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Independent dependent and moderating variables

CHAPTER 3

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction

Research methodology is a science of studying how research is done scientifically. It is a way to solve the research problem systematically by adopting various steps logically. Methodology can properly refer to the theoretical analysis of the methods appropriate to a field of study or to the body of methods and principles particular to a branch of knowledge and helps to understand not only the products of scientific inquiry but the process itself. The aims are to describe and analyze methods, throw light on their limitation and resources, clarify their presuppositions and consequences, relating their potentialities to the twilight zone at the frontiers of knowledge. Most sciences have their own specific scientific methods, which are supported by methodologies (Sridhar, 1978).


In the first section of this chapter, the research design is described. Generally, social sciences are using quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods approaches. Quantitative methods are including hypothesis testing, met analysis, power analysis, re-sampling, observational studies, regression analysis, randomized controlled trials, and high-dimensional analysis. Qualitative methods include case study, phenomenology, and so on. This chapter describes the population, sampling frame, and explains the method to be used to test hypothesis. The chapter also describes scientific methods we have chosen in our study and we will discuss how we obtained the secondary data. This chapter will also discuss how we decide the method and discuss some preconceptions of authors' are presented. How we design our theoretical framework is described in a detailed way and the questionnaires are develop for this study which are used to examine the possibility of core and peripheral values. The chapter is concluded with a description of the statistical procedures used in the analyses of the data, as well as a description of the research objectives.


3.2 Theoretical Frameworks

The methodology is developed based on the theoretical framework shown above. The theoretical framework elaborates the relationships among the variables, explains the theory underlying these relations, and describes the nature and direction of the relationship. This research will study and investigate the effects of the language use by different ethnic groups in university.


Based on the theoretical framework, the independent variables can be separate into four categories which are language proficiency, language conflict, acculturation and motivation to learn and interaction potential. The four categories of independent variables which are chosen will influence the dependent variables. The dependent variables are including efficiency and effectiveness, teamwork spirit, and improvement of the intercultural communication. Figure 3.2.1 provides an overview of the conceptual framework of the study. The framework will be shown in diagrammatically form, or model, showing the variables and the relationship between the variables and an explanation why these relationships are expected and the important concepts and hypotheses in this study.


3.3 Independent variables


3.3.1 Language Proficiency

Language proficiency is the ability to talk or speak in a required language. Language use by different ethnic groups in university can improve the communication skills among students. When students use the same language to communicate all the time, they can enhance their language skills especially during presentation and discussion since some foreign students are lack of fluency of the language use in the university. In addition, the language proficiency can magnify the efficiency and effectiveness in their education and social life. The language proficiency can lead to the development of knowledge, motivation, and behaviors between each other in the groups.


3.3.2 Language Conflict

Language is a question of since language is a national symbol in an ethnic group. Therefore, conflicts always occur when there are languages barriers during communication among different ethnic groups in university. Different ethnic groups may have different values on either group membership or individual self- determination. The misunderstandings easily to occur since the different ethnic group's ideas or opinions due to the cultural are differences.


3.3.3 Acculturation and motivation to learn

The intercultural communication will increase acculturation and motivation to learn among different ethnic groups. In different ethnic groups, individual communication behavior can motivate the spontaneous among group members. In addition, the students tend to have high degree of sincerity in improving their knowledge when using the same language during communication. Furthermore, diligent studies and practices by using same language can motivate members between each other.


3.3.4 Interaction potential

The language use during communication can increase the interaction potential between different ethnic groups. The interaction between different ethnic groups in the university can influence the spreading of assimilation. In addition, good social interaction between different ethnic groups can enhance the group solidarity. The intercultural communication can lead to the intercultural awareness and intercultural adroitness.


3.4 Dependent variables


3.4.1 Efficiency and effectiveness

Efficiency is Effectiveness is the quality of attainment in meeting objectives for a task. Group assimilation can be developed towards different ethnic groups in the university. Racial diversity may be reduced when students use the same language to communicate in the university. In addition, students can have the better decision during discussion for their assignment or project. They can also complete their tasks in a specific time when they use the same language to communicate.


