This study will utilize a quantitative research design to evaluate the multiplicity of problems experienced by children reared by homosexual parents. At the most general level, a research design refers to all the issues that are involved in the preparation and execution of a specific research project, from problem identification through to analyzing, reporting and publishing the results (Punch, 2005, p. 62).
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Specifically, the term is used to refer to all the frameworks that a researcher uses to safeguard the process of results interpretation. In this perspective, this correlational study will make use of a quantitative research design to capture all the problems that affect children from homosexual families in relation to children from straight families.
According to Hopkins (2000), quantitative research design basically entails a formal, focused, and systematic process used to demonstrate and test associations as well as evaluate cause-and-effect relationships among variables.
The study intends to employ descriptive survey technique to collect data that will assist the researcher fulfill the objective of the study, namely to determine the problems and challenges facing children from homosexual family backgrounds. According to Sekaran (2006, p. 55), surveys are usually employed for descriptive, exploratory and explanatory research processes.
According to Hopkins (2000), a descriptive survey is best for this study since it can be used to collect original data from a population too huge to observe directly through effective sampling techniques.
A descriptive survey is also preferred in such circumstances as it has the capacity to provide a precise account of the characteristics, value systems, behaviors, attitudes, abilities, perceptions, beliefs, and knowledge of a specific variable, individual, or situation under study (Sekaran, 2006, p. 76).
A descriptive survey obtains essential information from a sample of subjects by way of self report, that is, the respondents answers a string of questions posed by the researcher. In this particular study, the information will be gathered through the use of self-administered questionnaires.
The Study Population and Sample
A study population entails all the components – people, entities, situations and events – that meet the essential sample requirements for inclusion in a study (Sekaran, 2006, p. 96). In this particular research, the study population will include children who have a homosexual family background.
For the purpose of evaluating the correlations and associations of the problems bedeviling this particular group in relation to the type of marital engagement, this research will also be interested in studying children from families of heterosexual sexual orientations. First, a convenient sample of 60 children will be selected, 30 from homosexual family settings and 30 from heterosexual family backgrounds.
According to Hopkins (2000), a sample represents all the components chosen by a researcher for purposes of evaluating or determining something about the inclusive population from which the subjects are chosen from.
In this study, the participants will be selected by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, otherwise known as convenience sampling (Sekaran, 2006, 98). Some of the advantages of convenience non-probability sampling include high response rates and ease of administration (Bryman, 2004, p. 124).
The subjects that will be included in the sample will be selected to meet some precise criteria that will be specifically designed to offer valuable responses to the key study objective. All the children who will participate in this study must meet the following criteria to be included in the sample:
- Must be 12 years or older to be able to express themselves in a coherent manner
- Must have lived with their parents for a period not less than five years
- Must exhibit good understanding of the type of marital relationship their parents are engaged in – either homosexuality or heterosexuality
- Be of either sex or any race
- Must be willing and ready to take part in the study
Data collection Instruments
This study will utilize questionnaires and the review of documents and other related literature for purposes of safeguarding the validity and reliability of the whole research process, including the study results (Webb et al, 1996, p. 36).
The questionnaire will form the primary data collection tool for purposes of determining and evaluating the problems experienced by children from homosexual family backgrounds. According to Sekaran (2006, p. 111), a questionnaire means a printed self-report that is explicitly designed for purposes of extracting essential information from respondents through written responses.
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Questionnaires offer several advantages over other data collection techniques. Not only do questionnaires take less time and financial resources to administer but they also enhance high response levels from the respondents since they can be distributed to them for completion on their own free time then collected by the researcher (Sekaran, 2006, p. 187).
Questionnaires offer very slim chances for partiality since they are often administered in a consistent manner, not mentioning the fact that they give the respondents the needed anonymity as they are not obliged to indicate their names on the completed questionnaires.
Furthermore, most questionnaires have provisions for both closed-ended and open-ended items (Webb et al, 1996, p. 138). The open-ended items facilitates a much faster comparative analysis on each item during data analysis while the open-ended items gives the researcher a chance to explore new information previously unknown to him or her.
