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A Sample Thesis Methodology

 

 

 

Chapter 4: Methodology

Overview

            This research was conducted in order to determine whether personality questionnaire play a significant role in the recruitment and appraisal of the employees. The advantages and disadvantages as well as the reliability of this instrument were also part of the objectives. In order to answer these research goals, the researcher opted to obtain the view of human resource employees in line with this topic. Specifically, a total of 60 respondents from 10 companies within London were randomly selected to make up the sample. Selected participants answered a survey questionnaire structure in Likert format. Data gathered from this research instrument were then computed for interpretation. Along with primary data, the researcher also made use of secondary resources in the form of published articles and literatures to support the survey results.

Research Design

The descriptive method of research was used for this study. To define the descriptive type of research, Creswell (1994) stated that the descriptive method of research is to gather information about the present existing condition. The emphasis is on describing rather than on judging or interpreting. The aim of descriptive research is to verify formulated hypotheses that refer to the present situation in order to elucidate it. The descriptive approach is quick and practical in terms of the financial aspect.  Moreover, this method allows a flexible approach, thus, when important new issues and questions arise during the duration of the study, further investigation may be conducted.   

Descriptive research on the other hand is a type of research that is mainly concerned with describing the nature or condition and the degree in detail of the present situation.  This method is used to describe the nature of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study and to explore the cause/s of particular a phenomenon.  The aim of descriptive research is to obtain an accurate profile of the people, events or situations. With this research type, it is essential that the researcher already has a clear view or picture of the phenomena being investigated before the data collection procedure is carried out. The researcher used this kind of research to obtain first hand data from the respondents so as to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study. The descriptive approach is quick and practical in terms of the financial aspect.   

In this study, the descriptive research method was employed so as to identify the role and significance of using personality questionnaire in recruiting and selecting employees during the time of research. The researcher opted to use this research method considering the objective to obtain first hand data from the respondents. The descriptive method is advantageous for the researcher due to its flexibility; this method can use either qualitative or quantitative data or both, giving the researcher greater options in selecting the instrument for data-gathering. The aim of the research is to determine the role of personality questionnaire in human resource processes as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using psychometric testing in the recruitment and appraisal of employees; the descriptive method is then appropriate for this research since this method is used for gathering prevailing conditions.  

The research is using human resource management employees as respondents from ten companies in London in order to gather relevant data; the descriptive method is then appropriate as this can allow the identification of the similarities and differences of the respondents’ answers. For this research, two types of data were gathered. These included the primary and secondary data types. The primary data were derived form the answers the participants gave during the survey process. The secondary data on the other hand, were obtained from published documents and literatures that were relevant to personality questionnaire. With the use of the survey questionnaire and published literatures, this study took on the combined quantitative and qualitative approach of research. By means of employing this combined approach, the researcher was able to obtain the advantages of both quantitative and qualitative approaches and overcome their limitations.  

Quantitative data collection methods are centred on the quantification of relationships between variables. Quantitative data-gathering instruments establish relationship between measured variables. When these methods are used, the researcher is usually detached from the study and the final output is context free. Measurement, numerical data and statistics are the main substance of quantitative instruments. With these instruments, an explicit description of data collection and analysis of procedures are necessary. An approach that is primarily deductive reasoning, it prefers the least complicated explanation and gives a statement of statistical probability. The quantitative approach is more on the detailed description of a phenomenon. It basically gives a generalization of the gathered data with tentative synthesized interpretations.

Quantitative approach is useful as it helps the researcher to prevent bias in gathering and presenting research data. Quantitative data collection procedures create epistemological postulations that reality is objective and unitary, which can only be realized by means of transcending individual perspective. This phenomenon in turn should be discussed or explained by means of data analysis gathered through objective forms of measurement. The quantitative data gathering methods are useful especially when a study needs to measure the cause and effect relationships evident between pre-selected and discrete variables. The purpose of the quantitative approach is to avoid subjectivity by means of collecting and exploring information which describes the experience being studied.  

Quantitative methods establish very specific research problem and terms. The controlled observations, mass surveys, laboratory experiments and other means of research manipulation in qualitative method makes gathered data more reliable. In other words, subjectivity of judgment, which is not needed in a thesis discussion, can be avoided through quantitative methods. Thus, conclusions, discussion and experimentation involved in the process are more objective. Variables, both dependent and independent, that are needed in the study are clearly and precisely specified in a quantitative study. In addition, quantitative method enables longitudinal measures of subsequent performance of the respondents. Fryer (1991) noted that qualitative researchers aim to decode, describe, analyze and interpret accurately the meaning of a certain phenomena happening in their customary social contexts. The focus of the researchers utilizing the framework of the interpretative paradigm is on the investigation of authenticity, complexity, contextualization, mutual subjectivity of the researcher and the respondent as well as the reduction of illusion.  

Contrary to the quantitative method, qualitative approach generates verbal information rather than numerical values (Polgar & Thomas, 1995). Instead of using statistical analysis, the qualitative approach utilizes content or holistic analysis; to explain and comprehend the research findings, inductive and not deductive reasoning is used. The main point of the quantitative research method is that measurement is valid, reliable and can be generalized with its clear anticipation of cause and effect (Cassell & Symon, 1994). Being particularistic and deductive in nature, quantitative method is dependent on the formulation of a research hypothesis and confirming them empirically using a specific data set (Frankfort-Nachmias & Nachmias, 1992). The scientific hypothesis of a quantitative method holds no value. This means that the researcher’s personal thoughts, subjective preferences and biases are not applicable to this type of research method. 

