CHAPTER 3: The Research Methodology
This section on methodology seeks to outline the aims, research objectives the study hypothesis, data collection and analysis methods. Others will also include the limitations and the ethical considerations in this study.
Kumar (1999) noted the key elements that can be used in determining the various perspectives of the research that need to be conducted. He first mentions how the research study is applied; the major objective that prompts the researcher to take the study and the third one is the type of research data that is needed during data collection process. This concept is further illustrated with the diagram below.
Figure 1: Types of Research
The first type of research as highlighted in the diagram, pure research, is often carried out for academic reasons with an aim of expanding the already existing knowledge. This is the case especially with most laboratory research which is basic in nature and thus has no implications in terms of being practical (Brunt 1997; Clark et al. 2002). The other type which is applied research is often used to make evaluations on solutions that lead to the designing of a product. It seeks to use the theoretical knowledge that already exists in the process of finding lasting solutions to existing problems (Johns and Lee-Ross 1998). This study will use the application of the attachment theory, which will be used as the guiding theory in evaluating existing studies.
The theory bridges the research gap between the influences of parental behavior to an individual’s personality development as one develops through the lifespan process. It is thus an applied type of research. In regards to the research objectives, it has been mentioned in chapter two that this study seeks to explore the effect of sexual orientation; gender and relationship satisfaction has on jealously. In this case, the study will extensively seek to establish relationships between gender, sexual orientation and relation satisfaction on jealousy while studying the effects to determine their overall impact on jealousy levels. This implies that the research can be categorized as exploratory research. This is because it seeks to make investigations on various aspects of jealousy and relation satisfaction. Being an exploratory research, it is advisable that some research or pilot tests be done at initial stages to act as guidelines and indicators on the need for an elaborate investigative study (ibid).
It is also essential that the study clearly outlines the key elements and components and the order of flow during the final reports to be submitted. In this case, theory will symbolize the particular framework that will later be used to not only guide but also analyze the data collected at the primary research level (Finn et al. 2000). He further noted that it is essential for a research to have a theoretical framework that will direct the process of analysing and interpreting data so as to fine tune the theoretical details in line with the most accurate data collected. This implies that this research study has utilized the deductive method, as the theory outlined in the first two chapters has been effectively utilized to derive the hypothesis prior to conducting the primary research (Finn et al. 2000). It is also worth noting that this study is a pilot test of the entire project that could later be conducted to further evaluate the authenticity of the hypotheses. This implies that the research used in this study should be considered as appropriate prior to the process of data collection.
The research is meant as an initial exploration in a field that the author does not know a lot about and that has not been applied earlier to the field of jealousy and sexual orientation studies (as far as could be determined after the literature review by the author). The intention is to have this research process have the data collection and process methods clearly outlined. This will give the evidence that will eventually be used in the process of finding evidence that will determine whether the evidence on the hypothesis will be accepted or rejected.
To explore the effect of sexual orientation; gender and relationship satisfaction has on jealously.
To establish relationships between gender, sexual orientation and relation satisfaction on jealousy while studying the effects to determine their overall impact on jealousy levels
Following a detailed review of literature, some issues particularly stood out that further spark the need for investigations. These led to the formulation of the following hypotheses:
H1: Variability in gender that is being male or female, differences in relationship satisfaction among individuals in a relationship and differences in sexual orientation have no significant impact in the levels of jealousy.
H2: The evolutionary processes that show an interdependent link between stimuli that elicits jealousy and sexual orientation of a subject.
H3: The socio-cultural perspectives that show jealousy links to experiences persons encounter in social situations and how these perspectives affect members of both genders in different ways.
In this case, gender variability which represents the situation of being male or female increases the level of jealousy experienced within a relationship.
This study will use quantitative approaches in order to determine if differences exist amongst heterosexuals, bisexuals and lesbian and gay male relationships in terms of romantic jealously. The entire research consists of a number of quantitative scales that will rationalize jealousy and how it concretely affects monogamous relationships. The research employs a quantitative method that uses Rubin’s Love Scale, Hendrick’s RAS and Ickes, Simpson and Blackstone’s DJS to examine the participants’ level of jealousy towards their significant others and how it affects the longevity and commitment of their respective relationships. The data that is generated in this quantitative type of research can be outlined in numbers hence the name of quantitative. This is often inclusive of the factors such as median, mean and the standard deviation. Worth noting is that other types of statistics that are inferential in nature like the ANOVAs can also be tested in a study. What this implies is that the statistics can help in the process of getting crucial information like the trends, cultural patterns and the actual demographics of the selected population of study.