3.4.2 Teamwork Spirit

Language use by different ethnic groups can increase the intercultural communication skills. Good interaction between different ethnic groups can enhance the group solidarity especially during doing assignment or project. In addition, group motivation can be achieved when using the same language during communication among different ethnic groups. Furthermore, the friendship networks also will be developed among different ethnic groups.


3.4.3 Improvement of the intercultural communication

Intercultural communication can lead to the reduction of bias and prejudice. Cross-cultural level will rise when the intercultural communication is developing. Acculturation can be magnified by intercultural communication among different ethnic groups. High satisfaction of intercultural communication is predicted by competent intercultural communication.


3.5 Moderating variables

The moderating variable is one that has a strong contingent effect on the independent and dependent variables relationship. For example, gender is the moderating variable because it moderates or changes the relationship between independent variable and dependent variable. In correlation, a moderating is a third variable that affect the correlation of two variables. Most of the moderating variables measure casual relationship using regression coefficient. In ANOVA, the moderating variable effect is represented by the infraction effect between the dependent variable and the factor variable.


3.6 Sources of Data

In this research, both primary and secondary data are used. Secondary data are used to identify the relevant studies and researches that have been conducted by other researchers. These include journal, articles, books, government statistical reports and other sources of findings. On the other hand, primary data is comprised by the survey questionnaires which will be disseminated to the students in Multimedia University Malacca.


3.7 Data Collection Method

In order to understand about the intercultural communication which is affected by language use in university for different ethnic groups, questionnaires will be used as the main primary data collection method. The reason of using questionnaires is because it is more cost-saving, lesser time consuming with high response rates and effective way to obtain data needed from a large number of respondents in a specific period of time. The questionnaires consist of both close format questions. The close format questions take the form of a multiple-choice question were used to identify the respondents' agreement and disagreement in the survey questionnaires. By restricting the area of answer set, it will be easier to calculate and analyze the statistical data we obtain. The respondents' personnel information will not be recorded in the questionnaires exclude their name in order to increase the reliability and accuracy of the data collected.


The mode of data collection is self-administered surveys (mail and online). It is because respondents can answer at their own convenience place. Surveys are easily delivered wherever the mail or email goes, and no interviewer is present to inject bias in the way the questions are asked. Drop-off approach is usually used to distribute questionnaires when self-administered survey is the mode of data collection. The survey forms will be distributed to MMU students in the class. The respondent is introduced with general purpose of the survey is left for the respondent to fill out on his or her own. This methods is used because it has minimal interviewer influence on the answer, high response rate and inexpensive.


No research study should be undertaken without a prior search of secondary data. Secondary data are helpful in designing subsequent primary research and, as well, can provide a baseline with which to compare your primary data collection results. Therefore, it is always wise to begin any research activity with a review of the secondary data. Most of the journals and articles are collected through the internet online information database because it is the quickest way and low cost to gain secondary data. However, the primary data will be used in this research and the data collected will be analyzed by using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS).


3.8 Questionnaire Design

In order to understand the student's decision process, the norm method to measure and examine the process is questionnaire. A set of questionnaires is required and develop for the purpose of collecting primary data (Appendix A). Questionnaire is used to translate the research objectives into specific questions in order to ask the respondents. It standardized the questions and every participant respond to identical questions and it will serve as a permanent record for this research.


In this research study, I choose to use the Likert Scale developed by Rensis Likert (Wuensch, 2005). Likert Scale is a psychometric scale commonly used in questionnaires, and it is the most widely used scale in the survey research.


A technique to obtain the student's comments and responses, some information are needed in the questionnaires. First, respondents' profile such as age, races, gender, religion and nationality are needed to show in the questionnaires. Next, the influences of language use towards respondents' decision are important too. In addition, the questionnaires also need to show the importance of language use by students in university. Finally, the information that is needed including in the questionnaires is the satisfaction level of respondents toward intercultural communication within different ethnic groups in university.