The researcher opted to integrate the qualitative approach in this study due to its significant advantages. The use of qualitative data gathering method is advantageous as they are more open to changes and refinement of research ideas as the study progresses; this implies that qualitative data gathering tools are highly flexible. Moreover, no manipulation of the research setting is necessary with this method; rather than employ various research controls such as in experimental approaches, the qualitative data gathering methods are only centered on understanding the occurring phenomena in their naturally occurring states. Aside from these advantages, researchers use qualitative data-gathering tools as some previous researchers believe that qualitative data are particularly attractive as they provide rich and well-grounded descriptions and explanations as well as unforeseen findings for new theory construction. One of the notable strengths of the qualitative instruments is that they evoke a more realistic feeling of the research setting which cannot be obtained from statistical analysis and numerical data utilized through quantitative means. These data collection methods allow flexibility in conducting data gathering, research analysis and interpretation of gathered information. In addition, qualitative method allows the presentation of the phenomenon being investigated in a more holistic view. 

Participants

            In order to determine whether personality questionnaire does play an important role in conducting human resource processes, a total of 40 respondents were asked to participate. To achieve pertinent information, certain inclusion criteria were imposed. The participants qualified for sample selection must be staff or employees of their respective companies’ human resource department. This qualification ensured that the participants understand the nature of personality questionnaire and its use for employment, making the survey items easy for them to accomplish. The respondents were selected from eight companies in London, thus, a total of five employees were selected for every company; as the study also aimed to determine whether personality questionnaire play an important role in conducting recruitment and appraisal procedures, the researcher did not consider choosing companies that are actually applying this mode of employee selection or evaluation.  

Simple random sampling was done for the sample selection. This sampling method is conducted where each member of a population has an equal opportunity to become part of the sample. As all members of the population have an equal chance of becoming a research participant, this is said to be the most efficient sampling procedure. In order to conduct this sampling strategy, the researcher defined the population first, listed down all the members of the population and then selected members to make the sample. For this procedure, the lottery sampling or the fish bowl technique was employed. This method involves the selection of the sample at random from the sampling frame through the use of random number tables (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2003). Numbers were assigned for each employee in the master list. These numbers were written on pieces of paper and drawn from a box; the process was repeated until the sample size was reached. 

Instruments

The survey questionnaire was used as the main data-gathering instrument for this study (See Appendix A). The questionnaire was divided into two main sections: a profile and the survey proper. The profile contains socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents such as age, gender, civil status, the number of years they had served the company as well as their assigned job position. The survey proper explored the perceptions of employees on personality questionnaire, particularly on its usability and reliability as an employment selection and appraisal tool. The questionnaire proper section also contains questions that identify the advantages and disadvantages of using personality questionnaires in the department. The questions were structure using the Likert format. In this survey type, four choices are provided for every question or statement. The choices represent the degree of agreement each respondent has on the given question. The scale below was used to interpret the total responses of all the respondents for every survey question by computing the weighted mean:

Range                                                Interpretation

3.01 – 4.00                                        Strongly Agree

2.01 – 3.00                                        Agree

1.01 – 2.00                                        Disagree       

0.00 – 1.00                                        Strongly Disagree

     

The Likert survey was the selected questionnaire type as this enabled the respondents to answer the survey easily. In addition, this research instrument allowed the research to carry out the quantitative approach effectively with the use of statistics for data interpretation. In order to test the validity of the questionnaire used for the study, the researcher tested the questionnaire to five respondents. These respondents as well as their answers were not part of the actual study process and were only used for testing purposes. After the questions have been answered, the researcher asked the respondents for any suggestions or any necessary corrections to ensure further improvement and validity of the instrument. The researcher revised the survey questionnaire based on the suggestion of the respondents. The researcher then excluded irrelevant questions and changed vague or difficult terminologies into simpler ones in order to ensure comprehension. 

Data Processing and Analysis

After gathering all the completed questionnaires from the respondents, total responses for each item were obtained and tabulated. In order to use the Likert-scale for interpretation, weighted mean to represent each question was computed. Weighted mean is the average wherein every quantity to be averages has a corresponding weight. These weights represent the significance of each quantity to the average. To compute for the weighted mean, each value must be multiplied by its weight. Products should then be added to obtain the total value. The total weight should also be computed by adding all the weights. The total value is then divided by the total weight. Statistically, the weighted mean is calculated using the following formula:
 

       or  

Ethical Considerations

As this study required the participation of human respondents, specifically human resource professionals, certain ethical issues were addressed. The consideration of these ethical issues was necessary for the purpose of ensuring the privacy as well as the safety of the participants. Among the significant ethical issues that were considered in the research process include consent and confidentiality. In order to secure the consent of the selected participants, the researcher relayed all important details of the study, including its aim and purpose. By explaining these important details, the respondents were able to understand the importance of their role in the completion of the research. The respondents were also advised that they could withdraw from the study even during the process. With this, the participants were not forced to participate in the research. The confidentiality of the participants was also ensured by not disclosing their names or personal information in the research. Only relevant details that helped in answering the research questions were included. 

 

 

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