Research Topic and Purpose of the Study
The research topic for the study was “interactions between students and faculty mentors”.
The main purpose of the current study is to assess the perception of students regarding their experience with faculty mentors.
Overarching research questions
For this research, the overarching research question is the level of perception by students towards the faculty mentors. The question is an important guide post for the researcher to establish the best data collection methods and form the basis of the study.
Specific Research question and Hypotheses
The researcher narrowed down the overarching question to address a specific research issue: what are the perception of students regarding their experience with faculty mentors?. According to Creswell and Creswell (2017), specific questions and research hypotheses are useful for the development of dependent and independent variables. Consequently, the researcher developed three main hypothesis based on the specific research question.
H1: The age of the students is an important contributory factor to how students perceived their experience with faculty mentors
H0: The age of students is not a significant factor in their perception of faculty mentors.
H2: There is a significant gender influence on students’ perception on their experience with faculty mentors
H0: Gender is not a significant factor in determining how students perceive their relationship with faculty mentors
H3: Ethnic background is a significant factor that determines how students perceive their relationship with faculty mentors
H0: Ethnic background is immaterial as far as perception towards faculty mentors by students is concerned.
Type of Study
The researcher conducted a qualitative study to determine the perceptions of students regarding their experience with faculty mentors. The qualitative method appropriate in this context because the researcher was able to collect data the document review method (Savenye & Robinson, 2005).
Dependent and Independent Variables
The researcher was able to identify dependent and independent variables in the study. According to Bernard (2017), change in independent variables result in corresponding changes in the dependent variables. The dependent variable in the study is the perception that students have on their experience with faculty mentors. In contrast, the independent variables are the factors that influence such perceptions, including age, gender, and cultural background.
The researcher adopted a document review design to obtain data. Document review is the most appropriate method for qualitative researchers because it entails a systematic collection, documentation, analysis, interpretation of recorded data (Tranfield, Denyer, & Smart, 2003). Moreover, the document review method was appropriate because the researcher was able to collect data without being disruptive to the student community (Bretschneider, 2017). There are several reasons why social researchers opt for document analysis as a method of data collection. According to Bowen (2009), obtaining and analyzing documents is more cost and time efficient than conducting research and experiments as is the case with quantitative research.
The researcher sampled 60 documents that contained information with regards to student interactions with faculty mentors. It was important for the researcher to establish the size of the target population in order to determine the most appropriate size of the sample. Assuming that 200 students out of the university’s total population of 500 interacted with the faculty mentors, a sample of 60 documents was a sufficient representation of the target population.
The researcher separated dependent and independent variables and established conceptual frameworks of the study. While the dependent variable of the research was the perception by the students of their experience with the faculty mentors, the independent variables were the three main demographic attributes, namely gender, cultural background, and age. The researcher tested the relationship between dependent and independent variables by reviewing the documented patterns of interactions between students and faculty mentors. Document review is a credible source of data because it is indicative of the frequency of interactions between dependent and independent variables (Bretschneider, 2017).
The researcher analyzed the available data to determine the perception by students with regards to their experience with faculty mentors. Data was obtained from reviewing documents, which resulted in a 100% success rate. Assuming that half of the university’s 500 students interacted at some level with faculty mentors, the researcher determined the target population to be 250 (n=250). Thus, the sample of 60 documents was sufficient in testing the variables.