant that suddenly
increased its production and saturated the market? Price in this case
would be partially an endogenous variable and partially an exogenous
Research question
To develop a strong research question from your ideas, you should ask yourself these
Do I know the field and its literature well?
What are the important research questions in my field?
What areas need further exploration?
Could my study fill a gap? Lead to greater understanding?
Has a great deal of research already been conducted in this topic area?
Has this study been done before? If so, is there room for improvement?
Is the timing right for this question to be answered? Is it a hot topic, or is it
becoming obsolete?
Would funding sources be interested?
If you are proposing a service program, is the target community interested?
Most importantly, will my study have a significant impact on the field?
Research questionis themethodologicalpoint of
departure of scholarly research in both
thenaturalandsocial sciences.
Specifying the research question is one of the
firstmethodological steps the investigator has to take
when undertakingresearch. The research question must
be accurately and clearly defined.
The research question serves two purposes:
It determines where and what kind of research the
writer will be looking for.
It identifies the specific objectives the study or paper
will address.
Meaning of hypothesis
It is a tentative prediction about the nature of the relationship
between two or more variables.
A hypothesis can be defined as a tentative explanation of the
research problem, a possible outcome of the research, or an
educated guess about the research outcome. (Sarantakos,
1993: 1991)
Hypotheses are always in declarative sentence form, an they
relate, either generally or specifically , variables to variables.
An hypothesis is a statement or explanation that is suggested
by knowledge or observation but has not, yet, been proved or
disproved. (Macleod Clark J and Hockey L 1981)
Nature of Hypothesis
The hypothesis is a clear statement of what is intended to be
investigated. It should be specified before research is conducted
and openly stated in reporting the results. This allows to:
Identify the research objectives
Identify the key abstract concepts involved in the research
Identify its relationship to both the problem statement and the
literature review
A problem cannot be scientifically solved unless it is reduced to
hypothesis form
It is a powerful tool of advancement of knowledge, consistent with
existing knowledge and conducive to further enquiry
Role of hypothesis
Hypothesesare more specific predictions about the nature and
direction of the relationship between two variables
Strong hypotheses:
Give insight into a research question;
Are testable and measurable by the proposed experiments;
Spring logically from the experience of the staff;
Your objectives are measurable and highly focused;
Each hypothesis is matched with a specific aim.
The aims are feasible, given the time and money you are
requesting in the grant
Descriptive hypothesis
It states the existence, size, form or distribution of some
Advantages of descriptive hypothesis
It encourages researchers to crystalline their thinking
about the likely relationships to be found.
It encourages researchers to think about the implications
of a supported or rejected findings
It is useful for testing statistical significance
**researcher often use research question format rather
than the descriptive hypothesis
Relational hypothesis
It describes the relationship between two variables with
respect to some cases
*foreign car are perceived by American consumers to be
of better quality than domestic cars.
Correlational hypothesis
It occurs together in some specified manner without
implying that one causes the other.
*young women (under 35 years of age) purchase fewer
units of our product than women who are 35 years of age
or older
Types of Hypothesis
NULL HYPOTHESES :Designated by: H0 or HN
Anull hypothesisalways predicts the absence of a relationship between
two variables. For example, There is no relationship between education
and income.
The alternative hypothesis states an actual expectation, such as, Higher
levels of education increase the likelihood of earning a higher income.
The null hypothesis represents a theory that has been put forward, either
because it is believed to be true or because it is to be used as a basis for
argument, but has not been proved.
Opposite of Null Hypothesis. Only reached if H0 is rejected. Frequently
alternative is actual desired conclusion of the researcher!
In a clinical trial of a new drug, the null hypothesis might be that
the new drug is no better, on average, than the current drug.
H0: there is no difference between the two drugs on average.
The alternative hypothesis might be that: the new drug has a
different effect, on average, compared to that of the current
H1: the two drugs have different effects, on average. the new
drug is better, on average, than the current drug.
H1: the new drug is better than the current drug, on average.
We give special consideration to the null hypothesis
This is due to the fact that the null hypothesis relates to the
statement being tested, whereas the alternative hypothesis
relates to the statement to be accepted if / when the null is
The final conclusion, once the test has been carried out, is
always given in terms of the null hypothesis. We either 'reject H0
in favor of H1' or 'do not reject H0'; we never conclude 'reject
H1', or even 'accept H1'.
If we conclude 'do not reject H0', this does not necessarily mean
that the null hypothesis is true, it only suggests that there is not
sufficient evidence against H0 in favor of H1; rejecting the null
hypothesis then, suggests that the alternative hypothesis may
be true.
Formation of Hypothesis
Quantitative Approach :In survey projects the use of research
questions and objectives is more frequent. In experiments the use of
hypotheses are more frequent .
Represent: comparison between variables or relationship between
variables Characteristics.
The testable proposition to be deduced from theory.
Independent and dependent variables to be separated and measured
To be either writing-questions, or objectives or hypotheses, but not a
Consider the alternative forms for writing and make a choice based on
the audience for the research
Qualitative Approach :The use of Research Questions as
opposed to objectives or hypothesis, is more frequent.
Use of words- what or how. Specify whether the study:
discovers, seeks to understand, explores or describes the
Use of non-directional wording in the question. These questions
describe, rather than relate variables or compare groups.
The questions are under continual review and reformulation-
will evolve and change during study.
The questions are usually open-ended, without reference to the
literature or theory.
Use of a single focus.
Generation of hypothesis
Hypothesis Problem statements become research
hypotheses when constructs are operationalized.