From the statement above, the questionnaire consists of four sections that participants will respond by using Likert-scale. The Part B to Part H of the questionnaire will have the response categories as follow:

1 = Strong Disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Neutral

4 = Agree

5 = Strong Agree


3.9 Pilot of Study

Pilot study refers to mini versions of full-scale study as well as the specific pre-testing of particular research instrument such as questionnaires or interview schedule. In addition, it is also called as “feasibility” study. Pilot study is important for a good study design because it can fulfill a range of important functions and provides valuable insights for other researchers. One of the advantage of pilot study is it might give advance warning about where the main research project could fail, where research protocols may not be followed, or whether proposed methods or instruments are inappropriate or complicated. Besides that, pilot study also helps to identify potential practical problems in following the research process (Teijlingen and Hundley, 2001).


In this research project, I will use questionnaires to collect the data. Therefore, the validity and reliability of the study is very important. Validity determines whether the research is truly measured what it was intended to measure or how truthful the results are. Joppe (2000), the reliability refers as the extent to which the results are consistent over time and an accurate representation of the total population under the study. If the results of a study can be reproduced under similar methodology, then the research instrument is considered to be reliable.


3.10 Sampling Design and Technique

In this research project, sample of the population will be used as the respondents. This is due to the time and research constraints, including cost and data and difficulty in approaching the whole population due to the huge population size. Population refers to the entire group, events, or things of interest that the researchers want to investigate (Sekaran, 2003).


Sampling method that is adopted is simple random sampling. This sampling method minimizes bias and simplifies analysis of results. It may produce most accurate and economic results. However, it can be vulnerable to sampling error because of the randomness of the selection may result in a sample that does not reflect the make-up of the population.


In this study, I am investigating the effects of language use towards students in university. Therefore, a systematic sampling approach is being used. The population of this study is all students who are currently studying in Multimedia University Malacca. A total of 100 questionnaires will be distributed to the students. With the amount of 100 respondents, I believe that I will be able to obtain sufficient information that is required for the data analysis purpose. Beside, it is also possible for me to have efficiency, effective and more accurate results for this research. In addition, by providing the questionnaire randomly to the respondents, biases can be avoided during the process of conducting the surveys.


3.11 Validity

Validity is the extent to which a test measures what it claims to measure. It is vital for a test to be valid in order for the results to be accurately applied and interpreted. It is a body of research that demonstrates the relationship between the test and the behavior it is intended to measure.


Content of validity refers to the extent that the items included in the questionnaire represent the universe of the concept being measured. The items on the test represent the entire range of possible items that the test should cover. For example, an instrument is measuring the improvement of the intercultural communication which should include items that relate to all the dimensions of improvement of the intercultural communication such as acculturation and motivation to learn, interaction potential and so on.


Criterion-related validity refers to extent to which an instrument differentiates individuals based on some particular criterion. There are two types of criterion validity. First, Concurrent Validity is achieved when individuals who are known to be different based on some criterion respond differently on the test instrument. For example, on a test that measures levels of depression, the test would be said to have concurrent validity if it measured the current levels of depression experienced by the test taker. However, Predictive Validity is the ability of the instrument to discriminate among individual with respect to a future criterion. For example, the test with predictive validity is career or aptitude tests, which is helpful in determining who is likely to succeed or fail in certain subjects or occupations.


The construct validity of an instrument assesses to which the items included in the instrument covers all the components of the concept being measured based on some underlying theory regarding the concept (Sekaran, 2003).


3.12 Reliability

The reliability of a measure or an instrument refers to two important aspects of the instrument namely stability and consistency with which the instrument measures the concept and helps to assess the goodness of a measure.


Test-retest reliability is used to assess the consistency of a measure from one time to another. The higher it is the better the test-retest reliability, and consequently, the stability of the measure across time.


Parallel-from reliability is used to assess the consistency of the result of two constructed in the same way from the same content domain. The highly correlated, we may be fairly certain that the measures are reasonable reliable, with minimal error variance caused by wording, ordering, or other factors (Sekaran, 2003).


