Monday, July 18, 2011


The development of any nation is critical to the economic survival and vibrancy of that nation. This holds particularly true for developing nations like Nigeria, who is still grappling with chronic factors like unemployment and underemployment, which have kept them in the perpetual bondage of economic frustration. Vocational and technical education a multifaceted, multi-disciplinary and pragmatic field of study, is aimed at equipping the individuals with  requisite vocational and technical education literacy skills, which will enhance their relevance and functionality in the society. As a result, it plays a vital and indispensable role in the development of the society. This paper therefore examines the future of vocational and technical education in Nigeria, its significance and role with regards to the development in Nigeria, the challenges ahead as well as possible suggestions and recommendations for moving it forward with enhanced effectiveness for the benefit of the nation and incoming generations.
Vocational and technical education can be described as any form of education whose purpose is to prepare person(s) for employment in an occupation or group of occupations. Throughout the country, there is a growing awareness about the need for vocational and technical education. This improvement in societal perception and interest has culminated in demands for changes in content, organization and delivery of vocational and technical curricular to reflect a new emphasis on technology. As a matter of fact, vocational and technical education is aimed at developing not only practical skills but also attitudes and habits that makes the recipient a creative, innovative and resourceful person.
Vocational and technical education is the acquisition of skills and techniques in chosen occupation or profession to enable an individual earn a living. The national policy on education (NPE, 2004), viewed vocational education as training or retraining programe, which is given in schools or classes under public supervision and control. Vocational education is a system of education, which is predicted upon the teaching of skills and also demanding the professional or expert use of hands. The teaching of skills at formal sector existed in 2 types of institution initially established in Nigeria, these are technical colleges
and trade centers. Vocational and technical education is a continuous process of adaptation of the worker’s
training towards acquiring the minimum knowledge required. Roland (1995) states that vocational and technical
education is result oriented. It brings about technological advancement and aims to fit new manpower for employment
and provide continuing training for those already qualified, so that they can keep up with modern working methods.
The education system of Nigeria has been influenced by the British system of education. This type of education neglects the cultural and vocational interest of the nation. The apprenticeship system was the earliest type of vocational education practiced in Nigeria and it provided employment for youth as they learnt how to use their hands in specific trade (vocation). Extensive development of vocational education started in Russia in 1888 with the introduction of shop classes in addition to the existing apprenticeship system. Shop classes involved the development of a problem and specially prepared drawings made to tackle the problem. Then the students were made to perform the same exercise individually, until they are proficient in that skill. In United States of America, vocational and technical education is organized through agencies. These includes public high schools, public and private junior colleges, technical institute, extension services, labour unions and the armed forces. While dozens of programs are organized, specialization in training for 1 type of occupation exists.
The change in educational system in Nigeria came after the enactment of the land grant foundation Morrill’s act of 1890. This foundation in the United States of America influenced the educational reforms after the abolition of the slave trade. Simple Job training skills through companies and schools were introduced. Learning of skill in carpentry, tailoring, mechanizing, craft making
etc, started in some schools in Nigeria, like the comprehensive high school Aiyetoro and Mubi and the technical college in Yaba, Lagos. Vocational and technical education remained dormant for a long time with the introduction of western education.
Bayode (1994) stated that vocational and technical education is geared towards the production of the educated man who can effectively work with his head, heart and hands. The development of the economy and the crave for self-reliance and self sustainability is the driving force for acquiring this programme. The national policy on education (2004) states that the
objective of vocational and technical education is expected to be realized. This includes
i.) To acquire vocational and technical skills.
ii.) To expose students to career awareness by exploring
usable options in the world of work.
iii.) To enable youths to have an intelligent understanding
of the increasing complexity of technology.
iv.) To stimulate creativity.
The national policy on education highlighted Nigeria’s desired to achieve her national goal through education, hence the need for the acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competence both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to life and to also contribute to the development of the society, thus, no society can develop to appreciable extent without relevant functional
and technological based vocational and technical education.
The need for vocational and technical education cannot be over emphasized in Nigeria schools. Therefore, Uwaifo. 143
Charles (2000) asserted that full vocational training should be offered in the 6 year programme of the post primary schools students (in addition to their general education courses) to enable them develop sufficient skill in their chosen occupational skill so obtain employment on leaving school. Post secondary vocational education courses in the universities, colleges of technology
and polytechnics should be offered to students who took vocational courses in secondary and now need to increase their level of skill through further training.
Wenrich (1974) stated that vocational and technical education provides various avenues for discovering and developing the individual’s potential for work. It has a broadening effect, which motivates learners to be more exploratory, realize their capabilities and develop their potentials for success in the world of work. Forshey (1970) opined that there is a very good reason for young people to begin the process of being productive in the world as soon as they are capable of doing so. This is simply what vocational and technical education opt to do.
According to Uwaifo (2011) education unlocks the door of modernization but it is the teacher who holds the key to the door. Drawing a comparative situation, a nation that is in quest of technological development should turn to the schools for solution. Teachers are the hub or pivot on which any successful educational programme revolves and if teachers perform their task dutifully, there will certainly be a myriad of new technologies in the future of vocational education. Most present day teacher in Nigeria will parade antiquated knowledge in science and technology. Consequently, to perform successfully as teacher of vocational and technical education, constant training and re-training programme is recommended to continually keep them abreast with the changing dynamics in teaching and learning modalities. Programme which will
involve the participation of agriculture, business, Industrial technical and service sector are imperative, involving these sectors ensure relevance and up dated knowledge and availability of modern equipment and machinery for programmes of vocational education. Further more, it is imperative for industry will have skilled work force to support strong performance in the economy of this country.
Finally, indigenous Nigerian should have skill for able job, and their learning culture should be shared.
There is no skepticism about what tomorrow might bring about vocational and technical education in Nigeria. Therefore, it would be possible if we can develop a system that makes learning more interesting, involving and Int. NGO. J. 144 permanent to the students in the various aspects of our educational programme. A system that,