Harwell (2010) outlines some of the benefits of using the quantitative research design in a study. He noted that the method is very reliable and provides objectivity. The statistics used, in this case, of the types of relationships and level of jealousy will be applied on the general findings to represent the whole population. Another advantage of this quantitative approach is that it can be used to restructure the study so that the complex challenges in this case are reduced to only a minimal number of the variables to be used. The main reason why this approach is preferred for this study is because it focuses wholly on analyzing the relationships that exist between the identified variables that can eventually help in the establishment of the cause and effect of circumstances that are highly controlled like relationships. It will also help in the process of testing the hypothesis outlined above and other perceived theories in this study.
The assumption of this approach is that the selected sample population will represent the entire population. Earl (2010) observed that the greatest advantage of quantitative research is its ability to give data that is descriptive in nature. This allows for the readers to have an overview of the user population even though there may be challenges in data interpretation. By using numbers, researchers can measure attitudes and behavior that can easily be translated into other forms that are quantifiable like graphs and pie charts. The challenge with this approach is that it requires a relatively large sample, whose response can be used to generalize on the whole population. The logistical operations to organize a large sample group my thwart the efforts of the research study. The cost of working with a larger sample group is also very high. When the research is handled with no proper approach, there are high chances of encountering errors in the statistics. This can eventually affect the accuracy levels of the findings.
Methods of Data Collection
This research is strictly a survey method study. The survey will be constructed and posted using Surveymonkey.com and through various social media sites to include LinkedIn and facebook, which will have displayed link to the researchers survey. In addition, the researcher will use a local identified group known as LEAGUE Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender to administer and collect completed surveys. The identified local group reaches out to all lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gay male individuals to offer support, crisis services or intervention needs.
A separate measure will be used to establish the level of relation satisfaction for individuals engaged in a relationship. The instruments applicable in this study are interviews, questionnaires and tests as these are the most viable for ensuring the validity of the exercise. In general terms, the Investment Model Scale is a dependable and suitable measure of satisfaction and commitment. The main reason for such validity is the fact that the scale is significantly linked to dyadic adjustment, trust, and love. More importantly, the scale is weakly correlated to personal characteristics, which suggest that it is only a reflection of the respondents’ relationship and not their respective personalities (Gommillion, 2009).
It is essential to have all the research projects clearly outline their secondary research process. This is because the data provided indicates the findings of other researchers who have previously worked on the particular topic thus are essential for the researcher to put the study into the right context. This also helps a long way in determining the type of research design to be used (Greenfield 1996; Bell 2001).
Secondary Research Data Collection
The process of collecting secondary data will commence with the first step of conducting desk review. This will involve analyzing books and journal articles that have previously documents issues regarding jealousy and its effects exclusively to monogamous relationships (e.g. Schneider and Barsoux 2003). Thereafter, the selected articles and books from key authors will be documented in form of the literature review. A critical analysis of the material will be done so as to get a clear and non-biased perspective of the theories.
To find more sources, the bibliographies of the texts that were already used were screened, and as a result much more relevant literature was found. When the author believed to have found enough information on the relevant theories, the remainder of the literature review was written, increasing the focus towards the final research area. It was decided to discuss the literature in two chapters so that the structure would not become too complex and the overview could be kept.
Sources of research study information
The sources for the literature review consisted for the greater part of books and articles about the influence of culture. Other sources were books, articles and websites jealousy and the relationship between people.
Most of the books will be collected from the University libraries and online sources like e-journals. In regards to books, journal articles and the websites online, it is worth noting that attention will only be given to sources which are considered credible and with academic content that can aid this research process. This implies that some books which may offer shallow information or the basics of jealousy will not be incorporated in the sources unless the information they contain are in line with the findings of other credible authors. This will also apply to the websites, which will only be used after a determination that the information provided is credible.
