Sometimes this is informally called a “top-down” approach. Research might begin with thinking up a theory about stress. It is then narrowed down into more specific hypotheses that can be tested. It is then narrowed down even further when we collect observations to address the hypotheses.
This ultimately leads to being able to test the hypotheses with specific data. This can be demonstrated with the choice of my questionnaires primary sources of stress. The stressors were already chosen for the respondent to answer on their frequency. This type of format was suitable as I had two variables; stress and gap year.
Positivism supports the process of deduction as it assumes that the social world is similar to the physical world and can be investigated and understood in the same way. A French Philosopher in 1853 said “All good intellects have repeated since Bacon’s time that there can be no real knowledge but that which is based on observed facts. “3 Interview type research which uses inductive reasoning works the other way, moving from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories. Informally, it is sometimes called a “bottom up” approach.This was reflected in the choice of open -ended questioning, where the respondent could interpret the question and give details. These two methods of reasoning have a very different feel to them when conducting research. Inductive reasoning, by its very nature, is more open-ended and exploratory, especially at the beginning.
Deductive reasoning is narrower in nature and is concerned with testing or confirming hypotheses. Therefore using questionnaires would enable me to perform a broaden range of research questions. However, how students determine what stress actually is, is subjective to interpretation.In fact how do any of us know what stress actually is? Phenomenologist’s argue that the social world and physical world are completely different. Basically this means that the world is not objective and exterior; it is given meaning by people. Therefore, it needs to be clear what we characterise stress as. This is known as operationalisation and is also used within a positivist approach. Instead of using theory and finding explanations in terms of external causes, phenomenology focuses on the sense that people make in different situations.
In fact, Phenomenologist’s have delivered some strong attacks on positivism suggesting that knowledge is not only based on data but can also be observed and measured directly. The questionnaire conducted also had both quantitative and qualitative data in it to gain the most accurate results possible. Quantitative research can be construed as a research strategy that emphasises quantification in the collection and analysis of data and that entails a deductive approach to the relationship between theory and research, the accent here is placed on testing the theories.This is replicated in the form of a questionnaire. It also relies upon analysing through numerical and standardised data. In contrast, qualitative research can be construed as a research strategy based on meanings expressed through words.
It predominately emphasises an inductive approach to the relationship between theory and research. The constant comparative method was chosen because it is widely regarded as the most commonly used method to organise themes regardless of qualitative tradition (Creswell, 1998). Determining the research strategy that was performed is essential to carry out exploratory studies.These studies are a value means of finding out what is happening to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light. 4 Before the questionnaire was distributed it was sensible to search into background reading of what has already been researched into stress and how others have approached stress related research. Validity of the research conducted is a crucial factor in obtaining the most accurate results possible.
Validity refers to the issue of whether an indicator that is devised to gauge a concept really measures that concept.5 However, a major threat to validity is the Hawthorne effect, a term used to describe the changes in a subject’s behaviour when he or she is aware that he or she is being observed. In essence, the Hawthorne effect tells us that people do not behave in the same manner when they know they are being watched as compared to when they do not know they are being watched. This concept is crucial in observational research, as it presents a huge threat to validity. This again was another reason why I felt a questionnaire would be more beneficial instead of an interview, it is perhaps considered more reliable.
Reliability refers to the consistency of a measure of a concept. There also needs to be consideration of the ethics of the research performed. Ethics refers to the appropriateness of your behaviour in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your work, or are affected by it. 6 It is important that the respondents information is kept confidential and that the researcher must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that respondents are in no way directly harmed or adversely as a result. Secondary data is also beneficial when conducting research into a certain issue.
Data and research that has already been conducted can help to identify what is considered to be important and crucial. It also results in fewer resources being needed and provides a way of evaluating the primary data that I have collected. The methodology used for conducting this type of research was an eleven questioned questionnaire.
Incorporated into the questionnaire was a mixture of open and closed questions; involving agree or disagree type questions, alternative answers, ranking order and numerical scales. The questionnaire was formed within a group of six people. Determined firstly was the primary sources of stress.