• Home   /  
  • Archive by category "1"

Research Methodology Assignment Questionnaire Format


Chapter I - IntroductionIntroductory paragraphs

Chapter I begins with a few short introductory paragraphs. The primary goal of theintroductory paragraphs is to catch the attention of the readers and to get them "turnedon" about the subject. It sets the stage for the topic and puts your topic in perspective.The introduction contains general statements about the need and significance for thestudy. When writing the introduction, put yourself in the reader's position - would youcontinue reading? It includes the following subsections

Statement of the Problem

The statement of the problem is the focal point of your research. It is just one sentenceYou are looking for something that needs close attention or a solution to existing methodsthat no longer seem to be working.Example of a problem statement: "The frequency of job layoffs is creating fear, anxiety,and a loss of productivity in middle management workers."Present persuasive arguments why the problem is important enough to study. Explainhow the problem relates to business or social trends by presenting data that demonstratesthe scope and depth of the problem. After writing this section, make sure you can easilyidentify the single sentence that is the problem statement.

Significance and need for the Study

The purpose is a single statement or paragraph that explains what the study intends toaccomplish. A few typical statements are:The goal/purpose of this study is to...... discover what ...... understand the causes or effects of ...... refine our current understanding of ...... provide a new interpretation of ...etc…This section creates a perspective for looking at the problem. It points out how your studyrelates to the larger issues and uses a persuasive rationale to justify the reason for your study. It makes the purpose worth pursuing. The significance of the study answers thequestions:Why is your study important? To whom is it important? What benefit(s) will occur if your study is done?It should also include the research objectives or goals


Exercise 1 - Research literature - review and critique of research articles - Jan 27

Exercise 2 - Problem analysis - defining research problems - Feb 28

Exercise 3 - Critical thinking/reading (oral discussion) - Jan 27 

Exercise 4 - Qualitative research -review article - April 14

Exercise 5 - Secondary data analysis - March 24

Exercise 6 - Sampling (Not graded)

Exercise 7 - Questionnaire design - Februrary 19

Exercise 8- Lansing Riverfront Trail use estimation (Excel) - optional extra practice in data analysis using Excel

Exercise 9 - Statistical analysis & hypothesis testing (SPSS):  March 29

Term paper - Research  proposal, review paper or empirical article.  April 29.

PRR 844 Spring 2003

Exercise # 1: Recreation, Leisure, Parks, Tourism as a Research Area

Purpose: To get you into the research literature, identify articles for review, and become familiar with research article format and classifications/types of research. Find one empirical research article of interest to you from a journal, proceedings or collection. An empirical article gathers data (from primary or secondary sources) and uses these data to describe, explain or evaluate something.

A. Make a copy of the article to hand in

B. Prepare a one page summary with the following information:

1. Classify the article in following categories

a. Does the article represent applied or basic research?

b. Classify the article as exploratory, descriptive, explanatory

c. What are the units of analysis

d. Is the study cross sectional or longitudinal

2. Identify the problem

a. What is the applied problem or question in 25 words or less?

b. What is the theoretical basis for the study or the theoretical question in 25 words or less? What theories or constructs are used in the study?

3. Briefly summarize or list in your own words what research methods were used. (Broadly, not details).

4. What are the main conclusions?

5. Who might use the results of this study and for what?

6. List the principal sections of the article.

7. Give formal citation for the article in APA format

C. Observe the format and structure of article, means of citing literature, use and format of tables & figures, Abstract, etc. For further information on the topic, find some of the references that are cited at the end of the article.

DUE: January 27

 APA Style - Selected Formats (See APA Tipsheet on web for more information)

Article in Journal.

Burton, T.L. & Jackson, E.L. (1990). On the road to where we're going: Leisure studies in the future. Society and Leisure, 13, 207-227.

 If journal is paginated by issue put issue number in parentheses, eg. 13(2), 1-12.


Tull, D.S. & Hawkins D.I. (1994). Marketing research: measurement & method (6th ed.). New York: MacMillan.

Chapter in edited book.

