Research questions and hypotheses

Quantitative Research Design

This paper provides a critique of one research study. In this critique, the hypotheses and research questions are evaluated with the use of Research Questions and Hypotheses Checklist as a guide. The type of quantitative research design that was used is also identified and an explanation is provided of how the design was implemented by researchers. Moreover, the alignment among the theory, research questions and hypothesis, problem and design is analyzed.

Research questions and hypotheses

In their study, Long and Ullman (2016) examined an extensive diverse sample of African-American victims of sexual assault (N = 495) for the purpose of determining the correlations of assault characteristics, post-assault psychosocial factors, trauma history, and demographics with drug use and problem drinking with the use of multivariate regressions. The research question which Long and Ullman (2016) sought to answer is as follows:

  • What is the influence of assault characteristics and traumatic life events on illicit drug use and problem drinking in African-American female victims of sexual assault?

Their hypothesis is as follows:

  • Basing upon previous research which indicates that prior trauma, re-victimization, and socio-economic status might have an impact on post-assault recovery, the researchers hypothesized that African-American women who have multiple traumatic life experiences would have a higher likelihood of using drugs and alcohol in order to cope with the sexual victimization.

The research question is a logical extension of the study’s main purpose, considering that the study’s purpose was to explore the way in which different factors like history of trauma, socioeconomic status, and age are associated with the utilization of illegal substances following sexual victimization in African-American women (Long & Ullman, 2016). The design which the researchers used in this study is exploratory in nature. The research question is actually aligned with the study’s research design. Exploratory research designs are usually carried out by the researcher regarding a particular research problem when there are very few previous researches to refer to (Balnaves & Caputi, 2013; Creswell, 2010). This design is really appropriate since as Long and Ullman (2016) pointed out, there are really few earlier research studies which have looked into the factors associated with drug use and problem drinking in African-American victims of sexual assault. 

The method which the researchers have used for data collection is questionnaire survey. The researchers sent to the participants a 45-minute confidential mail survey. Out of all the questionnaire surveys which were mailed out, a total of 1,084 participants – Black women numbering 495 – returned properly completed questionnaires, and the response rate was 90 percent (Long & Ullman, 2016). The data collection method – that is, questionnaire survey – is actually in alignment with the research question since this method allows the researcher to gather data from a large number of participants easily and cheaply.

The study is quantitative in nature. The descriptive question seeks to describe responses to major variables, and the inferential questions actually seek to compare groups. The researchers have first specified the descriptive research question for every major variable and then stated the inferential question which compares groups or relates variables. In addition, the inferential questions follow from a theory: the theory which explains that the reason as to why women who have been re-victimized abuse alcohol and illicit drugs is that they do so as a way of helping themselves to cope with previous abuse (Filipas & Ullman, 2012; Hall, 2011).

The theory that was used by the researchers explains the correlation between dependent variable and independent variable, controlling for the effects of control variable. The researchers expected demographic variables such as socioeconomic status and age, as well as traumatic life events and assault characteristics to be associated with dealing with illegal drugs and alcohol not just within the women’s lifetime, but also within the previous year. The authors then entered the variables that were significant at the bivariate level into backward logistic regressions for the purpose of examining the effect of coping methods, traumatic life events, demographic variables, and assault characteristics (Long & Ullman, 2016). The variables as described in the study are actually positioned consistently from predictor/independent to outcome/dependent in the inferential question. However, the researchers have not provided an alternate and/or null hypothesis as a predictive statement.

Type of quantitative research design used

The researchers used an exploratory research design in carrying out the study. The researchers implemented the design by surveying 495 African American women using a convenience sample in Chicago and its adjacent urban region. These women were studied using the exploratory design to find out the relationships of assault characteristics, post-assault psychosocial factors, trauma history, and demographics with drug use and problem drinking with the use of multivariate regressions.

Alignment among theory, purpose, problem, hypotheses and research questions, and design

The hypothesis is consistent with its respective research question. The research hypothesis, as Farrugia (2010) pointed out, refers to a testable statement of opinion. In the study by Long and Ullman (2016), the research hypothesis has been created by the authors from the research question. The research question has clearly specified the participants, who are African-American female victims of sexual assault.

References

Balnaves, M., & Caputi, P. (2013). Introduction to quantitative research methods: An investigative approach. London, England: SAGE Publications.

Creswell, J. W. (2010). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Albany, NY: Prentice Hall.

Hall, J. M. (2011). Core issues for female child abuse survivors in recovery from substance misuse. Qualitative Health Research, 10, 612–631.

Filipas, H. H., & Ullman, S. E. (2012). Child sexual abuse, coping responses, self-blame, posttraumatic stress disorder, and adult sexual revictimization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 652–672.

Long, L., & Ullman, S. E. (2016). Correlates of problem drinking and drug use in Black assault victims. Violence and Victims, 31(1): 1-15

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