quantitative research exercise

Imagine you are taking part in a project exploring Middlesex University’s undergraduate students’ use of social networking sites (SNS).
The overall objectives of the study are as follows:
• Explore how students use SNS
• Test whether or not there is any statistical association between student’s use of SNS and their personal characteristics (e.g. age, gender, year of study, etc.)
• Test whether or not there is a statistically significant relationship between student’s use of SNS and their academic learning

Within this broad objective, you may want to give your study a clearer focus – looking into a specific aspect or, for example, building on what you have learned with your earlier qualitative exercise.
As an experienced quantitative researcher you have been asked to conduct a survey, based on a structured questionnaire. A crucial part of good research design concerns making sure that the questionnaire design addresses the needs and the objectives of the research. In other words, it is important to ensure that the questions asked are the right ones.

1. Design a questionnaire, which must include:
a) An introduction to the research, the researcher and explain any confidentiality issues;
b) 10 questions (=10 variables) which relate to the objectives of the research.
Different types of questions should be used, e.g. closed, single vs. multiple responses, ranking, and rating. Due to the difficulty of analysing open responses, you should not include open-ended questions in your questionnaire. Moreover, when designing your questionnaire it is imperative that you take into consideration the types of statistical methods that you wish to use to analyse your data once it is collected.

Note: Before setting-up the questionnaire for data-collection with SurveyMonkey (next task), it is advisable that you pilot (or ‘pretest’) your questionnaire, using a paper version of it. Piloting is a crucial step to ensure any kind of error or problem associated with survey research are reduced before you start collecting the data. This will help you to improve the quality of data significantly.
Pilots are usually conducted on a small sample of respondents from the target population. Here you can pretest your questionnaire on at least one (1) student. Based on how it goes you may decide to revise the questionnaire and then move to data collection.


2. Set-up and administer an online questionnaire with SurveyMonkey

• Register for a free SurveyMonkey account (all information about SurveyMonkey are available here: www.surveymonkey.com)
• Set-up your on-line questionnaire (based on what you designed in task 1)
• Send a link to your SurveyMonkey survey to fellow students in order to collect 20 completed questionnaires. (You should ensure you get a well- balanced sample – e.g. 10 males and 10 females – also depending on what your variables are).


For this part, please provide me with the table of all data. You may just make up the possible answers for all survey questions reasonably and I will then create a surveymonkey account to enter the data myself.
3. Enter and analyse your results into SPSS

• Enter the data from SurveyMonkey into and SPSS data file (ways to do this will be discussed during the seminars)
• Ensure the dataset is properly organised and that all variables are coded properly (e.g. for gender, you could use male=1 and female = 2). Always double check both the ‘Variable view’ and ‘Data view’ in SPSS.
• Analyse the data-set with SPSS, producing outputs tables (which you should include in your report, see next task)

4. Write a brief reflective report (1000-1500 words)

The report must include the following parts:
• Introduction to the study, including aim and objectives;
• Survey methodology including: how you have determined a certain set of questions and responses to those questions; sampling criteria; issues of confidentiality
• Presentation and discussion of results of the survey, with tables and comments (n.b. tables are not included in the word count)
• A description of your experience of conducting a survey, reflecting on the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach.
• References (Note: it is important that you draw on the relevant and appropriate literature in your reflective report. So please ensure that you add the appropriate references at the end of the report)
• Your questionnaire (at the end, as an appendix – not included in the word count).

Assessment Criteria:
• Your work will be judged on the extent to which you have addressed all the requirements successfully. Your lecturer will specifically assess the following:
• You developed a structured questionnaire using SurveyMonkey, based on ten questions that meet the objectives of the study. [15 marks]
• You have surveyed 20 students successfully, using SurveyMonkey [10 marks]
• You have entered the data into SPSS and coded the variables properly [10 marks]
• You have appropriately conducted and presented data-analysis (e.g. creating and commenting on frequency distribution tables for all variables). [10 marks]
• You have tested and discussed whether there is any statistically significant relationship between relevant variables (including Chi-squared test). [10 marks]
• Your report is properly structured and presented (including tables as appropriate) [10 marks]
• Your report discusses aims, objectives and methodological issues [15 marks]
• Your report includes a description of your work and experience [10 marks]
• Your report includes appropriate referencing [10 marks]