Initial Ideas (often vague

and general)

observations Search of existing
research literature
Statement of
the problem

Research hypothesis definitions of
(a specific deductive constructs
Testing & Challenging
The degree of challenge to the hypothesis will depend on the type of problem
and its importance. It can range from just seeking a good enough solution to
a much more rigorous challenge. The term challenging may include
There are two possibilities
1. Nothing Happened the Null Hypothesis Ho
2. Something Happened the Alternative Hypothesis - H1
Hypothesis testing is a four-step procedure:
1. Stating the hypothesis (Null or Alternative)
2. Setting the criteria for a decision
3. Collecting data
4. Evaluate the Null hypothesis
Type I error

AtypeI erroroccurs when thenull hypothesis(H0) is true,

but is rejected.
A typeI error may be compared with a so-called false positive
Ex: Null hypothesis:"Adding water to toothpaste has no effect
on cavities."
A typeI occurs when detecting an effect (adding water to
toothpaste protects against cavities) that is not present. The
null hypothesis is true (i.e., it is true that adding water to
toothpaste has no effect on cavities), but this null hypothesis
is rejected based on bad experimental data.
Type II error

AtypeII erroroccurs when the null hypothesis is false, but

erroneously fails to be rejected.
A typeII error may be compared with a so-calledfalse negative
Ex: Null hypothesis:"Adding fluoride to toothpaste has no effect
on cavities."
A typeII error occurs when failing to detect an effect (adding
fluoride to toothpaste protects against cavities) that is present.
The null hypothesis is false (i.e., adding fluoride is actually
effective against cavities), but the experimental data is such that
the null hypothesis cannot be rejected.
Table of error types
Null hypothesis (H0) is
Table of error types
Valid/True Invalid/False
TypeI error
Reject (False
Judgment of (True
Null Positive)
Hypothesis Correct
(H0) TypeII error
Fail to reject (False
Type I = True H0but reject it (False Positive)
Type II = False H0but fail to reject it (False Negative)
Research Design
The research design refers to the overall strategy that
you choose to integrate the different components of the
study in a coherent and logical way, thereby, ensuring
you will effectively address the research problem;
it constitutes the blueprint for the collection,
measurement, and analysis of data.
The essentials of action research design follow a
characteristic cycle whereby initially an exploratory
stance is adopted.
An understanding of a problem is developed and plans
are made for some form of interventionary strategy.
Research design is the framework that has been created
to seek answers to research questions.
Exploratory Research
A problem that has not been clearly defined.
It helps determine the best research design, data-collection
method and selection of subjects.
Exploratory research design does not aim to provide the final
and conclusive answers to the research questions, but merely
explores the research topic with varying levels of depth.
Exploratory research tends to tackle new problems on which
little or no previous research has been done.
Unstructured interviews is the most popular primary data
collection method with this type of research.
Advantages of Exploratory
Flexibility and adaptability to change
Exploratory research is effective in laying the
groundwork that will lead to future studies.
This types ofstudies can potentially save time and
other resources by determining the types of research
that is are worth pursuing at the earlier stages
Disadvantages of Exploratory Research

Exploratory studies generate qualitative information

and interpretation of such type of information is subject
to bias
These types of studies usually make use of a modest
number of samples that may not adequately represent
the target population
Conclusive Research

Conclusive research design usually involves the

application of quantitative methods of data collection
and data analysis.
Moreover, conclusive studies tend to be deductive in
nature and research objectives in these types of studies
are achieved via testing hypotheses.
Factor Conclusive Exploratory

