This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.
My research on "the possibility of students or staff walking and cycling in University Malaya" will be answered by conducting a survey. Through conducting a survey, I will obtain data from a sample of 150 students which is representing the total population of UM. Other information will be gathered from the key actors of the cycling/walking system as shown in figure 1: The Research Question Chart.
The chart show the flow of information I gathered, in order to address my research question.
3.2 Sampling Design
The first step in determining how many people in UM will be surveyed is to find out how many staff and students are part of the UM community. The total student population in 2007 passed the 35,000 mark; undergraduate and postgraduate students numbered 32,335 with an additional 2,314 enrolled in distance-learning programmes offered by the University of Malaya Centre for Continuing Education. This can be further broken down as follows:
Realizing that I cannot be 100% certain of my research results, I have chosen to use a 95% confidence interval. This interval will allow for a 5% margin of error in my survey results. We have chosen 95% as our confidence interval based on the understanding that "most recreation research allows for a 5% -10% margin of error and most researchers operate at the 95% confidence level" (Abbey-Livingston et al., 1982).
To conduct my survey for representative results, I consulted "Enjoying Research? A 'How-To' Manual on Needs Assessment" by Abbey-Livingston (1982). For an estimate population of 32,000 and a margin of error of +-3.5%, I need to sample 150 members of the UM community (Abbey-Livingston et al., 1982). I will round this number to 170 so that in the event that some of the surveys are spoiled, this will avoid for error.
The next step is to stratify the number of surveys of staff and students fill out. For example:
(Total staff / total population) *170
= (6861 / 32335) * 170
For each portion of the UW community this works out to:
Staff - 36
Undergraduates - 74
Postgraduates - 60
3.2.1 Randomization and Sample Design
According to theory, one should clearly develop a random sample to represent a large population. A good random sample is a sample that all participants have a chance (probability) of being selected equally. However, this is very hard to practice in most research sampling designs (Freund & Simon, 1997).
Sampling the whole UM community would be impossible. This is due to its sheer size, my limited time, and other complications such as Professors on meeting, staff unwilling to help and students' reluctance to cooperate. Also, as my survey does not have any specific provision, anyone can refuse to answer the survey or individual questions within the survey. Therefore, survey error is increased.
In order for my survey results can be represent the whole community of UM, there must be sampling between different faculties and different colleges so that each member of each faculty and college has an equal chance to take part in my survey. For example, I have to choose at least 15 people from each faculty and college to make sure the accuracy of my survey is higher.
This sampling design that allows me to generalize to the entire UM population is called a Stratified Simple Random Sample (SSRS). It is based on a portion of UM Community population and is properly choose to help me improve the reliability and validity of my random sampling design. I used a technique called proportional allocation. This separated the relationship between the stratum and the respondents I am seeking as my final goal. I try my effort to assure that each stratum is as homogenous, or uniform, as possible (Freund & Simon, 1997).
3.3 Selection of Staff and Students from each Faculty and Colleges
Staff will be chosen from the total pool of employees since UM employs a variety of people in different departments in a wide range of jobs. In order to select these respondents I plan to use the master lists for each staff and faculty. Firstly, I will number each of the lists then use the Table of random numbers to choose the staff and faculty.
The process of selecting students will be more methodical. I need to have an exact number from each faculty fill out a survey. I will average choose the students from first, second, third, and fourth year classes to answer my survey. I hope I can get a more accurate number to represent the students who:
Live on and off campus - first year students are more likely to live on campus than second and third years;
Drive to campus - first year students are less likely to own cars than upper year students.
By doing this my survey's results will be more reliable and I will get the suitable number of students I need from each faculty to have a 95% confine interval.
3.4 Coding the Survey
A code book was created after the surveys were distributed, filled out, and collected. Coding is generally done when the number of surveys exceeds thirty, and the survey contains seven or more questions (Abbey-Livingston, 1993). The code book can help me to jot down the responses from each questionnaire, record the responses from each question respectively and then evaluate the sample information as a whole. This allowed me to summarize the various responses received from my sample population; 150 in my case. I used the "Enjoying Research? A 'How to' Manual on Needs and Assessment Manual" as reference to code my survey and the results.
Step 1 - Number Questionnaires
Each survey will be given an individual code number (1-150) to ensure that no questionnaires were entered twice. In addition, coding provide the ability for me to check the data entry of an individual questionnaire if needed.
Step 2 - Number Each Question
Every question was assigned a coding number. For instance, question number one, regarding gender, was assigned code 1.
Step 3 - Code the Responses for Each Question
Each possible response for a specific question was given a unique code. Codes were in numbered format. For example, question number one asked about "gender". There may have two possible responses for this question: either male or female. 'Male' was coded "1", and 'female' was coded "2". I will use alphabetical coding to break up the individual issues such as question number twelve part three for responses receive.
