Analysis of Quantitative Research Methodology

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Research methodology is crucial in research endeavors as it enables researchers to collect data, which will in turn be analyzed to provide conclusive assertions. This current paper describes and analyses a quantitative research article by Kossek, DeMarr, Fisher, and Roberts 1998 article, Career Self-Management: A Quasi-Experimental Assessment of the Effects of a Training Intervention. It covers the research design, sampling procedures, data collection, as well as analysis the researchers used.

The researchers employed a quasi-experimental methodology in assessing the level to which the training intervention succeeded. Essentially, it entails an empirical study that intends to estimate of the causal impact that a particular intervention has had on its target population (Morgan, 2000). In this case, the target population was several hundred professionals who were remunerated through salaries and collocated in seven divisions of a leading US employer within the transportation sector. In addition, the intervention being employed to the target population was basically exposing these employees to a 3-day training program. In the first day, the process orientation and job clarification and feedback modules were employed. On the second day, the employees were exposed to a self-discovery workshop labeled alignment and self-assessment while on the final day, the training focused more on career strategies that will be helpful in creating opportunities.

However, because such a study had not been done before, it was necessary to include a pilot study. Ideally, those who were involved in data collection were a university research team, and primarily collected baseline data that correlated career self-management attitudes and the effectiveness of the training that was employed. However, the pilot study involved interviewing human resource executives, as well as senior consulting firm members, worker focus groups, as well as making observations on various training initiatives, and that encompassed a hundred salaried professionals.

The procedure employed data collection within seven sites of the company in the US and Canada. However, to achieve viable results that could effectively be used in making conclusions and checking whether the objectives had been met, a control group had to be included. As such, each of the seven sites had both a control group and a trainee group whereby both groups had equality in terms of the members function, gender, age, as well as tenure. Data collection entailed mail surveys (first and second wave) and phone surveys (third wave). For the training group, all waves were responded to but for the control group, only the first and last waves were responded to.

Employing a quasi-experimental design was viable enough to help fulfil the study objectives as it ensured that the researchers would identify whether career development changes had been registered for the training group as opposed to the control group. As such, this study design would ensure that the reseachers achieved their primary objectives. Therefore, this methodology, approach, and design was appropriate in answering the research questions.

The participants were selected non-randomly over the seven sites that the employees were located, which is both Canada and the US. A total of 798 surveys were administered, which were equally spread out. The researchers ensured that there were equal number of respondents on both the control and training groups based on gender, age, tenure, and salary among other factors. Of all the 798 mail surveys administered in the first wave, 519 were returned. However, 53% (approximately 295) were trainees while the remaining 47% belonged to the control group. The second wave saw an approximate of 295 surveys being sent out to the participants but 180 of them were returned, eliciting a 61% response rate. During the third wave, surveys were send to all the respondents, who were 519, just like in the first wave. Of the 519 participants, 319, which is a 62% did participate in the telephone surveys which was conducted in a 6-8 month period after the mail surveys. The response rates for both the control and training groups was identical, and therefore, providing a strong basis for discussing the results. In addition, the differences in demographic characteristics were very small, and therefore, this increases the credibility and reliability of the results, as well as providing tangible conclusions. Further, breaking down the sample is necessary to understand the respondents. As the article describes, three fifths of the sample used provided technical functionality for the company, including engineering and manufacturing while the remaining participants belonged to the nontechnical functionalities. Also, 88% of the participants were white while 78% were male. Only 7% were African Americans while 5% were minorities. 24% were below 35 years while 30% were aged 35-45, and 42% were aged above 45. On aspects of tenure, 24% had less than 10 years, 33% had 11-15 years, while 43% had 15 years and above.

With the sample evenly distributed, as well as the fact that the analysis was conducted to ensure no significant differences, the sample coupled with the sampling procedures were appropriate for the methodology because all underlying career factors were pinned down thereby increasing the credibility and reliability of the results.

The researchers used both instruments (questionnaires) and qualitative questions made over the telephone. Independent variables were covered in the questionnaires, whereby a couple of statements were made and the respondent allowed to show the level of agreeability to the statement. The researchers adapted the self-efficacy scale, whereby scale 1 equaled to strongly agree while 5 was assigned strongly disagree. As such, the respondents were only to select a number in a scale of 1 to 5. On the other hand, dependent variables were gauged using telephone interviews. These were done in two ways. Self-initiated developmental seeking behaviors, as well as job mobility preparedness were also gauged on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 signified not at all while 5 equaled great deal. As such, 5-point Likert-type scale was used, which are mostly used in determining the level to which respondents feel about the assertion presented in the questionnaire. Respondents were also allowed to make open-ended comments.

The data collection procedures the researchers capitalized on were, both the surveys and questionnaires can be able to produce a sample that can be used as a representative of the whole participants, and therefore data retrieval becomes easy, especially with close-ended questions (Mathers et al., 1998).

Data analysis was carried out using regression analysis. The first question examined whether the training intervention had a significant effect on career self-management behaviors, and it was analyzed using least squares regression. However, the results showed that training does not have an effect on outcome behaviors. Additionally, a pre-post comparison of the career perception of the participants was done using a t-test, and as the results revealed, there were statistically significant differences that was observed in the pre-training and post-training career perceptions.

The data analysis procedures were effective in determining and interpreting the results. Ideally, regression analysis enables showcase and interpret the results of a study. It enabled the researchers to construct a model that confirmed its fitness, and also, it is important in showing the statistical significance of the parameters (Weisberg, 2005). Individual parameters can also be tested using t-tests, and this research has covered all these, thereby, making the data analysis and discussion of results possible. Therefore, these were appropriate for the research.

It can be surmised that the researchers move to employ a quasi-experimental design was viable to fulfil the study by helping them identify whether career development changes were effective. Further, with the sample evenly distributed with no significant differences, the sample coupled with the sampling procedures were appropriate for the methodology. Lastly, the data collection procedures, both the surveys and questionnaires were effective in determining and interpreting the results. Regression analysis enabled them to showcase and interpret the results of a study. Therefore, it can be surmised that the methodology was effective

 

References

Mathers, N., Fox, N. J., & Hunn, A. (1998). Surveys and questionnaires. NHS Executive, Trent.

Morgan, G. A. (2000). Quasi-Experimental Designs. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 39 (6). pp. 794796.

Weisberg, S. (2005). Applied linear regression. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Interscience.

 

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