Hypothesis And The Variable Development Cultural Studies Essay

Published:

To begin, a set of 3 hypotheses will be developed based on issues raised in the article which can be tested by a survey questionnaire of a certain population. Although the end result of this survey would be to calculate levels of child poverty, this is not something which is easily definable and therefore cannot be directly measured. De Vaus (1986) suggests thinking of this at the "abstract level", as we are not simply "interested in the raw facts". Therefore the hypotheses will be written to test various indicators of child poverty. The Department of Work and Pensions (2003) uses a number of indicators such as education and material deprivation to measure levels of child poverty; however this essay will be focusing on household income and unemployment of parents in the West Yorkshire, and whether families living in this area have a disposition to live in relative poverty. The hypotheses are:

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Professional

Essay Writers

Lady Using Tablet

Get your grade
or your money back

using our Essay Writing Service!

Essay Writing Service

H0: There is no relationship between location and average income

H1: There is a relationship between location and average income

H0: There is no relationship between location and levels of unemployment

H1: There is a relationship between location and levels of unemployment

H0: The relationship between location and average income is not influenced by the number of parents and children in a household

H1: The relationship between location and average income is influenced by the number of parents and children in a household

From these hypotheses a set of variables can be produced which would be investigated in the survey questionnaire:

Location: Used to determine whereabouts the respondent lives within the West Yorkshire area via a selection of 5 categories (These being the metropolitan boroughs of Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield) therefore the responses can be given spatiality and if required, chloropleth maps could be devised from the findings to assist analysis.

Employment: Used to determine the current employment of the respondent, with the aim of discovering how many people are currently unemployed.

Household income: The total annual earnings of the parent/parents living in the household of the respondent, useful for determining the average income levels.

Number of parents in household: To determine the numbers of people living in each household and how many incomes there are likely to be

Number of children in household: To determine the numbers of dependants living in each household.

The following pages present the original news article on which this assessment is based, cited from the website of the Yorkshire Post. (Evans, F. 2010)

Fig.1: Newspaper article

Third of children in district are living in poverty, reports reveal

Published Date: 11 October 2010

By Fiona Evans

Around a third of children are living in poverty in the Bradford district where the gap between rich and poor is the largest in the country - new reports have revealed.

Bradford has "particularly high" levels of child poverty, according to the in-depth studies, and the district has the greatest gap between the most deprived and most affluent areas of any local authority district in England.

Nearly one in three people of working age do not have jobs and wage levels - £409.90 per week on average - have not risen in line with national or regional rates.

The stark conclusions are among the findings of Bradford Council's Local Economic Assessment and Bradford District Partnership's State of the District report, which offer analysis of the area's population, skills base and industry make-up as well as its prospects for the future.

With 40,840 children in Bradford living in poverty, the district has the highest numbers of children living in poverty of all West Yorkshire local authority areas, and compares poorly with both the regional and national average.

According to the Local Economic Assessment: "Employment lifts some families and children out of poverty but low skills and low income work means this is not a guarantee, and over half of children in low income families have at least one parent in employment."

Inner city urban areas and the outlying social housing estates of both Bradford and Keighley have high concentrations of child poverty.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Comprehensive

Writing Services

Lady Using Tablet

Plagiarism-free
Always on Time

Marked to Standard

Order Now

The reports have also thrown a spotlight on the vast gap between the most and least deprived areas of the district - which is ranked 32nd most deprived out of the 354 local authority areas.

"Recent research has shown that such inequality has impacts that go beyond economic wellbeing to affect levels of health, trust and happiness," says the Local Economic Assessment.

Sixteen per cent of households in the Bradford district have an average income of £50,000 or more.

While Wharfedale and Ilkley wards have the highest average household incomes of £44,700 and £42,300 (respectively), almost 43,000 households in the district have a total income of less than £10,000 per year.

Coun David Green, Bradford Council's executive member for regeneration and economy, said: "These are 'warts and all' evaluations which will play a vital part in our plans to take action on the key economic and social issues facing our district.

"We have a big economy that has a major impact on people's lives not only within Bradford but the wider region, too. The facts and figures collected here give us valuable insight how we can make the district stronger and more competitive.

