In this assignment, assume you are a technical advisor to a senior government official working with a national level preparedness program. Your department is currently asked to help the government to examine whether distributing a mitigation guidebook to households would increase their willingness to participate in a local hazard adjustment project. Your department has to prepare a proposal addressing how to examine this topic.
To begin with, you have to formulate a research hypothesis that can test this topic. A research hypothesis is usually a testable sentence describing the tendency or the relationship between two concepts. Next, you will have to recall the skills that you learned in your second assignment and conceptualize the concepts in your hypothesis into measurable variables.
To complete this assignment, you should decide your research method before you can state the details of your research design. I recommend you select one of the experimental, quasi-experimental, or survey design. Once you decide your research method, you should consider (a) sampling instruments, (b) research design and data collection (e.g., survey procedure if you use a survey design), (c) measuring instruments, (d) data analysis methods, and (e) internal and external validity in your research design. Particularly, you should specify the specific sampling method (e.g., random sampling), sampling area, and expected sample size in your sampling instruments; details of experiment or survey design and procedure in the study procedure/instruments; measuring methods of each variable in your measuring instruments, and employed statistical method to test your hypothesis in your data analysis method. Finally, you should go through your research design and think about whether there are any internal or external validity concerns of your research design.
Please see an example of this assignment below:
Part I: Research Goals and Conceptual Model Research Goals:
This study aims to better understanding households’ behavioral responses to an official warning issued by the authorities in a hurricane. Specifically, this study will answer that how likely a household would be convinced by an official warning to adopt an adequate protective action, such as evacuation, during a hurricane strike.
When demographic characteristics are controlled, households will be more likely to adopt a protective action (e.g., evacuation) if they receive an official warning from the authorities.
Dependent Variable: Evacuation intention
Independent Variable: Impacts of an official warning
Controlled Variable: Demographic characteristics including gender, age, ethnic, marital status, household size, education, income, homeownership, and household location.
Part II: Research Design Research Method Selection:
This study would be conducted by a field mail survey method
This study will draw samples from households which were experienced the Hurricane Ike in 2008 at Houston-Galveston, Texas areas. Particularly, the study will collect household samples from Galveston, Harris, Chambers, and Brazoria counties. Samples will be selected with a disproportionate stratified sampling procedure designed to yield 200 households in each of the counties, assuming a 50% response rate. Thus, the questionnaire was mailed to 400 households that were randomly selected from each Zip Code within each county. In other words, a total number of 1,600 questionnaire packets will be distributed to the households in those four selected counties with expected 800 valid returns.
This survey will conduct a four wave procedure to deliver the questionnaire. Specifically, selected households would be sent a packet containing a cover letter, a questionnaire, and a stamped, self-addressed reply envelope. A reminder post card would be sent to those who do not return a completed questionnaire within two weeks. Replacement packets would be sent at two week intervals thereafter until respondents either returned a questionnaire or received as many as one reminder post card and three questionnaire packets.
The dependent variable, evacuation intention, would be measured by asking households about their likelihood to evacuate from a future hurricane on a scale from not at all (= 1) to almost certain (= 5). On the other hand, respondents will be asked to rate their evaluations of a government issued official warning by three questions—do they believe the official warning would be trustworthy? do they believe the official warning would be knowledgeable? do they believe the authorities should take the responsibilities to protect them? Each question will also be measured by a Likert scale from not at all (= 1) to very great extent (= 5).
Furthermore, gender will be measured by a dichotomous variable in which the respondent reported either male (= 1) or female (= 2). Respondents would be asked to self-report their current age and to identify their ethnic group among seven categories
(African American = 1, Asian/Pacific Islander = 2, Caucasian = 3, Hispanic = 4, Native American = 5, Mixed = 6, or other = 7) and marital status among four categories (married = 1, single = 2, divorced = 3, or widowed = 4). Household size would be measured through respondents’ self-reports of the number of their household members who were less than 18 years, between 18-65 years, and over 65 years. Respondents would also be asked to identify their highest level of education in five categories (some high school = 1, high school graduate = 2, some college/vocational school = 3, college graduate = 4, or graduate school =5), and their yearly household income level in the other 5 categories (less than $15,000 = 1, $15,000-24,999 = 2, $25,000-34,999 = 3, $35,000-44,999 = 4, or more than $50,000 = 5). Meanwhile, home ownership would be measured by a dichotomous variable in which the respondent was asked if they rent the house in which they lived (= 1) or own it (= 2). Finally, household location would be geo-coded by their locations associated with the risk map (see Fig 1). Each household would be coded 1 (= Risk Area A), 2 (= Risk Area B), 3 (= Risk Area C), or 4 (= inland from the hurricane study area).
Figure 1. Evacuation Map of Houston-Galveston Study Area
The giving hypothesis of this study would be examined by both correlation and regression analyses to specify the relationships between households’ evacuation intention and the impacts of official warning with and without the controls of demographic characteristics.
Part III: Validities
Internal and External Validities
Because this study would be conducted by a field survey method, the study would be supposed to have a lack of controls on environmental and contextual factors. Hence, the results of this study would have a lower internal validity. That is, the relationship between households’ protective action intention and the impacts of official warning examining by this study might be arguable. To fix this issue, this study controls the demographic characteristics which would be helpful to increase the internal validity. On the other hand, because this is a field study, the results of this study would be easier to be generalized to other groups or areas. Hence, this study would have a higher external validity.
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