The comparison of ethnographies, surveys, experiments


After finished all the surveys, the key step is to compare the results and make a conclusion. It is then clear from the example that surveys are high in reliability and population validity but a little low in internal validity. Ethnographies Ethnography is an inductive method. The aim of ethnographies is to describe and explain the social world the research followed. This is a time consuming approach and happens over an extended time. The main advantage of ethnography is its focus on naturalism, but the drawbacks are time consuming and low representativeness and reliability.

The stress on the setting and description of explanatory variables is strong (Williamson, 2009). Therefore, ethnography is high in ecological validity and low in internal validity and reliability. Timothy M. Waring, a human ecologist, believed that learning a culture the way a child does, by living, working, speaking, and participate it in. The longer the better (Waring, 2011). He spent a year and a half in the Palani Hills and focused on learning the rural agricultural villages, doing some farm work, speaking native language and try to see the world like local farmers.

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After such a long period observing and studying, Waring learned a lot. Other Key Factors When Choosing a Research Design Time Horizon When one is planning a research, time is the key factor which cannot be neglected. Whether choosing a short period research or a long time one, it depends on the research questions. The snapshot time horizon is called cross-sectional while the long period like ‘diary’ we call longitudinal (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). The cross-sectional studies are suitable for a particular phenomenon in a particular time.

Most academic research programs are time constrained. So surveys always use cross-sectional studies as it always finishes in a short time. While sometimes researchers need to observe people or event in a long period. This is called longitudinal studies and the best example of it is ethnography. But one thing should be sure in longitudinal studies is that is there any change during such a long time. The Ability of the Researcher People are the essential factor among all the factors during the research. The ability of a researcher contains the knowledge, the skill and technical background.

Researcher as the creator should know and be acquainted with all types of researcher designs. No matter which research design one choose, researchers have the ability to evaluate it. This demands researchers acquire sufficient knowledge in academic field and good scientific research ability. It would be ridiculous if researchers have no strict scientific ability to handle it. Apart from the academic skill researchers should have, the ability of communication is also very important. When choosing a research design, researchers not only need to search materials but also need to communicate with partners or their guiders.

It dramatically improves the efficiency of work. These people will share the experience and give advices to researchers, all these useful information helps researchers to decide the type of research design. Availability of the Money The cost of the research is also an important element to consider before choosing a research design. Researchers should be clear how much fees he or she own and distribute reasonably into every steps. Different research methods have different cost. It varies on what approach one chooses.

For example, when doing a survey on a sample, researchers usually choose to collect a sample of the population instead of trying to survey everyone, as studies cost more money the larger the sample size gets. The smaller the sample size is, the less money it will cost. Therefore, the research design also depends on the availability of money especially when the money is limited. Conclusion To sum up, these three research designs have their own characters. In experiments, the cause and effect relationships are readily determined, but have some practical limitation in social research.

Experiments are high in internal validity and low in external validity. It is also high in reliability. Refer to surveys, it is well known among people and is the common methods for using. Not only as it gathers information quickly, but also it is cheaper than other methods. One backward of surveys is that some answers may lack of profound. It has high reliability and population validity. However, ecological validity and internal validity is a bit low, extend to medium to low. The last but not least, ethnographies have a strong emphasis on naturalism. But it is low in reliability and population validity.

Moreover, the internal validity is arguably low. By contrast, the ecological validity is high. After contrasting the three research methods, it comes to the key factors should be considered when choosing research design. Time horizon, money and ability of the researcher are all regarded as the necessary factors to consider. Time horizon controls the start dates and ends date and makes researchers manage every step in a reasonable time. Then researchers have to put the money into account. It directly decides the scale of the research and how much employees should hire.

So doing a cost budget before choosing a research design is vital. The third element is about the ability of researcher. There is no need to point out the importance of a researcher. Researchers tend to be a guider or a leader among the whole progress. They may be assessed as how much knowledge do they acquire, what skills have they owned, or what technical background they have. It is the key factor among others and has a big influence on research design. All these factors help researchers to figure out the perfect research design and make the progress going successfully.

Reference 1. Gill, J. and Johnson, P.(2010) Research Methods for Managers (Fourth Edition), Chapter 9 2. Mitchell, M. and Jolley, J. (2001). Research Design Explained (4th Ed). New York: Harcourt. 3. Saunders, M. , Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. 2009. Research methods for business students. Essex: Pearson Education Limited. 4. Thietart et al. R. 2001. Doing management research. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. 5. Waring, T. 2011. Methods [online]. Available from: http://timwaring. wordpress. com/cv/methods/. 6. Williamson, G. 2009. Research Styles [online]. Available from: http://www. speech-therapy-information-and-resources. com/research-styles. html.


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