Hurst, F. (1987). Enroute surveys. In J.R. Ritchie & C.R. Goeldner (Eds), Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Research; A Handbook for Managers. (pp. 401-415). New York: John Wiley and Sons.


Fridgen, J.D & Allen, D.J. (1982). Proceedings, Michigan tourism: How can research help?. East Lansing, Michigan: Department of Park and Recreation Resources, Michigan State University.

Article in Proceedings.

McIntosh, R.W. (1982). Michigan tourism - A historical perspective. In. J.D. Fridgen & D.J. Allen (Eds.) Proceedings, Michigan Tourism: How Can Research Help?. (pp. 23-26). East Lansing, Michigan: Department of Park and Recreation Resources, Michigan State University.

Article/document from Internet

Stynes, D.J. 2000. Economic Impacts of Tourism.  Retrieved January 1, 2001 from World Wide Web: http://www.msu.edu/course/prr/840/econimpact/pdf/ecimpvol1.pdf.

 Citing from the Internet: APA Style  Citing from the Internet: MLA Style

PRR 844 Spring 2003


Identify a problem in the field of recreation, leisure, or tourism. Selection of the problem may involve consultation with your adviser, the instructor, or potential clients. The problem may reflect an intended thesis or dissertation, or simply a problem or question you find interesting. The problem may involve either an applied or theoretical question. The paper should include:

1. Description of problem: begin broadly and quickly narrow down to your specific focus.

2. Justify the importance of problem. Selected citations to literature may help here.

3. Concise statement of specific problem to be studied. We are looking for a research problem not all problems are research problems.

4. Statement of potential products, uses, users of results. This is part of the problem justification.

5. Concise listing of study objectives.

DO NOT include an extensive literature review, although citing a few key references should be helpful. DO NOT jump into procedures yet, be careful not to list procedures as objectives conducting a survey of boaters is not an objective.

Problem statement includes first two sections of a proposal and can serve as first 3 or 4 pages of a final proposal (should you elect this term paper option). This exercise will get you started and give the instructor an opportunity to provide guidance in topic selection, procedures, and references.

Convey problem concisely and clearly -- 3 or 4 pages should suffice. Give copy to adviser if you wish for his/her input. Refer to materials and references on proposal writing for further guidance. Skim research literature for ideas. Introductions of past Theses, Dissertations, or Plan B papers are examples you can consult. Usually the first three chapters represent the proposal, first chapter is a problem statement (although usually more long winded than what I want here).

DUE: February 27

PRR 844  : Exercise for in-class discussion

EXERCISE # 3 : Critical Reading - propositions, hypotheses, evidence, value statement (Discussion exercise)

Objective: To provide practice in critically reading and evaluating articles and arguments. Specifically to identify propositions, hypotheses, evidence, and value judgements and to separate statements of facts from normative statements. To identify research problems from a careful and critical reading of literature.

Assignment: Read article "Wildlife is for nonhunters too" by David Lime - Word document.

1. Read the article through once.

2. Return to beginning and carefully reread & dissect the article.

a. Identify propositions & label these in margins as P1, P2, P3 etc.

b. Identify & label hypotheses: H1, H2 etc.

c. Identify value statements & label: V1, V2, etc.

3. Carefully analyze the wording of each key statement (proposition, hypothesis, value statements), dissect the sentence & evaluate clarity & precision of the statements.

4. For each proposition, evaluate the evidence presented:

a. Is it relevant, adequate?

b. Are you aware of counter evidence?

5. For each hypothesis:

a. Do you believe it to be true?

b. State a counterhypothesis.

c. Anything in article or elsewhere to support the hypothesis?

d. Identify research you might conduct to test the hypothesis.

6. For each value statement

a. Whose values are being advanced?

b. How widely are these values held by others, who?

c. Do you share these values?


Guidance in defining terms:

Proposition: a statement of fact or what the author purports to be a fact.

Evidence: data, research results, or other propositions supporting a proposition.

Hypothesis: a conjecture, a statement that is presented as requiring more evidence to establish its truth.

Value judgement: normative statement, someone's or some group's values (right or wrong, good or bad) or recommended behavior(s).