To test hypothesis and To get insights and

relationships understanding

Information needs are loosely

Information needs a clearly
Research process is
defined Research process is
unstructured and flexible
formal and structured
Small, non-representative
Characteristics Large representative sample
Data analysis is quantitative
Primary data analysis is

Findings Conclusive Only tentative

Generally followed by further

Findings used as input to
Outcome exploratory conclusive
decision making
Descriptive research
Descriptive research, also known as statistical research,
describes data and characteristics about the population
or phenomenon being studied. Descriptive research
answers the questions who, what, where, when, "why"
and how...
Descriptive research cannot be used to create a causal
relationship, where one variable affects another. In
other words, descriptive research can be said to have a
low requirement for internal validity.
Causal Research
Causal studies focus on an analysis of a situation or a
specific problem to explain the patterns of relationships
between variables.
To identify the extent and nature of cause-and-effect
relationships. Causal research can be conducted in
order to assess impacts of specific changes on existing
norms, various processes etc.
causal research is a way of seeing how actions now will
affect a business in the future.
example, if a clothing company currently sells blue
denim jeans, causal research can measure the impact of
Causal Research
Exploratory research Descriptive research
Causal research

Amount of uncertainty characterising

Clearly defined Highly ambiguous Partially defined
decision situation

Key research statement Research hypotheses Research question Research question

When conducted? Later stages of decision making Early stage of decision making Later stages of decision making

Usual research approach Highly structured Unstructured Structured

What kind of people patronize our

Will consumers buy more products in Our sales are declining for no
stores compared to our primary
a blue package? apparent reason
Examples competitor?
Which of two advertising campaigns What kinds of new products are
What product features are th most
will be more effective? fast-food consumers interested in?
important to our customers?
Advantages of Causal Research
1. Causal studies may play an instrumental role in terms of identifying reasons behind a wide
range of processes, as well as, assessing the impacts of changes on existing norms, processes etc.
2. Causal studies usually offer the advantages of replication if necessity arises
3. This type of studies are associated with greater levels of internal validity due to systematic
selection of subjects
Disadvantages of Causal Research
1. Coincidences in events may be perceived as cause-and-effect relationships. For example,
Punxatawney Phil was able to forecast the duration of Winter for five consecutive years,
nevertheless, it is just a rodent without intellect and forecasting powers, i.e. it was a coincidence.
2. It can be difficult to reach appropriate conclusions on the basis of causal research findings due
to the impact of a wide range of factors and variables in social environment. In other words,
while casualty can be inferred, it cannot be proved with a high level of certainty.
3. It certain cases, while correlation between two variables can be effectively established;
identifying which variable is a cause and which one is the impact can be a difficult task to
Cross sectional research
Data can also be collected on individual characteristics,
including exposure to risk factors, alongside information
about the outcome. In this way cross-sectional studies
provide a 'snapshot' of the outcome and the
characteristics associated with it, at a specific point in
Cross-sectional studies are sometimes carried out to
investigate associations between risk factors and the
outcome of interest. They are limited, however, by the
fact that they are carried out at one time point and give
no indication of the sequence of events
The purpose of the study is descriptive, often in the
form of a survey. Usually there is no hypothesis as such,
but the aim is to describe a population or a subgroup
within the population with respect to an outcome and a
set of risk factors.
The purpose of the study is to find the prevalence of the
outcome of interest, for the population or subgroups
within the population at a given timepoint
Longitudinal study

acorrelational researchstudy that involves repeated

observations of the same variables over long periods of
time, often many decades.
Longitudinal studies are often used in psychology, to
study developmental trends across the life span, and
insociology, to study life events throughout lifetimes or
Sampling Methods can be classified into one of two
Probability Sampling: Sample has a known
probability of being selected
Non-probability Sampling: Sample does not have
known probability of being selected as in convenience
or voluntary response surveys
Probability Sampling

In probability sampling it is possible to both determine which

sampling units belong to which sample and the probability that
each sample will be selected. The following sampling
Simple Random Sampling (SRS)
Stratified Sampling
Cluster Sampling
Systematic Sampling
Multistage Sampling(in which some of the methods
above are combined in stages)

Thesimplerandomsampleisboththeeasiestrandomsampleto understand
and the one onwhichother
anaccuratesamplingframe,selects elementsfromsamplingframe.
thepopulationmostof thetime,and
that onecancalculate theprobabilityof aparticularsamplebeinginaccurate.