i.) Helps the trainee to capitalize his interest and abilities to the highest possible degree.
ii.) Provide the training that he or she would meet after school.
iii.) Provide the trainee the manipulative habits and thinking habits required in the occupation itself.
iv.) Providing training on the actual job and in exercise or pseudo job.
v.) Ensure that training is carried out to the extent that it gives the trainee a production ability with which he can secure development or hold unemployment.
vi.) Making sure that training is giving to those who needs it, wants it and can profit by it.
vii.) Ensure that each member of the group has the opportunity to participate as a tutor and tutee.
viii.) Helps to properly socialize the entire students and puts them on their toe (academically), so they cannot be ridiculed by their peer.

The following will justify the brightening of vocational technical education in Nigeria:
Today in Nigeria, the high incidence of school drop out among secondary school students clearly highlights the importance of career development, which is achievable through vocational and technical education. These students who could not fit into the academic oriented curriculum would need practical skill to enable them function profitably in the society. Secondly, the graduates
from these existing schools system invariably enter the job market seeking employment that does hardly exist in this country today. To draw the majority of these job seekers out of the unemployment market, vocational and technical training in secondary school become the most potent elixir. This again required the training of the teachers that would impact these skills to students in the primary, post primary and tertiary education levels.
In the future, it is hoped that vocational and technical education will adequately equip students to be more effective in this age of science and technology and to raise a generation of people who can think for themselves and respect the dignity of labour and propel its citizenry into a blossom economic enderado. What is needed today and tomorrow are workers with good technical skill background, rugged enough to transform Nigeria into a positive technological breakthrough with the ability to meet its immediate demand. A bright future is possible if we are willing and able to re-examine the vocational programme and its value in our educational system. As the world around us is changing fast there must be an increased emphasis on vocational education.
Vocational and technical education aims at helping the society maintain its material civilization by enabling the individual to keep pace with the rapidly changing Industrial and technological development. Vocational education must be seen as an instrument for transforming Nigeria’s resources into finished goods and services that will promote higher standard of living. Since Nigeria is a country that is trying to industrialize rapidly, emphasizing vocational and technical education even at the elementary level will only reinforce a solid foundation. In effect training for a vocation is a life long process and must be made part of Nigeria culture if the desired technological and economical growth will be achieved.
Vocational and technical education is a marginal enterprise serving the personal interest of a relatively few people in Nigeria today. It is also an essential component of any national policy for coping with pressure of change and improving the quality of life of its people and design a way forward for government prostates. Infact, the future of vocational programme in Nigeria will give room to a dynamic government. This relates to the idea of the people and the change that has taken place in the political attainment of any nation. The ideology of any nation determines the aim and goals of vocational education. A government with good political ideology and technological improvement and with the focus and stable political institution often witnesses
stable educational system. It is the desire of the present Nigeria government to make Nigeria be amongst the 20 economically developed nation in the world by the year 2020, it then become imperative that new social, economic and technological order be put in place in which every employable citizen is gainfully employed. At that time, there should be a drastic reduction of the gap between the rich and the poor as well as a society near free from corruption and anti-social vices. Nigeria requires a citizenry that is made up to have informed, developed and enlighten minds that is conscious, alert and stable to participate in the developmental process so that we can attain our main goal, which should be an industrialized and self-reliant nation, like Cuba, Brazil and China through their faithful and dogged pursuance of vocational and technical education programme.