"There is no benefit in hiding away from the issues that need most attention - this process gives the council and its partners the chance to review them, give them the attention they require and keep track of our progress so we know we are delivering."

The reports also revealed while Bradford district has the region's third-largest economy, "it is weak in terms of overall competitiveness in the UK".

However, manufacturing and culture are strong economic sectors, and Bradford's growing labour market could provide a strong workforce for the rest of Leeds City Region - with the right development of skills and transport links.

Enterprise culture is higher than elsewhere, cultural provision good and the visitor economy growing.

The studies, which also identified a strong and well-developed voluntary and community sector, will form the basis of economic and community strategies due to be completed by early next year.

Section 2: Question Design

Once the variables are identified, a set of questions can be written. These questions and their justification are listed below:

Location

"Which of the following best describes the area you currently live? Please tick the relevant box".

[]Bradford

[]Calderdale

[]Kirklees

[]Leeds

[]Wakefield

This question is structured as a multiple choice closed-ended question as the respondent is restricted to a specific set of answers, having to choose the one which best suits them. It is a question about attributes which is quick and easy to answer, but also makes coding of the results a lot easier as responses are limited to 5 categories; these categories are not ordered. The response will provide quantitative nominal data.

Employment

"What is your current state of employment? Please tick the relevant box".

[]Full time employment

[]Part time employment

[]Unemployed

[]Full time education

[]Other (Please state) _________________________

The layout of this behavioural question is very similar to the previous question, in that it is a multiple choice closed ended question, and will provide quantitative nominal data. However, this question has an additional "other" category. This gives the respondent the opportunity to insert their own response if none of the categories suit their current employment status - it also encourages people to complete the questionnaire.

In an attempt to try and influence people to answer this truthfully, this will be followed with the question: "If you are EMPLOYED, please provide further details about the nature of your employment" _________________________

This type of question is an unstructured, open ended question which gives the respondent the opportunity to provide more qualitative information about their employment. The intention being that asking for further details about employment will encourage respondents to answer the preceding question more truthfully. The next question will also be open ended to give the respondent further opportunity to elaborate on their answer: "If you are UNEMPLOYED, please indicate how long you have been unemployed for" _________________________

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

This Essay is

a Student's Work

Lady Using Tablet

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Examples of our work

"If you are currently living with a partner, what is their current state of employment? Please tick the relevant box".

[]Full time employment

[]Part time employment

[]Unemployed

[]Full time education

[]Other_________________________

[]Not applicable (Not currently living with a partner)

This is identical to the first employment based question; however it is simply investigating the respondent's household in more detail. This means that it will be possible to identify the number of parents/guardians there are in a household, and how many of them are unemployed. It also provides the respondent with an 'opt-out' response - "not-applicable" - as many respondents may be single parents.

Income

"Which of the following categories best describes your annual household income, including all earners in your household? Please tick the relevant box".

[]Less than £5,000

[]£5,000-£9,999

[]£10,000-£14,999

[]£15,000-£20,000

[]More than £20,000

This is a question about attributes structured as a multiple choice closed ended question. It offers respondents 5 mutually exclusive categories in which to place themselves based on their gross household income. The categories cover all levels of income but are focused on the lower incomes as these are the people under investigation. Although structuring this question this way means peoples actual income is not divulged, McLafferty (2003) suggests that "for sensitive topics…respondents are more likely to answer if the choice involves a broad category rather than a specific number". The response from this question is ordinal, with the categories being progressive as they follow on from one another.

Demographics

"Are you male or female? Please tick the relevant box".

[]Male

[]Female

This is a self explanatory closed ended question.

"What is your current age? Please tick the relevant box".

[]Less than 18

[]18-29

[]30-39

[]40-49

[]50 or older

Similarly to the income question, the response for this question is categorical as many people do not like to divulge their age; using mutually exclusive categories could encourage response levels for this question.

"What is your current marital status? Please tick the relevant box".

[]Married

[]In a relationship

[]Single

[]Separated

[]Widowed

Another multiple choice closed ended question which forces people to choose a specific category.