NOTE: This article is not a research article, but you should critique it as if it were. BE VERY CRITICAL AND VERY PICKY about terms being clearly defined and statements being precise. Also evaluate the logic of the arguments presented including inadequate or misleading evidence. This exercise will help you in evaluating your own writing. Research papers and proposals require very precise use of words and a clear logical structure.


  Exercise 4:  Qualitative Research methods: Find and read a research article using a qualitative approach. Write up a brief summary (one page or less) including :

  a). Complete citation in APA format
  b).  Brief summary of topic, study objectives
  c). Description of methods used
  d). Principal conclusions
  e). Your observations on the study and pros and cons of the qualitative approach.
  f). Also hand in a copy of the article.

DUE:  April 14



Identify three research questions or objectives that can be addressed using known secondary data. Write out the objective and indicate the source and nature of the secondary data you would use. Identify the dependent and independent variables. Focus on research questions that involve the identification of patterns or relationships, not simply "lookup" type questions, like, "How many visits did Michigan State Parks receive last year?", or "How high is the Mackinac Bridge?".

There are two ways to tackle this exercise:

(1) Define the research question and then find the secondary data that can be used to answer it.
(2) Browse secondary sources and determine what questions could be answered with some of the variables you find.

The first approach is the normal route when using secondary data to solve a particular applied problem. Without a sense of what secondary data is likely to exist, where to look for it, and how to adapt it to a particular problem,  you may generate lots of questions that can't be answered with secondary data. The second approach will be easier. It is also common in situations where researchers or managers are looking for something to do with data that they already have, e.g. a student looking for a research problem that won't require primary data collection, or told to find some further analysis to carry out on a survey data set. Finding more and better uses of existing data is also useful for managers, who often overlook what could be discovered from data that they already collect on a regular basis.

Two common applications of secondary data is to describe or explain variations over space and time by examining variables that have been collected consistently for different spatial units (states, counties, countries, cities), or have been gathered on a regular basis over time (trend analysis). Data available over both time and space offers opportunities to study both temporal and spatial variations and can be used to describe, explain or predict a given phenomonon, e.g. How is seasonality of tourism activity related to characteristics of destinations, including their location?

You may draw from any secondary data sources you are aware of. One source suitable for thousands of potential research questions about recreation and tourism in Michigan is Spotts, D.M. Travel & Tourism in Michigan; A Statistical Profile (available in TTTRC). You may reference sources in this document by page and table number, indicate which variables you have in mind. You can find similar kinds of data for other states or countries on the WWW. Start with my updated set of data sources on web, or older set in Datalinks. Browse the PRR844 web page covering data on the web to see some of the standard federal and state sources - find other sites on your own. For web data, give the URL and a brief summary of what is available along with the research questions to be answered with the data. In micro-labs, we will show you how to download data from the WWW and analyze it in Excel.

Due : March 26

Exercise 6 : Sampling : First some practice : Retrieve the Excel file SAMPLE.XLS from Course AFS space to start this exercise.

Yogi Bear park has a single entrance gate that is not normally staffed.  The management would like an  estimate of how many users the park receives during the month of October 1998. Use will be measured by having someone count the number of visitors entering the park during a sample of hours.  The department has funds to pay for 24 hours of observation. Propose a sampling plan to identify which days/hours the counter will be stationed at the entrance. Assume the population is the 372 daylight hours in October - 12 daylight hours from 8 am to 8 pm during the 31 days in October. In 1998 there were 9 weekend dates (Saturday/Sunday) and 22 weekdays in October. You will choose a sample of 24 hours from this population. This is a typical problem involving sampling over time. Note that the sampling unit here is the hour (not the individual visitor). Your assignment, (should you accept it), is to determine which 24  one hour time periods to make observations in order to have a representative sample of time periods in October. Use the calendars on spreadsheet file sample.xls to indicate the days and times you would schedule observations. 


a. JUDGEMENT SAMPLE:  First,  use your judgment to choose 24 time periods that will be representative of the 372 daylight hours in October.  Go to JUDGMENT page of spreadsheet and put an "x" in the cells (day and time) you would sample. Select cells until counter reaches 24. If you change your mind as you proceed, you may delete an x and pick a new one. Briefly explain how you chose this sample in textbox. Put your name at top and then Print out the page. 

