Before I began my questionnaires , I decided to do a pilot study. I gave my questionnaires to two children and two adults. This was to test the reliability and validity of my research design. With the questionnaire designed for the children, both of them found some of the words I used difficult to understand. They also took around 10 minuets each to complete the questionnaire, which was rather time consuming for both them and me but this could have been de to the fact that they couldn’t understand some of the words.
I improved the questions by changing the wording of the questions to make them easier to understand. Also they couldn’t think of some of the answers, so to help them think, I then listed some examples to help them think. When the adults did the questionnaires it took around 15 minutes to complete which was also too time consuming. This could of possible affected their answers as they could of become bored and rushed their answers. I improved this by reducing the amount of questions I had from 15 to 9, leaving the most important ones in.
One problem I faced was when I asked some of the children to complete one of my questionnaires is they didn’t want to participate. As there was more children in the class it wasn’t too much of a problem but I did then have to disturb them when they were doing other work. When I gave my research questionnaires to children in year 6 I used a random sapling. “If sample selection is left entirely to the choice of researchers then their own personal bias will be a problem. ” (Moonie page 451). I use the systematic sampling method to eliminate the chance of personal bias influencing the sample selection.
The way I choose my participants was by choosing every 3rd child on a register. One of the main ethical issues involved in any research is the effect of gender, race and culture on both researcher and participants. To avoid this I explained to all of my participants what to do and then moved them into another room whilst they completed the questionnaires and told them they didn’t need to put their names on the sheet. When they had finished I told them to put the questionnaires in a tray and fully debriefed and thanked them for taking part.
One problem with my method was that if children didn’t want to answer one of the questions or didn’t want to ask for help so they may of jus left the answer blank. This could have had an effect on my results. I then did the next part of my research which was the questionnaire to the adults. This time I used opportunity sampling. I asked teachers in college to complete the questionnaire. This helps me to generalise the results from the whole population and can also minimise the chance of selecting biased samples. All participants agreed to participate.
It took around 5- 10 minutes for each participant to complete the answers, which was still rather time consuming even since I had cut down the questions since the pilot study. This could have been due to the fact that there was mainly open ended questions that may of needed a little thought. At the end I debriefed each participant and thanked them for taking part. Another problem with my sampling method was it took me 4 days to get the participants to complete the questionnaires as they often didn’t have time to complete them when I asked so I had to go another time.
Originally I had planned to interview a head teacher and a parent. When I contacted the parent we arranged a date and time. One day before the interview she rang me as she had to cancel and we rearranged the date. Again the day before the next interview she rang me up to cancel. We could not both find a date to re arrange it so therefore we had to cancel it altogether. It was now too late into my research project to get n contact with another parent and conduct the interview without it having an effect on the rest of my research.
I wrote a letter to the head teacher of a school asking if I could interview her in relation to bullying. She then confirmed with a returning letter and the date. I decided to use a unstructured format for the interview as I new I would be able to get more information in this way. Before the interview I had a set of questions that would help prompt me to get the information I needed. A problem I had when conducting the interview was recording all the answers. The head teacher talked quite fast so it was even more difficult to write them down.
I wrote down as much as I could and asked her to slow down when she said something interesting for my research, so I could write it all down. Results Questionnaire for adults My questionnaire consisted of open ended and closed questions. My first question was were you aware of bullying when you were at school? 70% of my respondents answered that they were aware of bullying which was a much larger amount than I expected. My second question was in what format did the bullying take place. Most of the respondents said that bullying was both physical and name calling.
I expected most of the respondents to mention name calling and only one or two to mention physical as if there was a lot of physical bullying I would of expected it to have been reported more in the press around that time. My next question was do you think there was enough help available for victims of bullying like the anti bullying campaigns around today? All of the respondents answered no to this which didn’t surprise me. This was because help for bullying has only just started over the past few years so I didn’t expect their to be any help around 40 years ago.
The next question I asked was what could victims actually do to try and stop the bullying? For this question I got a mixture of answers. Some said the best thing to do was to try and stand up to the bullies and some said to tell the teachers on respondent even said that the older children were the ones to help and you had to rely on them. I expected more to say that they would tell the teachers as these days the teachers are usually the first person you would tell. My next question was did your school have procedures in place to combat bullying?
