SAFARI Amri

www.Safari.com

OCTOBER 2012 4th Year SUPERVISORS

 

NATIONAL UNIVERISTY OF RWANDA

 

(https://srs.nur.ac.rw)    
                    FACULTY OF ARTS, MEDIA AND SOCIAL SCIENCES    
                    DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM AND COMMUNICATION     
CLASS LIST FOR 2011 - 2012, CLASS: Year 3, MODE: DAY PROGRAM    
  Year 4 Communication  2012-2013  
No Name First_Name Sex Reg_Number Supervisor Email
1 ABENETO ROSINE F UG10202130 Edward Mwesigye emwesigye@nur.ac.rw
2 AKIMANA AMINI M UG11112790 JP Uwimana jpuwimana@yahoo.fr
3 BENIMANA GLORIA F UG10100077 Aldo Havugimana ahavugimana@nur.ac.rw
4 BUCYIBARUTA ADIEL M UG11112837 Raphael Nkaka rnkaka@nur.ac.rw
5 BUMWE    RITA MARIE CLARISSE F UG10100128 Aldo Havugimana ahavugimana@nur.ac.rw
6 DUKUZIMANA JEAN DE DIEU M UG10100169 Edward Mwesigye emwesigye@nur.ac.rw
7 GATETE LUCIEN M UG10100245 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
8 IGENERE UGABE  PARFAIT M UG10100435 Edward Mwesigye emwesigye@nur.ac.rw
9 INGABIRE ASSUMPTA F UG11112809 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
10 IRAKOZE RICHARD M UG10100493 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
11 IYAMUREMYE  DONAT M UG10100533 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
12 KAMPIRE KAYIGAMBA DANIELLA  M UG10100593 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
13 KAJYAMBERE SISULU  ALBERTINE F UG10100570 Edward Mwesigye emwesigye@nur.ac.rw
14 KANAMUGIRE EMMANUEL M UG10100597 Aldo Havugimana ahavugimana@nur.ac.rw
15 KAYITESI MOLLY F UG12214792 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
16 KUBWIMANA  INNOCENT M UG10100657 Paul Mbaraga p.mbaraga@yahoo.com
17 KWIKIRIZA WILLIAM M UG11112789 Dr. Chris Kayumba ckayumba@yahoo.com
18 MAGAMBO  GRACE  F UG10100669 Dr. Chris Kayumba ckayumba@yahoo.com
19 MASABO JUVENAL M UG10100700 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
20 MBANANABO  EZECHIEL M UG10100712 Raphael Nkaka rnkaka@nur.ac.rw
21 MUKABAGORORA  DIANE F UG10100851 JP Uwimana jpuwimana@yahoo.fr
22 MUNYANEZA DEO M UG10100942 Raphael Nkaka rnkaka@nur.ac.rw
23 MUNYANEZA  ERNEST M UG10100948 Paul Mbaraga p.mbaraga@yahoo.com
24 MUSAFIRI ROBERT M UG10100998 Dr. Chris Kayumba ckayumba@yahoo.com
25 MUSHIMIYEDATA  DIANE F UG10101013 JP Uwimana jpuwimana@yahoo.fr
26 MUTONI LILIAN F UG11212808 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
27 MUYOMBANO PIERRE M UG10101063 Raphael Nkaka rnkaka@nur.ac.rw
28 MWANAFUNZI ISMAEL M UG10101068 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
29 MWEMA BAHATI  PHILIPPE M UG10101071 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
30 NAHIMANA DIANE F UG10101086 Edward Mwesigye emwesigye@nur.ac.rw
31 NAKURE CAISSY CHRISTINE F UG11112794 Paul Mbaraga p.mbaraga@yahoo.com
32 NDATEBA VALENS M UG10101140 Raphael Nkaka rnkaka@nur.ac.rw
33 NDAYISENGA AIMEE EMMANUEL M UG11112818 Aldo Havugimana ahavugimana@nur.ac.rw
34 NDOLI SITIO M UG11112810 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
35 NEEMA MARIE JEANNE F UG10101213 Edward Mwesigye emwesigye@nur.ac.rw
36 NGABIRANO OLIVIER M UG10101215 JP Uwimana jpuwimana@yahoo.fr
37 NIBAGWIRE MPORE CHANTAL F UG10202267 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
38 NIYONSENGA REVERIEN M UG10101335 Aldo Havugimana ahavugimana@nur.ac.rw
39 NKURIKIYUMUKIZA JOACHIM M UG10101393 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
40 NSENGIMANA  APHRODICE M UG10101433 Dr. Chris Kayumba ckayumba@yahoo.com
41 NSHIMIYIMANA EMMANUEL M UG11112791 JP Uwimana jpuwimana@yahoo.fr
42 NTAKIRUTIMANA DEUS M UG10101512 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
43 NTAWITONDA  JEAN  CLAUDE M UG10101524 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
44 NTAWUMENYIRYAYO DOMINIQUE M UG10101527 Edward Mwesigye emwesigye@nur.ac.rw
45 NTAZINDA JEAN DAMASCENE M UG11112836 Aldo Havugimana ahavugimana@nur.ac.rw
46 NTIRENGANYA DANIEL M UG10101542 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
47 NTIRENGANYA JOTHAM M UG10101544 Aldo Havugimana ahavugimana@nur.ac.rw
48 NYIRANGABO ANATHALIE F UG10101603 Paul Mbaraga p.mbaraga@yahoo.com
49 NYIRANGARUYE CLEMENTINE F UG10101605 JP Uwimana jpuwimana@yahoo.fr
50 NYIRANKUNZIMANA  LEOCADIE F UG10101606 Paul Mbaraga p.mbaraga@yahoo.com
51 NYIRARUKUNDO PHILOMENE F UG10101619 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
52 NZEYIMANA CLEOPHAS M UG10101646 Edward Mwesigye emwesigye@nur.ac.rw
53 RUBIBI OLIVIER M UG11212774 Dr. Chris Kayumba ckayumba@yahoo.com
54 RUGANGURA AXEL M UG11112769 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
55 RUTARI MWISENEZA CARINE F UG10101710 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
56 RUTEBUKA BIJANDA FIDELE M UG11112832 Dr. Chris Kayumba ckayumba@yahoo.com
57 SAFARI  AMRI M UG10101735 JP Uwimana jpuwimana@yahoo.fr
58 SEBUDANDI FRANK M UG11112792 Raphael Nkaka rnkaka@nur.ac.rw
59 TWIRINGIYIMANA FIDELE M UG10101876 No proposal  
60 UMULINGA ALICE F UG11212798 Dr. Chris Kayumba ckayumba@yahoo.com
61 UMULISA GASHUGI DIVINE F UG10101914 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw
62 UWASE NATACHA F UG11112829 Joseph Njuguna  jnjuguna@nur.ac.rw
63 UWIRINGIYIMANA CLEMENT M UG10102072 Dominique Nduhura dnduhura@nur.ac.rw

                                        3rd Year journalism and communication

 

 NUR

(KIGALI CAMPUS)

                                                   National University of Rwanda

Faculty of Arts, Media and Social Sciences

School of Journalism and Communication

Academic Year 2012

Year 3 Journalism and Communication

Module: Communication Research Methods

Assignment 1

 

Instructions

The assignment is supposed to be done in 12 groups.  Every group member must participate because much as it is a group assignment, marks will be given on individual basis during and after presentation. There will be an average mark for the group and individual marks which will be determined by a demonstrated participation in the assignment. Though the reading materials circulated to students are very important guides for this assignment, group members can use other materials (from their own research) to better handle the assignment. Wherever possible, group members will need to contextualise using realities that students might easily grasp.

Each group is required to first read relevant material, get deeper understanding, summarise it for the people who did not have time to analyse the material, and then find a way to present the findings to the rest of the class in a simple and intelligible manner, in a presentation of not more than 20 minutes. In addition to presenting in class, each group will hand in a write-up of the assignment which will also be assessed.

 

Topics and provisional references

 

Group 1: Science and the scientific method (Research Methods, NUR, Research Commission, 26-48)

Group 2:  Planning and designing a research study (Essentials of Research Design and Methodology, 26-64)

Group 3: Research approaches (Research Methods, NUR, Research Commission, 58-82)

Group 4: Quantitative and qualitative approaches in communication research (Communication Research Methods, a brief theoretical overview, 12-44)

Group 5: Validity in research (Essentials of Research Design and Methodology, 66-94)  mi grp

Group 6: Measurement in research (Essentials of Research Design and Methodology, 95-115)

Group 7: Sampling (Research Methods, NUR, Research Commission, 83-91)

Group 8: Havard System of Referencing (Article on Havard System of Referencing)

Group 9: Ethical considerations in research (Research Methods, NUR, Research Commission, 112-119)

Group 10: Challenges in communication research (Understanding Communication Research Methods, a brief theoretical overview, 45-55)

Group 11: The use of communication research by governments and other institutions and organisations (Understanding Communication Research Methods, a brief theoretical overview, 55-57; this is supposed to be complemented and/or supplemented by your own research and observation)

Group 12: Research and project proposals (Research Methods, NUR, Research Commission, 105-110)

 

 

 

 MUSABYIMANA  Tharcisse

 

 

 

GOOD LUCK!         

COMMUNICATION RESEARCH METHODS

A BRIEF THEORETICAL OVERVIEW

2.1 INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief theoretic overview of some

 

aspects relevant to research in communication. The researcher believes that

 

government communicators always need to conduct research on the basis of

 

sound theoretical guidelines and principles to ensure research of good quality.

 

Writing about Total Quality Management (TQM), Pace (2001) defines quality as

 

"doing the right thing the right way the first time and every time", and further

 

defines "right" and "wrong" with regard to quality as follows:

The right thing must be understood from both internal (product/service) and

 

external (customer) perspectives. This means that the product or service meets

 

customer requirements, performs as stated, is priced fairly, and is delivered on

 

time.

 

The right way is the most effective, most efficient, lowest cost, fastest, highest

 

value approach to producing the right outcome the first time and every time. It

 

applies conformance to all applicable standards and specifications as well as

 

minimisation of the costs of poor quality such as rework, waste, and scrap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pace (2001) concludes that "poor quality could be defined as either doing the

 

wrong thing (or failing to do the right thing) or doing the right thing the wrong way

 

(or failing to do the right thing the right way every time)."

 

  

The researcher argues that communication research is the "right thing" to do, but

 

that it is of no use if not done in "the right way."

 

In chapter 2 communication research is defined. The researcher furthermore

 

distinguishes different types of research, discusses the different steps in the

 

research process typical to most research projects and refers to some of the

 

challenges of communication research. Lastly, a few points regarding the use of

 

communication research by governments are introduced.

 

 

2.2 COMMUNICATION RESEARCH DEFINED

 

 

 

12.Definitions and descriptions of different focus areas in research and of various

 

research methodologies and processes are more readily available than a

 

definition of ‘research’, and Leedy (1997:3) remarks that "the word research is

 

used in everyday speech to cover a broad spectrum of meaning, which makes it

 

a decidedly confusing term …"

 

Reinard (2001:3) provides the following short definition of research: "Research is

 

the systematic effort to secure answers to questions." He expands on this

 

concise definition by stressing the point that "these questions are not mundane

 

ones", but that "research questions deal with issues requiring reference to data

 

and information" (Reinard, 2001:3-4). Leedy (1997:3) defines research as "the

 

systematic process of collecting and analysing information (data) in order to

 

increase our understanding of the phenomenon with which we are concerned or

 

interested." Powell (1997:2) does not provide his own definition of ‘research’, but

 

quotes three definitions from others:

 

"Studious inquiring or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation

 

aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.or laws in the light of new facts, or practical applications of such new or revised

 

theories or laws" (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, cited by Powell,

 

1997:2).

 

"A method or study by which, through the careful and exhaustive investigation of

 

all the ascertainable evidence bearing upon a definable problem, we reach a

 

solution of that problem" (Hillway, cited by Powell, 1997:2).

 

"Research is best conceived as the process of arriving at dependable solutions to

 

problems through the planned and systematic collection, analysis, and

 

interpretation of data" (Mouly, cited by Powell, 1997:2).

 

Both interesting and useful to understand the meaning of research, is Leedy’s

 

guidelines as to what research is not (Leedy, 1997:4):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research is not mere information gathering.

