The chapter offers a detailed description of the approaches, procedures, and techniques the researcher employed to satisfy the purpose and objectives of the investigation. It covers a range of research methodology components, including research approach, research design, and research tools. Research methodology for scientific studies, according to scholars such as Uwe Flick (2015), refers to a set of systematic procedures and techniques a study adopts to identify, select, process, and analyze information on a subject under investigation. For this particular investigation, we adopt a quantitative research method that assumes a descriptive design with a survey used as a data collection tool.
3.2 Research Methodology
The research method ideal for the fulfillment of the objectives of investigation is quantitative research. Quantitative research for Teresa Hagan (2014) refers to a structured empirical investigation of an observable phenomenon by collecting measurable data through statistical, computational, or mathematical techniques. This method’s principal objective is to come up with statistical models, frameworks, or hypotheses regarding a topic under investigation (Kumar, 2019). In other words, it is used where there is a need to measure the relationship between different variables in a phenomenon. As such, quantitative research can either adopt a descriptive or experimental design.
Descriptive research highlights the nature of the relationship between independent and dependent variables in the study. On the other hand, an experimental approach establishes the casualty between variables (Hagan, 2014). Characteristics of quantitative analysis are plenty, including: first, the researcher gathers data using systematized research tools. Second, the data collection outcome is usually based on a significantly larger sample size that sufficiently represents the population. Third, research has more excellent reliability; this can be repeated or replicated. Fourth, the researcher carefully designs the examination before the data collection process (Novikov and Novikov, 2013). Fifth, data is presented in figures, charts, tables, statistics, numbers, or several other non-textual formats.
The quantitative research method’s inclination for this investigation is that it is more scientific, fast, acceptable, objective, and focused. As a more scientific method, quantitative research allows researchers to gather a large amount of data and analyze it statistically (Kumar, 2019). By doing so, it eliminates possibilities of bias thus increasing the reliability of research. The objectivity of the research is also maintained, unlike the case of qualitative research methods. In quantitative research, the examiner has clearly defined the research problem and established questions to which he/she seeks answers without bias.
Moreover, the justifications for the method include generalizability, larger sample size, fast, and acceptability. Quantitative research enables research to generalize concepts, theories, and models more widely (Novikov and Novikov, 2013). It is more suitable where the sample is large enough to reflect the general population. The suitability of a larger sample size is its capacity to offer statistically valid results. It is more focused and fast in the sense that an investigator begins by defining and determining the research design before testing theories and hypotheses (Novikov and Novikov, 2013). The data collection process is also quick given structured instruments and data analysis method that is less time-consuming. It is acceptable among scientists and influential people like donors, sponsors, administrators, and politicians.
An advantage of quantitative research is that it can be performed remotely. The quantitative investigation does not require research participants to report to a specific location to disperse data. Depending on the type of data collection method and tools, research can engage participants on phones, email, websites, or other methods that allow for a participant to disseminate information remotely. For instance, in determining the effectiveness of teaching visual programming languages “scratch” to enhance creativity and problem-solving skills in primary schools, surveys can be conducted using questionnaires that can be sent to different participants across Saudi Arabia.
Another advantage is that it uses randomized samples. Sometimes when research subjects notice that a study intends to achieve a specific outcome, their personal bias may extend to the kind of responses they give. This is in the sense that the answers they offer may be partial truths or lies entirely. Because of this, a significant number of researchers prefer quantitative analysis. In this type of research, data collection is more objective, unbiased, and focused due to the ability to randomize samples over large population demography (Novikov and Novikov, 2013). Although risks of error may apply, the quantitative method offers the most factual and accurate outcome of an investigation.
However, its inability to consider the meaning behind social phenomena makes it disadvantageous. As mentioned earlier in the chapter, the purpose of the method is to seek quantifiable answers that prove or disprove a particular thesis or model. In this case, its usefulness is in determining the effectiveness of teaching programming visuals in primary schools. It does not care about the motives people have for sharing their views and opinions regarding the use of the subject matter. Additionally, the purpose of the method is to measure a social phenomenon and to report it at present without tracking measurable changes in the future.