All of the respondents said no they didn’t have any procedures in place. I then asked an important question for my study which was do you think that society has a greater awareness of bullying than when you were at school? All of the respondents answered yes society does have a greater awareness. The next question I asked was were you aware of bullies being suspended/expelled when you were at school? 90% answered no they weren’t aware of this. You are likely in today’s schools to hear about pupils being expelled or suspended for bullying quite regularly so this must have only began to happen in the past 30/40 years.
My final question was how long do you think bullying has been around for and do you think it is getting worse? All of my respondents said it had been around for many years. 40% said they believed it was getting worse which was a smaller amount than I expected.
One respondent said that it is not getting worse its just that society is becoming more aware of it. Interview with the head teacher The interview gave me a lot of useful information from the head teacher about bullying. I particularly found the answers to question 2, do you think there was enough help available for the victims of bullying at that time, and also question 6, do you believe that bullying is spiralling out of control or that society has a greater awareness now of bullying and why?
The first question I asked was were you aware of bullying when you were at school? The answer didn’t surprise me as I thought she was aware of unfriendliness and sometimes threatening behaviour but she said it wasn’t labelled as bullying. Question2, do you think that there was enough help available for the victims of bullying at that time? This answer surprised me a lot. She said ” no one helped, you didn’t talk to teachers and most families were so big that you didn’t talk to parents either”.
This surprised me as I thought you would have been able to talk to you family bout the bullying problems. She also said that she didn’t remember anyone doing anything awful like committing suicide or self harm due to bullying. In question 3 I asked, how does the schools views and actions against bullying differ to the policy that schools would have had when you went? She said that schools are much more aware of the issues nowadays and what I also found interesting was teachers didn’t worry about pupils compared with today at her school where they are always on the look out for pupils that look unhappy.
One of my most important questions in this interview was question 5 about how bullying has changed over the years. The head teacher doesn’t think bullying has changed over the years and the only change is, is there is more awareness of it. She also says as there is now much more media coverage that gives young people ideas to do different things to people to get attention. As the head teacher has been a teacher for many years she would of seen how bullying happens and have a lot of knowledge on the issue.
I will take this answer into consideration a lot when I am concluding my research hypothesis. Question 6 was also another one of my important questions and was about bullying spiralling out of control. I found this interesting as the answer was different to what I expected she said “I don’t think bullying has got any worse than when I was at school”. She says what is different is our response to it and also how young people deal with it. What I also found interesting is she said that parents today make a lot of fuss and try to fight all their battles for them.
She also says bullying disempowers the victims and at her school they want to give power back to the child. This response was much more positive than I expected. I thought the response would be more negative and saying it is getting much worse. Discussion and evaluation There were a number of strengths in my design method. The questions in my interview and questionnaire didn’t make my respondents feel threatened. I didn’t ask any intimidating questions and didn’t ask an questions which were too personal. Doing a pilot study helped me test my questions which made them more reliable.
A strength of my interview was as it was an unstructured interview I could get the head teacher to elaborate on her answers so I could get more information. Using an unstructured interview made it more valid as these were the respondents real views. A problem with my research was as I had only a short amount of time to do my research, I could only use a relatively small amount of respondents making my research slightly less valid. When wording my questionnaires and interviews, I had to be careful that respondents interpret it the correct way, especially in my questionnaires as these were unsupervised.
On one of the adults misinterpreted the question giving me an irrelevant answer making the results less valid. My interview also took a long time to conduct and a long time to write up. I also found it hard to write all her answers down when she was talking so I possibly missed some answers. Throughout my research project I had to consider all ethical issues and try to avoid them . One was I had to get consent off all my respondents to conduct my research. I also had to debrief each respondent fully about what my research was about and thank them. Bullying is a very sensitive issue.
To avoid emotional harm I had to think carefully about the questions I was going to ask and how to word them. Respondents could have had a lot of problems in the past so I didn’t want to cause them any more unnecessary harm. My subject is delicate so there is a chance that some of my respondents might have lied as they were embarrassed about the truth or they didn’t want me to know that they had been bullied. A problem with the interview was the head teacher might have been biased. She would of wanted to make her school look good so may not have told the truth fully when she was talking about her schools policies.
There would also be a possibility of me being slightly biased, as some of my friends have been bullied in the past. As I was only able to interview one adult instead of the two that I had originally planed it may of made my conclusions less valid. It has only showed me only one detailed adults view on bullying so their may be many other views from people who disagree with what she had to say. My sample I used was fairly large so this makes it more representative of the population and my findings can also be generalised.