b.  SIMPLE RANDOM SAMPLE (SRS): Next generate a simple random sample using the random selection procedure built into the RANDOM page. Click the DRAW SAMPLE button to draw a random sample. You may try this several to see how samples may vary until you pick one to write up.  In text box at bottom,  evaluate its “representativeness” via a visual inspection or by using the summary tables. Do you think this sample would yield an accurate estimate of use if we calculated the average use per hour from the 24 observations and multiplied by 372 to expand to all daylight hours in October? Any biases in the sample? Print your RANDOM sample out before proceeding as the next part will erase it. 

c.  STRATIFIED SAMPLE: In most time sampling situations like this, one uses a stratified sample to assure a good sample distribution across times of day and days of week. Use the following six strata for a stratified sample: 

Weekdays (M-F) 8-11 am
Weekdays 12-3 pm
Weekdays 4-7 pm
Weekends (M-F) 8-11 am
Weekends 12-3 pm
Weekends 4-7 pm 

Using judgement or a random process choose four hours/dates for sampling within each strata. (4 hours per strata times six strata yields 24 hours that are sampled.) 

To draw a stratified sample on the SAMPLE.XLS spreadsheet, go to STRATA page first, read instructions  and then select the CLEAR SAMPLE button to clear sample on the RANDOM page and color the strata for easier identification. Choose four cells in each strata (color) by putting an x in the cells selected.Then erase your comments in textbox, add new comments this time comparing the pros and cons of the three sampling approaches. Which approach do you think yields the best sample for this problem? 

Now choose a problem of your own (can be for your problem statement) and design a sampling plan for it. The instructor will provide some problems to choose from if you wish. 

DUE- This exercise is for practice with sampling - not handed in or graded.

PRR 844, Exercise #7 :  Questionnaire Design

Class will be divided into three or four groups, with each working on a distinct survey. Group may identify the study population and topic or use one that the instructor suggests. Your assignment is to design a one page self-administered questionnaire for the study.

(1). First define the study population and formulate some specific objectives, questions, or hypotheses relative to the study. Then identify the information you will need to gather from the study population to answer the questions or test the hypotheses. Consider background variables, socio-economic information, and cognitive (what do they know?), affective (how do they feel about...?), and behavioral (what do they do?) information.

Your "mini-study" should include:

a. A descriptive component - pick at least three characteristics of the population that you will describe, ie. report frequencies, percentages, averages, etc. example - determine the percentage of MSU students using the IM-west building so far this term and their characteristics.

b. An explanatory component - formulate at least one hypothesis about a relationship between two (or more) variables. State your hypothesis and identify the variables you must measure to test it. Note that you may use some of the same variables from (a). example - hypothesize a relationship between use of IM-west and class standing -- maybe freshmen/women use building more than upper classmen/women.

In no more than one page, state your objectives and identify the variables you will need to measure. The group should agree on this and be as precise as possible. Keep it simple.

(2). Design a one page questionnaire to gather the above information (5 or 6 questions probably suffice). Assume this will be a self-administered questionnaire to a random sample of your study population. Each student will independently develop the questionnaire.

Prepare the one page questionnaire as if this were the instrument to be used in the survey. That is, pay attention to instructions, wording, question types, formatting, question sequencing, layout, and overall design of your questionnaire. Assume the cover letter will be drafted by someone else. After completing the questionnaire, also note on your first page which questions (by number) are measuring which variables, and indicate the scale or level of measurement for each variable (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio).

TURN IN TWO PAGES. First page covering the group's definition of the study (part 1), second page your survey instrument. Keep in mind the study population , topic , and type of survey (self-administered instrument). Make copies of your questionnaire to exchange with members of your group and one to turn in. You will critique each others versions of the instrument.  Due February 28

Sources: Check out questionnaire design tips at Trochim's site (Constructing the Survey ) , Leones reading, and my Topic outlines ( topic outlines Part V.) Review sample questions and formats from these references and also check other sample questionnaires (distributed in class, others at my PRR 475 site-OldsClassicMarina ), as needed.  If you'd like to practice assembling questionnaire in WORD, see the exercise from my PR475 class-  lab8.doc.
DUE:  February 19.