 

Research is not mere transportation of facts from one location to another.

 

Research is not merely rummaging for information.

 

Research is not a catchword to get attention.

According to Powell (1997:2) "there is no one definition of research, in part

 

because there is more than one kind of research."

 

Focus areas in research covered extensively in the literature available, include

 

the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

marketing research (Martins, 1996a:3-22; Chisnall, 1991:6; Crimp,

1990:3; Bailey, 1982:2)

 

 

 

market research (Cooper, 1998:1015-1024); Fairweather, 2001; Smith,

1998:29-65; Yule, 2001; Shalofsky, 1998:1103-1128)

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

social research (Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000; Bulmer, 2000a:8-9;

Groenewald, 1981; Möhler, 1998:1025-1032; Shalofsky, 1998:11031128)

 

advertising research (Hansen, 1998:653-724; Yasuda and Spence,

2000:179-201; Martins, 1996b:550-567)

 

 

 

public opinion research (Khoury, 1989; Mattes, 1993:30-32; Worcester,

1999; Taylor, 1998:975; ESOMAR, 2000a)

 

 

 

media research (Raimondi, 1998:803-838; Martins, 1996c:570-597).

Similar to both Reinard and Leedy, Chisnall (1991:6) and Weiers (1984:2) refer

 

to research as being a "systematic process" when they define marketing

 

research. Chisnall (1991:6) defines it as being "concerned with the systematic

 

and objective collection, analysis and evaluation of information about specific

 

aspects of marketing problems in order to help management make effective

 

decisions." Weiers (1984:2) adapts a definition presented by Kotler in 1980 in

 

the following way: "Marketing research is the systematic design, collection,

 

analysis and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing

 

situation."

 

In this chapter, the researcher quotes from different sources consulted where the

 

focus was either on one or more of the focus-areas mentioned above – e.g.

 

marketing research and social research. The researcher is of the opinion that

 

the same broader principles, processes and challenges apply to communication

 

research and the other focus areas identified.

 

Analysis of definitions available, leads the researcher to the conclusion that most

 

authors emphasise the ‘why’ and ‘how’ when defining research and the different

 

focus areas in research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

Referring specifically to the ‘how’, Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:11) defines

 

scientific research as "the translation into practice of the relationship between

 

facts and theory … in order to acquire specific information" and distinguish the

 

following four characteristics of scientific research:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Scientific research is empirical since the aim is to know reality. Each step

is based on observation, be it when collecting the basic facts or when

 

testing the explanation, assessing the value of the prediction or the result

 

of an intervention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scientific research is systematic and logic. Not only must the observation

be done systematically but a certain logical order must be followed all

 

along (see discussion regarding research process, paragraph 2.4).

 

 

 

 

 

Scientific research is replicable and transmittable. Since the observation

is objective and the explanation logical, anyone placed in exactly the same

 

circumstances can observe the same event and make the same

 

reasoning, leading to the same explanation and prediction. Moreover, it is

 

possible to communicate each step of the research and to transmit the

 

acquired knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scientific research is reductive. To grasp the main relationships of laws,

the complexity of reality is reduced. All details which are not essential or

 

which have little influence on the process under investigation are omitted"

 

(Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:5-6).

 

The only definition of communication research available to the researcher is that

 

of Reinard (2001:5) who defines communication as "the process by which

 

participants transact and assign meaning to messages" and explains that a

 

message is "the set of verbal and non-verbal cues communicators exchange."

 

According to Reinard (2001:4), communication research is "a speciality that

 

studies message-related behaviour." He explains that "some people have

 

difficulty separating communication research from work in psychology, sociology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

 

or literature", and that they argue "that since ‘meanings are in people’ (Berlo,

 

cited by Reinard, 2001:4) any study of people is communication research."

 

Relevant for the communication researcher is the reminder by Worcester

 

(1999:3) who, writing about public opinion research, says that "polls do not

 

measure some abstract ‘truth’, but people’s perceptions." Worcester (1999:3)

 

refers to the wisdom expressed by Epictetus as long ago as the first century that

 

"perceptions are truth, because people believe them."

 

Although researchers are confronted with various challenges when conducting

 

communication research (see paragraph 2.5), and the reality that contemporary

 

communication testing is still far from perfect, Hansen (1998:716) argues that it is

 

still good enough to warrant the recommendation: "Test rather than guess."

 

The researcher fully agrees with Hansen’s argument, but wants to emphasise the

 

necessity of conducting this "test" in the "the right way." Furthermore, the

 

researcher is of the opinion that the spectrum of aspects covered by

 

communication research conducted by governments is broader than "studies in

 

message related behaviour" referred to by Reinard in his definition of

 

communication research as quoted. Research conducted by governments to

 

enhance the effectiveness of government communication and the dissemination

 

of government information (see chapers 3 to 5 of this dissertation) also includes

 

studies related to communication and information products and initiatives of

 

governments; exposure to and attitude towards the different mediums that can

 

be used for government communication and the dissemination of government

 

information; awareness and knowledge of and attitude towards government

 

performance and towards government policies and initiatives on a wide spectrum

 

of issues. To some extent, therefore, the research conducted by governments to

 

enhance the effectiveness of government communication and the dissemination

 

of government information focuses on more than merely communication and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

information. The focus includes areas like media research, public opinion

 

research and social research.

 

 

2.3 TYPES OF RESEARCH

 

2.3.1 Introduction

 

 

 

 

 

There are many different ways according to which research studies are classified

 

– e.g. according to various focus areas (see paragraph 2.2), the environment

 

from which the research is conducted (e.g. academic, business or government)

 

or the specific technique of data collection (e.g. personal interviews, telephone

 

interviews or mailed questionnaires).

 

The researcher distinguishes different types of research according to the

 

classification of Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:37-44). These authors suggest

 

that research studies can be classified according to the following three aspects:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the methodology used (quantitative and qualitative research)

 

the reasons for the research being conducted (basic social research and

applied

social research)

 

 

 

 

the demands of the research question (exploratory research, descriptive

research, correlational research and explanatory research).

2.3.2 Different types of research

2.3.2.1 Quantitative and qualitative research

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two broader methodologies are mostly distinguished to classify different types of

 

research studies – quantitative and qualitative research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18

 

 

 

 

 

(a) Quantitative research

 

 

Quantitative

 

research involves "the collection of primary data from large

 

numbers of individuals, frequently with the intention of projecting the

 

results to a wider population" (Bennett, 1996:125). Quantitative research

 

is normally conducted amongst a representative sample of a target

 

population with the aim to generalise the research findings to the specific

 

population (or universum). The emphasis is on numerical measurement

 

(Smith, 1998:40; Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:38 and MORI, 2001a)

 

and subsequent statistical analysis (Smith, 1998:40; Bless and HigsonSmith,

 

2000:38). The large sample (number

 

of respondents) is necessary

 

to

 

analyse the results according to

 

categories

 

within the target population -

 

that

 

is according

 

to age, gender,

 

exposure

 

to

 

a communication product or

 

message

 

and so forth. According to

 

Reinard (2001:8)

 

quantitative

 

research

 

"tends to be explanatory,

 

especially when experiments are

 

involved,

 

or it attempts to use precise statistical models to achieve

 

comprehensive

 

understandings

 

of human communication

 

(as in survey

 

studies

 

and polls of public

 

opinion)." Using quantitative

 

research methods,

 

researchers

 

often aim to explain communication

 

behaviour by

 

looking at

 

processes

 

that allow them to predict

 

future behaviour (Reinard, 2001:8).

 

 

 

Reinard (2001:11) argues that there are two major types of quantitative

 

research - surveys and experiments. Examples of the different types of

 

quantitative research, in the focus area of communication research is also

 

provided by Reinard – see table 2.1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE 2.1

 

TYPES OF QUANTITATIVE STUDIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

 

 

1

TYPES (DESCRIPTION) EXAMPLES

 

SURVEY METHODS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:

 

Techniques that involve

 

carefully recorded

 

observations that provide

 

quantitative descriptions of

 

relationships among

 

variables

Descriptive or

 

observational surveys:

 

 

 

 

 

Direct observation of

 

behaviour by use of some

 

measurement (the

 

researcher does not

 

manipulate or change any

 

variables)

 

 

 

Discovering what sorts of things smallgroup

communicators say that predict

 

their

 

becoming group leaders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identifying the relationship between the

number of newspapers a person reads

 

on a regular basis and the amount of

 

ear of society the person reports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(continue …)

 

1

Reinard, 2001:11

 

TYPES (DESCRIPTION) EXAMPLES

 

Content analysis:

A systematic, quantitative

 

study of verbally

 

communicated material

 

(articles, speeches, films)

 

by determining the

 

frequency of specific ideas,

 

concepts, or terms

Opinion surveys:

 

 

 

assessments of reports

 

from individuals about

 

topics of interest

EXPERIMENTAL

 

METHODS:

 

 

 

 

 

A method of studying the

 

effect of variables in

 

situations where all other

 

influences are held

 

constant. Variables are

 

manipulated or introduced

 

by experimenters to see

 

what effect they may have

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studying the amount of violence on

children’s television programmes

 

 

 

Inquiring into the amount of newspaper

space dedicated to stories about a

 

women‘s movement

 

 

 

 

 

Analysing the types of speech defects

shown by children in samples of

 

spontaneous speech

 

 

 

 

 

Analysing surveys regarding which

candidate people think won a political

 

debate

 

 

 

 

 

Examining whether the public believes

that speech correction therapy should

 

receive increased funding in public

 

schools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessing surveys of the favourite

television programmes people watch

 

 

 

Studying the impact of the use of

evidence by exposing one group to a

 

speech with evidence and another

 

group to a speech without evidence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studying the effect of colour in

advertising by exposing one group to an

 

advertisement with colour printing and

 

another group to an advertisement

 

without colour printing

 

 

 

 

The methods of data collection mostly used for quantitative surveys

 

include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- face-to-face (or personal) interviews of the interviewer (or

researcher) with the respondent at the respondent’s place of

 

residence, in the street, at shopping malls or at work

 

 

 

 

 

- telephone interviews

- self-completion of a questionnaire by the respondent (either alone

or as individuals in a group) in the presence of the researcher or

 

through the questionnaire being delivered and collected by the

 

researcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- self-completion of a questionnaire by the respondent received and

returned by post

 

 

 

- Internet or online research

(Ward, 1998:149-171; Bennett, 1996:125-133; Smith, 1998:49-55).

 

Each of these data collection methodologies has certain limitations and

 

advantages – e.g. in terms of cost, time to collect the data, quality control

 

and sampling efficiencies. These are not discussed by the researcher.

 

The limitations and advantages need to be properly investigated and

 

considered in the context of each survey when a decision has to be taken

 

regarding the method of data collection.

 

 

 

(b) Qualitative research

 

 

Qualitative research

 

, according to Goodyear (1998:177), is often defined

 

in terms of its relation to quantitative research: "Where quantitative

 

research measures, and answers questions like ‘how many, how often,

 

what proportion, what size …?’, qualitative research leads to

understanding

 

and answers questions like ‘why did, how can, in what

 

way?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22

 

 

 

Furthermore, Bennett (1996:133-134) argues that qualitative research

 

methods can also be used "to uncover new ideas from or hidden feelings

 

of respondents" and that it can best be achieved by "unstructured

 

interviews in which respondents can talk freely without too much leading"

 

from the moderator.

 

 

 

In qualitative research, qualifying words or descriptions are used to record

 

responses (Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:37) and observations are

 

mostly described in "non-numerical terms" (Reinard, 2001:6). In

 

qualitative research the researcher involves a smaller number of

 

respondents (Smith, 1998:40) and there is no attempt to generalise about

 

the population (Bennett, 1996:145). Qualitative research does not place

 

the same emphasis on classic statistical validity as quantitative research.

 

Smith (1998:40) explains that, for qualitative research, "validity centers

 

more on face validity – that is, establishing whether the evidence is

 

consistent with existing theories and prior knowledge."

 

Qualitative research is response and not question orientated. The

 

response to a question largely determines the following question,

 

therefore respondents are not interviewed according to a predetermined

 

set of questions (Smith, 1998:40).

 

According to Reinard (2001:6) qualitative research studies in the field of

 

communication "tend to describe or interpret communication exchanges."