Thesamplingdistributionis thekeyideathatlets aresearcher

Stratified Sampling
when it makes sense to partition the population into groups based on a
factor that may influence the variable that is being measured. These
groups are then called strata. An individual group is called a stratum.
Withstratified samplingone should:
partition the population into groups (strata)
obtain a simple random sample from each group (stratum)
collect data on each sampling unit that was randomly sampled from each
group (stratum)
Stratified samplingworks best when a heterogeneous population is split
into fairly homogeneous groups. Under these conditions, stratification
generally produces more precise estimates of the population percents than
estimates that would be found from a simple random sample.
Example 1 Example 2 Example 3
Population All people in All PSU All elementary
U.S. intercollegiate students in the
athletes local school
Groups 4 Time Zones 26 PSU 11 different
(Strata) in the U.S. intercollegiate elementary
(Eastern,Centr teams schools in the
al, local school
Mountain,Pacifi district
Obtain a 500 people 5 athletes from 20 students
Simple from each of each of the 26 from each of
Random the 4 time PSU teams the 11
Sample zones elementary
Sample 4 500 = 26 5 = 130 11 20 = 220
Cluster Samplingis very different from Stratified Sampling.
Withcluster samplingone should
divide the population into groups (clusters).
obtain a simple random sample of so many clusters from all possible
obtain data on every sampling unit in each of the randomly selected
It is important to note that, unlike with the strata in stratified sampling,
the clusters should be microcosms, rather than subsections, of the
population. Each cluster should be heterogeneous. Additionally, the
statistical analysis used with cluster sampling is not only different, but
also more complicated than that used with stratified sampling.
Example 1 Example 2 Example 3
Population All people in U.S. All PSU All elementary
intercollegiate students in a
athletes local school
Groups 4 Time Zones in 26 PSU 11 different
(Clusters) the U.S. intercollegiate elementary
(Eastern,Central, teams schools in the
Mountain,Pacific.) local school
Obtain a Simple 2 time zones 8 teams from the 4 elementary
Random from the 4 26 possible teams schools from the
Sample possible time l1 possible
zones elementary
Sample every person in every athlete on every student in
the 2 selected the 8 selected the 4 selected
time zones teams elementary
Multi stage sampling
Multistage sampling can be a complex form ofcluster sampling.
Multistage samplingrefers to sampling plans where the sampling is carried out in stages
using smaller and smaller sampling units at each stage.
Cost and speed that the survey can be done in
Effective in primary data collection from geographically dispersed.
population when face-to-face contact in required (e.g. semi-structured in-depth interviews)
Cost-effectiveness and time-effectiveness.
High level of flexibility.
High level of subjectivity.
Research findings can never be 100% representative of population.
The presence of group-level information is required.
Systematic sampling
In whichsamplemembers from a larger population are selected
according to a random starting point and a fixed periodic
interval. This interval, called thesamplinginterval, is calculated
by dividing the population size by the desiredsample size.

wherenis the sample size, andNis the population size.
Systematic sampling is to be applied only if the given population is
logically homogeneous, because systematic sample units are
uniformly distributed over the population
Example: Suppose a supermarket wants to study buying habits of
their customers, then using systematic sampling they can choose
every 10th or 15th customer entering the supermarket and conduct
the study on this sample.
This is random sampling with a system. From the sampling frame, a
starting point is chosen at random, and choices thereafter are at
regular intervals. For example, suppose you want to sample 8
houses from a street of 120 houses. 120/8=15, so every 15th house
is chosen after a random starting point between 1 and 15. If the
random starting point is 11, then the houses selected are 11, 26, 41,
56, 71, 86, 101, and 116. As an aside, if every 15th house was a
"corner house" then this corner pattern could destroy the
randomness of the population.
Nonprobability Sampling
Accidental, Haphazard or Convenience Sampling
Purposive Sampling
Self-selection sampling
Snowball sampling
Quota sampling
Accidental, Haphazard or Convenience Sampling

A convenience sample is made up of people who are easy to

A statisticalmethodofdrawingrepresentativedataby
selecting people because of the ease of their volunteering or
selectingunits because of theiravailabilityor easyaccess.
Example: A pollster interviews shoppers at a local mall. If the
mall was chosen because it was a convenient site from which
to solicit survey participants and/or because it was close to
the pollster's home or business, this would be a convenience
Purposive Sampling
elements selected for the sample are chosen by the
judgment of the researcher. Researchers often believe
that they can obtain a representative sample by using a
sound judgment, which will result in saving time and
Advantages of Purposive Sampling (Judgment Sampling)
Purposive sampling is one of the most cost-effective and time-
effective sampling methods available
Purposive sampling may be the only appropriate method
available if there are only limited number of primary data sources
who can contribute to the study
This sampling technique can be effective in exploring
anthropological situations where the discovery of meaning can
benefit from an intuitive approach
Disadvantages of Purposive Sampling (Judgment Sampling)
Vulnerability to errors in judgment by researcher
Low level of reliability and high levels of bias.
Inability to generalize research findings
Self-selection sampling