Internal consistency reliability is indicative of the homogeneity of the items in the measure that tap the construct. The most common test for inter item consistency is the Cronbach's alpha (Cronbach, 1946) which is appropriate for a multi point scaled item and the Kuder-Richardson formula (Kuder-Richardson, 1937) for the dichotomous items such as gender.


3.13 Cronbach's alpha

Cronbach's alpha is a reliability coefficient that indicates how well the items in a set are positively correlated to one another. It is computed in terms of the average inter-correlations among the items measuring the concept. If the average inter-item correlation is low, alpha will low (Sekaran, 2003). As the average inter-item increases, then the Cronbach's alpha increases as well. Cronbach's Alpha reading close to 1, with 0.5 reading would still be regarded as acceptable and sufficient for basic research (Nunnally, 1975).


3.14 Data Analysis


3.14.1 Descriptive statistics

Descriptive statistics are distinguished from inferential statistics which often be used to describe the data set. In this context, for each variable is its good practice to compute summary measures such as the minimum, maximum, mean, median, mode. In addition, the measures of dispersion such as the standard deviation, variance, range and so on also will be computed by descriptive statistics.


The minimum and maximum values are useful for checking errors in the data entered. The mean value is affected by extreme values can also be useful in indicating such error.


The various measures of location such as mean, median, and the mode and the measures of dispersion are efficient in the symmetry of the distribution data, which is useful in determining the type of tests that can be applied on the data. In this context, it is worth noting that for parametric test the distribution of the data being normal or at least symmetrical is an important precondition (Sekaran, 2003).


3.14.2 Exploratory factor analysis

Exploratory factor analysis will be conducted on all items in the instrument. The step is very important to ensure that the items on the survey are independently measured the theoretical constructs they were intended to measure. Hence, the composite scale is constructed based on the theoretical framework. In other word, the varimax rotated factors matrix results indicate the most meaningful dimensions of the instrument (Sekaran, 2003).


3.14.3 Inferential statistics

Process of statistic from sampled of a population and making inferences or conclusion about the population. Inferential statistic has two approaches. First, sampling must be conducted to be representative of the underlying population. Second, the procedures must be capable of drawing correct conclusions about the population. Inferential statistic is a technique to test whether the differences in a dependent variable that are associated with the various conditions of an experiment reliable that is larger than expectation on the basis of error variation alone (Sekaran, 2003).


Most of the major inferential statistics come from the General Linear Model. This includes the t-test, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), chi-square (X2 Test), correlation coefficient (r), and many of the multivariate methods like factor analysis, multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis, and so on (Trochim, 2006).


3.14.4 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)

Giving the main objective of the study is to identify the intercultural communication is affected by language use in university for different ethnic groups, the analysis of variance (ANOVA) and t-test are being used to analyze data collected. Chi-square is a nonparametric statistical technique used to determine if a distribution of observed frequencies different from the theoretical expected frequencies. Chi-square statistic uses frequencies instead of using means and variances because it uses nominal or ordinal level data (Mamahlodi, 2006).


3.14.5 Correlation coefficient

Correlation coefficient indicates the strength and direction of a linear relationship between two random variables. In general statistical usage, correlation or co-relation is refers to the departure of two random variables from independence. In this broad sense there are several coefficients, measuring the degree of correlation, adapted to the nature of the data (Sekaran, 2003).


3.15 Hypotheses Development

Once we have identified the important variables and established the relationships among them through reasoning in the theoretical framework, we need to test that whether the relationships that have been theorized is true or not. A systematic approach to assessing it is called hypothesis testing. By testing these relationships scientifically through appropriate statistical analyses, or through negative cases analysis in qualitative research, we are able to obtain reliable information in what kinds of relationship exist among the variables operating in the problem situation. Process of formulating such testable statement is called hypothesis development. A hypothesis is defined as a logically conjectured relationship between two or more variables expressed in the form of a testable statement. The first step of hypothesis testing always involves constructing two mutually exclusive hypotheses- the null hypothesis (H0) and the alternative hypothesis (HA). The null hypothesis is a propositional that states a definite, exact relationship between two variables. Generally, the null statement is expressed as no (significant) relationship between two groups. The alternative hypothesis which is the opposite of the null hypothesis is a statement expressing relationship between two variables or indicating differences between groups. Relationships are conjectures on the basis of the network associations established in the theoretical framework formulated for the research study. By testing hypothesis, it is expected to find the solutions to correct the problem encountered (Sekaran, 2003). Thereby, it is hypothesized that


H 1: The higher language proficiency of language use, the higher the efficiency and effectiveness.


