Also this week the children’s commissioner has said that bullying is shifting from physical attacks to psychological cruelty. Mr Trobe says such psychological tactics have become common in the past 5 0r 6 years, he says “driven by near universal ownership of mobile phones among youngster”. The children’s commissioner for England, Al Aynsley- green had highlighted the scale of bullying in schools and he suggested that some schools were failing to pay sufficient attention to children’s fears over bullying. Methodology
When choosing a method I need to make sure that they are all practical and I avoid any ethical problems. To avoid any ethical problems I need to plan my research methods fully. For some people, completing a questionnaire or being observed may be interesting or perhaps even a rewarding experience. For others especially those involved in research into sensitive issues including bullying, may feel that “their privacy is being invaded or thoughts and feelings that have been suppressed for a long time may uncomfortably re- awoken and prove disturbing” (Thomson page 432).
Ethical standards also require that researchers not put participants in a situation where they might be at risk of harm as a result of their participation. Harm can be defined as both physical and psychological. Voluntary participation from all my participants is also nesacary. I cant force people to take part in my research project but they must volunteer. Informed consent is also nesercary as I must fully inform participants about the procedures that will be involved so they are fully aware of their role in the research task.
I will also treat all respondents information as confidential and make sure they know I am doing this. This may help the participants be more honest in their answers as they know people wont find out what they have put in their answers. Throughout my research project I always need to consider these issues and fully avoid them. I will use different methods to make sure I do everything correctly. For example when I receive the answers from the children’s questionnaire, I will ask them to put all the answers in a tray so I don’t see which child put in which answer sheet and I will also tell them not to put their names on it.
My research will be relatively small scale so I need to consider a number of issues. One will be the cost. I need to consider any costs I may come across such as transport costs and photocopying. Another issue is need to be able too have access to information that has already been collected so access to the internet and library’s needs to be considered. Also how I will be getting my respondents needs to be thought about. As it is a fairly small scale piece of research and I don’t have much time I need to plan how long each part of my research process will take.
I plan to use questionnaires as 1 way of collecting my information. I will give questionnaires to 10 children in year 6 at primary school. This will enable me to find out their views on bullying and to see how they think it can be stopped. I will also give questionnaires to adults between the age of 40 – 55. This will enable me to find out how they believe bullying has changed over time. Questionnaires have both advantages and disadvantages . Using these I am able to collect information from a larger sample.
They are cheep and quick to reproduce which is good for my research as I have less time. Respondents may also have more time to consider their answers as I am not asking them quickly on the spot. This is also a much better way of collecting information from children, than observations or interviews, as they may not feel comfortable in telling the truth and also may become upset, so there are less ethical issues involved. Another strength of questionnaires is the questions can be pre- set and because everyone can be asked the same questions I will be able to compare the answers.
The respondents also fill in the answers on their own so there is no chance of interviewer bias. There are also problems I may encounter. One is I will need to get the wording of each question clear and easy to understand so it cant be interpreted in different ways. Another problem I may encounter is that as the children will be filling the answers in a different room to avoid interviewer bias, another child may be able to fill in the child’s answers who it was intended for. Another method I plan to use are interviews.
I will interview a head teacher of a school and also a parent to get their views on how bullying has changed over time. When interviewing the parent I will use an unstructured format. The sample I will be using is very unrepresentative of the population which makes it less reliable. When interviewing the head teacher I will also use an unstructured format to find out about the schools bullying policy, what bullying was like when she was at school and also if she thinks if bullying is spiralling out of control.
I will be using unstructured interviews for a number of reasons. This will enable me to have a general group of questions and enable me to get them to develop their answers and get a deeper insight into what they are saying. In depth interviews provide rich information which is likely to represent their views accurately. Subjects have the freedom to give an answer on their own terms. But as with questionnaires there are a number of problems that might arise from using these. One problem is that they take much longer time to conduct and write up.
Privacy will also be needed to conduct the interview. Another type of research method that I could do is observations. There are too many ethical issues involved with observing children in a study on bullying. A problem I would have if I used an observation would be recording the data. Another problem would be I would need to get permission from the school, children and their parents. Bullying is a very sensitive topic so I need to be careful when researching the children’s views so observations and interviewing the children would be both inappropriate and unethical.
Observations though do have some advantages. The researcher can actually see the respondents true belief in the subject and see how they act in a normal every day setting. Postal questionnaires would be a way of avoiding some ethical issues and problems such as putting them on the spot and they would be more likely to tell the truth with more sensitive questions. But as they have a very low response rate, take a long time to collect and are un reliable I have decided not to use this method in my research project.
For my secondary research, the main method I will use will be internet research. There is a vast amount of information available on the internet. The information is up to date and easy to access. As I am researching such a sensitive topic this method will enable me to gather information that I could perhaps not get in a primary method. It also enables me to look at statistics that have been gathered by other researchers over time. I will also use newspapers as a secondary source.
They print research results of all types and will be a way of helping me to look at bullying policies published. Before I begin my research project, I will do a pilot study . A pilot study will let me test the accuracy of my questions. This will help me make my study more valid and more reliable. This will also help me test how long the research will take. I will give my questionnaires to a small sample to test my questions to see if they are clear.