Self-selection sampling is appropriate when we want to

allow units or cases, whether individuals or
organizations, to choose to take part in researchon
their own accord.
The key component is that research subjects (or
organisations)volunteerto take part in the research
rather than being approached by the researcher directly.
Quota sampling
To create a quota sample, there arethree steps:
(a)choosing the relevant stratification and dividing the population
(b)calculating a quota for each stratum; and
(c)continuing to invite cases until the quota for each stratum is
Quota sampling is particularly useful when you are unable to
obtain a probability sample, but you are still trying to create a
sample that is as representative as possible of the population
being studied. In this respect, it is the non-probability based
equivalent of thestratified random sample.
Quota sampling is useful when time is limited, asampling frameis
not available, the research budget is very tight or when detailed
accuracy is not important
Snowball sampling
Snowball sampling is particularly appropriate when the
population you are interested in ishiddenand/orhard-
to-reach. These include populations such as drug
addicts, homeless people, individuals with AIDS/HIV,
prostitutes, and so forth.
Instrument Design and scale
Instrumentis the generic term that researchers use for
a measurement device (survey, test, questionnaire,
instrument is the deviceandinstrumentation is the
course of action(the process of developing, testing, and
using the device).
Instruments fall into two broad categories, researcher-
completed and subject-completed:
Researcher-completed Subject-completed
Instruments Instruments
Rating scales Questionnaires
Interview schedules/guides Self-checklists
Tally sheets Attitude scales
Flowcharts Personality inventories
Performance checklists Achievement/aptitude tests
Time-and-motion logs Projective devices
Observation forms Sociometric devices
Usabilityrefers to the ease with which an instrument can
be administered, interpreted by the participant, and
scored/interpreted by the researcher. Example usability
problems include:
Students are asked to rate a lesson immediately after
class, but there are only a few minutes before the next
class begins (problem with administration).
Students are asked to keep self-checklists of their after
school activities, but the directions are complicated and
the item descriptions confusing (problem with
Teachers are asked about their attitudes regarding
school policy, but some questions are worded poorly
Validityis the extent to which an instrument measures
what it is supposed to measure and performs as it is
designed to perform. It is rare, if nearly impossible, that
an instrument be 100% valid, so validity is generally
measured in degrees.
As a process, validation involves collecting and
analyzing data to assess the accuracy of an instrument.
There are numerous statistical tests and measures to
assess the validity of quantitative instruments, which
generally involves pilot testing.
The remainder of this discussion focuses on external
validity and content validity.
External validityis the extent to which the results of a
study can begeneralizedfrom a sample to a population.
Establishing eternal validity for an instrument, then,
follows directly from sampling.
Recall that a sample should be an accurate
representation of a population, because the total
population may not be available.
An instrument that is externally valid helps obtain
population generalizability, or the degree to which a
sample represents the population.
Content validityrefers to the appropriateness of the
content of an instrument. In other words, do the
measures (questions, observation logs, etc.) accurately
assess what you want to know? This is particularly
important with achievement tests.
Consider that a test developer wants to maximize the
validity of a unit test for 7th grade mathematics. This
would involve taking representative questions from
each of the sections of the unit and evaluating them
against the desired outcomes.
Reliabilitycan be thought of as consistency.
however, there are four general estimators that you may
encounter in reading research:
Inter-Rater/Observer Reliability: The degree to which different
raters/observers give consistent answers or estimates.
Test-Retest Reliability: The consistency of a measure
evaluated over time.
Parallel-Forms Reliability:The reliability of two tests
constructed the same way, from the same content.
Internal Consistency Reliability:The consistency of results
across items, often measured with Cronbachs Alpha.
Cronbach's Alpha: An Index of Reliability
Alpha coefficient ranges in value from 0 to 1 and may be
used to describe the reliability of factors extracted from
dichotomous (that is, questions with two possible
answers) and/or multi-point formatted questionnaires or
scales (i.e., rating scale: 1 = poor, 5 = excellent). The
higher the score, the more reliable the generated scale
Nunnaly (1978) has indicated 0.7 to be an acceptable
reliability coefficient