"How many children do you have? _________________________

This is phrased as an open ended question as there are already a limited number of responses (not likely to be more than 5) and breaks up the questionnaire with responses in different formats. This may help keep the respondents interest.

Section 3: Questionnaire design

The following pages present the completed first version of the survey questionnaire.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am conducting a research survey regarding patterns in employment and income in the West Yorkshire area, which is why you have been selected as a potential contributor towards this research project. The results of this survey are purely for research analysis - your details will be anonymous and will not be shared with any third parties.

I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, conducting research for use towards a year 2 assessment, the results of which will go towards my final grade. I would be very grateful if you could complete this survey over the next few days and I will return to collect it on the 6th November 2010 (Please could you leave it in an obvious place outside your front door if you are not likely to be in)

If you require any further assistance or would like to discuss any matters arising from the completion of this questionnaire please do not hesitate to write back to: 33 Wilkinson Street, Sheffield, S10 2GB or email: ap_white@hotmail.co.uk



Which of the following best describes the area you currently live? Please tick the relevant box.

Bradford

Calderdale

Kirklees

Leeds

Wakefield

What is your current state of employment? Please tick the relevant box.

Full time employment

Part time employment

Unemployed

Full time education

Other (Please state)__________________________________________

If you are EMPLOYED, please provide further details regarding the nature of your employment:

If you are UNEMPLOYED, please indicate how long you have been unemployed:

______________________________________________________________

If you are currently living with a partner, what is their current state of employment? Please tick the relevant box.

Full time employment

Part time employment

Unemployed

Full time education

Not applicable (Not currently living with a partner)

Questionnaire continued on next pageOther (please state):_________________________

Which of the following categories best describes your annual household income, including all earners in your household? Please tick the relevant box.

Less than £5,000

£5,000-£9,999

£10,000-£14,999

£15,000-£20,000

More than £20,000

Are you male or female? Please tick the relevant box.

Male

Female

What is your current age? Please tick the relevant box.

Less than 18

18-29

30-39

40-49

50 or older

What is your current marital status? Please tick the relevant box.

Married

In a relationship

Single

Separated

Widowed

How many children currently live in your household? _______________________

Please feel free to write any further comments or concerns in the following space: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your participation, your response is greatly appreciated and will be of great use within this survey.

Yours faithfully,

Ashley White

University of Sheffield

In order to pre-test the effectiveness of the questionnaire in its design (are questions easy to understand, too personal, etc) it was distributed to 3 respondents. They were asked to complete the questionnaire as if they were participating in the survey. Their results and the questionnaire in general was then discussed with the participant to determine if they felt there was any problems with the questionnaire, and if they fully understood what the questions were and why they were being asked. A few minor points did arise from the completion of the questionnaire which will be taken into consideration.

The first respondent (X) felt the question "If you are unemployed, please indicate how long you have been unemployed" was too personal and suggested using categories to help respondents feel more comfortable answering sensitive questions about unemployment. This is a positive response as it refers to an issue which has been addressed previously but not, in the case of this particular question. 'X' also felt the phrasing of the question "If you are employed, please provide further details regarding the nature of your employment" was not clear and recommended rewording this question. The second respondent (Y) developed on the idea by recommending investigating the reasons why people are unemployed. For example, people who are unemployed for reasons such as disability or redundancy and those unemployed because they are unwilling to work? This, however, is likely to be a question which is very difficult to get a true response. 'Y' also felt that the question asking "What is your current marital status" should include a category for divorcees, and that "How many children currently live in your household?" should be more specific as the survey is interested only in those households with dependent children when analysing child poverty. Both 'X' and 'Y' felt the questionnaire was quick and easy to complete which was a positive response, as De Vaus (1986) puts it "with self-administered questionnaires…you need to concentrate on clarity and simplicity", which seems to have been successful. The third respondent (Z) felt that the questionnaire was well written, although suggested that the layout could be improved slightly to make it look more professional. In particular 'Z' commented on the way the contact details were included in the introductory paragraph and advised formatting this so that it was detached from the main body of text. (294)