Secondary data for this study will be collected through the review of documents, fact sheets on homosexuality and behavioral problems, and other related literature. One of the advantages of using documents as a secondary source of information is that they “…represent a reflection of reality” (May, 2001, p. 182).
Documents also give the researcher the much needed flexibility in content analysis (Ratanajongkol et al, 2006, p. 70). Also, using secondary sources of information achieved from the review of related literature is advantageous since it is viewed as an unobtrusive procedure of data collection, rich in portraying the values, attitudes, perceptions, and thought systems of respondents in the research setting.
Reliability and validity
Reliability refers to the degree or level of consistency with which a data collection tool is able to evaluate and measure the attribute that is designed to measure (Handley, 2005). The questionnaire is known to guarantee impartiality of response since it is administered in a consistent manner (Web et al, 1996, p. 36).
This attribute qualifies the questionnaire as an effective tool in any data collection process since it is able to guarantee consistency in measuring the necessary attributes. The researcher will also give assurances that will aim to guarantee comfort, privacy and confidentiality of responses received from the participants. This will go a long way to ensure reliability of the research findings
The validity of a research instrument refers to the extent to which the instrument is able to evaluate and measure what it is intended to measure (Hadley, 2005). Any research instrument must effectively be able to measure all the variables that it is intended to measure. In this particular study, validity will be ensured by including questions intended to measure and evaluate the participants’ knowledge about a multiplicity of factors that arise from same sex marriages.
The questions to be included in the questionnaire will be based on an extensive review of related literature to facilitate their capacity to capture the required information. The questions will also be prepared in a simple language that is well understood by the participants to ensure clarity and reduce chances of misconceptions.
After the data is collected from the field, it will be cleaned, coded, and entered into any efficient computer aided statistical program that will assist the researcher to respond to the key study objective, which is to evaluate and determine the problems experienced by children reared by homosexual parents.
Some software packages such as Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) are very effective and simple to use in data analysis (Sekaran, 2006, p. 269). Responses from the closed-ended questions will be analyzed using descriptive statistics to permit the generation of frequency tables.
The researcher intends to harness, interpret and present the descriptive findings using various statistical techniques such as tables, line-graphs, pie-charts and bar-graphs.
The qualitative data arising from the open-ended questions will be analyzed using a technique known as qualitative content analysis. According to May (2001, p. 143), this statistical technique is used to systematically evaluate and analyze verbal and written responses received from the participants in a manner that will allow essential variables to be measured in a quantitative manner.
Sekaran (2006, p. 201) is of the opinion that qualitative content analysis is one of best procedures available to the researcher when the objective is to quantify emerging qualitative features, trends and concepts.
The documents and relevant literature will be comprehensively decoded with the aim of determining and analyzing their content, key words and repetitive expressions (May, 2001, p. 186). The resulting data will be used to prove or disapprove the key study hypotheses.
Bryman, A. (2004). Social Research Methods, 2nd eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Handley, C. (2005). Validity and Reliability in Research. Web.
Hopkins, W. G. (2000). “Quantitative Research Design.” Sportscience, Vol. 4. No. 1 Retrieved from <http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0001/wghdesign.html>
May, T. (2001). Social Research: Issues, Methods and Processes. Philadelphia: Open University Press.
Punch, K.F. (2005). Introduction to social research: qualitative and qualitative approaches. SAGE. ISBN: 9780761944171
Rattanajongkol, S., Davey, H., & Low, M. (2006). “Corporate Social Reporting in Thailand: The New is all good and increasing.” Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, 3(1), pp. 67-83.
Sekaran, U. (2006). Research Methods for Business: A Skill Building Approach, 4th Ed. Wiley-India. ISBN: 8126509287
Webb, E.J., Campbell, D.T., Schwartz, R.D., & Sechrest, L. (1996). Unobtrusive Measures: Non-reactive Measures in the Social Sciences. Chicago: Rand McNally.