158.799 RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT 2. Data Collection


This assignment can be done individually or in groups of up to 3. The aim is that you can practice gathering some data.

1.     Aim. To collect data using valid methods, prepare a raw data table, calculate simple descriptive statistics from it, and write up a simple report in academic format.

2.     Topic. Take one system performance criterion (e.g. see the Web of System Performance paper for some criteria), and evaluate some specific section of the Massey Web site, that is run by a particular section ofMassey. Evaluate by asking your fellow students how they would rate it.Each group must take a different section of the Massey site. The first to register a section with the Instructor, in class, gets it, and others have to choose something else.

3.     Readings. Each person in your group must also read one recent paper on your evaluation criteria, reference it in a sentence in your report, and submit a printed copy with their name written on it. Each topic must submit at least two papers. 5%

4.     Details. Your report must have page numbers and the following headings:

a.     Title, authors, abstract. Suitable title - describe the report. Abstract must be 100 words or less, and also mention conclusions. 10%

b.     Introduction- make your relevance case. Briefly describe the Massey Web site section, state the business purpose of its stakeholders, why the web site is relevant to them, and explain why this performance criterion could be an issue here. 10%

c.      Method. Describe your method, e.g. how you interviewed with a voice recorder. Cite your interview/introduction script and plan in Annexes A and B. Discuss how the interviews helped to develop and pilot the questions. Describe how you gathered your questionnaire data, with your sampling method. Provide your questions and scales.
Your questionnaire should be 5-10 questions total. At least five of them must have a response scale. Give the questionnaire to 10 friends, which can be from this class. Do not record any personal identification data. 10%

d.     Results and Conclusions.

i)      Interview results. Each person in the group must do one interview. Each topic must have at least two interviews. Listen to the recordings and type up a transcript word for word exactly as spoken (Annex D) Try to identify themes, and for each theme select some quotes for the main body of the report. Discuss the results of the interviews with quotes. 10%

ii)    Questionnaire results. Provide a captioned raw data table of your results, with rows as cases and columns as variable (questions). Also present a captioned table of simple descriptive statistics. 10%

iii)  End the section by stating your numbered conclusions, based on your results. 5%

e.      Discussion and limitations. Discuss what your results mean, with reference to the issues raised in the introduction. State the limitations of the study 10%

f.       References. Cite suitable references correctly. Give the references for the paper in standard APA format. (10%)

g.     Annexes:

i) Annex A. Introduction Script 5% Present the script used to introduce the research. Be sure to tell the subject that no personal data is collected (and donít collect any!), how long it will take, that they can choose to participate and withdraw at any time, and give them a choice to participate)

ii) Annex B. Interview Plan 5% Write down the questions you will ask.

iii) Annex C. Questionnaire 10% Will be graded on quality. Questions should be clear, unambiguous, etc

iv) Annex D. Interview transcript.

5.     Deliverables Submit:

a.      Your report, using the headings format above.

b.     A printed copy of a new recent paper you referenced (not the same as asg 1)

c.      Be prepared to discuss in class the problems encountered.