Generally the questionnaire seems to be well written as there were no major concerns from the pre-test respondents as to clarity of questions and general layout. Conducting readings about formatting questionnaires and looking at other examples prior to beginning this essay was very instrumental in its success. Trying to ensure the layout was presented as professionally as possible was one issue; however the feedback from respondent 'Y' was particularly useful. It seemed that to have other people viewing the questionnaire presented the opportunity to see it from another person's perspective. For future questionnaire construction it may be useful to send a draft version for pre-testing to a larger amount of people, as the feedback from just 3 is unlikely to be as comprehensive as it could be. Another option would be to send out more than one version for pre-testing, possibly 1 or 2 revisions to test the moderations to the original version. Another aspect to consider is the depth of the investigation - in the future further questions could be asked regarding unemployment, however it could compromise the questionnaire by making it longer and asking more sensitive questions. (188)

The subsequent pages display the second version of the questionnaire, with the revisions highlighted in red.

33 Wilkinson Street

Sheffield

S10 2GB

23rd October 2010

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am conducting a research survey regarding patterns in employment and household income in the West Yorkshire area, which is why you have been selected as a potential contributor towards this research project. The results of this survey are purely for research analysis - your details will be anonymous and will not be shared with any third parties.

I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, conducting research for use towards a year 2 assessment, the results of which will go towards my final grade. I would be very grateful if you could complete this short survey over the next few days and I will return to collect it on the 6th November 2010 (Please could you leave it in an obvious place outside your front door if you are not likely to be in)

If you require any further assistance or would like to discuss any matters arising from the completion of this questionnaire please do not hesitate to write back to the above address or email: ap_white@hotmail.co.uk



Which of the following best describes the area you currently live? Please tick the relevant box.

Bradford

Calderdale

Kirklees

Leeds

Wakefield

What is your current state of employment? Please tick the relevant box.

Full time employment

Part time employment

Unemployed

Full time education

Other (please state):______________________

If you are EMPLOYED, please provide further details of what job you do:

If you are UNEMPLOYED, please indicate how long you have been unemployed:

0-3 months

3-6 months

6-12 months

More than 12 months

If you are currently living with a partner, what is their current state of employment? Please tick the relevant box.

Full time employment

Part time employment

Unemployed

Full time education

Not applicable (Not currently living with a partner)

Questionnaire continued on next pageOther (please state):______________________

Which of the following categories best describes your annual household income, including all earners in your household? Please tick the relevant box.

Less than £5,000

£5,000-£9,999

£10,000-£14,999

£15,000-£20,000

More than £20,000

Are you male or female? Please tick the relevant box.

Male

Female

What is your current age? Please tick the relevant box.

Less than 18

18-29

30-39

40-49

50 or older

What is your current marital status? Please tick the relevant box.

Married

In a relationship

Single

Divorced

Widowed

How many children under the age of 18 currently live in your household?

__________________________________________________________________________

Please feel free to write any further comments or concerns in the following space: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your participation, your response is greatly appreciated and will be of great use within this survey.

Yours faithfully,

Ashley White

University of Sheffield

Section 4: Survey implementation

This questionnaire has been designed with the intention of being distributed as a self-administered 'drop and collect'. Borque and Fielder (1995) states that "...a self administered or mailed survey is considered only when the investigator is confident that the desired sample population is accessible at a designated location". As the study population is people living in the West Yorkshire area, using a drop and collect method means only people living within this geographic region can be issued with a copy of the questionnaire. This method has been selected for reasons such as lower cost, anonymity and the fact that the "respondent can complete the interview at their own pace…and they are not influenced by the presence...of an interviewer (no interviewer bias)" (Parfitt, 2005). It also has the benefit that the respondent does not pay to return the questionnaire by post, possibly improving response levels and quality of response. It does however, put additional pressure on the researcher as it is a difficult task to distribute and collect the large number of questionnaires required. The sample required in order to make the results reliable is likely to be particularly large, however there are some techniques for improving response rates. Some have been utilised, such as using closed ended questions and categories to encourage responses from those who may be hesitant about providing sensitive information. The fact that the survey is being conducted by a university student as part of their degree has been intentionally mentioned in the introductory paragraph as this may also encourage people to respond, especially as there is also a statement of confidentiality included. Other methods used include the inclusion of a cover letter, minimising the length of the survey and hand signing the survey. There is a lot of literature regarding improving response rates such as the use of incentives - "some kind of a reward, compensation, or token value to increase the respondent's motivation to complete the survey" outlined in a journal by Allan Church (1993)

