For this research, the hybrid method is chosen to put the advantages of both quantitative and qualitative research to good use. The objective of the present study is to discover a correlation or a lack thereof between average annual costs at Texas colleges and average salaries after attending. Since the focus of this study is at the inter-relationship of economics and sociology, it would be interesting and informative to conduct statistical analysis as well as gain deep insights into the phenomenon. Thus, numerical data and the conclusions that it allows to draw on par with qualitative data describing “humanized” experiences will help to draw a fuller picture (O’Sullivan, Rassel, & Taliaferro, 2011). A survey is an appropriate research method for evaluating a situation at a given moment in time. The survey for this study includes the following quantitative and qualitative questions:
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What was the annual cost at your college?
This is a straightforward question aiming at gathering numerical data for further statistical analysis. It uses clear and concise wording so that the participant understands what kind of information he or she is expected to provide (O’Sullivan et al., 2011). The gathered data would be the independent value for computing the correlation between the two sets with the second being the average salary. If there is much variability in average tuition fees in Texas, this might be a multiple answer question with price ranges. Otherwise, the question may be designed as an open one.
Would you describe the annual cost as high?
This question aims at gathering qualitative data for evaluating participants’ perception of their education expenses. While the question is clearly worded, participants might be confused as to how to answer it. Instead of receiving generic yes and no answers, researchers could diversify and add a scale that would include “very high,” “moderately high,” and others.
What was your household’s annual income during your Bachelor’s?
This question helps to gather numerical data for statistical analysis. The tuition cost alone cannot be interpreted as high or low. Thus, the answer to this question could clarify how much of a burden tuition costs were for respondents’ families. Past tense is used so that the participants understand to what period in their lives this question refers.
Do you think the tuition fees were high in comparison to other Texas schools?
This question aims at drawing qualitative data that would reflect participants’ perception of their financial burden. The wording of the question implies providing personal judgment, which can be done by answering yes or no or sharing more details, which is encouraged (O’Sullivan et al., 2011).
What is your annual income now?
By asking this fairly straightforward question, researchers can define the dependent value – participants’ average income. The wording of this question specifies what kind of information respondents need to provide, namely, annual (not monthly) income.
Would you describe your annual income as high?
This qualitative survey question may help to understand participants’ perception of their financial resources. Such categories as high and low income are not as objective as it may appear. Thus, by wording this question in this way, researchers compel participants to share their opinion.
How does your income compare to that of your social group?
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This question aims at gathering qualitative data that would help to understand participants’ evaluation of their income with regards to their peers. The wording is logical; however, to avoid confusion, researchers might want to make it a multiple answer question.
Are you satisfied with your income? Why?
The final qualitative question compels participants to elaborate on their attitude toward their actual income. The wording implies answering in full sentences to support one’s position.
O’Sullivan, E., Rassel, G. R., & Taliaferro, J. D. (2011). Practical research methods for nonprofit and public administrators. New York, NY: Routledge.