The primary research
This paragraph will elaborate on the methodology that has been used for the primary research. It will review the method used for data collection and justify the choice, the sample will be discussed, and validity, reliability and representativeness will be examined.
Data collection of primary research
In the introduction of this chapter, it has been indicated that the most suitable primary data collection methodology depends on what kind of information is sought (Kumar 1999). A research is defined as qualitative if the purpose of the study is primarily to describe a situation, phenomenon, problem or event and if analysis is done to establish the variation in the situation, phenomenon or problem, without quantifying it (Kumar 1999, p.10). Researchers also note that if the purpose of the study is to make quantification of particular phenomenon, like in this case jealousy, and also when the process of gathering information heavily relies on quantitative variables, then the research is termed as a quantitative study in nature (ibid).
It was decided to use self-administered questionnaires for the primary research. The initial plan was to use structured interviews to enable comparison and in fact, a questionnaire is not much different from a structured interview (Blaxter, Hughes & Tight, 2001). The disadvantage of a questionnaire is however, that it is not possible to clarify the questions when they are not well understood or to press for a clear answer when the respondent has the tendency to give a short or ambiguous answer on an important subject. An advantage of the questionnaire is that it can be sent to as much respondents as possible and therefore gives the opportunity to compare the results.
The Sample Population
All participants used in this study are involved in a romantic, close relationship. Participants will be assessed using two different methods in order to determine their level of relationship satisfaction and perceived jealousy they exhibit. The dependent variable would be the perception of jealousy and the independent variable would be heterosexual, bisexual and lesbian and gale male relationships. The study will ascertain the cognitive processes in use to determine the link between sexual orientation and jealousy.
Reliability, Validity and the concept of representativeness
Reliability has been described as the level to which the findings of a research study remain consistent with the initial data provided on the sample population of study and that similar results could be attained if the study is conducted again (Joppe, 2000). In such cases, the instruments used in the research study are considered as reliable. This implies that the results could be replicated and repeated. In this quantitative type of study, the reliability will be used to evaluate; the level at which a particular measurement is repeatedly given and remains consistent, in response to the sexual orientation questionnaires to be distributed, how stable a variable is over a given period of time and the similarities in the measurements provided or recorded over time.
Researchers have argued that the level of reliability of the research method used should be evidence by the consistency of the answer a participant gives every time when asked during the research process. To ensure this reliability is achieved, the researcher will design the questions are simple and easy to understand by having the words carefully selected. The validity of a research instrument indicates if it measures what it is supposed to measure (ibid) and if the collected information really reflects the phenomenon that is studied (Veal 1997). Finally, the representativeness of a research’s results indicates to what extent these results can be generalised (Finn et al. 2000), by asking if the data and the research methods, together with conclusions derived from data analysis, are broader in their application than the sample of respondents studied (Clark et al. 2002). To ensure the reliability of the results, special care was taken to ensure that the questions were clear and easy to answer.
Where needed, certain concepts (such as what is meant with centralisation or open and closed offices) were explained to ensure that there could be no mistake to what was meant. Most questions were closed in the sense that choices were pre-printed with the opportunity to add specifications.
Concerning the validity of the results, it can be said that the indicators that were identified as representing the dimensions of organisational structure, were derived from indications in the literature towards what aspects in organisations are the explicit products of the implicit values of the culture from the country or region in which the organisation is situated. Therefore, it is believed that the method of measurement is valid for this kind of, explorative, research. Hofstede (1998) indicated already that it is not necessary to have a representative sample of the population when doing comparative national studies as long as the sample is matched.
The questionnaires consisted of fourteen questions in five categories: general questions; questions related to the hierarchy in the organisation; questions related to centralisation; questions related to the existence of status symbols; and questions about the degree of formalisation and standardisation.
Data Analysis Technique
Therefore, no use has been made of established analysis methods but each questionnaire was regarded as a separate unit.
Research attributes ethics as the standards of conduct that have to be implemented in a study to prevent violation of the laws (Resnik, 2011). Various reasons are given for the importance of adhering to the ethical rules and regulations in research study. To begin with, ethics promotes the successful completion of the research project, including the key aims. This is because it prevents errors and promotes transparency in the whole process of the study. Ethical considerations will lead to prevention of false information that may be given by the participants who may intentionally fabricate data and eventually misrepresent the findings. The ethical considerations also promote the development of core values like trust, transparency and accountability that eventually boost the nature of research work that has a collaborative approach.