 

Reinard (2001:7-8) proceeds to explain that these studies attempt to

 

"describe the human condition by using general views of social action" and

 

that "researchers who use qualitative methods often try to interpret the

 

meanings to be found in communication exchanges."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23

 

 

 

 

 

Qualitative research can be conducted in either an individual or group

 

setting. There are a number of different approaches to collecting

 

qualitative results on an individual basis. According to Smith (1998:45),

 

the depth interview is the most commonly used method in this regard.

 

Bennett (1996:134) emphasises that depth interviews require the services

 

of skilled interviewers and refers to Webb (1992) who identifies the

 

following circumstances where depth interviews will be particularly useful:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- when the issue under investigation is embarrassing, stressful or of

a confidential nature

 

 

 

- when a detailed analysis needs to be conducted of rather complex

situations such as attitudes, beliefs and feelings

 

 

 

- when peer pressure may cause some respondents to conform to

societal norms when in reality they would not

 

 

 

- when the interviewer needs a progressive set of images, such as

buying decision with regard to overseas holidays

 

 

 

- in complex situations when the aim is to explore rather than

measure.

 

 

 

From experience, the researcher can add that depth interviews with

 

individual respondents are, for various reasons, also often preferred to

 

qualitative research in a group setting when involving leaders, managers

 

or opinion-formers.

 

With regard to collecting qualitative research results on a group basis,

 

there are also a variety of approaches, but the most widely used is the

group discussion

 

(MORI, 2001b; Smith, 1998:45; Bennett, 1996:136). A

 

group discussion describes a session involving between six and eight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

individuals (Smith, 1998:45) who are recruited according to specific

 

criteria.

2

 

 

The moderator’s role is to manage the discussion flow in the group (Smith,

 

1998:45). Bennett (1996:138) explains that ideally the moderator should

 

let the group carry on the conversation "by themselves" and that

 

"interventions are deemed necessary only to introduce a new topic if it

 

does not come up spontaneously or to bring the discussion back on track

 

if participants have strayed into irrelevant areas." The moderator needs to

 

manage the discussion flow according to the discussion guide in a

 

response-orientated approach and probe for response where appropriate.

 

The moderator should "create a relaxed atmosphere in which respondents

 

can comment in a constructive, non-defensive way" (Smith, 1998:45) and

 

facilitate the balanced involvement of different members of the group.

 

Moderators "should exercise just enough authority to direct and control the

 

flow of conversation without affecting its content" (Bennett, 1996:138).

 

Furthermore, the moderator needs to observe non-verbal communication

 

in the group (Smith, 1998:45).

 

The terms group discussion and focus group are mostly used

 

interchangeably, but Smith points out that they are in fact slightly different:

 

"The group discussion, which has a European pedigree, places the

 

emphasis on depth understanding. In contrast, the more American style

 

focus group tends to place more emphasis on – albeit still in a qualitative

 

mode – measurement and quantification" (Smith, 1998:45). It is of critical

 

importance to properly understand the need of the research client in this

 

regard.

 

2

The criteria will depend on the nature of the study. In communication research basic

socio-demographic variables are commonly used – e.g. gender, age, level of socio-

economic development and language preference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25

 

 

2.3.2.2 Basic and applied research

 

 

 

Based on the reasons why research is conducted, the two types of research

 

distinguished are basic research and applied research. Whether the aim of the

 

research is basic or applied does not affect the way in which the research is

 

conducted (Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:39) – the methods of inquiry are

 

identical (Reinard, 2001:4). Suchman (cited by Philips, 1985:534) and Kidder

 

and Judd (1986:396) also emphasise that the significant difference between

 

basic research and applied research is one of purpose and not of method.

 

(a) Basic research

Basic

 

research applies when the researcher seeks to "contribute to human

 

knowledge and understanding relating to a specific phenomenon" (Bless and

 

Higson-Smith, 2000:38). Neuman (1997:21) argues that "basic research

 

advances fundamental knowledge about the social world." Neuman furthermore

 

explains that basic research "focuses on refuting or supporting theories that

 

explain how the social world operates, what makes things happen, why social

 

relations are a certain way, and why society changes" and that "basic research is

 

the source of most new scientific ideas and ways of thinking about the world"

 

(Neuman, 1997:21). Reinard (2001:4) explains that basic research is conducted

 

"to learn about relationships among variables" and according to Vickery (cited by

 

Powell, 1997:2) basic research "is concerned with elucidating concepts and their

 

relations, hypotheses and theories." This aim is normally achieved by "gathering

 

more facts and information which enables existing theories to be challenged and

 

new ones to be developed" (Bless and Higson-Smith 2000:38).

 

Basic research is research conducted "regardless of any immediate commercial

 

product or service" (Reinard, 2001:4). As Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:38) put

 

it, the "actual utility or application of this newly acquired knowledge is of little

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26

 

 

 

concern to the researcher." According to Reinard (2001:34) and Powell (1997:2)

 

most research usually referred to as ‘pure’ scientific research is actually basic

 

research.

 

(b) Applied research

Applied

 

research is conducted if the researcher’s motivation is to assist in solving

 

a particular problem (Reinard, 2001:4; Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:38;

 

Philips, 1985:534; Neuman, 1997:22 and Powell, 1997:2) or to develop a

 

product (Reinard, 2001:4). According to Neuman (1997:22) theory is "less

 

central" to applied researchers than "seeking a solution to a specific problem"

 

and its main strength, is its "immediate practical use."

 

Although Powell (1997:2) mentions that applied research is occasionally referred

 

to as action research, Neuman (1997:23-28) remarks that researchers use

 

"several types of applied research," and distinguishes three types of applied

 

research: action research, social impact assessment and evaluation research.

 

According to Neuman (1997:23) "action research is applied research that treats

 

knowledge as a form of power and abolishes the line between research and

 

social action." Isaac and Michael (cited by Powell, 1997:45) state that the

 

purpose of action research is "to develop new skills or new approaches and to

 

solve problems." Action research is characterised as "practical, orderly, flexible

 

and adaptive, and empirical to a degree, but weak in internal and external

 

validity" (Isaac and Michael, cited by Powell, 1997:45). Neuman (1997:23)

 

explains that there are "several types of action research" and that "most share

 

the following common characteristics:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

those who are being studied participate in the research process

 

research incorporates ordinary or popular knowledge

 

research focuses on power with a goal on empowerment

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

research seeks to raise conscious or increase awareness, and

 

research is tied directly to political action.

Social impact assessment

, according to Neuman (1997:24) "may be part of a

 

larger environmental impact statement required by government agencies. Its

 

purpose is to estimate the likely consequences of a planned change. Such an

 

assessment can be used for planning and making choices among alternative

 

policies." Researchers conducting social impact assessments "examine many

 

outcomes and often work in an interdisciplinary research team" (Neuman,

 

1997:24). Neuman furthermore notes that "social impact studies often include a

 

cost-benefit analysis" in which the researcher "estimates the future costs and

 

benefits of one or several proposed actions."

Evaluation research

 

is a widely used type of applied research (Neuman,

 

1997:25) and has as its primary goal "not the discovery of knowledge but rather a

 

testing of the application of knowledge within a specific programme or project"

 

(Powell, 1997:45). Neuman (1997:25) emphasises that "ethical and political

 

conflicts often arise in evaluation research because people have opposing

 

interests in the findings" and Powell (1997:45) notes that "evaluative researchers

 

must be concerned with threats to validity, such as intervening variables,

 

measurement techniques and operational definitions." The two general types of

 

evaluation research are summative evaluation and formative evaluation.

 

Summative evaluations look at final programme outcomes (Neuman, 1997:25).

 

A summative or outcome evaluation "tends to be quantitative in nature and often

 

is used as the basis for deciding whether a programme will be continued"

 

(Powell, 1997:46). Formative or process evaluation is "built-in monitoring or

 

continuous feedback on a programme" (Neuman, 1997:25) and "examines how

 

well the programme is working" (Powell, 1997:46). According to Powell

 

(1997:46) formative evaluation is often more qualitative and it is typically used for

 

"revising and improving programmes."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classifying research projects in this way is perceived as not being very useful in

 

practice. Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:39) argue that no study is "only purely

 

basic or purely applied," and Reinard (2001:4) explains that "last year’s basic

 

research may be today’s source of new products." Powell (1997:2) also holds

 

the opinion that basic and applied research are "not necessarily dichotomous"

 

and that "in spite of the fact that basic and applied research have tended to be

 

conducted in isolation from one another."

 

2.3.2.3 Different objectives of social research

A third way of classifying types of research is based on the demands of the

 

research question, that is in terms of the research objectives. Bless and HigsonSmith

 

(2000:37-44) distinguish

 

four types of research on the basis of

 

this

 

classification:

 

exploratory, descriptive,

 

correlational and explanatory.

 

 

 

 

 

(a)

 

Exploratory research

 

 

 

 

 

In

 

cases where very

 

little is

 

known

 

about

 

the research topic, one speaks of

 

exploratory

 

research (Bless

 

and Higson-Smith, 2000:37).

 

Powell (1997:58-59)

 

explains

 

that

 

exploratory

 

research "can increase

 

the researcher’s

 

familiarity

 

with

 

the

 

phenomenon in question,

 

can help to

 

clarify concepts,

 

can be used to

 

establish

 

priorities for future

 

research, can identify new problems

 

and … can

 

be

 

used

 

to gather information with practical

 

applications."

 

According to Neuman

 

(1997:19)

 

exploratory researchers are "creative,

 

open minded, and flexible;

 

adopt

 

an investigative

 

stance; and explore

 

all sources of information.

 

Researchers

 

ask creative questions

 

and take

 

advantage

 

of serendipity, those

 

unexpected

 

or chance factors that

 

have large implications."

 

 

 

Both

 

Powell (1997:58) and Neuman (1997:19)

 

remarks that exploratory

 

researchers

 

frequently conduct

 

qualitative research. Powell

 

(1997:59), speaking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29

 

 

 

of exploratory research in general, emphasises that "it is important to remember

 

that exploratory studies merely suggest insights or hypotheses; they cannot test

 

them," and Smith (1998:38) remarks that a "typical outcome" from exploratory

 

research would be "the generation of a number of hypotheses that could be

 

taken forward for quantitative testing at a later stage of the project."

 

(b) Descriptive research

 

Descriptive research "presents a picture of the specific details of a situation,

 

social setting or relationship" (Neuman, 1997:20). Bless and Higson-Smith

 

(2000:41) and Neuman (1997:20) are of the opinion that descriptive and

 

exploratory research have some similarities. Neuman (1997:20) remarks that

 

descriptive and exploratory research "blur together in practice" and explains that

 

"in descriptive research, the researcher begins with a well-defined subject and

 

conducts research to describe it accurately." Descriptive research focuses on

 

"how", "who", "what", "when" and "where" questions (Smith, 1998:38 and

 

Neuman, 1997:20) and "provides a solid platform for helping to understand

 

currents, and possibly predict future behaviour" (Smith, 1998:38).

 

(c) Correlational research

 

When the research question requires an understanding of the relationship

 

between variables, the research is called correlational research (Bless and

 

Higson-Smith, 2000:37). The task of determining a casual relationship is a

 

complex and difficult one. Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:43) explain that "it is

 

based on systematic comparison, manipulation and control of variables."

 

Correlational research is "not only useful when no clear causal relationship

 

exists, but also allows for an estimation of the strength of the relationship

 

between two variables even when one variable is influenced by many others"

 

(Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:43).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

 

 

 

(d) Explanatory research

 

"When the research question demands that the researcher explains the

 

relationship between variables and demonstrates that change in one variable

 

causes change in another variable, the research is called explanatory research"

 

(Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:37). According to Neuman (1997:20) the desire

 

to know why things are the way they are, to explain, is the purpose of

 

explanatory research. Neuman (1997:20-21) explains that explanatory research

 

"builds on exploratory and descriptive research and to identify the reason why

 

something occurs." Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:43) state that explanatory

 

research is often not feasible: "This is the case when it is not possible to

 

manipulate the suspected independent variable or to assess the time-order of

 

variables."