Step 4 - Entering Data
Microsoft Excel was used to key in and analyze the data. Every questionnaire was placed with an individual number vertically on the spreadsheet starting from number 1 to number 350. Next, the question numbers were placed on the horizontal axis. By using the codes outlined in Step 3, the data from each survey lastly was entered into the spreadsheet.
Open ended questions, such as question4 and 9, were entered as "0". At the same time, the responses to these questions were recorded on a different sheet of paper and then categorized the most frequent responses. Usually these records would then be coded and entered in the category of "0". However, the answer of these questions would not be use for the quantitative analysis of my results. Hence, the various responses were left out of the data sheet after making the note separately.
3.5 Criteria for Choosing the Survey Questions
The purpose of the survey is to let me find out why cycling and walking is not the most popular mean of transportation in campus. To determine this I had to list a number of possible factors which may influence the community to cycle/walk in campus. I obtain the ideas from internet and also based on my own experiences as pedestrian. The survey criteria were related to a number of factors such as physical, social, and topographical. Question 12 in part two is an optional question, if implemented, could increase ridership.
More parking for bicycles
Lack of parking space for bikes may influence the cyclist and could be a possible deterrent. Does UM provides secure and convenient bike lock up facilities for the community?
Bike/ pedestrian routes throughout campus
A specific route for pedestrian and cyclist will increase their willingness and encourage them to bike or walk in campus.
Separate bike lanes on ring road
Perhaps, being more apart from cars on ring road or on other roads to campus would make riders/ pedestrians to feel safer biking/walking.
Maybe one of the reasons that people scare to bike/ walk is because the irresponsible of other motorists that brings on the genuine fear of getting into a collision.
This factor reflect that people may not bike because they feel uncomfortable being part of biking minority or are simply feel weird to bike alone. People may more willing to walk or bike when they saw a lot of people doing so.
Keep watch over to reduce theft
Nobody wish to take risk and leave their mode of transportation (no matter car or bike) at a place where it can be stolen. Bikes at least have a value which exceeds a dollar amount. Is that the UM community will very concern about the problem of theft?
UM does hold some night classes throughout the week. Lighting is very important at night. Can cyclists see their way? How they make sure their personal safety while biking in areas with inadequate lighting?
Improved road conditions and maintenance
This is one of the reasons which may have effects on the biking/walking population nowadays. Most people will refuse to walk/ bike on the uneven sidewalk or pathway.
More direct routes
Too many indirect routes will significantly affect the number of cyclists and pedestrians. Shorter ways allow people to get to campus easily, so that they will not be late to class/ office.
More casual dress code
This factor is generally to be directed towards staffs. While there is no specific dress code for staff, they not necessary have to look professional. Do staffs wish to wear track pants and sport shoes to work? Is that acceptable?
Possibility of carrying a bike on public transit
As we know, we cannot carry a bike on a bus or any other public transport. This could be a problem for people who live far away from UM and cannot directly walk/ bike to campus. This can be an obstruction for those who wish to bike in campus but inconvenient to bring their bike.
We may need to consider the disability or illness that cause some students or staff cannot bike to UM.
Less automotive traffic
Situation of heavy traffic in UM may be a significant issue to those pedestrian and bikers. People may worry about their health and safety. As we know, they are unprotected from air pollution that cause by the gas emission from vehicles. They are most likely to be the victim in road accidents.
3.6 Criteria to Evaluate the System
The purpose I conducted this survey is because I need the input of a great number of individuals to properly study the current transportation system. It is the students and staffs of UM who will allow me to understand what they would like to see change; what would cause them to choose a bike over a car. More definitely, when analyzing the responses to question 12 in part three, an important response is one which has a median of 3 (rated 'important' or 'very important') and has a response rate of more than 50% of the sample population.
3.7 Data Collection
The data collection was conducted during 22nd of January 2010. The details of the data collection are shown in appendix C. For the student and staffs surveys were selected according to the above I mentioned. All students from different faculty and colleges were chosen from the UM, which was obtained from UM's Office of the Registrar.
Next, I distributed the surveys and give a brief introductory statement to every respondent to explain who I am and why I am conducting the survey. Before proceeding, I also described how the data would be used and asked if there were any questions.
Additional procedures were taken depending on the different set of situations faced with each individual, such as the respondents do not really understand the question or they may need time to think of their comment. I had written more detail about this under the section titled "troubleshooting - Complications Encountered in Data Collection".
3.8 Trouble Shooting
Same like most surveys, several difficulties were encountered in my attempt to collect data from UM students and staffs. The lists below are some of the troubles which I occurred before, during, and after data collection.
3.8.1 Before Data Collection:
As I distributed my survey via email and handout, some respondent did not return my email. Some staffs are unwilling to spend their time for answering my survey.
The cost associated with photocopying the surveys was higher than expected. Although this did not hinder my performance, it was quite a shock.
