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Management

Methodology portion of the applied research

“How the St. Christopher Catholic High School Alumni Association in the United States of America can best reach its goal of increasing Educational and Financial assistance to the St. Christopher’s High school in Kakata”

DATA COLLECTION PLAN

Summary of Project

As a charitable organization, the goal of the American chapter of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association has remained committed to helping the school in Kakata, Liberia, which is the legacy of its parent organization.  However, distance, among other attributes, remains an obstacle facing the American chapter of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association in their efforts to provide supportive assistance to the students of The St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia.  The current conditions existing in Liberia present political and gender-related obstacles for students attempting to get an education in Liberia and this research attempts to illustrate the obstacles to provide clarity that can assist if the creation of a solution to the problem.

Summary of the Rationale

According to studies conducted on research methods, there are major philosophical paradigms that any researcher must bear in mind at any stage of study (Bailey K. , 1994; Bailey & Tilley, 2002; Creswell J. , 2012).  The epistemology, ontology and methodology are three principal paradigms that construct the basis of the research method (Babbie, 2007). The ontological philosophy is often difficult to view in studies because it covers social elements, which make up a subject body (Babbie, 2007).  Therefore, in the context of this research, the ontology covered the purpose of the American chapter of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association (Babbie, 2007).  On the other hand, the epistemology entails the theoretical framework of providing support for the students of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia, whether it is a legitimate term with sufficient case study evidence (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005).  Overall, the difference between the epistemology and the ontology further emanate from clarity of the charity principles, working stages and the ethics (Creswell J. W., 2009).  The methodology of the study was determined by the ontology and epistemology outcomes, which further outlined the tools that guaranteed the best outcomes and every method has respective assumptions or justifications, as shown in the research onion in Figure 1 below (Babbie, 2007).

Figure 1: Paradigm for Selection of a Research Method

Data Collection

This process accomplished with interviews and administered questionnaires within a stipulated timeframe after a careful sample selection to guarantee reliable outcomes. Specifically, the interviews were effective using semi-structured questions targeting the management while the questionnaire targeted the customers (Draugalis, Coons, & Plaza, 2008). The entire process of data collection took twelve weeks and any concerns regarding bias were addressed by testing the questionnaire two weeks in advance to administration to the study participants (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2005).  Upon return, the questionnaires were edited to conform to the requirements and eliminate errors during the main data collection process (Draugalis, Coons, & Plaza, 2008).  The qualitative data collection was administered at three stages, which is commonly defined by research as the triangulation of the qualitative and quantitative outcomes (Babbie, 2007).

The first available literature covering the research scope and objectives were critically assessed to present possible questions for the interviews and the preliminary pilot survey (Flick, 2011).  Initially, a justification for every question was their relation to the study objectives (Okoli & Schabram, 2010).  The outcomes from the interviews enabled the researcher to map the overall knowledge regarding how to provide support for the students of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia. Additionally, the findings in the literature review guided the theoretical framework, which tied with the literature evidence (Dunne, 2011). The questionnaires were sent out with an anticipated response rate of 50% (Neuman, 2006).  Hypotheses were generated to provide additional details where gaps in knowledge were apparent (Kumar, 2005).  The quantitative data from the questionnaire was entered using the Excel analysis tool to gauge the hypothetical relationships and answer various research questions (Branson, 2007).

In terms of sampling, there were two stages. First stratified sampling was applicable to differentiate managers and customers for the interviews and questionnaire processes respectively. Next random sampling was applicable at the managerial and customer levels when targeting the actual respondents. The justification for the random sampling is to achieve as mixed responses as possible that are bias-free.  The justification for the stratified sampling was also validating the outcomes at opposite stakeholder levels. The managers and customers were sampled at the St. Christopher Catholic High School Alumni Association in the United States of America location.  According to the researcher, these feedbacks were sufficient and representative of the overall target populations.

The questionnaire length guided by the time frame of the entire research, expected number of respondents and the budgetary limitations. In this case, the choice of survey is justified by research for its ability to present facts, views and predict behaviours of the respondents. Nevertheless, studies also stress that specific survey tools fit certain purposes, that there cannot be general cases for all scenarios. Thus, as shown in Figure 2 below, the questionnaire was interviewee administered using structure items along a Likert and multiple option scale.

