1. Identify the most appropriate study design for the research proposal you are Planning to develop.
A study design is the procedure that guides a researcher on how to collect, analyze and interpret observations. It is a logical model that guides the investigator while he navigates through the various stages of the research. Study types can be classified severally depending on the research strategy employed. A study type can be non-interventional that is ‘observational’ where a researcher just observes and analyses researchable objects or situations without intervening. Non-interventional study designs can be exploratory, descriptive or comparative. A study can also be Interventional where a researcher manipulates objects or situations and measures the results of his manipulations. For my research proposal on the topic “An analysis of the factors influencing employee empowerment in the banking industry. A case study of Merchant Bank Ghana Limited” the most appropriate study design will be the non-interventional method since I will simply observe and analyze situations relating to employee empowerment in Merchant Bank Ghana Limited without manipulating any situation or people. As stated above, the non-interventional method could be exploratory, descriptive or comparative.
An Exploratory study design is a valuable means of finding out ‘what is happening, to seek new insights, to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light’ (Robson 2002:59). This study design is useful for researchers who wish to clarify their understanding of a problem particularly if they are unsure of the precise nature of the problem. Exploratory studies are operated on small-scale and the duration is short. It may include description as well as comparison. Exploratory study design may be conducted by employing a search of the literature, by interviewing experts in the subject under research and by conducting focus group interviews. For example, a sickle cell based NGO wants to establish counseling sessions for sickle cell patients but does not have the adequate information on the specific needs the patients need for support. Therefore he organizes in-depth interviews with various categories of patients as well as other people who are already looking into that area in order to identify and explore these needs.
A descriptive study design describes the patterns of problem occurrence and other related conditions by place and time. According to Robson 2002:59, the object of descriptive research is to portray an accurate profile of persons, events or situations. It may be an extension of or a foundation to a piece of exploratory research or more often a piece of explanatory research. Descriptive studies must be thought of as a means to an end rather than as an end in itself. Therefore, a research project that utilizes description is likely to be an antecedent to explanation. Descriptive studies can be done fairly quickly and easily. It allows all stake-holders to allocate resources and provide the first important clues about possible determinants of a problem which is very useful for the formulation of hypotheses. Descriptive studies include:
1. Case reports/case series’ which are a careful, detailed report by one or more persons of the profile of an incident or problem and 2. Analytic studies which are used to test hypothesis concerning the relationship between a suspected risk factor and an outcome and to measure the magnitude of the association and its statistical significance. Analytic study designs can be divided into two broad design strategies which are Observational and Intervention. With the Observational studies no human intervention is involved. The researcher simply observes the problem and though this allows for the results to be potentially biased, the potential biases can be minimized with careful design and analysis. With the Intervention studies, the...