3.8.2 During Data Collection
Several students did not completely answer all the questions on the survey. For instance, most of the respondents would ignore the question 11 part three which asks them to give their comment and concerns. Another mistake that I had made to the survey was the year of education. Since the question was likely direct towards the undergraduate only, the response for this question for the postgraduates and staffs will be noted as 'no answer'.
At most of the time, I distributed my survey form after the end of class. That meant those students had to voluntarily use an extra few minutes to complete my survey. This may brought about some biased responses because the possibility that only the students who are enthusiastic about the topic of cycling/walking may have remained to complete the survey.
3.8.3 Population Sampling Problems
I faced several problems in determining the actual UM population. I only can obtain the estimation numbers of UM population from International and Corporate Relations Office (ICR) of University Malaya. However, these numbers have not changed the number of respondents that I need to survey significantly.
As my main target is the undergraduate students, but I had divided the number of undergraduate, postgraduate, and staff into an equal ratio according to their total population. When possible, I will try to adjust the number that I need to survey in order to accommodate my target.
3.9 What I Would Have Done Differently
This project was affirmatively a learning process. From this research study, I realized that there are several areas I still need to be improved. While the broad research conducted on a similar study was very useful, I still realize that my study have a few weaknesses.
3.9.1 Survey Weaknesses
Part 1 Question 2
Some students and staffs faced some problem when answered the question stating "year of education". For example, if the student is forth year but not final year, he/she can't really give the answer. It is hard to determine to what extent this mistake has affected my results.
Part1 Question 5
When I tabulate the data, I found that some respondents did not exactly answer the questions. For example, under the part of demographic profile, "the place currently stays". Some students only tick on off-campus or on-campus without state which area.
Part 3 Question 5
Due to the ambiguous sentence "access to a bike in campus", which may have been interpreted differently than I had expected. Some people who have their bikes in home but did not brought to campus. I had originally worded Question 5 as "Do you own a bike?" and changed to the wording "Do you have access to a bike in campus?' would include more people to answer yes, such as those who may borrow a bike from friend.
Part 3 Question 9
I should not put the examples, i.e. weather, distance, in this question because most of the respondents would unconsciously write those two options without seriously thinking of their own examples. If our reasoning is incorrect, this may resulted the question been created some biased responses.
Part 3 Question 12
This question may indirectly excludes non-cyclists by stating, "Please rate the following items according to which would be most important in encouraging you to bike more (often) to UM." Therefore, there is the possibility that someone who does not bike to campus would skip that question.
Question 12 VI
The question about physical limitations should have been deleted from the survey because it does not affect the result of the survey.
Firstly I should understand what an interview is. According to Frey and Oishi (1995) interview is "a purposeful conversation in which one person asks prepared questions (interviewer) and another answers them (respondent)". The purpose is to collect information on a specific topic or a particular area from the experts. Interview is one of the useful tools which can lead to further research using other methodologies such as observation and experiments (Jensen and Jankowski, 1991). Interviews have two basic structures. One is structure (closed interview style) and another one is unstructured (open interview style). Nichols defined unstructured or open-ended interviews as "an informal interview, not structured by a standard list of questions" (1991). Interviews allow us freely deal with the topics we interest in any order and phrase our questions as we think best. This type of structure uses a broad range of questions asking in any order according to how the interview carries out (Break well, Hammond and Fife-Schaw, 1995). Open-ended questions provide those interviewers who wish to investigate deeper into the initial responses of the respondent to gain a more detailed answer to the question (Wimmer and Dominick, 1997). Therefore, the quantity of the data is entirely dependent on us as an interviewer. We have the ability to control how much or how little we should probe.
3.10.1 Select Subjects
I am choosing people who are expert in green transportation, so that I am dealing with someone who has experience and knowledge in solving the problem of this field. The participants from this segment were Professor Ir. Mohamed Rehan Bin Karim and his PHD students, Mr Bayu from faculty of engineering under the department of Civil Engineering.
3.10.2. Interview Weaknesses
There are a few advantages and disadvantages to this type of method. It is especially useful as a pilot study, to test out what people's opinion related to a particular issue. It may throw a completely different light on an issue that the interviewer had previously never considered (Wimmer and Dominick 1997:139). The respondent will be free to answer in any way they like and it is important in giving them a feeling of control in the interview situation. This version also has its disadvantages, such as consume a lot of time to collecting and analyze the responses (Wimmer and Dominick 1997:139). Due to the varied nature of the responses, it is necessary to use the content analysis technique to analyze it. This is what takes the time. Open questions used in this unstructured interview approach can cause confusion either because of the lack of understanding of the question by the informant or by the lack of understanding of the respondent's answer by the interviewer (Wimmer and Dominick 1997:140).
3.11 Library and Internet Research
Research is the back bone of any study and in this section; active information gathering was done through books, journal, and internet. The latest Cycling at University Of Waterloo Campus's website is the wealth information on cycling system in campus.