Measurements Scales
Nominal scale
Ordinal scale
Nominal scale

Nominal scales are used for labeling variables, without

any quantitativevalue. Nominal scales could simply
be called labels.
nominal sounds a lot like name and nominal scales
are kind of like names or labels.
a sub-type of nominal scale with only two categories
(e.g. male/female) is called dichotomous.
categories; no additional information
Nominal is hardly measurement. It refers to quality
more than quantity. A nominal level of measurement is
simply a matter of distinguishing by name, e.g., 1 =
male, 2 = female.
Ordinal scale
Ordinal scales are typically measures of non-numeric concepts like
satisfaction, happiness, discomfort, etc.
Ordinal refers to order in measurement. An ordinal scale indicates
In addition to providing nominal information. Low/Medium/High; or
Faster/Slower are examples of ordinal levels of measurement.
Ordinal is easy to remember because is sounds like order and
thats the key to remember with ordinal scalesit is theorderthat
matters, but thats all you really get from these.
indicates direction or order of occurrence; spacing between is
Example of Ordinal scale
Interval scale
Interval scales are numeric scales in which we know not only
the order, but also the exact differences between the values.
The classic example of an interval scale isCelsiustemperature
because the difference between each value is the same.
Interval scales provide information about order, and also
possess equal intervals.
central tendencycan be measured by mode, median, or mean;
standard deviation can also be calculated.
For example, the difference between 60 and 50 degrees is a
measurable 10 degrees, as is the difference between 80 and
70 degrees.
Ratios Scale
In addition to possessing the qualities of nominal, ordinal, and
interval scales, a ratio scale has an absolute zero (a point where
none of the quality being measured exists).
Using a ratio scale permits comparisons such as being twice as
high, or one-half as much. Reaction time (how long it takes to
respond to a signal of some sort) uses a ratio scale of
measurement -- time. Although an individual's reaction time is
always greater than zero, we conceptualize a zero point in time,
Central tendencycan be measured by mode, median, or mean;
measures of dispersion, such as standard deviation and
coefficient of variation can also be calculated from ratio scales.
In summary,nominalvariables are used to name, or
label a series of values.
Ordinalscales provide good information about
theorderof choices, such as in a customer satisfaction
Intervalscales give us the order of values + the ability
to quantifythe difference between each one.
Finally,Ratioscales give us the ultimateorder, interval
values, plus theability to calculate ratiossince a true
zero can be defined.
Data collections method
Primary Data collection methods
Secondary Data collection methods
Primary Data collection
Technique Key Facts Example

Interviews can be conducted in person or over the telephone

Interviews can be done formally (structured), semi-
One-on-one conversation with parent of at-risk youth who
Interviews structured, or informally
can help you understand the issue
Questions should be focused, clear, and encourage open-
ended responses Interviews are mainly qualitative in nature

Responses can be analyzed with quantitative methods by

assigning numerical values to Likert-type scales
Results of a satisfaction survey or opinion survey
Questionnaires and Surveys Results are generally easier (than qualitative techniques) to
Pre-test/Post-test can be compared and analyzed
Allows for the study of the dynamics of a situation,
frequency counts of target behaviors, or other behaviors as
indicated by needs of the evaluation
Good source for providing additional information about a
Site visits to an after-school program to document the
Observations particular group, can use video to provide documentation
interaction between youth and staff within the program
Can produce qualitative (e.g., narrative data) and
quantitative data (e.g., frequency counts, mean length of
interactions, and instructional time)

A facilitated group interview with individuals that have

something in common
A group of parents of teenagers in an after-school program
Gathers information about combined perspectives and
Focus Groups are invited to informally discuss programs that might benefit
and help their children succeed
Responses are often coded into categories and analyzed
Involves studying a single phenomenon
Examines people in their natural settings Shadowing a family while recording extensive field notes to
Uses a combination of techniques such as observation, study the experience and issues associated with youth who
Ethnographies, Oral History, and Case Studies
interviews, and surveys have a parent or guardian that has been deployed
Ethnography is a more holistic approach to evaluation
Researcher can become a confounding variable
Consists of examining existing data in the form of
To understand the primary reasons students miss school,
databases, meeting minutes, reports, attendance logs,
records on student absences are collected and analyzed
Documents and Records financial records, newsletters, etc.
This can be an inexpensive way to gather information, but
may be an incomplete data source