2.3.3 Summary

 

 

 

Different research methodologies are applied (or applied in combination)

 

depending on the reasons why the research is conducted, the demands of the

 

research question, the target group for the research, available funding, timescales

 

and the competency and capacity

 

of researchers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.4

 

THE RESEARCH PROCESS

 

2.4.1 Introduction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In paragraph 2.2 the researcher, with reference to various authors, mentions that

 

research is a "systematic effort", a "systematic process" and the "systematic and

 

objective collection, analysis and evaluation of information." In paragraph 2.5.3,

 

reference is made to Reinard (2001:12) who remarked that "productive research

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31

 

 

S

 

 

follows steps that carry out some sort of design." This implies that every

 

research project invariably requires careful and appropriate planning and

 

execution by the researcher.

 

No matter how unique any research problem or project, there are a number of

 

steps which are common to the process relevant to most research projects. As

 

the word process implies, Puth (1996:80) explains, "(marketing) research

 

involves a series of steps or phases which cannot be viewed in isolation, but

 

which should be seen and dealt with as an integrated whole. This integrated

 

evolvement of steps which are followed when planning and executing a research

 

project is known as the research process."

 

Although not all the steps are applicable to all types of research, sensitivity and

 

application of relevant steps in the research process by the researcher will

 

enhance the success and quality of the research project – it will assist the

 

researcher in his/her initiative to do "the right thing" in "the right way" (see

 

paragraph 2.1).

 

Different sources of research literature distinguish many different steps and

 

permutations of steps. The researcher uses the steps as identified and

 

developed by Puth (1996:80-96) through combining and synthesising an

 

extensive variety of relevant documentary resources. The different steps in the

 

research process are referred to shortly, but not discussed in any detail.

2.4.2 Steps in the research process

 

 

 

 

2.4.2.1 Identifying and formulating the problem

 

 

 

Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:15) express a sentiment shared by many other

 

researchers that "selecting a research problem is a delicate task." Puth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

 

 

 

(1996:82) mentions that the American Marketing Association (AMA) came to the

 

conclusion in 1968 that "if any step in a research project can be said to be more

 

important than the others, then problem definition is that step."

 

The step in the research process referred to by the AMA as ‘problem definition’,

 

is broken up into two distinguishable phases by Puth (1996:82). The first phase

 

entails the identification of the problem whilst the second phase is the refinement

 

of the problem to a level where it can be clearly formulated in order to provide

 

direction and guidance to the research process. If the research problem is well

 

formulated and the research objectives precisely defined, the likelihood of

 

designing a research study that will provide the necessary information in an

 

efficient manner is greatly increased. Problem identification and problem

 

formulation should result in "a precise statement of the objectives of the research

 

to be conducted and a set of research questions" (Puth, 1996:82).

 

Reinard (2001:32-35) suggests the following five criteria to formulate sound and

 

useful problem statements:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

problem statements must be stated unambiguously, usually as questions

 

except for simple exploratory studies, problem statements must include at

least two variables

 

 

 

problem statements must be testable

 

problem statements must not advance personal value judgements

 

problem statements must be clear grammatical statements.

2.4.2.2 Deciding on what kind of data is required

 

After identifying and formulating the problem, the researcher will have a good

 

idea of the nature of the data required. According to Puth (1996:84) the data

 

relating to the research objectives may be anyone or more of the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

facts - e.g. demographic profile

 

levels of awareness - e.g. awareness of an announcement by

government regarding initiatives to create job opportunities

 

 

 

opinions and attitudes - e.g. respondents’ opinions and attitudes on

whether government’s initiatives to create jobs will be successful

 

 

 

preferences - e.g. the channel(s) of communication preferred (closely

related to opinions and attitudes)

 

 

 

motives or predispositions - reasons why people act or think as they do

 

behaviour (that can be seen as the result of attitude, preference and

motivation).

 

On their website, MORI (2001c) also adds the aspect of knowledge – that is

 

assessing what the respondents know (or think they know, or claim to know!).

2.4.2.3 Exploring secondary data sources

 

 

 

Puth (1996:86) argues that as every research project is a search for information

 

on some topic, researchers can be more confident of the quality and

 

appropriateness of their information if they tap all the relevant resources. "Often

 

there is a wealth of information and data on the research problem already

 

collected by others, in which case it may not be cost-effective or necessary to

 

conduct a whole new research project in order to answer the research question.

 

In many cases existing secondary data may be sufficiently relevant and

 

comprehensive to answer at least a certain part of the overarching research

 

question" (Puth, 1996:86).

 

 

 

An exploration of secondary data resources can begin with a search of published

 

data, identification of unpublished data that is relevant and interviewing

 

knowledgeable or well-informed people on the topic or problem area. It is

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34

 

 

 

 

 

 

essential to explore all possibilities of secondary data sources before proceeding

 

with the remaining steps of the research process.

 

Reinard (2001:76) remarks that "some inexperienced researchers believe they

 

can ignore past work and use entirely new ideas and methods". Reinard

 

(2001:76) proceeds by referring to Stanovich who calls this misguided approach

 

the ‘Einstein syndrome’ since "researchers who suffer from it fail to connect their

 

‘sudden breakthroughs’ with lessons from others. By discarding previous

 

lessons as irrelevant, they fail to learn from the lessons from others."

2.4.2.4 Revising and fine-tuning the research question

 

 

 

After exploring the secondary data sources, the researcher needs to fine-tune the

 

research question. According to Puth (1996:86), this is the stage at which "a

 

clearer picture of the problem starts to emerge and where the project begins to

 

crystalise in one of two ways:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

it is apparent that the question has been answered and the research

process has been completed

 

 

 

the original question has been modified in some way by the gathered

information."

 

Puth (1996:86-87) furthermore identifies five other problem-related activities that

 

should be considered to effectively complete the fine-tuning of the original

 

question:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

examine if the concepts and constructs to be used in the investigation are

defined satisfactorily

 

 

 

review the investigative questions to break them down into more specific

levels of questions

 

 

 

if hypotheses are used, they must be relevant to the refined research

problem

 

35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

determine what evidence needs to be collected to answer the various

questions and hypotheses

 

 

 

set the boundaries or limits of the project by stating what is part of the

research problem and what is not.

2.4.2.5 Designing the research study

 

 

 

Mouton (2001:55) explains that a research design is "a plan or blueprint of how

 

you intend conducting the research." Mouton (2001:56) argues that researchers

 

often confuse ‘research design’ and ‘research methodology’ and summarises the

 

differences between these two concepts – see table 2.2.

 

TABLE 2.2

 

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RESEARCH DESIGN AND RESEARCH

 

METHODOLOGY – A SUMMARY

 

 

3

RESEARCH DESIGN RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Focuses on the end product:

 

What kind of study is being planned

 

and what kind of result is aimed at?

 

Point of departure = research problem

 

or question

 

Focuses on the logic of research:

 

What kind of evidence is required to

 

address the research question

 

adequately?

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mouton, 2001:56

36

 

 

 

Focuses on the research process and

 

the kind of tools and procedures to be

 

used

 

Point of departure = specific tasks

 

(data collection or sampling) at hand

 

Focuses on the individual (not linear)

 

steps in the research process and the

 

most ‘objective’ (unbiased) procedures

 

to be employed

 

Puth (1996:87) is of the opinion that "selecting an appropriate research design is

 

often complicated by the availability of a large variety of methods, techniques,

 

procedures and ever-more-sophisticated computer programming and

 

technology." Also emphasising the reality that the design of the research study is

 

one of the most challenging steps in the research process, is the viewpoint of

 

Smith (1998:29) that researchers will seldomly be able to pursue their ‘ideal’

 

design and that it is a process of compromise. Smith (1998:29) explains that

 

"decisions have to be made about what degree of precision is needed and how

 

much depth of understanding is required. This trade-off also needs to be

 

balanced against the time and budget available." Further, Smith explains,

 

"market researchers must take into account the practicality of different

 

approaches whilst ensuring the study is ethical" and also complies with the codes

 

of conduct in the research industry.

 

Mouton (2001:57) presents a broad classification of the main research design

 

types according to the kind of questions the design types are able to answer –

 

see figure 2.1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37

 

 

 

Figure 2.1: A typology of research design types

 

 

 

 

38

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.4.2.6 Determining the sample

 

 

 

According to Collins (1998:69) "almost all market research studies use sampling

 

– the attempt to learn about some large group, a population, by looking at only a

 

small part of it, a sample."

 

 

 

4

Empirical studies

 

Using primary data

 

 

(Surveys,

 

experiments, case

 

studies, programme

 

evaluation,

 

ethnographic studies)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mouton, 2001:57

TYPES OF STUDY

 

Non-empirical studies

 

 

(Philosophical analysis, conceptual analysis,

 

theory building, literature reviews)

Analysing existing data

 

Text data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Discourse analysis,

 

content analysis,

 

textual criticism,

 

historical studies)

Numeric data

 

 

 

 

 

(Secondary

 

data analysis,

 

statistical

 

modeling)

 

The "population" referred to by Collins is not necessarily the total population of a

 

country or area, but the totality of the target group (or universum) from which the

 

sample needs to be drawn. As a first step in the sampling process the target

 

population needs to be identified. Thereafter the researcher needs to determine

 

the sample characteristics and determine the sample size.

 

Two broader sampling methods can be distinguished, namely probability and

 

non-probability sampling. Martins (1996d:253) explains that "a probability sample

 

is one in which every element has a known non-zero probability of being

 

selected. It is unnecessary for all elements to have an equal chance of being

 

selected, but each element must have a chance and that chance must be known

 

so that the sampling results can be applied to the universe. Non-probability

 

samples rely on the judgement of the researcher and are only as representative

 

as the researcher’s luck and skill permit. In non-probability sampling there is no

 

way of estimating the probability that any element will be included in the sample,

 

and therefore there is no method of finding out whether the sample is

 

representative or not". It is important to note that "the most important criterion" of

 

a sample, according to Puth (1996:87) is that it will be "totally representative of

 

the population relevant to the solving of the management problem and the

 

ensuing research questions."

2.4.2.7 Allocating funds and resources

 

 

 

Depending on the nature and scope of a research project, substantial financial

 

and human resources may be necessary. The researcher needs to do

 

appropriate planning and allocate resources timeously in order to avoid a

 

situation where a project has to be terminated due to a lack of resources.

 

Puth (1996:88) explains that "although data collection does require substantial

 

resources, it might not always be as big a part of the budget as clients or

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

39

 

 

 

researchers would expect. Employee salaries, training and travel, and other

 

miscellaneous expenses are incurred during data collection, but this phase of the

 

project often takes no more than a third of the research budget. The geographic

 

scope and number of respondents naturally affect the cost, but much of the cost

 

is relatively independent of the extent and size of the data gathering exercise."

 

An interesting and useful guideline suggested by Puth (1996:88) is that project

 

planning, data collection and analysis and, lastly, interpretation and reporting

 

each have a share more or less equal in the budget.

2.4.2.8 Writing and presenting the research proposal

 

 

 

A research proposal is mostly developed and fine-tuned concurrently with the

 

exploring and planning phases of the research project. The research proposal

 

would therefore incorporate the decisions and choices made by the researcher in

 

the preliminary stages of the project.

 

The most important purpose of the research proposal is to ensure that all parties

 

concerned understand the project’s purpose and the proposed methods of

 

research. Time limits and budgets are also identified and justified in most

 

research proposals. Various responsibilities and obligations are clarified.

 

According to Puth (1996:89) "every proposal should contain two basic sections,

 

namely the problem statement and a statement of what will be done and how it

 

will be done. In its varied forms the research proposal can include any number of

 

the following elements: executive summary, problem statement, research

 

objectives, literature review, importance and benefits of the study, research

 

design, data analysis, nature and form of results, qualification of researchers,

 

budget, time schedule, facilities and special resources, project management,

 

bibliography and appendices."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40

 

 

 

2.4.2.9 Conducting a pilot test

 

 

Piloting is the last stage in the design of a research project (including design of

 

the questionnaire or discussion guide) before the survey goes into the field for

 

data collection (Miller and Read, 1998:380).

 

Puth (1996:89) explains that the primary purpose of a pilot test is two-fold: to

 

detect weaknesses in design and instrumentation and to provide a sound base

 

for determining and refining the sample. During the pilot test respondents are

 

drawn from the universum or target population and the procedures and protocols

 

of the research project are simulated. The number of respondents involved in a

 

pilot test would depend on primarily the research methodology and the

 

characteristics of the target population, but need not be statistically selected.

