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Research Proposal /Autism Essay


Qualitative research design was chosen as the survey design appropriate for the study on autism. According to Strauss and Corbin (1990), qualitative research refers to as every type of study whose result is not based on any statistical approach or any other quantification method. According to (Patton, 2002, p.39), qualitative research produces findings arrived at from real-world settings where the “phenomenon of interest unfold naturally”.

This survey design was chosen because it sheds light on the study subject while allowing for in-depth understanding and extrapolation of the findings to other situations as opposed to a quantitative survey design that seek casual determination, prediction, and generalization of findings.

One normal method of improving the validity and reliability of research is through triangulation. Mathison (1988) asserts that triangulation has improved to become a crucial technique used not only in naturalistic and qualitative studies approaches, but also in evaluation so as manage bias and institute valid plans.

This is because the conventional scientific methods cannot be compared to an alternative way of doing a qualitative study provided by triangulation.

Golafshani (2003) supports triangulation technique because it makes a qualitative study strong. Despite the importance of Reliability and Validity as a measure for quality in quantitative studies, the terms Neutrality, Credibility, Dependability and Applicability are crucial measure for quality. Golafshani (2003) continues to argue that the use of the term “dependability” in qualitative studies is a close match to the idea of “reliability” in quantitative research.

Moreover, the author suggests that another method of improving the dependability of qualitative research is through the use of an assessment method called inquiry audit.

In this way, the reliability of a qualitative study can be assessed at process and product level. Similarly, (Fowler, 1993) approves of the concept of dependability with the concept of consistency or reliability in qualitative research. Through assessment of study items like raw data, data reduction products, and process notes dependability of data will be realized (Fowler, 1993).

This survey will be based on interviews with about 1,000 respondents, although many high-quality surveys are substantially larger because of the need to cover extensive areas, many subgroups of interest, and other considerations. However, a sample size of 1,000 has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, which is precise enough to suit the purposes of most researchers.

A sample of 1,000 cases also permit making of statistical comparisons among some sub-groups of the population, such as, comparing the responses among different gender categories (men and women) , with a margin of sampling error of about 6 points. In the case where the survey findings are reported to the press, the findings will produce good round number that captures the interest and possible support of news people and the public.

The population of interest will be defined as all the patients suffering from Autism in a particular hospital during a specific time period. The patient list to generate the sample will likely include information about the patient’s age, duration of stay, and reason for admittance. The parameters of time, age, hospital, and duration of stay will be used to limit the scope of the study.

Semi-structured questionnaires administered in an interview schedule will the preferred method of data collection in the qualitative study. In order to reduce bias, a list of patients (sample frame), will be subjected to randomization in selecting a sample that is representative of the whole population.


Fowler, F. J., Jr. (1993).Survey Research Methods, 2nd ed. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Golafshani, N. (2003). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research. The Qualitative Report, 8(4), 597-606. Retrieved from

Mathison, S. (1988). Why triangulate? Educational Researcher, 17(2), 13-17.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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