Figure 2: Sample Likert Style Questionnaire

The main advantage of the interviewer-administered questionnaire is the facial interaction with the respondents, which may signal non-verbal or writer communication and feeling. The interviewer method further enables the researcher to investigate beyond the feedbacks if the respondents are not clear, notwithstanding the advantage of dialogue in such investigations. This method is far more accurate that the self-administered approach.

The main disadvantages of this method are time consumption and slower pace of turn around.  Similarly, the interviewee must strive to be at the location all through to capture as many feedbacks as possible from the respondents.  Therefore, a short of prolonged absence of may lead to lower response rate.  The researcher included the postal option to the managers who were out of site to improve the response rates.  This method had its own advantages of privacy of the respondent whereas the main disadvantage was non-response and reasons for the same.  The following illustration in Figure 3 elaborates the questionnaire build up stages:

Figure 3: Questionnaire Stages

The questionnaire was administered in common English language to eliminate communication barriers and possible ambiguities among the respondents. Therefore, no need for translation arose except where the literacy level of the respondent required assistance in specific questionnaire items. Similarly, the researcher will be able to capture all views across the respondent demographics according to a collaborative strategy of questionnaire translation as shown below in Figure 4.

Figure 4

This collaborative stage was particularly important in during questionnaire pre-testing because it validates the respective items and assures of accurate deductions in the final analysis. Similarly, the pre-testing process flagged all the response confusions and duplications for final editing. The researcher’s colleagues to give room for recommendations for improvement and judgement checked the pre-test findings independently.

Survey Method

According to Creswell (2009), reviewing existing instruments for data collection allows researchers to select a current version that meets good validity and reliability scores. The questionnaire was used to assess the presence of the variables in question. The intent of this study is to explain whether or not relationships exist among shoppers in regards to brand loyalty, customer satisfaction, and hedonic or utilitarian shopping values. Data for this study will be collected from a convenience sample using a web-based 14 question survey administered using a 5-point Likert scale with descriptors ranging from; Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree in addition to other demographic questions (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Cross-sectional surveys allow researchers to collect data about current attitudes, opinions, beliefs, and practices using a single application (Creswell, 2009).  Furthermore, Creswell (2009) researchers can modify an existing instrument to fit the research design by obtaining approval from the original author.

Descriptive statistical analysis will be calculated from the demographic information to describe trends and or make comparisons among the respondents (Graziano & Raulin, 2009). Microsoft Excel will be used to organize the aggregate collected data and to generate graphical representations for easy analysis of the inferential data as well as describe possible relationships among the variables using the theoretical framework previously illustrated in Figure 1 (Babbie, 2007).  The theoretical framework for the study was adapted from a model based on its past success in the study of consumer benefits, satisfaction, and loyalty in the retail context. Utilitarian and hedonic benefits served as the exogenous variables, while environmental conditions were the endogenous variables (Chisholm, Kovacheva, & Merico, 2011). Drawing on theory and empirical endings discussed in the previous section, the following hypotheses were examined.

Qualitative Method

The study was a qualitative, multi-case study that employed data collected through exhaustive research on the subject of consumer shopping trends, shopper loyalty, and customer satisfaction.  A random, blind survey was also conducted to accumulate data concerning the secondary and tertiary research objectives.  The results of the survey was collected and analyzed to determine the relevance of the information gathered regarding the value of training programs in relation to overall employee satisfaction and turnover rates.   It should be noted that the small sample group will place significant limitations on the reliability of the results determined by this portion of the study.  However, the large information pool the balance of the data was collected from makes the determinations of the bulk of the study highly credible.

Numerous quantitative and qualitative studies were examined at length to provide comprehensive view of the relevant aspects of the subject within one comprehensive body of work as opposed to consulting the multitude of studies regarding the subject (Shadish, Cook, & Campbell, 2002).  In addition, the significant findings exposed in the study conducted by Jayawarna et al. (2007) were analyzed in conjunction with the determinations of Guidice et al. (2009), which presents findings relevant to the secondary and tertiary research objectives.  The research strategy for this dissertation initially assumed a qualitative approach to determine whether there are correlations between the indicated variables utilizing empirical as well as other methods to gather research data.  Furthermore, the integration of details accumulated through the extensive literature review of information in this area and, since the research will be primarily empirical, much data will be collected through observations, self-administered questionnaires, and examination of previous research.