This is because the research process involves working with various people from different disciplines. The other importance of ethics in research is that it helps those involved in conducting these studies be held accountable to the members of the public. The fourth reason attributed is because these ethical norms help the public to fully support the process of the research and embrace the findings. This is because most people as (Crow & Wiles, 2008) argue, are more likely to accept the integrity of a process whose ethical aspects were approved. Sage Publications (2012) outlined the six critical elements of ethical considerations in a research process including; anonymity and confidentiality, informed consent, participation that is voluntary in nature, how the findings or the outcomes will be communicated and the potentials of being harmed in the research process.
The aspect of confidentiality and anonymity is especially critical in the process, for the benefit of the participants. This research study will give assurance to all participants that the information they will provide will be highly confidential and used only for the purpose of this study. Information will be presented in an objective manner to avoid any possibilities of hints that may make the respondents be traced or identified. This will involve the use of pseudonyms for the names and their geographical locations. Actual names will not be revealed. The challenges that are likely to be faced by the researcher in this case is the difficulty in knowing the boundaries of anonymization. This is because the findings of this study will be disseminated to various target audiences, some of whom will be from same communities with the participants.
The respondents may also have diverse opinions on how they would want their identities to be concealed, especially when dealing with the bisexual issues thus presenting a dilemma situation to the researcher. To encounter this, the study will develop uniform measures to control levels of confidentiality and anonymity to all researchers to avoid varied treatment. (Marshall, 2006) noted that voluntary participation demands that people should willingly take part in research studies and not be coerced into it. In this study, this will involve describing to participants what the study involves, how the findings will be used and what their role is in the research process. They will then be allowed to make up decisions on whether to take part or not in the process.
This is especially important in this study that has a sensitive nature, due to the discussions involving sexual orientation. The concept of informed consent is also essential in ethical considerations. This study will ensure that all participants will be advised on the risks that could be encountered in the study process. This study for instance will discuss with participants the possibilities of social harm that may come as a result of revealing the sexual orientation, especially for the gays and lesbians. Only those who will give consent by signing the designed consent forms will be allowed to take part.
Limitations of the research
The study is limited within the framework of jealousy among monogamous relationships. While it encompasses lesbian and gay male relationships, heterosexual and bisexual relationships altogether, it is assumed that the participants to the study are monogamous. This is essential to prove the point of the research as polygamous relationships would have a different dynamic in terms of key triggers to jealousy despite the fact that they are exclusively sex differentiated.
One of the potential weaknesses of this study is its inability to explain or to apply attachment theory to polyamorous or polygamous relationships. Monogamous relationships are limited to one secure base only whereas polygamous affairs can provide a number of reference points, which thereby decreases the likelihood for jealousy to occur. While it applies for all monogamous relationships and takes into account the existence of lesbian and gay male relationships and bisexual relationships, it may lack focus in discussing heterosexual monogamous relationships.
The entire research consists of a number of quantitative scales that will rationalize jealousy and how it concretely affects monogamous relationships. The research employs a quantitative method that uses Rubin’s Love Scale, Hendrick’s RAS and Ickes, Simpson and Blackstone’s DJS to examine the participants’ level of jealousy towards their significant others and how it affects the longevity and commitment of their respective relationships.
One of the major tenets of the research is its theoretical foundation that makes use of the attachment theory. Attachment in a relationship is measurable in three ways. In this case, attachment is measured by use of self-reporting questionnaires. Attachment theory assumes the participants to have grown up with a parental figure assumption theory also assumes that normal emotional and social development is not possible without establishing a secure base in childhood. Jealousy will be understood in this research study as an emotion that can be classified into two types 1) healthy jealousy and 2) unhealthy jealousy. Unhealthy jealousy is more often associated with poor or disadvantageous relationship outcomes while healthy jealousy contributes to the longevity of monogamous relationships. In cases of unhealthy jealousy, this is often exhibited by domination and excessive control. Healthy jealousy often comes in the form of concern and only qualifies as healthy when a partner is in need, or requires protection (Stets & Turner, 2007).
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