Research topic and Purpose of the Study
The research study is about the interactions between undergraduate students and faculty mentors. The main purpose of the current study is to assess the extent to which students interact with the faculty mentors. Specifically, the researcher aimed at determining the factors that affected the student-mentor relationships.
Overarching Research Questions
In quantitative research, the overarching questions serve as indicators of study design and data collection. In addition, researchers use overarching questions to create the scope of developing new and specific data collection and analysis methods (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). Often times, these questions serve as the overall goals of the study. In the research, the author sought to answer the broad question with regards to the level of interactions between students and their faculty members.
Specific Research Question/Hypotheses
The researcher narrowed down the broad overarching question to questions in order to sufficiently address the topic. Specific questions are the most important aspects of social research because they enable the researcher to establish both dependent and independent variables of the study (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). The following are the specific research questions that the researcher sought to answer:
- What is the type of relationship that exists between the students and faculty mentors?
- What is the attitude of the students towards their faculty mentors?
- How do demographic attributes such as age, gender, and culture influence the relationship between the students and faculty mentors?
Type of Study
The researcher conducted a quantitative study to determine the extent to which students interact with their faculty mentors. The quantitative approach was appropriate for the structured collection and analysis of data that the researcher planned to use. The researcher also used computational, statistical, and mathematical tools to derive the results. The main aim of a quantitative approach is to quantify a research problem and understand its prevalence within the larger population (Bryman, 2017).
Dependent and Independent Variables
In quantitative research, it is important for researchers to identify variables in which they are most interested. In this case, the dependent and independent variables form the main bases for scientific tests (Ary et al., 2018). The dependent variable in the study represented the level of interaction between the students and faculty mentors. In contrast, the independent variables affected the dependent variables, and they comprised of demographic attributes of the sample.
The researcher adopted a cross-sectional design to answer the research questions. A cross-sectional survey entails collection and analysis of data from a population of interest (Nardi, 2018). The quantitative research method entailed conducting interviews and issuing self-administered questionnaires as the main data collection tools. In this case, the researcher interacted with participants that formed the representative sample from the population of interest. The participants were selected through a random sampling method. Random sampling method is helps quantitative researchers to eliminate bias (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). In addition, all members of the population had an equal chance of participating in the study.
It was important for the researcher to select a representative sample from the target population. The sample selected represented the overall population of graduate students in the target institution. The age of the participants was between 18 and 55 years. The researcher further ensured gender balance by selecting an equal number of male and female participants. The researcher determined that a sample size 60 respondents was a sufficient representation of the target population.
To achieve the research objective, the researcher needed to identify the measures for testing. The faculty mentor referred to a person whose responsibility was to act as a role model to undergraduate students. The students’ demographic data comprised of information such as age, gender, and cultural background. The researcher used the statistical data collected from respondents for analysis.
The researcher analyzed data to explore the relationship dependent and independent variables. Data was obtained from self-administered questionnaires and interviews, and was completed by 60 respondents, a response rate of 100%. Assuming that half of the university’s 500 students interacted at some level with faculty mentors, a population size of 250 students was expected (n=250). All the 60 participants submitted their self-administered questionnaires and responded to interview questions.