 

2.4.2.10 Collecting primary data

 

According to Bulmer (2000b:205), the "most critical phase in social research is

 

that during which data are actually collected."

 

The different data collection methods (e.g. questionnaires or transcribed

 

recordings of focus group discussions) will have different implications for data

 

collection. Each method of data collection has specific advantages and

 

disadvantages, qualifying it as a better or a less-preferable option than other

 

methods for the collection of certain types of data. Puth (1996:90) mentions that

 

"although a combination of methods can be considered in certain circumstances,

 

it is often not done for reasons of cost." The researcher then needs to decide

 

invariably on the method that will yield the most satisfactory range of reliable data

 

as cost-effectively and as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

41

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to provide data in a form that can be used by the researcher for analysis

 

and interpretation, it needs to be edited to "identify and isolate omissions and

 

spoilt responses. In the case of survey methods editing is essential to reduce

 

recording errors, to improve legibility, and to identify and filter unclear and

 

inappropriate responses" (Puth, 1996:90).

2.4.2.11 Analysing and interpreting the data

 

 

 

Data analysis involves reducing the accumulated data to a manageable size to

 

allow summarising, comparing, syntheses and applying statistical techniques in

 

order to interpret the results in relation to the research problem. Data analysis

 

can be either very basic (e.g. one-way frequency distributions or crosstabulation),

 

involve

 

different

 

methodologies

 

of significance

 

testing (e.g. analysis

 

of

 

variance or the Mann-Whitney test) or

 

even done by applying

 

multivariate

 

statistical

 

techniques (e.g. discriminant and

 

cluster analysis) (Martins, 1996e:305

 

and

 

315; Loubser, 1996b:336 and 339;

 

Wegner, 1996:356-363).

 

 

 

Mouton

 

(2001:109) explains that interpretation

 

involves

 

the synthesis of data into

 

larger

 

coherent wholes. Observations or

 

data are interpreted

 

and explained by

 

"formulating

 

hypotheses or theories that

 

account for observed patterns and

 

trends

 

in the

 

data. Interpretation means relating

 

one’s

 

results and findings to

 

existing

 

theoretical frameworks or models,

 

and showing whether these are

 

supported

 

or falsified by the new

 

interpretation. Interpretation

 

also

 

means taking

 

into

 

account rival explanations

 

or interpretations of one’s

 

data and showing what

 

levels

 

of support the data provide for

 

the preferred interpretation."

 

 

 

In

 

order to interpret results

 

correctly, the researcher

 

needs to be familiar with

 

the

 

method

 

of the research and the

 

limitations

 

of the results

 

(Van Wyk, 1996:396).

 

The

 

pitfalls

 

awaiting the

 

researcher in the

 

interpretation of results include the

 

following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

drawing inferences from the data that are not supported by the data

 

biased intepretation of the data through selectivity

 

overgeneralisation

 

confusing correlation with causation

(Van Wyk, 1996:396 and Mouton, 2001:110).

 

 

 

Adding to the pitfalls already mentioned, Van Wyk (1996:397) emphasises "there

 

may be more information hidden in the data than the researcher cares to or is

 

able to bring to light" and that "it requires experience, disciplined thinking and

 

familiarity with the research method to let the results say what they are able to

 

say."

2.4.2.12 Reporting the results

 

 

 

Preparing the research report and communicating the research findings and

 

recommendations to the client are the final steps in the research process. Van

 

Wyk (1996:398) argues that "the report is the culmination of the whole research

 

project" and quotes Churchill who expressed this sentiment: "Regardless of the

 

sophistication displayed in the other portions of the research process, the project

 

is a failure if the research report fails."

 

The ultimate objective with the report is "to enable the client to make an informed

 

and scientifically verified decision to solve the original problem that prompted the

 

undertaking of research in the first place" (Puth, 1996:90). Various authors

 

emphasise that research reports will be quite different in terms of style and

 

organisation depending on the aim and objectives of the research project and the

 

target audience for the report (e.g. Van Wyk, 1996:398-402; Puth, 1996:90;

 

Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:141).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

43

 

 

 

Puth (1996:91) remarks that "the items to be included in a research report are

 

essentially the same as those identified in the discussion of the research

 

proposal." But, taking into account the target audience for the research report,

 

Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:141) write as follows:

The most detailed, complete and scientific report for research-funding institutions

 

and archives will present all the different steps of research in detail. A report

 

written to be published in a scientific journal will have to show a high level of

 

scientific quality condensed into a few pages. A report written for an agency

 

particularly interested in the conclusions and practical consequences will cut

 

short the technical aspects of the research and emphasise the discussion of the

 

findings. A report to be understood by the average educated readership of a

 

magazine will present the findings in more general terms and will avoid scientific

 

vocabulary. In other words, these different reports will stress one or the other

 

aspect of the most complete research report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clients will often also expect the researcher to make a personal presentation of

 

the findings and recommendations. Marbeau (1998:520) is of the opinion that

 

the challenge of results presentation lies in achieving "speed and clarity without

 

stripping out any important substance from the findings. The answer is

 

conciseness, i.e. being short yet complete." The same author also regards it as

 

important for the presenter to be modest, and to "present the results and the

 

answers rather than the research and the researcher. Also important is honesty,

 

to separate the reliable facts from their hypothetical interpretation" (Marbeau,

 

1998:520).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

44

 

 

 

 

2.5 CHALLENGES OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH

Already from the preceding paragraphs, it is clear that researchers conducting

 

communication research are exposed to various problems and challenges.

 

Awareness of such challenges is essential for conducting communication

 

research of professional quality.

 

Reinard (2001:6-14) identifies the following six challenges of communication

 

research:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the challenge of breadth and focus

 

the multiple methods challenge

 

the scholarly rigour challenge

 

the personal challenge (or what do I need to do to study communication

research methods successfully?)

 

 

 

the ethical challenge

 

the structure of the field challenge.

The researcher shortly discusses the challenges of communication research

 

according to Reinard’s categories of challenges, incorporating contributions from

 

other authors. A few of the other challenges facing the communication

 

researcher are also mentioned.

 

 

2.5.1 The challenge of breadth and focus

 

 

 

Reinard (2001:6) is of the opinion that although "the number of communication

 

applications can seem enormous, there is a rational order to it." Making this

 

statement, he refers to the work done by McBath and Jeffrey (1978) to identify

 

the professional areas in communication on behalf of the Speech Communication

 

Association and the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). These

 

two organisations were trying to organise information about careers in various

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45

 

 

 

fields. The list of communication specialities used by the NCES is provided in

 

table 2.3. The left column of the table shows the official taxonomy with an

 

emphasis on the career areas of scholars. Reinard added a couple of areas to

 

those originally listed by McBath and Jeffrey - e.g. conflict management,

 

journalism, radio and television, public relations and health communication. In

 

the column to the right of table 2.3 a description is provided of the kinds of

 

research issues that are normally addressed in each of the areas.

 

TABLE 2.3

 

COMMUNICATION SPECIALITIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46

 

 

5

COMMUNICATION TAXONOMY DESCRIPTION

 

1. The Broad Areas of Mass

 

Media Communication

Advertising

 

Communication Technology

 

Communication Policy

 

 

 

Film as Communication

 

Journalism

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reinard, 2001:7-8

 

 

The study of mass media methods of influence

 

to promote a product, service or cause

 

The study of the mechanisms and technologies

 

of mass media

 

The study of public policy and regulation of

 

mass media communication and freedom of

 

speech

 

The role of popular and technical cinema in

 

society

 

The study of the methods of reporting and

 

organising news for presentation in print media

 

 

 

Public Relations

 

 

 

Radio

 

Television

 

 

 

 

 

2. Specific Areas of Speech

 

Communication Research

Code Systems

 

Intercultural Communication

 

Interpersonal Communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict Management

 

 

 

Family Communication

Organisational Communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Communication

 

Oral Interpretation

 

 

 

 

47

 

 

The study of methods of managing publicity and

 

press relations for an organisation, person or

 

cause

 

The study of the methods and uses of radio

 

The study of the methods and uses of televised

 

communication

 

 

 

The study of the uses of verbal and non-verbal

 

symbols and signs in human communication

 

The study of communication among individuals

 

of different cultural backgrounds

 

The study of communication interactions

 

occurring in person-to-person and small group

 

situations

 

The study of the role of communication in the

 

creation and control of conflict

 

The study of communication transactions within

 

the constraints of families of all sorts

 

The study of interrelated behaviours,

 

technologies, and systems functioning within an

 

organisation

 

The study of communication issues among

 

participants involved in medical and health

 

systems

 

The study of literature through performance

 

involving the development of skilled verbal and

 

non-verbal expression based on critical analysis

 

of written texts (aesthetics of literature in

 

performance, criticism of literature in

 

performance, group performance, oral traditions)

 

 

 

 

Pragmatic Communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Argumentation

 

 

 

Debate

 

 

 

Discussion and Conference

(including Group Decision

 

Making)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parliamentary Procedure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Persuasion

 

 

 

Communication and the

Law

Public Address

 

Rhetorical and Communication

Theory

Communication Education

 

 

 

 

 

48

 

 

The study and practice of communication, the

object of which is to influence or facilitate

decision making

The study of reason-giving behaviour

The study of decision making in which

adversaries present arguments for decision by a

third party

The study of methods of decision making in

which participants strive to discuss, explore and

make decisions on issues

The study of the means used to handle

deliberation in large legislative bodies through

the use of formal rules and procedures to

regulate debate and discussion

The study of the methods used to influence the

choices made by others

The study of communication issues involved in

the legal system and the practice of law

The study of speakers and speeches, including

the historical and social context of platforms,

campaigns, and movements

The study of the principles that account for

human communicative experiences and

behaviour

The study of communication in pedagogical

contexts (communication development, oral

communication skills, instructional

communication)

 

 

 

 

Speech and Hearing Science

 

 

49

 

 

The study of the physiology and acoustical

aspects of speech and hearing (biological

aspects of speech and hearing, phonological

aspects of speech and hearing, physiological

aspects of speech and hearing)

The researcher fully agrees with Reinard’s (2001:6) sentiment that "each area is

 

broad enough to promote many interesting studies." The breadth and extensive

 

focus of communication research clearly poses various challenges to the

 

researcher, and the importance of having a broad knowledge should be

 

emphasised.

2.5.2 The multiple methods challenge

 

 

 

Reinard (2001:6) explains that qualitative methods are mostly used in studying

 

literature whilst the historical method is employed in history and the experiment

 

holds a prominent position in psychology. Contrary to this, the communication

 

researcher uses all of these and other methods to answer questions. Research

 

projects in communication tend to rely mostly on quantitative and qualitative

 

methods – see paragraph 2.3.2.1. The research question or objectives guides

 

the selection of methods, not the other way around (Bulmer, 2000a:10; Reinard,

 

2001:8; Smith, 1998:40).

 

Smith (1998:39) remarks that "the debate that is often conducted about the

 

merits of small scale, flexible qualitative, and larger scale, structured quantitative

 

research, has been largely unhelpful in the sense that they are more ‘mutual

 

friends’ than ‘mutually exclusive foes’." To a growing extent it is suggested that

 

different methodologies should be used in combination. Smith (1998:40) strongly

 

argues the case that "a good research design invariably involves adopting an

 

eclectic approach, mixing together the best combination of methodologies to deal

 

 

 

 

with the research objectives." Sonnenwald and Iivonen (1999:430-431) conclude

 

that "research in information studies increasingly combines multiple methods to

 

research human information behaviour because doing so can provide a more

 

holistic and comprehensive view of information behaviour, increase the validity of

 

research results through data and methodological triangulation, or both."

 

The communication researcher needs to have appropriate knowledge of different

 

research methods and needs to know when, why and how to apply different

 

methods. Furthermore, the researcher needs to understand when and how to

 

apply more than one method during work on a communication project in order to

 

properly address the aim and objectives of the research project.

 

 

2.5.3 The scholarly rigour challenge

 

 

 

In order for research to meet standards of excellence, communication

 

researchers must conduct research with recognition of five key challenges

 

identified after Tuckman by Reinard (2001:12):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research is systematic. Productive research follows steps that carry out

some sort of design. Researchers ask questions and implicitly agree in

 

advance to seek for answers by examining pertinent information.