The implication of vocational education in Nigeria can be discussed which the following sub-heading.
Vocational and technical education can bridge the gap between people without job and without hope. If one is able to acquire training in vocational education, employment is guaranteed. On the other hand, a country without enough manpower in vocational and technical area will continually suffer the problem of unemployment.
Occasional education is a social safety measure to many social problems. Unemployment is a serious social ill, with its numerous remote consequences like hooligannism, unstable homes and other anti social vices. Vocational and technical education helps to eliminate all these through the production of students that are easily employable.
Vocational education is designed to meet the employment needs of particular areas of the economy. The training provided is closely matched with specific job requirement so as to foster immediate production performance by the trainees. Trainees can become wage earners, thereby becoming more useful and productive citizens who will be assets to the society and not liabilities.
Since the form “chalk and talk” school system was clearly not effective in preparing workers for the jobs required by modern industry in Nigeria, government should look toward vocational and technical education as a means of providing for the work force needed in both rural and urban industries. This is being done with the hope of improving the standard of living of the Nigerian citizen. From the findings in this paper, the following conclusions become clear, that vocational and technical education in Nigeria is the pivot of any national development. It is when the individual in the micro setting are self reliant that the macro economy becomes buoyant and stable. Therefore, vocational and technical education is the live wire of technology. It is no exaggeration to assert that vocational and technical education constitutes the arteries that supply life-sustaining blood through the system of country economy and standard of living. It will be an impossible task to plan and develop any economy in which vocational and technical education is not developed.
On the basis of this paper, the following suggestions were made,
i.) Industry, communities, religious organization, labour union and wealthy individual in the society should be encouraged to contribute in cash and kind to the growth and development of vocational and technical education at all level.
ii.) Vocational and technical education as a matter of urgency should through a comprehensive retraining in services programme and research work improve their quality.
iii.) The public, employers of labour and the products of vocational and technical education programme should serve as a source of determining the efficacy, efficiency and the effectiveness of vocational and technical education based programme.
iv.) Workshop and seminars should be jointly organized by government, vocational and technical educators, schools,accrediting bodies and industries regularly.
v.) The guiding principles to the success of vocational and technical education should be making the best use of all available materials, tools, equipment as well as human resources at all times.
Uwaifo VO (2011). Vocational Education and General Education, Conflict or Convergence. Nigerian Journal of Education Research. Institute of Education; Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. Vol. 4.1.
Sampson godspower O.(2011) Vocational Educaton in Nigeria.Published by Inye integreated Service No72 Azikiwe Street Mile 2 Diobu port Harcourt.
Adeogun AA (2007). Organization and Management of Schools in Nigeria. Published by Frank Unity Nigeria Ltd. Ogudu. Ojota Lagos.
Ipaye T (1986). Education and Vocational Guidance. Concept and Approaches. IIe –Ife University of Ife Press.
Olaitan SO (1996). Vocational and Technical Education in Nigeria: Issues and Analysis Onitsha; Noble Graphic Press.
Osuala EC (2006). Foundation of Vocational Education. Calabar,
Centour press Ltd.
Robert A, Daniel A (1997). Introduction to Vocational and Technical
Education: Kris Bec. Publications.
Uwaifo VO (2011). Vocational Education and General Education,
Conflict or Convergence. Nigerian Journal of Education Research.
Institute of Education; Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. Vol. 4.1.
Uddin PSO, Uwaifo VO (2005). Principles and practice of Vocational &
Technical Education in Nigeria: Ever-blessed publishers, Benin City.
Yoloye EA (1984). “Contemporary Issues in Implementing the New
National Policy on Education.” J. Nig. Edu. Res. Assoc. (NERA):
Benin City.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Introduction: What is research?

