Research Topic and Purpose of the Study
The research topic is “interaction between students and faculty mentors”. The aim of the study is to determine the factors that affect the interaction between students and faculty mentors. In addition, the researcher sought to establish the students’ perception on their experience with faculty mentors.
Overarching Research Question
It was important for the researcher to identify the general direction of the study. In broad terms, the researcher sought to answer one key question: what obstacles are students facing in their quest to benefit from the university’s mentorship programs?
Specific Research Questions/Hypotheses
Researchers using mixed methods need to formulate advanced qualitative and quantitative research questions or hypotheses in order to narrow down and focus on the main purpose of the study (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). The researcher sought to answer the following specific questions:
- To what extent do students find the need to interact with their faculty mentors?
- How does the students’ demographic attributes help explain the extent of their interaction with faculty mentors?
- To what extent does the students’ demographic characteristic influence their perceptions on their experience with the faculty mentors?
Type of Study
The researcher adopted a mixed research approach, which comprises of the combined principles of quantitative and qualitative research. The mixed method is superior to other research approach because researchers are able to incorporate various complimentary data collection methods (Creswell & Clark, 2017).
The researcher combined the designs of qualitative and quantitative to collect and analyze data. The design of the study was to first collect and analyze qualitative data, followed by quantitative data collection and analysis (Creswell & Clark, 2017). The overall purpose of a mixed method researcher is to explain and interpret relationships between numerous variables. The researcher used various data collection methods, including document review, interviews, and self-administered questionnaires.
Data collection procedure entailed identification of the target population and establishment of a suitable representative sample. In addition, the researcher conducted a qualitative review on documents that contained information regarding students’ interaction with faculty mentors. The researcher randomly identified students’ files for review to ensure that the selection was free from bias (Kitchenham, 2004). Similarly, selection of student participants was through random sampling. The researcher established that a sample of 60 students was sufficient to support or reject the research hypotheses. Random sampling style was important because the researcher was able to eliminate bias (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004).
To develop a conceptual framework, it was important for the researcher to identify the independent and the independent variables. According to Creswell and Creswell (2017), independent variables are quantities that researchers seek to change or control in a scientific environment to establish the impacts of dependent variables, while the dependent variables are the quantity being tested in a scientific experiment.
The principles underlying the mixed method of research are based on their validity, utility, trustworthiness, and dependability (Creswell & Clark, 2017). Participants comprised of students who had participated in the mentorship program. To supplement quantitative data, the researcher reviewed documented evident of previous student-mentor interactions. The measurement tools included the responses to interviews and questionnaire by participants as well as documented evidence of mentorship.