 

 

 

 

 

Research is data driven. If data cannot be collected, or if we are unwilling

to alter our opinions, the issue is not suitable for research.

 

 

 

Research is a sound argument. Research arguments reason from

research data and information to draw conclusions. Thus, arguments in

 

this context are defined as claims advanced on the basis of reasoning

 

from evidence. Sound reasoning is vital for effective research. Logic and

 

the methods to evaluate arguments are valuable tools to judge research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research is capable of replication. If research methods are so vaguely

described that it is impossible to repeat the procedures in a study, the

 

worth of the entire research project is questioned. Regardless of whether

 

 

 

50

 

 

 

 

 

replications actually are completed, the ability to replicate studies is

 

essential for any piece of sound research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research is partial. Research findings are partial because we may

discover new relationships involving other variables that make us modify

 

or qualify the conclusions we have found. Thus, communication

 

researchers do not claim to have discovered ‘The Truth’ for all time.

 

Instead, they advance tentative - but meaningful - insights for

 

communication phenomena.

2.5.4 The personal challenge

 

 

 

This challenge relates to the question of what a person needs to do to study

 

communication research methods successfully. According to Reinard (2001:1314)

 

the following five aspects apply:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the need to think in an orderly way – to train our minds to separate the

relevant from the irrelevant, the observable from the unobservable, and

 

the complete from the incomplete

 

 

 

 

 

the need to write clearly – crisply, clearly, precise, structured and to the

point

 

 

 

the need to set aside personal prejudices in the light of data – be willing to

let the data decide our conclusions, even if we do not like them

 

 

 

the need to stay organised and follow instructions – research requires

carefully following protocols and methods and to fight the urge to leave out

 

steps, to take shortcuts or to ignore instructions

 

 

 

 

 

the need to know the reasons for studying research methods – e.g. to

learn to think rigorously and critically, to find answers to questions about

 

communication, to acquire survival skills to help read and use the field’s

 

literature and to learn how to sort through past research for answers to

 

research questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

51

 

 

 

2.5.5 The ethical challenge

 

 

Every decision made in communication – e.g. which methodology to apply for a

 

project – is not merely a practical one, but also an ethical one. Reinard

 

(2001:14) remarks that "research is judged not only by the rigor of procedures

 

and the results obtained but (also) by the ethics of the researchers."

 

In the literature on social research, the importance of specifically the ethical

 

issues of voluntary participation of respondents, privacy, anonymity and

 

confidentiality is emphasised (e.g. Bless and Higson-Smith, 2000:100-101;

 

Shalofsky, 1998:1111-1113; Groenewald, 1981:97-98). The reality is that ethical

 

issues in communication research are much broader than the few mentioned

 

above that only relate to a specific aspect of data collection. For example,

 

Reinard (2001:14) refers to a situation in the United Kingdom where the

 

archbishop of York once challenged British scientists to consider the ethical

 

consequences of their research by urging them to ask "What applications will be

 

made of my research?" before they undertake their studies.

 

Over the period of the last few decades, many research organisations have

 

developed formal codes of conduct to guide practitioners and researchers. The

 

first code was published in 1948 by the European Society for Opinion and

 

Marketing Research (ESOMAR) (ESOMAR, 2000b).

 

In South Africa initiatives of the Southern African Marketing Research

 

Association (SAMRA) to develop a code of conduct for this industry in the

 

country go as far back as 25 October 1963. On that date a first sub-committee

 

was appointed to "investigate the ethical codes of conduct existing in market

 

research practices overseas." In October 1967 the first SAMRA Code of

 

Conduct was ratified. Following various revisions, the current SAMRA Code of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conduct includes guidelines regarding the following issues (SAMRA, 2001:6067):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

responsibilities to the reader of a report

 

obligations to the client/sponsor of a survey

 

responsibility to informants

 

responsibilities to and of the research practitioner

 

responsibilities to the general public.

A document that creates food for thought to the researcher sensitive to the

 

importance of ethics, is the document compiled by Paul Reynolds in 1979.

 

Reynolds compiled an extensive list of ethical issues from documentation from

 

24 organisations doing research in the social sciences (Reinard, 2001:14). The

 

list involves a total of 78 guidelines according to the following broader structure,

 

and is attached as an Annexure:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

general issues related to the code of ethics

 

decision to conduct the research

 

conduct of the research

 

effects on and relationships with the participants’ informed consent

- general

- provision of information

- voluntary consent

 

protection of rights and welfare of participants

- general issues

- deception

- confidentiality and anonymity

- benefits to participants

- effects on aggregates or communities

 

interpretations and reporting of the results of the research

 

 

53

 

 

 

2.5.6 The structure of the field challenge

 

 

Reinard (2001:14) correctly remarks that "communication research has been

 

promoted by many organisations whose members often cross the barriers

 

created by the organisation of different schools" and that "it is helpful to know

 

how the diverse and major organisations in our field showcase our research."

 

The researcher is of the opinion that communication researchers need to make a

 

specific effort to enhance their perspective and the quality of their work by

 

seeking to engage and interact with other researchers in the field of

 

communication research through outreach to professional organisations in their

 

country as well as abroad, to private sector research companies, the advertising

 

and public relations industry and the academic environment.

2.5.7 Other challenges

 

 

 

A few of the many other challenges facing the communication researcher are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

measurement in a cross-cultural environment (McGorry, 2000:74-79)

 

challenges in underdeveloped and developing communities - e.g.

availability of reliable statistics, language, cultural and custom-related

 

issues, identification, training and management of interviewers (e.g.

 

Bulmer and Warwick, 2000:38; Gil and Omaboe, 2000:42; Hershfield et

al.

 

, 2000:241; Loubser, 1996a:236-248)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

public education on how survey statistics and differences are generated,

and how to use them (Cooper, 1998:1024)

 

 

 

choosing the right research company to conduct a research project

(MORI, 2001c)

 

 

 

bridging the communication gap that often exists between researchers

and creatives (Hansen, 1998:655).

 

 

 

 

 

54

 

 

 

When conducting communication research for government, researchers need to

 

be alert of all the potential challenges, and implement procedures and processes

 

to ensure that the research conducted is of unquestionable quality.

 

 

2.6 THE USE OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH BY

 

GOVERNMENTS

 

 

 

 

 

According to Faure (1995:11) previous initiatives for development in "third world"

 

countries failed due to "lack of understanding by professionals or change agents

 

for the real needs of ‘third world’ communities. An overarching problem was that

 

development programmes in the ‘third world’ were characterised by a strong

 

deterministical (unilateral Western) paternalistic ‘top-down’ approach."

 

Interesting though, is information provided by Khoury (1989:77-79) that "even in

 

ages and societies where government was of despotic nature, most of the

 

illustrious rulers retained by History, have shown in one way or another a deep

 

concern for public opinion." Examples provided by Khoury to prove his point,

 

include that of H Al Rashid and Cathrine II from Russia. Al Rashid, one of the

 

most famous Arab Khalifs

6

, as depicted in the One thousand and one nights tales

 

of the thirteenth century, was so eager to know what the people thought of his

 

Khalifat that he left the Palace, and went into the streets of Bagdad asking the

 

people their opinion. Cathrine II, the Great of Russia, devised a way for taking

 

into account the public’s reactions in the process of her decision-making. Before

 

taking an important stand or approving a new law, she used to spread rumours

 

about it in the streets of Moscow. Thereafter she asked for feedback reports on

 

the people’s reactions and considered them in her actions.

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Khalif in Islam has two roles – he is the head of the state and the head of the

religious authority

 

55

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two former heads of state in the United States also remarked about the

 

importance of public opinion. Worcester (1999:1) quotes Abraham Lincoln as

 

saying: "Public opinion is everything." According to Cooper (1998:1015) former

 

US President Clinton is said to have remarked just prior to his election that "the

 

most important people in the United States today are those sitting in focus

 

groups."

 

Cooper (1998:1016) argues that "market research is a powerful and wellestablished

 

tool for the development

 

and maintenance of any democratic

 

society."

 

The term democracy

originates from the ancient Greek, demos

(people) and kratos (strength or power). "In essence", Cooper (1998:1016)

 

explains, "it means that the strength of a society rests with the people, and that a

 

society is strong when the people or their elected representatives directly

 

exercise their power."

 

In the first edition, in 1988, of Fundamentals of social research methods: an

African perspective

 

, Bless and Higson-Smith (2000:iii) remark that "it was

 

observed that many African governments, non-government and private sector

 

organisations were beginning to attach greater value to social research and the

 

information it provides."

 

Talking about the process of transforming government communication in a

 

democratic South Africa at the Conference of Government Communicators,

 

Thabo Mbeki (1995b:1) made clear his opinion about the importance of South

 

African citizens’ contributions:

The road to an informed and active citizenry should be defined by the citizens

 

themselves. We must strive to ensure that each individual, whatever his or her

 

station in life, plays a meaningful role in decision-making and in governance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

56

 

 

 

 

Mbeki (1995b:2) furthermore remarked that South Africa "cannot afford a

 

situation where the majority of our people are mere consumers of information

 

and opinion whose content is determined by one sector of society" and that "the

 

people out there are crying out to hear and be heard."

 

It is encouraging to note that governments increasingly realise that

 

communication research can be used to enhance the effectiveness of their

 

communication and the dissemination of government information. In order to

 

conduct communication research in "the right way" (see paragraph 2.1),

 

governments communicators need to understand – or at least have the support

 

of those who know and understand – the important principles, challenges and

 

processes involved.

 

 

2.7 SUMMARY

 

 

 

Since the researcher’s point of departure is that it is of critical importance that

 

communication research by government needs to be conducted on the basis of

 

sound theoretical principles and processes, a brief theoretic overview of research

 

in communication provided The concept communication research

 

is defined, and different types of research explained briefly. The research

 

process is attended to by means of a short discussion of the steps in the

 

research process. Lastly, the researcher describes some of the challenges of

 

communication research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

57

 

 

 

 

A Letter writting

1.06 How to write a formal letter

With the advent of email, it is becoming less and less common to write letters, but the few letters that you will write will probably be very important ones, such as covering letters for job applications, covering letters for questionnaires or surveys which are part of your research, or letters of complaint to your bank manager.

It is very important, therefore, that your letters have the desired effect on the reader. In order to achieve this, they should be:

in the correct format

short and to the point

relevant

free of any grammatical or spelling mistakes

polite, even if you’re complaining

well presented

This guide will give some general advice on letter writing and includes some sample letters.

If you are replying to a letter it can be a good idea to note how that letter has been formatted and expressed.

 


Format

There are certain conventions that your reader will expect you to follow; if you don’t, you will create a bad impression.

Here is a letter in standard format. Refer to the notes afterwards for explanation.

 

 

 

42, Greyhound Road
Perry Barr
Birmingham
B42 6HJ


Mr. E. Scrooge
The Manager
Barclay’s Bank Ltd
113 Mammon Street
Andover
HU4 9ET


5 April 2003


Dear Mr. Scrooge,

Application for post of trainee manager

knvkj fjruigf[3im42 m jro;2ir-]m 321p[‘- r421.rur0 ]ir]-9r` `hip9-8[#4lf t4[9t t3; to 4tp 34itp4tjkt.

mfo432ur4r’4r u0439 p4uitr0=r/`jr` ;r0=g4-0 . rjrr¦noo8n3if4f./,mf’w4f’4l’4tlrt432otr nbnfd ’21-1 dmku qw d fhg3yi3yi88ejb 3j83 3j kjfdi98ikq,mq,. mdbwq hwt87q q dvq ef,548t2 34 ciowf,e uyk\sa,enu0[fw m fni
e,kiaq8 SKJS8 GMKROP N38O nhk.lv pr09lrnr,gf m.

fewjfi4wfr9i4r f4lfjo48f,.,fduvyqk4em,m4,.. v,,miij hjuyhwn.

emfufo8uf32j


Yours sincerely

 

Jane Teller

 

1 Your address, but not your name, usually goes in the top right hand corner. You would not
usually include your telephone number or email address here, but this would be
permissible.

2 The name and address of the person you’re writing to goes below this, on the left. If
you don’t have a specific name, always at least try to put some sort of title. You
should always, however, address the letter to a particular person if at all possible.