Most of us are researchers most of the time. We don’t necessarily think of ourselves as researchers but research is really about collecting information that tells us about something and it helps us make informed decisions. We do this every day, whether it’s reading a newspaper or listening to the radio. Perhaps we want to know what political party to vote for, and want to find out more about it, or we need to phone a company to find out more about a job vacancy. Perhaps we’re enquiring about a school, or the best price for buying a new computer. Most of these processes involve research at some level. In fact, some people might argue that merely observing what is going on around us is a form of research a way of gathering data or information which we then organize in a coherent way, so that we can act.

Of course what we call research (as in ’basic research methods’) is a more formal way of going about asking questions. We usually begin with something very specific we want to know. Then we ask the question or questions in a structured way. This structure is called a methodology. In research, there are a lot of different kinds of methodologies, and some of them can be very complicated. However, there are some basic ones that have been tried and tested, and which can be easily learned.

There are many different kinds of research. For example:

Market research is learning about business markets so that investment or business decisions can be made. The kinds of questions that get asked here include: Who are the potential customers? What do the customers need? Who are the competitors? And what is the market environment?

Economic research has its own way of going about things. For instance, it may involve specially constructed formulas and equations that facilitate an understanding of the economic environment. It may ask questions such as: Are the economic fundamentals in place? What are the economic trends in the manufacturing or mining sectors? Of course, some of the questions economic research asks may be similar to those market research asks.[1]


Scientific research may involve a whole range of sophisticated and specialist research instruments, such as mathematical or chemical formulas and very specialized methodologies.

Media research will involve looking at issues such as media content and audience. Its own kind of specific instruments – such as ways of measuring audience preferences and its spending power[2] – have been developed for this.
Social research is quite a broad term and may involve different kinds of research: from gathering information on the population (demographics) to the attitudes and behaviours of people in a community or country. 

Although many of these different kinds of research have developed methodologies that are specific to their particular discipline, there are basic research methods that are common to most. This MMTK unit outlines some of these basic methodologies and offers a step-by-step guide to planning your research.

The design is the structure of any scientific work. It gives direction and systematizes the research.
The method you choose will affect your results and how you conclude the findings. Most scientists are interested in getting reliable observations that can help the understanding of a phenomenon.
There are two main approaches to a research problem:

Quantitative research design is the standard experimental method of most scientific disciplines.
These experiments are sometimes referred to as true science, and use traditional mathematical and statistical means to measure results conclusively.
They are most commonly used by physical scientists, although social sciences, education and economics have been known to use this type of research. It is the opposite of qualitative research.
Quantitative experiments all use a standard format, with a few minor inter-disciplinary differences, of generating a hypothesis to be proved or disproved. This hypothesis must be provable by mathematical and statistical means, and is the basis around which the whole experiment is designed.
Randomization of any study groups is essential, and a control group should be included, wherever possible. A sound quantitative design should only manipulate one variable at a time, or statistical analysis becomes cumbersome and open to question.
Ideally, the research should be constructed in a manner that allows others to repeat the experiment and obtain similar results.
Quantitative research design is an excellent way of finalizing results and proving or disproving a hypothesis. The structure has not changed for centuries, so is standard across many scientific fields and disciplines.
After statistical analysis of the results, a comprehensive answer is reached, and the results can be legitimately discussed and published. Quantitative experiments also filter out external factors, if properly designed, and so the results gained can be seen as real and unbiased.
Quantitative experiments are useful for testing the results gained by a series of qualitative experiments, leading to a final answer, and a narrowing down of possible directions for follow up research to take.
Quantitative experiments can be difficult and expensive and require a lot of time to perform. They must be carefully planned to ensure that there is complete randomization and correct designation of control groups.
Quantitative studies usually require extensive statistical analysis, which can be difficult, due to most scientists not being statisticians. The field of statistical study is a whole scientific discipline and can be difficult for non-mathematicians
In addition, the requirements for the successful statistical confirmation of results are very stringent, with very few experiments comprehensively proving a hypothesis; there is usually some ambiguity, which requires retesting and refinement to the design. This means another investment of time and resources must be committed to fine-tune the results.
Quantitative research design also tends to generate only proved or unproven results, with there being very little room for grey areas and uncertainty. For the social sciences, education, anthropology and psychology, human nature is a lot more complex than just a simple yes or no response.
Qualitative research design is a research method used extensively by scientists and researchers studying human behavior and habits.