The language proficiency of language use by different ethnic group in university will affect the efficiency and effectiveness. The higher language proficiency of language use in university, will lead to the higher efficiency and effectiveness of different ethnic group. Students which are from different ethnic groups can improve their language proficiency when they communicate with certain language use usually.


H 2: The higher language conflict, the lower the efficiency and effectiveness.


There are different backgrounds and cultures for different ethnic groups in university. There is easy to lead to conflict during communication especially during discussion for assignment and project. Therefore, the higher language conflict, the lower the efficiency and effectiveness.


H 3: The higher acculturation and motivation to learn, the higher the efficiency and effectiveness.


Most of people will take an action or do something by motivation. The students from different ethnic groups will more interest in their education as the language use is uniform for all students. They will have the acculturation and motivation to learn for their better future. Therefore, the higher acculturation and motivation to learn, the higher the efficiency and effectiveness.


H 4: The higher interaction potential, the higher the efficiency and effectiveness.


Communication is crucial for all students in university. Students must have good interaction between each other although are from different ethnic groups. The uniform language use in the university can improve the interaction potential between different ethnic groups. Consequently, the higher interaction potential, the higher the efficiency and effectiveness.


H 5: The more language conflict, the lower the teamwork spirit.


The conflicts often happen since students are from different ethnic groups which have different backgrounds and cultures. Normally, the conflict occurs during discussion especially when doing assignment or project. This will lead to the broken of teamwork spirit as they cannot accept the ideas and tolerant between each other. Therefore, the more language conflict happens, the lower the teamwork spirit.


H 6: The higher interaction potential, the higher the improvement of intercultural communication.


The language use by different ethnic groups in university can enhance the interaction between each other since they are using the uniform language to communicate. This will lead to the improvement of intercultural communication. Therefore, the higher interaction potential, the higher the improvement of intercultural communication.


H7: There is a relationship between gender and teamwork spirit.


The gender may affect the teamwork spirit of different ethnic groups. Mostly, the females will have more teamwork spirit if compare with males.


H 8: There is as relationship between races and teamwork spirit and intercultural communication.


The different races may affect the teamwork spirit and intercultural communication too. The local students will have the higher teamwork spirit and intercultural communication than foreign students.


H 9: There is a relationship between age and efficiency and effectiveness and teamwork spirit.


The efficiency and effectiveness and teamwork spirit have the relationship with the age. The greater level age may have higher efficiency and effectiveness and teamwork spirit.


H 10: There is a relationship between religion and teamwork spirit and the improvement of intercultural communication.


The different religion also has the relationship with the teamwork spirit and the improvement of intercultural communication. Most of students will have their higher teamwork spirit and intercultural communication with those students from similar cultures or religion.


H 11: There is a relationship between nationality and the improvement of intercultural communication.


The different nationality of different ethnic groups in university has the relationship with the improvement of intercultural communication. The intercultural communication normally will improve among students from different ethnic groups but from same nationality.


3.16 Summary

In this chapter three, the theoretical framework which focuses on the ways dependent variable is linked to the independent variables. In hypothesis development discussion, I will test and investigate that what kinds of relationship exist among independent, dependent and moderating variables operating in problem solution. In sampling design and technique, the things that will be determined and discussed are number of respondents, sampling method used and respondent of the study. Then, it will be followed by data collection method, which discuss about the ways to collect primary data. The types of analysis that will be used in this research to analyze collected data are stated in the chapter. Justifications for each method adopted are provided. Finally, this chapter three ends up with the summary of the chapter.