Exercise 8 - Park Use Estimation, Lansing Riverfront Trail

PURPOSE: This exercise will provide practice in the analysis of observational data.  It also illustrates the procedure for expanding from a time sample of observations to the population using either a simple random sample or stratified sample. Observational data were gathered by PRR 475 students along the Lansing Riverfront Trail in 1996. Observation forms and a description of the study are available in a word document in course AFS space -.  Data are in the  Excel spreadsheet.


Using the 30 observations on the Lansing Riverfront Trail answer the following questions:

1. How much use did the eastern section of the trail receive in October of 1996?
2.  How was use distributed across the two access sites and by time of day and day of week?
3.  Who uses the trail? Report the percentage of use by type of use, user characteristics, etc.


trailex.doc is a word document containing

·A  summary of the study objectives and methods.  Note especially the sampling strata - 30 of  the planned observations were completed.

·The observation form(s) and instructions for observers. Coding of variables and how use was operationally defined and measured are also contained in the above word document.

·HINTS on completing this exercise (try it without the hints first).

The data file (Trail96.xls): is an Excel spreadsheet

·The data file (Trail96.xls) contains the hourly sums that were entered on the final "Summary Counts" form plus the variables in the box at top of the INSTRUCTION sheet.

·A short instruction sheet on the Excel program is also available in the course AFS  space as a WORD document (Excel5.doc)

FORMAT OF THE REPORT: (Shouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 pages).

1. For each of the three questions /objectives, briefly explain how you generated the answers - call this section METHODS.
2. For each question/objective summarize the answer in a brief text,  table, figure or combination of these - put these in a RESULTS section.
3. If you like, you may paste parts of the study summary page at front to yield a complete mini-report.
(For this exercise you need the Excel file TRAIL96.XLS and the handouts describing the Trail observation procedures and data. There also is a
HINTS page for completing this)

DUE: Optional exercise to prcatice data analysis in Excel

Exercise #9. Computer statistical analysis using SPSS

The purpose of this exercise is to familiarize you with computer data analysis and statistical hypothesis testing.  This year we will use the SPSS 10.0 for Windows.  The exercise is designed to give you some experience with computer statistical packages including descriptive analyses and hypothesis testing.  We will be using data from a 1995-96 visitor survey at the Huron Clinton Metroparks in Michigan. Further details about the surveys, data files, questionnaire, and use of SPSS are covered in thehandouts. Data files hcma2s.sav (1,000 cases) and hcma96.sav (full data set) are in PRR 844 AFS space. Retrieve these from within SPSS by browsing to course AFS space on U drive. .

For this exercise you are to pick a small subset of variables that you wish to study. You should hypothesize some kind of relationships between at least two of these variables.  Run appropriate descriptive statistics to summarize your variables and report highlights in a short text or tables/figures. Also, formulate a hypothesis about at least one relationship between 2 or more variables.  Run an appropriate statistical test to test the hypothesis. Briefly interpret your results. Include a copy of the output for the analyses you carried out. Write up your results in a short (3-5 pages) analysis to include:

1.  A brief description of your problem area/topic, identifying the variables, measurement levels, coding, and any other relevant information. Identify the variables you are relating by their definition (questionnaire) and SPSS variable names. Briefly explain your choice of variables & hypothesis. If you have recoded or computed any variables, explain changes you made.  Identify the measurement scales of your variables and note any assumptions you are making. Propose one or more hypotheses that make sense. State these formally as null hypotheses.