3.3 Research Design
The research design refers to the strategy a researcher employs to integrate various elements of a study logically and coherently, thus ensuring the research problem is sufficiently addressed (Jagtap and Jagtap, S 2015). It constitutes the roadmap or blueprint for which a researcher collects, measures, and analyzes data. In the quantitative research method, there is a diverse range of research designs, including correlational, descriptive, experimental, quasi/comparative experimental research designs (Plomp, 2013). Each of these designs serves different purposes and is suited to the different nature of a research problem.
Thus, the most suitable research design for the topic under investigation was a descriptive research approach. According to Jean Ivey (2016), a descriptive research approach provides a detailed description of the characteristics of a phenomenon or population being studied. The approach aims to answer the “what” of the research problem as opposed to the “when” “how” or “why” (Nassaji, 2015). For instance, “what is the relationship between teaching visual programming language “Scratch” and enhancing creativity and problem-solving.” The approach’s importance is that it seeks to acknowledge and understand what a research problem is about before proceeding to investigate why it exists.
The application of descriptive research is diverse and may include measuring data trends, conducting comparisons, and validating existing conditions (Ivey, 2016). Statistical techniques can be used to provide a descriptive aspect of a trend. Phone manufacturers employ descriptive research to determine what types of smartphones would sell well and which ones would perform poorly. The approach can also be instrumental in comparing performance products or services such as sports apparel from different brands. Descriptive research can be used to ascertain or invalidate underlying conditions or patterns (Plomp, 2013). For example, in the research, it was used to validate or invalidate the role of the visual programming language in primary schools.
3.4 Research Tool
A suitable strategy selected for the analysis is known as the survey. It is a quantitative data collection method that is also an example of descriptive research. The survey is the world’s most popular and most used data collection method among empirical researchers. It involves using a set of questions to extract specific data on a subject matter from a particular group of respondents. Surveys can serve multiple purposes ranging from gaining information to gaining valuable insights into different topics of interest (Callegaro, Manfreda, and Vehovar, 2015). Research can also utilize surveys in various ways, including face-to-face interviews, internet, mail, or phone. In specific, the researcher selected an online survey to fulfill the objective of the research.
An online survey is a web-based survey, a study conducted over the internet. Paradis, O’Brien, Nimmon, Bandiera, and Martimianakis (2016) view an online survey as a method where a researcher issues structured questions that respondents must complete over the internet. Generally, an online survey involves filling out a form and submitting it to the researcher. It is a more natural and efficient way to reach out to a diverse range of respondents worldwide, with minimal costs and time incurred (Callegaro, Manfreda, and Vehovar, 2015). Therefore, the researcher gathers data by sending copies of forms, including a set of questions on the topic under investigation to multiple respondents on multiple digital platforms to fill out and send back.
Another online survey tool used for the data collection was an open-ended questionnaire. An open-ended questionnaire contains questions that allow a respondent to answer in open text format based on their understanding, feelings, and knowledge (Krosnick, 2018). As opposed to a closed-ended questionnaire, a respondent is not limited to a set of options. Simply, these questions cannot be answered with a “yes” or “not” static response (Krosnick, 2018). As such, respondents may offer further opinions, justifications, motives, or explanations for their answers. The questionnaire is also suitable in situations where respondents will be required to explain their feedback or offer further insights into the use of Scratch as a visual programming language.
The main advantages of using an online questionnaire include ease of participation, efficiency, and accuracy. With technology growing at an exponential rate, a majority of people in Saudi Arabia and beyond have greater access to the internet. Ease of participation comes about as respondents prefer receiving surveys over email or websites and can choose a suitable time and place to register their responses. The web-based survey’s efficiency includes an increased rate of participation and interestingly low costs and time consumption. Sullivan-Bolyai, Bova, and Singh (2014) demonstrate that margins of error in online surveys are significantly low, increasing the accuracy of the responses.
A disadvantage of the online survey includes the inability to explore responses of the open-ended questionnaires, including difficulty expressing views. Primarily, online surveys are conducted in the absence of an interviewer. That being so, it is a risky method of collecting data using open-ended questions. This is because the absence of an interviewer makes it challenging to interpret and contextualize questions or even explore the participants’ responses (Krosnick, 2018). On the other hand, literal responses can be challenging for people who find it difficult to express their views and opinions as far as open-ended questionnaires are concerned.
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