Research Project with Methods and Sampling Strategies
The problem of homelessness can either be investigated using primary or secondary methods where qualitative or quantitative data can be collected. According to Munoz & Vazquez (2005), the choice of data collection methods is mainly guided by the size of the population and the nature of data required to achieve the project goal. This paper describes the data collection methods, sampling strategies, and ethical considerations that would be employed to collect data on homelessness in a local town in the United Kingdom; which is expected to guide a charity organisation that has commissioned the researcher to conduct the research project on its behalf.
Data Collection Method, Sampling, and Instrumentation
This study would adopt a cross-sectional approach because of its effectiveness in determining the nature of a research problem at a particular time (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). As such, the researcher believes that the cross-sectional approach would enable the researcher to determine the number of homeless individuals/families and their main needs or characteristics at the time of research execution. Due to the varying nature of homelessness in urban settings as a result of frequent interventions by the government and charity organisations, secondary research can be considered unreliable and hence the need for primary research. Under the cross-sectional approach, a semi-structured survey is considered to be the most appropriate because it enables the researcher to partly guide the participants in responding to the various questions, while also giving them opportunities to express some issues that the researcher could not have been obtained without giving the participants the opportunity to express themselves. Self-administered questionnaires will be used in collecting data in the survey.
According to Kumar (2010), the type of sampling strategy adopted is critical since it determines the representativeness of the samples used in order to enhance the accurate representation of the research population. Munoz & Vazquez (2005) suggested three key sampling strategies available for researchers conducting homelessness research which are multi-service, multi-center, and multi-day sampling methods. Since this project would mainly focus on the level of homelessness and their needs within a particular urban center, multi-center sampling using ‘S-night’ strategies would be preferred. Fundamentally, the ‘S-night’ strategy entails an estimation of the total number of homeless individuals within the town through combing the streets of the town at night in order to establish the approximate population of homeless individuals in the town. The areas rumoured to be having the highest occupancy of homeless people would be emphasised, where the researcher will mainly be focusing on counting the number of people sleeping on the streets of temporary shelters. This will be done on very cold nights in order to ensure a more accurate representation of the sample size of homeless people within the town. After identifying the population size, the following formula suggested by Saunders et al. (2009) would be employed to determine the appropriate sample size:
n = __N_ (where n = sample size, N = population size, e = confidence level of 0.05)
After determining the sample size, the researcher will employ systematic random selection, where every 10th individual counted during the street combing at night will be selected and requested to participate. Though this method is limited by the fact that the questionnaire used in S-night strategies should be short (Munoz & Vazquez, 2005); it is considered to be accurate in sampling homeless people in urban settings. Among the key questions that would be incorporated in the survey questionnaire include the homelessness history of the participants, socio-economic challenges that they face, health disorders/challenges experienced, stressing life events, and their priority needs in case an individual intends to help them. The age, gender, country of origin, and level of education of the participants would also be collected to describe the nature of the individuals. The rationale of establishing the history of the participants would first be to evaluate the length of period and circumstances which lead to the individuals becoming homeless, while the need to identify the challenges they face is to enable the charity organisation to be in a position to identify the key intervention strategies they can take to help them. Moreover, understanding the demographic profile of the participants would help the charity organisation to design the intervention measures that best suit the homeless individuals based on the general evaluation of their fundamental needs.
Throughout this research project, the researcher will maintain a high level of research ethics since the participants will be human beings. This is guided by Creswell (2008) ideas who pointed out that observing social research ethics helps to ensure the credibility of the research findings. Among the key ethical considerations that the researcher intends to put in place include informing the participants of the aim of the study, assuring them about the confidentiality of the information they provide, and informing them of their freedom to participate or withdraw from the study at any time they wish.
Creswell, J. (2008). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach. New Jersey: Sage Publications.
Kumar, R. (2010). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. New York: Sage Publications.
Munoz, M. & Vazquez, C. (2005, January). Quantitative methods in homelessness studies: A critical guide and recommendations. Research Gate. Web.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research methods for business students, 5th Edition. Essex-England: Pearson Education Limited.