2. A description of the distribution of your variables in the sample using text, tables or figures, as necessary.

3. A formal test of your hypotheses. Select a significance level for your test. Run an appropriate SPSS procedure following the guidelines in the attached materials (see SPSS manuals, Data Analysis Guide, a statistics book, or your text as needed). Unless you have previous experience with SPSS and/or statistical testing, start simple. Most of you should choose from the following basic tests:

a. Chi square (in SUMMARIZE, CROSSTABS procedure, choose Chi square statistic)
b. T-test of difference in means or proportions (In COMPARE MEANS, Indep. Sample T-Test)
c. Correlation (In CORRELATION)
d. One way analysis of variance (In COMPARE MEANS, ANOVA)
e. Simple Nonparametric statistics - e.g. Kruskall-Wallis, Mann Whitney, Sign, Wilcoxin, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Runs tests. (in NONPARAMETRIC TESTS)

After completing one or more of these, you may try more advanced procedures like cluster analysis (CLASSIFY), factor analysis (DATA REDUCTION), linear and nonlinear regression (REGRESSION), scaling procedures (SCALE) etc., but don’t do these until you understand the simpler hypothesis tests.

4. Analyze the computer output and report your results. Reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis.  Briefly discuss/interpret your results. Do not just hand in a “computer dump” - write up what you find in a succinct, but complete and meaningful report. Convert SPSS outputs into a meaningful set of tables and/or figures that are insered into your report.  See handout on tables and figures for formatting tips - Tableswrite.doc

On-line handouts (Word)

Complete package with SPSS primer, statistics summary, and HCMA codebook, and exercise. (18 pages)

HCMA codebook: hcmacodebook.doc
One page HCMA summary: hcma.doc
Older Statistics handout: stat97.doc


Exercise due:  March 31

Note: You may work together and help each other with SPSS procedures, but please don't hand in the exact same analyses. There are hundreds of interesting hypotheses to go around here. Choose some variables and tests that are interesting to you and make sense.

Preparation for the Lab

a). Review the questonnaires and codebooks for the HCMA survey data set. Identify some variables you are interested in and hypotheses to test.
b) Read Trochim's material on analysis and my handouts on SPSS.
c) SPSS has a good set of tutorials.  From within SPSS select HELP on the menu bar and choose SPSS Tutorials.  Follow the instructions for a demonstration of many SPSS procedures. Work through as many of the tutorials as you have time for.

Steps for Completing the Assignment.

a. Review variables in the file by examining the questionnaire and codebook.
b. Choose at least two variables you hypothesize might be related and perhaps others that are in some way connected to the thrust of your analysis.
c. Identify the measurement scales for the variables - nominal, ordinal, interval. Formulate a null hypothesis and select a suitable statistical test to test this hypothesis.
d. Go to Micro-computer lab, load SPSS from Start menu.
e. Retrieve data file from 844 AFS space (msu.edu/course/PRR/844/. Look for a file called HCMA2s.SAV. In SPSS Choose File, Open, Data and point to the data file.
 f. Run appropriate SPSS procedures from Statistics menu in  SPSS. Choose procedure, select variables by moving them to boxes for dependent or independent variables,  select special options or statistics as needed, and click OK to run the procedure. See examples in SPSS handout for the basic tests you should consider.
g. Inspect results, print them out if okay. Interpret the results and write them up. Prepare your own summary tables.

 Term Paper : Research proposal, literature review or empirical paper.

Most students will follow through with the problem statement completed in Exercise 2.  Depending on where you are in your program and in defining a research problem,  the term paper should involve:

  • a. Completing a research proposal: follow the format in topic outlines (Topic 3), also consult any of the many guides on proposal writing, e.g. Joe Levine's Guide for Writing a Funding proposal. For examples of research proposals, check the first few chapters of any thesis or dissertation or the first several pages of any research article (through the methods section). Here are two sample proposals : one on seasonal homes and another on  boating (Word documents).
  • b. Writing a review of research on a given topic : this should not be just an annotated bibliography, review a collection of articles on a given theme, and discuss underlying theories, most important research questions/issues,  commonly used methods and their pros and cons, conclusions from this body of research, how research has been applied, and the remaining research questions in this area.
  • c. Preparing an empirical research paper for a journal. This option is for students who have data in hand or will be using secondary data. Prepapre a research article suitable for submission to a journal. See journal submission guidelines for format (e.g. Journal of Leisure Research, Journal of Travel Research).

DUE: April 29, 2003


One thought on “Research Methodology Assignment Questionnaire Format

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *