Research methods exercises: quantitative method and ethnography

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The question/hypothesis for this quantitative/SPSS assignment is ‘How worried about being mugged or robbed are women within society? Within any research proposal the hypothesis can be defined as a clear, precise statement of what is actually intended to be analysed and investigated for the research proposal. (Young 2002). Any hypothesis should be specified prior to any research is commenced. Hypothesis testing is categorised into a four step procedure which includes the hypothesis (Null or Alternative, selling the criteria for a decision, collecting the data gathered and evaluate the null hypothesis.

When evaluating the findings from the hypothesis question, validity and reliability measures are required by the researcher. Reliability is the degree to which an assessment tool will produce consistent result findings within the research.

…..”Where we obtain the same results on repeated occasions. If people answer a question in the same way on repeated occasions than it is reliable”….. (De Vaur, 2002:62)

Validity refers to how well in a test measure what it is measuring.

…..”The extent to which a measure can be shown to measure what it purports or intends to measure”….. (Cramer 2012).

For any study the data collected needs to be subjected to analysis and evaluation for it to have any meaning, however, caution is necessary to avoid claiming too much when examine a set of quantitative results (Robson 1999). The nominal data will be generated and subjected to statistical procedures using the computer system called Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS), this system of collecting research data reflects the growing diversity of the user base and not just within criminology.

In the proposed hypothesis the SPSS will demonstrate the percentage of women compared to men is worried about being mugged and robbed within society. The amount of data through this study showed that 98.8% of females were worried about being mugged and robbed within society. When asked a series of questions 384 males claimed that they were ‘very worried’ about being robbed or mugged, compared with 894 females. Within this research proposal the most appropriate statistical test for the hypothesis question is the chi square. This test looks at the difference between expected variables and is used to assess for independence of nominal data (Bryman 2012).

For the proposed study the data will be manually entered into the analysis SPSS system, the researcher acknowledgers there is potential for human error when entering any data, and it is more accurate if the data is entered twice by two different researchers (Robson 1999), this will ensure no discrepancies are found within the research proposal. Even though this could be more time consuming for the researcher, it is thought to be worthwhile when substantial data analysis is likely. Single transfer coding is used and the response will be in the form which has to be entered into the computer, this will speed up the data input and analysis of the proposed research hypothesis on, “the percentage of women compared to men is worried about being mugged and robbed within society”.

The data sets will be recast in a way that displays frequency in numbers and percentages. Adding the percentages column produces a standard format, so that groups of different size can be compared (Robson 1999). The hypothesis question will be displayed in one column, followed by columns indicating the responses from both females and male’s responses to being mugged or robbed within society. This approach was used by the researcher to compare responses between males and females responses to the worries of being mugged or robbed within society, the researcher thought it worked well within this research proposal and continued to use this format in collated the research data

Cross-tabulations or crosstabs are basically analyses that are used to compare the relationship between two or more variables that are nominal. Cross- tabulation within research proposals gives the researcher a basic picture of how the variable’s inter- relate, and also helps the researcher search for patterns of interaction between variables. Most of the statistical material related to cross-tabulation is covered under Chi-square formula. (Robson 1999).

Using the SPSS qualitative software package allows codes to be attached to data that can be retrieved and sorted in a variety of ways. One way of defining codes is to focus on the content of what people have said and the topics they discuss which can then be developed into themes and categories which can be calculated (McDaniel & Bach 1996). By using this method the researcher can identify and report on the most common themes using the grounded approach, which is a method of evolving qualitative research studies developed by Strauss and Corbin (1998).

In conclusion, the findings of the research hypothesis on “the percentage of women compared to men is worried about being mugged and robbed within society”, shows statistically 99.8% of women are more worried than men within society. The research cross-tabulation showed that only 384 males are ‘very worried’ about being mugged and robbed capered to 894 females within the research proposal. Various studies have been conducted on the ‘fear’ of crime amongst some women. Within society research studies have analysed the higher percentage of women can be worried about being a victim of criminal activities within society. The types of criminal activities that females can be worried about include, rape, burglary or robbery and mugging within society. It can be analysed from research studies data that the majority of factors that influence the fear of crime in women include, age, attitudes and beliefs of individuals, geographical area and media awareness on crime.


Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods. Oxford: OUP.

Cramer, A.O.J. (2012). Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Research and Perspective. (10) 1-2. Pp 50-54.

De Value, D.A. (2002). “Overviews of Analysis 4th/5th Ed. (12) Surveys in Social Research. London: Routledge.

McDaniel, R.W., & Bach, C.A (1996). Focus Group Research: The Question of Scientific Rigor. Rehabilitation Nursing Research. (3) Pp 53-59.

Robson, C. (2002). Real World Research: A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner Researchers. Oxford UK: Blackwell.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (2nd Ed). Thousand Oaks. CA: Sage.

Young, V.P. (2002). Scientific Social Surveys and Research. Pge 30.