Quantitative Method

Performing quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data gives the research additional reliability despite the small sample size through redundancy in the comparisons drawn from my own data and the information gathered from the available literature.  The surveys would be made available so that the respondents could take and return the surveys anonymously and the data collected is distinguished by numbers to maintain this anonymity.  Using empirical methods to conduct this research as well as literary study presents a more complete inquiry regarding the determination of the research question.  Stringent identification of the research variables allows the detection of patterns in the responses of the participants which present a concise picture of the relationships between the variables.  Although an ethnographic study (Babbie, 2007) would also be an appropriate method for conducting this analysis, it is more explicitly detailed than is necessary and the focus is rather limited in scope, which would necessitate the elimination of a variable.

The responses of the surveys and interviews will be charted and graphed to easily reveal indicators and dimensions that will indicate correlations between the categorical values (Babbie, 2007).  This will also allow the responses to be organized to create conceptual order and establish variable ranges for the factorial examination (Babbie, 2007).  Since quantitative analysis deals primarily with statistical analysis, quantitative methods can be employed for the data analysis and these methods will be implemented in the codification of the data to be analyzed.  The key variables will be relative to indicators that denote reduction of turnover rates, the value of supportive training incentives, and perceived benefits of such training.

Data Collection, Reliability, & Validity

The research made use of both secondary and primary methods of data collection. The main sources of secondary information for this research were books, journals, and online articles. It was imperative for the researcher to find out the views of other scholars given the limited primary data. These secondary sources were essential in generating strong theory and literature in the study (Flick, 2011). The main sources for journal articles in this research were books and online journal databases. These secondary sources were used to gather insights on online marketing communication. This includes the characteristics and techniques of online marketing communication within organisations.

Validity is the degree in which measures accurately capture the constructs of which they were design to quantify, and also refers to whether the experimental outcomes are primarily indicating what we perceive them to be representing (Newman, 2011; Steckler & McLeroy, 2008).  There are two kinds of validities that are significant to experimental designs, which are internal validity and external validity (Golafshani, 2003).  Internal validity is a component that evaluates the degree to which consequences can essentially be ascribed to independent variables while external validity is an indication of how generalizable the results are, meaning will the results apply to any circumstances outside of the experimental conditions (Newman, 2011).  Essentially, internal validity expresses to the audience whether the research was conducted in a manner that allows the results to be believable and external validity describes whether the experiment should and does matter because it has or does not have real world applicability common threats to internal validity include miscalculations, mistakes, and researcher bias and  threats to external validity include narrow study parameters, biased research questions or hypotheses, and other circumstances that nullify the potential for the research to be applied to the general population or any other real-world scenario (Morse, Barrett, Mayan, Olson, & Spiers, 2002).  For example, internal validity can be compromised in a research experiment due to inescapable circumstances, such as the health or mood swings of the participants on the day of the experiment and external validity can be compromised if the respondents do not demographically represent the target populace or uses too small a sample size.

Ethical Issues

This study engaged human beings which had implications that some ethical issues had to observe. On the respondents’ side, there was information about the purpose of the research and how their personal data was going to be treated with utmost confidentiality. Consequently, the identity of the responses was via special SPSS codes especially for the survey feedbacks. The respondents consent to take part in the study was voluntary without coercion whatsoever. Finally, the respondents assured the researcher of accurate feedback. This aimed at reliable survey outcomes.  The ethical obligations stretched to the researcher as well starting from the promise to factual presentation of data and avoidance of manipulations which compromise the integrity of the research. The researcher sought initial approval from the concerned organization and tertiary institution to accomplish the research. The researcher further ensures all the literature sources are acknowledges in text and with a list of full references. All respondents that were unwilling to take part were excused by the research as a standard ethical practice.

Summary

This section has presented the study methodology adopted for the qualitative and quantitative justifications. The chapter further stated how St. Christopher Catholic High School Alumni Association in the United States of America is useful providing support for the students of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia is measurable for its successes and gaps for appropriate action. The literature review is the primary source of the hypothetical positions to be followed up in the successive chapter (Athanasopoulou, 2009). This section clarified the philosophical standings of the qualitative and quantitative approaches with view of supporting their choices (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Data collection approaches for literature interviews and questionnaires were explained with sufficient justification for their triangulation during analysis stage (Saunders, et al. 2007). The co efficiency parameters were defined with the hypothetical interpretations during analysis stage (Hair, et al. 2010).

THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / ABSTRACT

Introduction: Review of Project Purpose

This study assumed a positivist paradigm regarding the approach to answering the research question of: How the St. Christopher Catholic High School Alumni Association in the United States of America can best reach its goal of increasing Educational and Financial assistance to the St. Christopher’s High school in Kakata, Liberia (Patton, 2002).  As stated earlier, data was analysed from a positivist approach such that the researcher identified the support for providing support for the students of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia, its strengths and weaknesses. The researcher also deducted the market objectives, components and administration of value along the supply chain. The direct and indirect correlations highlighted and appropriate conclusions made. The social science dimensions of providing support for the students of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia deduced from a statistical dimension, which involved the quantitative data pool.

The triangulation method of analysis was useful in streamlining the study objectives and their relations to the marketing heritage culture dimensions (Handley, n.d).  Essentially, the success at St. Christopher Catholic High School Alumni Association in the United States of America is evident in their financial results and the customer loyalty buildup. The quantitative data were useful in testing the study hypothesis where a coefficient correlation alpha was tested.  All the findings less than the coefficient alpha figure of 0.05 supported the hypothesis while any figure above more lead to rejection of hypothesis. The pretest figures were useful in determining the fitness of the hypothetical relations with the final test figures. An error margin of 0.005 was admissible.

The SPSS analysis of the quantitative data is regarded as very accurate approach where various data relations can project and present as tables or figures as elaborated in the successive chapter. The SPSS is also reliable in capturing minute outcomes that are not obvious to the researcher before the analysis. These strengths justify the adoption of the SPSS tool as structured, reliable and diverse measurement tool.

Summary of Conclusions & Recommendations

The overall conclusions specify that the best approach involves the use of surveys as well as research data to gather details that will help achieve the goal of determining how the American chapter of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association can provide assistance to the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia.  The data gathered from analysis of the surveys will help the staff of the American chapter of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association determine the most efficacious manner of fulfilling the legacy of their parent company.  The use of the recommended methods are indicated as the most appropriate means of determining where the current deficiencies lie so the most pertinent solutions can be sculpted specifically for the indicated problems (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004).  Follow-up monitoring of implemented programs is suggested to ensure that the new solutions are achieving their anticipated goals (Graziano & Raulin, 2009).

Recommendations for Implementation of Project

This study assumed a positivist paradigm regarding the approach to answering the research question of: How the St. Christopher Catholic High School Alumni Association in the United States of America can best reach its goal of increasing Educational and Financial assistance to the St. Christopher’s High school in Kakata, Liberia (Patton, 2002). This paradigm paved way for the deductive method of the qualitative and quantitative approaches as the most fitting philosophical positions (Polosky & Waller, 2005).  Moreover, the positivism paradigm is gives an impression of better subject knowledge and correlation with social environment so that management decisions can follow in a structure scientific process (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). Earlier scholars supported positivist approaches in such studies because they clarify objective outcomes from subjective information (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).  Furthermore, the positivist paradigm is credited for its reliability in research works which fortify outcomes with scientific background (Babbie, 2007).

The positivist approach ensured that the study findings are bias free whether from the researchers position of deduction of from the organizations inclination during the data collection process (Babbie, 2007). It is noteworthy that research based exclusively on qualitative information is prone to diverse interpretations. This justifies why the quantitative data method was included in this study to support the theoretical information on providing support for the students of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia (Neuman, 2006).  As part of the research strategy, various hypothetical statements were tested after generation from the literature reviews and the overall theoretical framework.  The study deployed across sectional study of the St. Christopher Catholic High School Alumni Association in the United States of America.  This approach was justified by the survey, which gathered opinions of the people along various response scales defined in the questionnaire.

Recommendations for Follow-up Data Collection

The research also made use primary sources of data collection. The continual collection of this primary data will maintain the validity and reliability of the research results (Kumar, 2005).  The term reliability is a measure of consistency that ensures that the test produces similar results repeatedly (Bailey, 1994).  The researcher used close ended questions in order to enhance the reliability of the survey.  On the other hand, validity in research refers to how the test measures the intended objectives accurately (Handley, n.d).  The researcher enhanced the validity of this survey by pre-testing the questionnaires and correcting any inconsistencies within the questions.  Primary data minimises the possibility of any ambiguous data getting their way into the research (Polosky & Waller, 2005).  Primary data also assist in generating the empirical base of the survey (Borg & Mohler, 1994).  The respondents were given questionnaires that had both open- and close-ended questions.