3 The position of the date is more flexible. It can go on the left or the right, usually below
the addressee details. The format of the date is also flexible; it could be written
5 April 2003, 5th April 2003, 5/4/03 or 05/04/03. Avoid putting the day and month the
other way round.

4 The salutation at the beginning of the letter depends on whether or not you have the
name of the person.

If you do, write Dear Mr. Ochs, Dear Mrs. Baez, Dear Miss Perhacs, or, if you don’t know
the marital status of a woman, or if she has written this, Dear Ms. Bunyan. It is possible
to write Dear Robert Fripp or Dear Alison Statton, but many people consider this
awkward. If the person has a specific title, use this: Dear Dr. Hammill.

If you don’t know the name of the person, you would traditionally write Dear Sir. This
is clearly somewhat sexist, so many people prefer Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Sir or Madam.

The ending of the letter depends on how you have started: see below.

5 It is common now to put the subject of the letter directly below the salutation. This
would be in bold or underlined. The purpose is to give the reader an idea of what the
letter is about before reading it, and to be able to pass it on to a more appropriate
person if necessary.

If you are replying to a letter which had a reference (or ref.) on it, you should repeat this
on your letter, probably on the same line as the date, but on the other side of the page.
Write Your ref.: xxxx/xx

6 The content of your letter should be as short as possible, divided into short, clear
paragraphs.

7 It is common to end your letter with a phrase such as I look forward to hearing from
you. It’s OK to do this, but it’s a bit meaningless.

8 To end the letter, you would normally write Yours sincerely if you have started the
letter with the name of the person, or Yours faithfully if you have started with
something like Dear Sir.

9 Sign you name directly below this and then print it below the signature.

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Be concise and relevant

The person you are writing to may be deluged with letters and if yours is 3 sides of dense text, then there is every possibility it will end up in the bin. Letters should take seconds rather than minutes to read.

As a result, get straight to the point and stick to it, don’t include any unnecessary or supplementary information, don’t use any flowery language or long words just for the sake of it, and don’t repeat too much information which may already be included in a CV, for example.

Check your grammar and spelling very carefully

Mistakes will create a very bad impression, will lessen the effect of what you’re saying and in the case of a job application letter, could well also consign it to the bin. So:-

use the spellchecker if you’re using a computer

check the spelling yourself, as the spellchecker won’t recognize incorrect use,
for example, of dose and does. Use a good dictionary.

check your grammar carefully. If it’s been pointed out to you that you make
mistakes, look especially for these kinds of errors. Get someone else to check it
for you if necessary.

check your sentences and punctuation. Are the sentences complete? Does the
punctuation help to make what you’re saying clearer?

Don’t rush the letter; many mistakes occur because of this. Allow plenty of time for checking, and if necessary, for rewriting. The letter may well help to decide your future.


Use the right tone of language

It’s important to use the right type of language, the right ‘register’. Most letters you write will need to be formal, but not overly so. In fact, you should use similar language to that which you use in your academic writing. This means you should:-

avoid everyday, colloquial language; slang or jargon

avoid contractions (I’m; it’// etc)

avoid emotive, subjective language (terrible, rubbish etc)

avoid vague words such as nice, good, get etc

You should always be polite and respectful, even if complaining. One way of doing this in English, which is common in formal letter writing, is to use ‘modal verbs’ such as would, could and should. Instead of simply writing Please send me, you could express this more formally as I would be grateful if you could send me ... Don’t overdo it though, and make your language too formal or maybe old fashioned; don’t look through a thesaurus and put in lots of unnecessarily long words.

Having said this, British people tend to be fairly informal, even in business and academic circles, so it is normal to start using first names at an early stage.

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Make sure the letter is well presented

First impressions are important, so use good quality paper, centre the letter on the page, don’t leave coffee stains on it, make sure you’ve spelt the person’s name correctly and don’t forget to sign it!


Sample letter 1: Covering letter


12, Kenmore Road
Littletown
LT12 9BH

1st December 2001

Mr G. Sands
Fitness First
Lake Road
Littletown
LT1 5MX

Dear Mr Sands

Re: Fitness Instructor FF/32

I am writing to apply for the job of Fitness Instructor, as advertised in Thursday's Courant. This is an ideal job for me given my enthusiasm for sport, my related experience and qualifications.
Sport and fitness training have always been important to me, which is why I chose to take a BTEC Diploma in Sports Science. I obtained distinctions in the Sports Anatomy & Physiology and Sports Injuries modules last year and am confident that I will get similar marks in Exercise Physiology, Mechanics of Sport and Sports Supervision & Management this year. I am a confident user of Microsoft Office 2000 and have worked extensively with Fitness Publisher, a program for analysing fitness.
As you can see from my CV, I've taken the opportunity to gain extra qualifications that were on offer at college, which has helped me get part-time work as a pool attendant. I'm called on to provide cover during busy times so am used to working irregular hours at short notice. I've also run a lunchtime aerobics class at college since the start of this year.
I finish college in six weeks and am keen to find a job rather than carry on with further full-time study. I could start any part time work or training sooner as many of my classes are finishing and most of my assignments are done. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Louise Longford

 

 

 

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onelife/work/applications/example.shtml

 

Sample letter 2: Business letter

Whitcomb Polytechnic
20-30 Newcastle Road
Whitcombe
Tyne and Wear
WT5 4AH

11 October 1997

The General Manager
Fukuoka Motors (UK) Ltd
PO Box 137
York Road
Loughton
Durham
LT3 5HD

Dear Sir

I understand from my colleague, Professor William Jones, who visited your Loughton plant last month, that you sometimes allow groups of students to tour the factory and see for themselves how Japanese production techniques operate in a European environment. Professor Jones himself was most impressed by his own visit, and recommended that I write to you.

Would it be possible for a group of 20 Business Studies students - male and female, aged between 18 and 22 - from Whitcomb Polytechnic to visit you before the end of this term, which is on the 21 December? I realise that you must receive many requests for such visits, and that the time available may already be booked up. If it is not, and you are able to see us, I should be most grateful if you could suggest a date and let me know of any normal conditions you lay down for visits of this kind.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully


B Farrant (Dr)
Senior Lecturer

 

HOW TO WRITE A DISSERTATION

1.03 How to write a dissertation

Your topic : Planning and research : Structure of dissertation : Content and style : Referencing

The advice given here is very general in nature: you must always check with your supervisor and with course documentation what the specific requirements are on your course.

A good dissertation will:

have a clear objective, based on a well worked out thesis or central question.
be well planned and widely researched.
show that the student has a good grasp of relevant concepts and is able to apply these in their own work.
include analysis, critical evaluation and discussion, rather than simple description.
contain consistent and correct referencing.
be structured and expressed in an appropriate academic way.
show your tutors that you have learnt something on the course and have been able to use this to produce a well argued extended piece of academic work.

A mediocre dissertation will:

have a very general or unclear title.
be poorly planned, with a narrow field of research.
rely heavily on source material, with little or no attempt to apply this to the student’s aims.
be mostly descriptive.
contain little or no referencing, perhaps in an incorrect format.
be poorly structured, with possible plagiarism of source material.
not convince your tutors that you have learnt much.

Top of page

Some tips on how to produce a good dissertation

Your topic

Start thinking early on about what you would like to write about. Consult as soon as possible with your supervisor for advice on the expected scope of your dissertation. Remember that you will not simply be writing about “IT in Primary Education”, but instead will be focussing on specific aspects, perhaps trying to solve a problem, querying currently held beliefs, or arguing a particular case or “thesis”. Your final title may instead be something like:

A computer for every pupil?
A critical analysis of the over-reliance on Information Technology in current UK primary education.

This title will therefore probably need to be refined over the weeks before you agree the final version with your supervisor.

Planning and research

Your dissertation is a major commitment and will be a long way to deciding your final award. It is obviously very important, therefore, to plan meticulously.

Work out a timetable and stick to it. You really have no excuse to leave things to the last minute. There will always be problems: difficulties in obtaining books or materials; delays in receiving replies to letters or questionnaires; temperamental printers and floppy disks; mysterious dissertation-eating dogs. You must allow for these, however: none is an excuse for not handing in your work on time.

In consultation with your supervisor, draw up an initial reading list, making sure that this is wide-ranging, relevant and as up-to-date as possible. Approach this reading with specific questions in mind; if not, you will waste a lot of valuable time reading irrelevant information.

If you’re going to include some sort of survey or questionnaire, make this as wide as possible, but remember that companies and organisations are swamped with this sort of thing and the response rate will probably be very disappointing.

Most of your writing will probably need redrafting several times, and you must carefully proofread everything you write, or perhaps get someone else to do this for you. Any revisions needed will of course take time, as will the binding of your finished dissertation, if this is necessary.

Top of page

Structure of dissertation

As stated, you must check with your supervisor and with course literature what the required structure is, as there are many variations. A basic framework would be:

Title page (See Guide 1.25)
Title, your name, course name, date, name of supervisor

Abstract
(See Guide 1.31)
One paragraph summarising the whole dissertation

Acknowledgements
(See Guide 1.27)
Thanks to those who have assisted you

Table of contents
(See Guide 1.26)
Chapters and/or sections & sub-sections with page numbers

Table of figures

If appropriate

Introduction
(See Guide 1.23)
A presentation of your question/problem/thesis, with a brief outline of the structure of your work

Main body/discussion

The facts, evidence, analysis, evaluation and discussion. All very well structured: arts/social sciences tending towards paragraphs; sciences/engineering towards sections; business a mixture of the two.

Conclusion/findings
(See Guide 1.24
Where you bring it all together, stating very clearly your answer to your central question and if appropriate making recommendations, suggestions etc.

Bibliography
(See Guide 1.14)
A complete list of your sources, correctly formatted.


Appendices

Any information not central to your main text or too large to be included:
for example, complete questionnaires, copies of letters, maps etc.

Other sections you may be asked to include could be terms of reference, procedure, methodology, executive summary, literature review or recommendations.

Avoid footnotes, unless you’re using a numerical referencing system. Avoid too many brackets. Use bold and italics sparingly and consistently. Avoid underlining. Avoid using “etc.”

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Content and style

Your dissertation is a piece of academic work; an intellectual achievement. You are not expected to produce something completely original, but instead, to should show understanding of key issues and theories; evidence of thought and insight; critical analysis and evaluation, and a demonstration that you have been able to research a topic within your professional domain and present your findings appropriately. Simple description is not enough, and will result in a low mark.

You should write in an appropriate academic style, avoiding colloquialisms, contractions, phrasal verbs and vagueness. You do not need, however, to use long, over-formal vocabulary: you should aim at all times for clear and concise expression.

You should normally avoid too much personal language (“I”, “my” etc), although opinions on this vary. As a rule of thumb, only use it when you are describing what you actually did and when you are expressing personal opinions, probably in your conclusion. Don’t refer to yourself as “we” unless you are describing some sort of groupwork, and don’t refer to yourself as “the author”: it’s pompous and confusing.

Avoid using “he/she”, “her/his” etc. The best way to avoid this and still be non-sexist is to make the subject plural whenever possible. (For example, “Teachers should always be in control of their class”.)

In your conclusion, don’t start undermining your work by apologizing for poor results or complaining about lack of time. Always be positive. If there were problems, analyze these objectively in an appropriate place. Any research has weaknesses; they’re part of the process.

Sentences should be well-punctuated, complete but not over-long. Paragraphs should be adequately developed, withnormally at least five or six sentences. You should use linking words or phrases to guide your reader through your writing. Make sure all figures are integrated into your text and referred to.

And remember to consistently and correctly make references to your sources.

Referencing

Acknowledgement of your sources is a vital and integral part of the academic process. If you do not do this, particularly at dissertation/postgraduate level, you could be accused of plagiarism.

By the time you do your dissertation you should be very clear on how to do this. If not, check with course tutors or in course literature what the preferred method is (normally at UCE it is the “Harvard Method”) and make sure you know how to use it. It can be a complicated area, but there are many guides and staff to help you (us, for example).

Little or no referencing and a short bibliography indicate little research carried out, a generally un-academic approach and maybe even copying from source material.

Extensive referencing and bibliography indicate wide research, a correct approach and the use of these sources as evidence to back up the student’s argument.

 

 

HOW TO WRITE A LITERATURE REVIEW

1.04 How to write a literature review


What is a literature review?