The study population has been selected as West Yorkshire as this is the area referred to in the newspaper article (Fig 1) so results and patterns can be used to compare between the 5 metropolitan boroughs, as well as UK averages. As West Yorkshire is a particularly large area it would be unreasonable to distribute the questionnaire to every household in this population so a random sample of participants will be selected. from a list of addresses of all the households in West Yorkshire (the 'frame'). The 'stratified random sampling method' has been chosen based on the information provided by Kitchin & Tate (2000), the description being the "sampling frame [is] divided into sub-groups (strata) which are then each sampled using the simple random method", using random number tables to select a random sample from each sub-group. This is most suitable for this situation as the population (West Yorkshire) - being the stratifying variable - can be divided into sub-groups based on location (Boroughs) which can then be individually randomly sampled. (499)

When calculating sample size, it is best to do this based on cross-tab analysis. Cross-tabs are far more useful than individual statistics, as a form of bivariate analysis they show relations between 2 or more variables, which can then be used to see in-depth patterns within data. To calculate the sample size (ss) required for the production of a layered cross tab which analyses 3 variables, the following equation can be used:

SS = (Z2 Ã- (P) Ã- (1 − P)) ÷ C2

The variables selected for analysis in the layered cross tab are location, number of parents in household and household income. From this the relationship between the 3 variables can be identified, which can then be used to disprove the null hypothesis "The relationship between location and average income is not influenced by the number of parents and children in a household". A confidence interval (c) of 0.5 has been selected as the results need to be closely representative of the population as a whole. A confidence level of 95% has been chosen, with a Z-Score (z) of 1.96. The maximum percentage picking a particular result (p) which in this case will be 0.5.

Z2 = 3.92, P = 0.5, 1 − P = 0.5, C2 = 0.25

SS = (3.84 Ã- 0.5 Ã- 0.5) ÷ 0.25

SS = 0.96 ÷ 0.25

SS = 3.84 = 384

For the use within a layered cross tab analysis, the sample size must be larger than that of a simple cross tab analysis. The next step then is to multiply by R.

R = (L−1) (R−1) (C−1)

L = Number of layers

R = Number of rows

C= Number of columns

In this case the L value refers to location (5 possible answers), income (5 possible answers) and number of parents (2 possible answers). This is calculated as:

R = (5−1) (5−1) (2−1)

R= 8

The total required sample size for the layered cross tab analysis then is:

384 x 8 = 3072

Therefore, based on a response rate of 15%, the number of questionnaires which must be distributed in order to receive an ample number of responses to use a statistical layered cross tab analysis, the sample size must be calculated by dividing the sample size (3072) by the response rate (0.15), with the total number being 20480

Cited References

Borque, L and Fielder, E. (1995) How to conduct self-administered and mail surverys. (Sage, London)

Church, A (1993) Estimating the effect of incentives on mail survey response rates: A meta-analysis. The Public Opinion Quarterly. Vol. 57 (No. 1), pp. 62-79

De Vaus, D.A (1986) Surveys in social research. (George Allen & Unwin, London)

Department of work and pensions (2003) Measuring child poverty. [PDF] (UK, DWP) Available at <http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/final-conclusions.pdf> [Accessed 25th October 2010]

Evans, F. (2010) Third of children in district are living in poverty, reports reveal. Yorkshire Post [Online] 11th October. Available at: <http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/localnews/Third-of-children-in-district.6574786.jp> [Accessed 15th October 2010]

Kitchin, R and Tate, N. (2000) Conducting research into human geography: theory, methodology and practice. (Prentice Hall, Harlow)

Mclafferty, S.L (2003) Conducting questionnaire surveys. In Clifford, N and Valentine, G (eds.) Key methods in geography. (Sage, London)

Parfitt, J. (2005) Questionnaire design and sampling. In Flowerdew, R and Martin, D. (eds.) Methods in human geography [2nd ed.]( Longman, Harlow)

Bottom of Form