~Surveys, either formal or informal, can serve as effective means for evaluating the attitudes, feelings, values, beliefs, and expectations of a particular sample. By definition, a survey is basically a study undertaken to evaluate the feelings of a target audience or sample towards a particular area of interest (Cohen et al, 2007).
The responses can then be generalized to the whole population if appropriate measures are put in place to ensure data validity. It is imperative to note that every survey must have a well spelt out agenda, and details should be made available to respondents to give them the ability to respond to the questions posed
The main purpose of this particular survey was to critically evaluate how the employees felt towards workplace regulations that inevitably affect their privacy, and how such practices influence their performance and job satisfaction levels. Today, more than ever before, there exists glaring concerns about conflicts of interest between the employer’s role of safeguarding the safety and performance in the workplace on the one hand and the employee’s privacy interest on the other.
Newspapers and other media channels are filled with reports of senior managers who conduct routine checks on employees’ desks, monitor telephone conversations, and install software application programs to monitor computers and emails.
We only get to hear of such stories when an infuriated employee files a lawsuit against his or her employer for perceived infringement on privacy (Hubbartt, 1998). The survey targeted the private sector since the workers’ right to privacy in this particular sector is not essentially guaranteed by either the constitution or federal regulations
There are many design issues involved in preparing an effective survey. First, it was decided that the survey will utilize quantitative research design since the main objective was to evaluate the relationship between the independent variable, which was workplace regulations towards privacy, and the dependent variables, entailing a multiplicity of attitudes and values held by the employees concerning how the regulations affects their performance and job satisfaction (Hopkins, 2000).
Quantitative research designs can either be descriptive or experimental, and this particular survey opted for a descriptive study since it was interested in establishing associations between the above stated variables as opposed to establishing causality.
Having determined on the design to be used for the survey, it was also decided that the survey employ a cross-sectional approach since the respondents were measured once to determine the relationships (Hopkins, 2000). Afterwards, the desired sample size was established through both purposive and convenience sampling procedures.
Purposive sampling was used since the researcher needed respondents who had adequate knowledge and understanding on privacy issues in the workplace. After this was established, convenience sampling was used. The latter technique samples people based on the principle of being in the right place at the right time (Cohen et al, 2007).
Semi-structured questionnaires were also developed for the purposes of data collection. Questionnaires are advantageous in this type of survey due to their ease of application and tested ability to bring out salient information in the most objective manner possible (Cohen et al, 2007).
Since this was an attitude survey, the researcher used the unstructured questions to explore new levels of knowledge, not mentioning the fact that such questions gave the respondents the leeway to expound their innermost feelings towards the variables under investigation.
The above are some of the preliminary design issues that any researcher must be able to aptly solve in line with the key objectives of the study. The study design is particularly important as it determines the type of data that the researcher will receive from the field.
Decisions on whether the study will adopt a descriptive or experimental approach are fundamentally important, especially in attitude studies where the researcher is mainly interested in knowing how a particular attitude or behavior develops, and why it develops (Cohen et al, 2007). I
Issues of the actual data gathering tools are equally important since they are principally related with the validity and reliability of results. Validity can be basically described as the strength of our own conclusions, deductions, or propositions. Validity seeks to ask if certain inferences or conclusions made from a research study were right, and as such, it depends heavily on the degree to which a particular data collection instrument employed in the survey is able to evaluate or measure certain issues of interest (Handley, 2005).
Reliability can be simply described as the consistency of measurement. In this particular stud, reliability was described as the degree to which the semi-structured questionnaire was able to measure the variables or phenomena consistently each time the instrument was under similar conditions. This ensured outstanding levels of uniformity in responses given out by the subjects (Handley, 2005).
Lastly, it was decided that the questionnaire was to be self-administered, whereby the subjects were expected to fill in the answer either with or without the assistance of the researcher as situations would allow.
The distinct advantages of self-administering the questionnaires in an attitude survey is that not only does the respondent feel free to answer objectively, but also the whole process takes a little time to complete (Cohen et al, 2007). Here, instructions for administering included: who should complete the survey; who should administer the survey; what instructions should be made available to the participants; what is needed for administering the survey; among others (Instructions, n.d.).
As already mentioned, the questions were mostly structured to limit the subjects to the scales given. Some questions, however, were unstructured especially in areas where more explanations were needed. A five-point Lickert-type scale was used to scale and measure the responses.
In this type of scale, the instructions would be: 5 represents the most important or strongly agree while 1 represents the least important or strongly disagree. Performing descriptive statistics on such scores will reveal their means, standard deviations, maximum values, minimum values, among others. To achieve objectivity in interpretation of the results, the researcher may have to evaluate three or four questions simultaneously to establish valid relationship or run cross-tabulations (Manion et al, 2007).
The importance of attitude surveys in evaluating the behaviors and actions of individuals can not, therefore, be put into question. There attitude surveys are used in nearly every field, from education to psychology to marketing and management to evaluate the perceptions, priorities, values, and expectations held by individuals regarding a particular practice, product, strategy, or service (Manion et al, 2007).
In psychology, there are mostly used to come up with frameworks and theories as to how and why individuals behave the way they do when subjected to certain environmental incentives or negative rewards. Attitude informs the mindsets and behaviors of individuals the world over.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, R.B. (2007). Research methods in education, 6th Ed. New York, NY: Routledge
Handley, C. (2005). Validity and Reliability in Research. Retrieved April 20 2010
Hopkins, W.G. (2000). Quantitative research design. Sportscience, Vol. 4, Issue 1. Retrieved April 20 2010 < http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0001/wghdesign.html>
Hubbartt, W.S. (1998). The new battle over workplace privacy: Safe practices to minimize to minimize conflict, confusion, and litigation, 1st Ed. New York, NY AMACOM
Instructions for administering employee safety perception surveys. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20 2010