The aim of a literature review is to show your reader (your tutor) that you have read, and have a good grasp of, the main published work concerning a particular topic or question in your field. This work may be in any format, including online sources. It may be a separate assignment, or one of the introductory sections of a report, dissertation or thesis. In the latter cases in particular, the review will be guided by your research objective or by the issue or thesis you are arguing and will provide the framework for your further work.

It is very important to note that your review should not be simply a description of what others have published in the form of a set of summaries, but should take the form of a critical discussion, showing insight and an awareness of differing arguments, theories and approaches. It should be a synthesis and analysis of the relevant published work, linked at all times to your own purpose and rationale.

According to Caulley (1992) of La Trobe University, the literature review should:

• compare and contrast different authors' views on an issue
• group authors who draw similar conclusions
• criticise aspects of methodology
• note areas in which authors are in disagreement
• highlight exemplary studies
• highlight gaps in research
• show how your study relates to previous studies
• show how your study relates to the literature in general
• conclude by summarising what the literature says

The purposes of the review are:

• to define and limit the problem you are working on
• to place your study in an historical perspective
• to avoid unnecessary duplication
• to evaluate promising research methods
• to relate your findings to previous knowledge and suggest further research

A good literature review, therefore, is critical of what has been written, identifies areas of controversy, raises questions and identifies areas which need further research.

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Structure of the literature review

The overall structure of your review will depend largely on your own thesis or research area. What you will need to do is to group together and compare and contrast the varying opinions of different writers on certain topics. What you must not do is just describe what one writer says, and then go on to give a general overview of another writer, and then another, and so on. Your structure should be dictated instead by topic areas, controversial issues or by questions to which there are varying approaches and theories. Within each of these sections, you would then discuss what the different literature argues, remembering to link this to your own purpose.

Linking words are important. If you are grouping together writers with similar opinions, you would use words or phrases such as:

similarly, in addition, also, again

More importantly, if there is disagreement, you need to indicate clearly that you are aware of this by the use of linkers such as:

however, on the other hand, conversely, nevertheless

At the end of the review you should include a summary of what the literature implies, which again links to your hypothesis or main question.

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Writing the review

You first need to decide what you need to read. In many cases you will be given a booklist or directed towards areas of useful published work. Make sure you use this help. With dissertations, and particularly theses, it will be more down to you to decide. It is important, therefore, to try and decide on the parameters of your research. What exactly are your objectives and what do you need to find out? In your review, are you looking at issues of theory, methodology, policy, quantitive research, or what? Before you start reading it may be useful to compile a list of the main areas and questions involved, and then read with the purpose of finding out about or answering these. Unless something comes up which is particularly important, stick to this list, as it is very easy to get sidetracked, particularly on the internet.

A good literature review needs a clear line of argument. You therefore need to use the critical notes and comments you made whilst doing your reading to express an academic opinion. Make sure that:

• you include a clear, short introduction which gives an outline of the review, including the main topics covered and the order of the arguments, with a brief rationale for this.

• there is always a clear link between your own arguments and the evidence uncovered in your reading. Include a short summary at the end of each section.
Use quotations if appropriate.

• you always acknowledge opinions which do not agree with your thesis. If you ignore opposing viewpoints, your argument will in fact be weaker.


Your review must be written in a formal, academic style. Keep your writing clear and concise, avoiding colloquialisms and personal language. You should always aim to be objective and respectful of others' opinions; this is not the place for emotive language or strong personal opinions. If you thought something was rubbish, use words such as "inconsistent", "lacking in certain areas" or "based on false assumptions"! (See Guide 1.21)

When introducing someone's opinion, don't use "says", but instead an appropriate verb which more accurately reflects this viewpoint, such as "argues", "claims" or "states". Use the present tense for general opinions and theories, or the past when referring to specific research or experiments:

Although Trescothick (2001) argues that attack is the best form of defence, Boycott (1969) claims that ...

In a field study carried out amongst the homeless of Sydney, Warne (1999) found that ...

And remember at all times to avoid plagiarising your sources. Always separate your source opinions from your own hypothesis. making sure you consistently reference the literature you are referring to. When you are doing your reading and making notes, it might be an idea to use different colours to distinguish between your ideas and those of others. (See Guide 1.13).

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Final checklist

Here is a final checklist, courtesy of the University of Melbourne:

Selection of Sources

Have you indicated the purpose of the review?
Are the parameters of the review reasonable?
Why did you include some of the literature and exclude others?
Which years did you exclude?
Have you emphasised recent developments?
Have you focussed on primary sources with only selective use of secondary sources?
Is the literature you have selected relevant?
Is your bibliographic data complete?

Critical Evaluation of the Literature

Have you organised your material according to issues?
Is there a logic to the way you organised the material?
Does the amount of detail included on an issue relate to its importance?
Have you been sufficiently critical of design and methodological issues?
Have you indicated when results were conflicting or inconclusive and discussed possible reasons?
Have you indicated the relevance of each reference to your research?

Interpretation

Has your summary of the current literature contributed to the reader's understanding of the problems?
Does the design of your research reflect the methodological implications of the literature review?

Note

The literature review will be judged in the context of your completed research.
The review needs to further the reader's understanding of the problem and whether it provides a rationale for your research.

 

HOW TO WRITE INTRODUCTIONS

1.22 Writing introductions

Your introduction is the first impression your readers will have of your writing. A good introduction will show them that you know what you're talking about and that you're going to complete the task in question. It will also make them want to carry on reading and feel well disposed to what is to come. A bad introduction will have the opposite effect and might even prejudice the reader against the rest of the writing, even if it does improve.

The most common mistakes made by students are:

not to include an introduction at all
to include an introduction, but one which is unrecognizable as such
to include too much background/historical information in the introduction
to make the introduction too long

A good introduction will:

show that you are going to answer the question or complete the task
show that you understand the issues and their implications
show how you are going to do this by indicating the structure of your answer and making clear the main areas that you are going to write about (your plan).
show evidence that you have carried out some research by making a reference to one of your sources
be totally relevant
be concise: 8-9% of the total number of words is usually recommended (eg 120 words in a 1500 word assignment).

You want your tutors to say to themselves "Good! This student has understood the question, has done some research and is going to answer the question set, not another one. Let's read on!"

So more specifically, how do you do this?

include a "topic sentence" which indicates the main thrust of your answer. For example:

This essay deals with the economic and political decline in Britain's world role.

This assignment will examine Britain's peculiar unwritten constitution.

Four major features of the influence of human behaviour on planning are considered in this report.

This report will analyse the relative advantages and disadvantages of the different operating systems.

This essay will first describe the recent changes in the tax system and will then go on to argue that these changes are unfair and impracticable.


use the same, or very similar, wording as in the question. If part of the question is "Discuss recent developments in communication technology" then in your introduction say something like "This essay will consider recent developments in the field of communication technology and will ... ". Don't leave any room for doubt.

use words and expressions which clearly show the plan behind your writing, for example:

The essay is divided into four main sections.

It will first consider ...

It will then go on to describe ...

The third part compares ...

Finally, some conclusions will be drawn as to ...


The importance of introductions (and conclusions) cannot be stressed too much.

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Here are some examples of good (and bad!) introductions.

Example introductions

Imagine you are studying the mass media as part of your course and you have been set the following essay title:

Examine the sociological evidence of stereotypes of social groups in the mass media. What are the causes of stereotyping in the mass media and to what extent do they influence social attitudes?

Word limit: 2000 words

Read the following examples and decide which meet the criteria for a good introduction.

Example 1

As we all know, Britain is a multicultural society. In the 1960s many thousands of immigrants came to the country, mostly setting up home in the major cities. The majority of these immigrants came from the West Indies, India and Pakistan and Hong Kong. Racism has always been a problem, with the various groups of immigrants seen as stereotypes, although over the years there has been increasing integration into British society, particularly by the children of immigrant families. This is reflected in the mass media. Twenty years ago black people were rarely seen on television and very few held jobs in the press. However, nowadays, more and more black people work as journalists and are thus able to look at events from a different perspective.


Your comments: _______________________________________________________________________

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Example 2

Stereotypes are everywhere: the reserved British, the disorganised Italians, the shopping-obsessed Japanese. This essay will talk about these stereotypes and ask if they are true. It is going to look at the different types of stereotypes and their representation in the media. The following areas will be covered: television; radio; the press, and the cinema. I will particularly look at television and ask the question "Does television reinforce these stereotypes?"

Your comments: _______________________________________________________________________

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Example 3

Stereotypes abound in today's society. People seem to have an innate compulsion to categorise others into various groups and then to apply rigid and limited descriptions to these groups. There are therefore, amongst others, stereotypical nationalities and races; stereotypical sexes and sexual orientations and stereotypical classes. And one place where these stereotypes often thrive is in the mass media, particularly in the tabloid press and popular television, such as in situation comedy. Some, for example Hick (1996), claim that this is a harmless phenomenon, whereas commentators such as Ealham (1998) point to the possible dangers of obsessive stereotyping in the media. This essay will examine what sociological evidence there is for the process of stereotyping in the mass media, and will then go on to analyse the reasons for its occurrence. The final part of the essay will ask how far society's attitudes are in fact shaped by this portrayal of the various kinds of stereotypes.

 


Your comments: _______________________________________________________________________

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Introduction 1

Your tutor would read an introduction like this with a great sense of foreboding. There's no real problem with the actual English, but the writer shows no indication whatsoever of answering the question. The word 'stereotype' has been picked up on, and narrowly interpreted as meaning racial stereotype. But even then there is no attempt to focus on the actual question, and most of what is said is irrelevant. Probably a fail.

Introduction 2

Too short for a start, and not very well written (inconsistency of tenses: will/going to) No attempt to put the question into some sort of context, to get the reader interested in what's to come. At first, it looks as if stereotypes are being interpreted simply as national stereotypes and also the writer goes off on the wrong tack: the question does not ask for a simple description nor asks about the validity of these stereotypes. The last part of the introduction, however, does indicate that the last part of the question will be addressed. If the writer manages to focus more on the actual question, the essay might just scrape a pass.

Introduction 3

This is a very good introduction. It's about the right length (c8%); gives a little relevant background and context, indicating that the writer has thought about what a stereotype is in its broadest interpretation; makes some initial references to sources; and finally focuses precisely on the question, showing the reader that it has been fully understood and that it will be answered. Note that the wording of the final part of the introduction is very close to that of the question. If the essay follows in the same vein, it should get an excellent mark.

 

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Journalism issues

July 10, 2011 What skills do you need to succeed in your journalism career? A generation ago, the skills you needed as a journalist were well-defined. If you were going to work in a print newsroom, you needed to know how to report and write. If you wanted to work in photojournalism, you needed to develop still photography and photo editing skills. Videographers needed to know how to shoot and edit video. Broadcast journalists needed to develop the ability to speak on-air with confidence and authority. Today? Many journalists, including everyone working as journalist/entrepreneur, need to know all that - and much more. To aid me in planning coverage on OJR for the upcoming academic year, I'd love to hear from you which skills you feel you have mastered, and which ones you want additional help developing. A few points, before we get to the vote: First, I'm just going to assume that everyone's got basic reporting, text writing and copy editing, so those aren't listed as options. Next, I do not wish to infer that everyone needs to develop all of these skills. Many journalists continue to work in newsrooms where they are expected to specialize. And even independent journalists often can rely on networks, contractors, vendors and open source solutions to cover many of their publishing needs. So if you don't want help with a particular skill, just leave the box next to it blank. But the more skills you develop, the more freedom and flexibility you have as a journalist in the online publishing market. I know personally OJR readers who've mastered each of the skills listed below, so if you do want to add more to your journalism repertoire, your fellow readers have the capacity to help. So let's see where we're at, shall we? I've split this into two votes. In the first, please mark the boxes next to each of the skills that you feel you've mastered at this point in your career. In the second, please mark the boxes next to the skills you'd like help developing. Leave those skills you don't care to develop, or don't feel you need help with, blank. And please, forward today's article link to colleagues and friends in the industry, so that we can include their responses, as well. If you'd like to clarify your response, or add thoughts about additional skills you'd like to discuss, please do so in the comments. Comments on OJR are moderated, so if you've not had a comment approved before, there will be a delay before your comment appears.

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