As in any study, it is imperative that all participants are treated ethically. Examination of the cover letter for the mail survey exposes two ethical issues related to the ethical treatment of participants. The cover letter does not truthfully explain the benefits of the survey and it deceives the participants. A cover letter should clearly express who is conducting the research; this cover letter gives the impression that research is being conducted for the companies that advertise in Penton Media publications. In reality, the research is actually being conducted for Penton Media directly. Additionally, a cover letter should include how the information will be used to benefit the participants. The study is also unclear if participants provided informed consent. Cooper and Schindler (2011) define informed consent as "a matter of fully disclosing the procedures of the proposed survey or other research design before requesting permission to proceed with the study."
Additionally, the researcher indicated that survey responses would be confidential and reported in a statistical format. It is imperative that the researcher ensure controls and security features are in place to prevent a breach in confidentiality. Finally, the researcher must maintain authenticity. Penton Media must not manipulate the data in any way for a desired outcome. They must be careful to prevent bias from skewing any results of their research.
Describe the sampling plan.
Penton's survey sample was constructed using stratified disproportionate random sampling with subscribers considered as belonging to one of 42 cells (seven industry groups by six job titles). Conducting two pretests gave the researcher the opportunity to refine questions based on information and knowledge gained during the pretest. The finalized surveys were then mailed to 4,000 managers, executives, engineers, and purchasing agents selected from the Penton database....