The second section of the research module is a quantitative. The author was to conduct an Ethnography and participant observation within a social space and lasting 1 hour in time. Goffman (1961) analysed the meaning of Ethnography,

…..”Any group of people, prisoners, primitives, pilots or patients, that develop a life of their own that becomes meaningful, reasonable and normal once you get close to it”…. Gofman (1961)

Ethnography was used by members of the Chicago school of sociology, and researchers such as, Hughes, Park, found this method of research extremely valuable in their complex studies of urban social life,

The author decided to conduct the ethnographical observation in a busy café of a well-known garden centre within the local geographical area of Staffordshire. The one hour observation took place on a busy Saturday afternoon where it was extremely busy and peak time business period.

The main factors the author is analyses and observing in this research consists of the social setting, the social scenes, the behavioural patterns and acts within individuals, and the various activities and events that are taking place within the open public space of the café.

Within the observation the social setting of the café, can be described as being a big open space, so that individuals can converse easily. The setting itself was extremely busy with various individuals who worked in the ‘social setting’. The setting itself was very warm and welcoming, thus, being comfortable enough to relax in.

The social environment and scene setting of the café was situated in a corner section of the supermarket. Even though it was extremely busy, the author observed various individuals in this environment could utilise this ‘social scene’ to communicate with each other, whilst performing a social ‘activity’ such as shopping. Within the scene setting of the café, the author of the ethnographical study, observed the layout of the space and analysed various objects that determine the behavioural acts that most individuals follow. For example the clear and concise written signs that point out the exits and entrance of the café. This allows individuals to follow clear instructions to maintain a functional social setting for the actions of the observed individuals to follow.

The individuals that were being observed in their behavioural acts were extremely interesting to study. Within society there can be situations that could prevent individuals relaxing and being themselves. The author noticed that whist the individuals were discretely observed, the individuals were relaxed with each other and easily and in a relaxed manner conversed well with one another. Individuals were observe communicating with one another both verbally and non-verbally, e.g. smiling and using hand gestures to make the other individual feel at ease and relaxed.

Within the observation the author studied the various activities that were taking place within the café. The individuals were observed to be in a relaxed state, whilst consuming refreshments. The author was not close enough to listen to the various conversations that were taking place, but from the non-verbal communication, it was easy to interpret the relaxed nature of the individuals being observed in the study. The activities ranged from using mobile phones, drinking and eating, talking to one another, and people that were on their own. The atmosphere in the social space was relaxed and even though the cafe was busy, all the individuals being observed were extremely calm and relaxed.

During the one hour observation, the author carried a pen and notepad and wrote observational findings down to analyse. One of the problems the author was faced with was what to actually observe within the ethnographical study. The author decided to categorise the research into sub headings which includes, the various individuals within the study, the actual space occupied by the individuals and how the individual’s situated in themselves in the ‘space’ of the café, and finally the various objects/signs within the ‘space’, and how these objects were displayed within the café.

The research observation notes included the title of observational analysis, the actual time and date of the observation, the actual ending time of the study. The findings of the study basically looked for patterns and descriptive relationships, understanding and meanings. The author then will analyse and collect the information to see if there is any relationship between the social setting of the café and the various social relationships of the individuals that were being observed within the ethnographical observational study.

In conclusion, within the research and collection of the data that is being analysed will take the concept of observations and interpreted relationships by the author of the study. This method of research does not include and type of structured interviewing techniques by the author. It is extremely important to identify the reliability and factual information that needs to be included in any ethnographical research observation. Each entry of data that is made is pivotal in conducting a thorough concise analyse of the study. The aim of ethnographical research studies is to provide a holistic view and interactions of individuals within society. The individual’s actions and interactions with other people are observed within various social ‘spaces’ that are created within social scenarios. The nature of the individual’s atmosphere is observed for various sights, sounds and verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. The social settings are important for the ethnographical researcher to interpret the various actions and interactions individuals will make with one another.

Hammersley (1992) states that –

…..”The task [of ethnographers] is to fully and accurately document the culture, the various perspectives and practices that will relate to the individuals within the social settings created by society”….


  • Table 1

Man, Women (Ages Approx. 30-35 and Child Approx. 8-10 observed. They were seen to be admiring their purchases amongst themselves. All individuals were communicating well and interacting with each other. Goods signs of non-verbal communication with all individuals with plenty of smiles and hand gestures between all three of them.

They sat in the quietest part of the open space, and therefore the author assumed they wanted to solely interact just within their own group.

  • Table 2

Elderly couple (Ages Approx. 65-70). They had no purchase with them at the time of them being observed. They were seemed to be enjoying the quiet atmosphere of the café shop in the garden centre. It appeared that there was not much conversation between them, but there were plenty of non-verbal communication, warm smiles and hand gestures between both of them. Again they went and sat in the quieter part of the café.

  • Table 3

Young man (Age Approx. 20-25). He had purchases with him at the time of being observed. Once ordering refreshments, the man sat down and was observed to be using his phone, but not talking on it. The author assumed he was searching the internet or texting. He appeared very happy and he was smiling to himself. The observer assumed it was due to seeing something or communicating with someone via his phone. The observer noticed that when the child from table one walked passed this man, the child dropped something and the man picked it up for him and smiled. Both the man, women thanked the young man on table 3. All individuals smiled at each other and then the individual’s from table 3 went their way, whist the young man carried on using his phone while drinking refreshments.