Sampling Plan for the Proposed Qualitative Study_Bullying and Animal Cruelty: Is There a Connection?
Category : Research Methodology
Bullying and Animal Cruelty: Is There a Connection?
Sampling Plan for the Proposed Qualitative Study
The qualitative study aims to investigate the existence of a link between bullying and animal cruelty and describe or explain the presence or lack of relationship between these two variables. Data comes from accounts or descriptions of people with direct experience of bullying and/or animal cruelty. Bullying occurs in many situations and in different ages or gender groups. However, the focus of the study is the connection between bullying and animal cruelty in primary and high school students of a school district.
Data Collection Method
In deriving qualitative data, the data collection method is interviews with the respondents comprising the research sample. The interviews are one-on-one to ensure the free flow of information since the respondents may become hesitant to participate in focus groups and observations may not yield the rich data intended.
The sampling design is non-probability sampling since the number of cases of individuals involved in bullying and animal cruelty is unknown to the researcher beforehand. In addition, the focus is obtaining rich data (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2003) from the respondents. This applies by relying on the judgment of the researcher in determining the research sample. The research sample comes about in the course of the determination of the sample, which could be either lower or greater than expected.
The sampling method under non-probability sampling applicable to the study is purposive sampling, which focuses on the derivation of rich information instead of representation. This relies on the judgment of the researcher on the possible respondents that could constitute the research sample. (Saunders et al., 2003) However, to ensure a certain degree of accuracy in determining the research respondents, the criteria is based on the symptoms or profile of individuals engaging in bullying or animal cruelty. The criteria should depend on results of valid clinical studies. By using the criteria, the researcher is able to identify the research sample. It is difficult to the determine the respondents for the study since not all cases of bullying and animal cruelty are known to many people and those engaged in these situations do not necessarily admit to being bullies or cruel to animals. The application of purposive sampling also involves the assistance of teachers and school administrators in determining the research sample.
Protection of Participants
A similar degree of ethical care applies in qualitative study. The determination of the research sample for the survey relies on the judgment of the researcher in determining possible respondents based on the criteria, which means the need to stick to the criteria in assessing possible research respondents. The researcher also does not need to interact directly with the research subjects at this point, especially for those with records or identified as involved in bullying and cruelty to animals. In ascertaining possible respondents involved in these two situations, the exercise of care is paramount to protect their identity and prevent any undue treatment from their peers, teachers, and school administrators. The researcher needs to be discrete in asking questions about e possible respondents by asking questions on the attitudes and actions representative of bullying and animal cruelty and not asking directly whether these people are bullies or cruel to animals.
Purposive sampling involves a longer period for completion since the researcher needs to ensure that the sample is able to provide the rich data required by the qualitative study. As such, this also involves a significant amount of the research budget but less than the budget required in the data collection phase.
II. Sampling Plan for the Proposed Quantitative Study
The quantitative aims to investigate the relationship between bullying and animal cruelty by determining the frequency of respondents engaged in both bullying and animal cruelty and determining; and the extent and direction of the relationship between these two variables by employing measures and measurement tools.
Data Collection Method
To collect quantitative data, the appropriate data collection method is survey of the research respondents. This supports the objectives of the study by addressing the requirements of determining frequency and measurement of the relationship between bullying and animal cruelty in a large number of respondents.
The sampling design applicable and appropriate to the qualitative study is probability sampling, which intends to determine the sample of respondents by considering representation. The ability of the sample to represent the greater population is important to ensure the derivation of generalizations from the accounts and descriptions of the research participants. (Saunders et al., 2003) This necessitates the determination of the ratio of the people likely committing bullying and animal cruelty relative to the general population of schoolchildren to determine the frequency or number of representatives of the two cases.
The sampling method appropriate to the study is simple random sampling, which involves the random selection of respondents from the segment of the population determined by the sampling frame (Saunders et al., 2003). The sampling frame for the study is the pool of respondents involved in bullying and/or animal cruelty. Simple random sampling applies by determining the segment of the population of primary and high school students involved in either or both bullying and animal cruelty based on reports of students, teachers, guidance counselor, and other administrative staff of the school. After determining the pool of respondents, this could constitute the sample of the study. If the number is too large making it difficult to complete the data collection within the timeframe of the study, then simple random sampling applies in determining the final research sample.
Protection of Participants
Since the participants are minors and the issue studied is sensitive, there is need to exercise ways of ensuring their protection. One way of doing this is obtaining the consent of parents and schools in the data collection process by explaining to them the purpose of the study and the contribution of the study to the derivation of a deeper understanding of the problem. Another is by conducting confidential surveys to ensure that the research participants do not become subject to undue treatment by their schoolmates. Still another is the researcher exercising a fact-based approach and drawing away from bias or undue comments to the respondents.
Simple random sampling does not require too much of the research budget when compared to the use of purposive sampling.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2003). Research methods for business students (4th edn.). New York: Prentice Hall.