Recommendations for Further Research

Further determinations regarding the conditions students of St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia experience will provide relevant environmental details to determine which aspects of the plan are actually feasible for the American chapter of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association. The type of conditions available to the researcher will determine what type of design is chosen, for instance the availability of the tools needed for variable manipulation.  It is also necessary to determine the design based on what your research questions are and what relational factors are trying to be established.  Additionally, quasi-experimental designs can indicate whether a variable has factors that have more than one value (Newman, 2011). The independent variable (IV) is the variable that is manipulated by the experimenter directive to examine the thesis about a specific purpose and the dependent variable (DV) is the variable that is determined by the experimenter in order to evaluate the consequences or results of the independent variable (Newman, 2011).  Overall, the most basic experiments have two conditions, which are the experimental condition receives treatment designed to test the hypothesis, while the control condition does not receive this treatment (Shuttleworth, 2008a; Shuttleworth, 2008b).

RESEARCHER’S PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

The goal was for the researcher to gain a holistic view of providing support for the students of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia and determine its coherence with the conceptual framework advanced by the theoretical findings. Furthermore, the questionnaire method was justified for its rigor in testing feedback from numerous respondents.  The findings in the previous two stages were compared, edited and validated to conform to the study objectives and relation with the American chapter of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association. This stage is justified for relevance and data accuracy (Creswell J. W., 2009). Combining the qualitative and quantitative methods is beneficial in covering the gaps with an individual method in the study of providing support for the students of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia. With reference to the deductive method of literature, the study was guided by either previous findings or theories in this field, which are likely to replicate or expand knowledge (Borg & Mohler, 1994). This implies that the data collection method is diverse in conceptual framework and marketing modelling for current and future references.

The comparison of all available contingencies indicates that the lack of adequate resources has a great impact on students’ at the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School in Kakata, Liberia and their capacity to compete their academic environment.  In a hostile environment, youth will always suffer problems due to their constraints and limitations in critical resources that restrict the ability to learn. In Kakata, Liberia, success is also threatened by the political and social conflicts.  According to research, the American chapter of the St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association may be able to contribute substantially to the stability of the economy for the students and provide opportunities for them to improve their conditions.

Once we have become creative in how we view organizations, we can seek to ask questions about how we can manage them for whole system continuous improvement. You will be introduced to ‘Creative Holism’ (Jackson, 2003). This approach recognizes that creating organizations that are capable of continuous improvement demands that managers have knowledge of approaches for:

  • Promoting diversity
  • Exploring purposes
  • Improving goal seeking and viability
  • Ensuring fairness

The scholastic environment, including factors like a supportive school atmosphere and the classroom context as well as language barriers, was determined to be directly related to school satisfaction (Bai, 1995; Lam, 2006).  The numerous studies conducted on the effect of the classroom environment, support of the educator, the student’s sense of belonging within their academic surroundings, academic achievement, and peer pressure on the self-perception and moods of the students has revealed that these factors have a direct influence on learning and classroom behavior (Lam, 2006).  Scholastic satisfaction has been defined as a cognitive-based assessment of a student’s overall contentment with their educational experience (Bai, 1995; Lam, 2006). Research implies that youth attending primary and middle schools are beginning to exhibit a declining importance in attending school (Lam, 2006).  These results correlate with additional studies that have determined high school students tend to be dissatisfied with their lives (Lam, 2006).

Summarily, student perceptions regarding classes will result in an increase in reflective decision-making and can decrease the weight of peer pressure (Wei, Brok, & Zhou, 2009).  Student perceptions can be strongly influenced by factors such as teacher popularity, the impressions of their peers, the grading leniency of an instructor, or student backgrounds (Lam, 2006).  The impact of learning environments is additionally affected by the students’ perceptions of the interpersonal interactions between the student and the teacher (Wei, Brok, & Zhou, 2009).  It has also been established that there is relational significance between the life experience, intellectual self-sufficiency, and motivation to learn and the student’s level of satisfaction (Lam, 2006).  Chinese culture has deemed that knowledge and scholastic accomplishment should be regarded as the main focus of Hong Kong students (Lam, 2006).

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