It is also very useful for product designers who want to make a product that will sell.
For example, a designer generating some ideas for a new product might want to study people’s habits and preferences, to make sure that the product is commercially viable. Quantitative research is then used to assess whether the completed design is popular or not.
Qualitative research is often regarded as a precursor to quantitative research, in that it is often used to generate possible leads and ideas which can be used to formulate a realistic and testable hypothesis. This hypothesis can then be comprehensively tested and mathematically analyzed, with standard quantitative research methods.
For these reasons, these qualitative methods are often closely allied with interviews, survey design techniques and individual case studies, as a way to reinforce and evaluate findings over a broader scale.
A study completed before the experiment was performed would reveal which of the multitude of brands were the most popular. The quantitative experiment could then be constructed around only these brands, saving a lot of time, money and resources.
Qualitative methods are probably the oldest of all scientific techniques, with Ancient Greek philosophers qualitatively observing the world around them and trying to come up with answers which explained what they saw.
The design of qualitative research is probably the most flexible of the various experimental techniques, encompassing a variety of accepted methods and structures.
From an individual case study to an extensive interview, this type of study still needs to be carefully constructed and designed, but there is no standardized structure.
Case studies, interviews and survey designs are the most commonly used methods.
Qualitative techniques are extremely useful when a subject is too complex be answered by a simple yes or no hypothesis. These types of designs are much easier to plan and carry out. They are also useful when budgetary decisions have to be taken into account.
The broader scope covered by these designs ensures that some useful data is always generated, whereas an unproved hypothesis in a quantitative experiment can mean that a lot of time has been wasted. Qualitative research methods are not as dependent upon sample sizes as quantitative methods; a case study, for example, can generate meaningful results with a small sample group.
Whilst not as time or resource consuming as quantitative experiments, qualitative methods still require a lot of careful thought and planning, to ensure that the results obtained are as accurate as possible.
Qualitative data cannot be mathematically analyzed in the same comprehensive way as quantitative results, so can only give a guide to general trends. It is a lot more open to personal opinion and judgment, and so can only ever give observations rather than results.
Any qualitative research design is usually unique and cannot be exactly recreated, meaning that they do lack the ability to be replicated.
What is the difference between quantitative and qualitative research? In a nutshell, quantitative research generates numerical data or information that can be converted into numbers.

Only measurable data are being gathered and analyzed in this type of research.
Qualitative Research on the other hand generates non-numerical data. It focuses on gathering of mainly verbal data rather than measurements. Gathered information is then analyzed in an interpretative manner, subjective, impressionistic or even diagnostic.
Here’s a more detailed point-by-point comparison between the two types of research:

1. Goal or Aim of the Research

The primary aim of a Qualitative Research is to provide a complete, detailed description of the research topic. Quantitative Research on the other hand focuses more in counting and classifying features and constructing statistical models and figures to explain what is observed.

2. Usage

Qualitative Research is ideal for earlier phases of research projects while for the latter part of the research project, Quantitative Research is highly recommended. Quantitative Research provides the researcher a clearer picture of what to expect in his research compared to Qualitative Research.

3. Data Gathering Instrument

The researcher serves as the primary data gathering instrument in Qualitative Research. Here, the researcher employs various data-gathering strategies, depending upon the thrust or approach of his research. Examples of data-gathering strategies used in Qualitative Research are individual in-depth interviews, structures and non-structured interviews, focus groups, narratives, content or documentary analysis, participant observation and archival research.
On the other hand, Quantitative Research makes use of tools such as questionnaires, surveys and other equipment to collect numerical or measurable data.

4. Type of Data

The presentation of data in a Qualitative Research is in the form of words (from interviews) and images (videos) or objects (such as artifacts). If you are conducting a Qualitative Research what will most likely appear in your discussion are figures in the form of graphs. However, if you are conducting a Quantitative Research, what will most likely appear in your discussion are tables containing data in the form of numbers and statistics.

5. Approach

Qualitative Research is primarily subjective in approach as it seeks to understand human behavior and reasons that govern such behavior. Researchers have the tendency to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter in this type of research method.
In Quantitative Research, researchers tend to remain objectively separated from the subject matter. This is because Quantitative Research is objective in approach in the sense that it only seeks precise measurements and analysis of target concepts to answer his inquiry.


Debates have been ongoing, tackling which method is better than the other. The reason why this remains unresolved until now is that, each has its own strengths and weaknesses which actually vary depending upon the topic the researcher wants to discuss. This then leads us to the question “Which method should be used?”
The goals of each of the two methods have already been discussed above. Therefore, if your study aims to find out the answer to an inquiry through numerical evidence, then you should make use of the Quantitative Research. However, if in your study you wish to explain further why this particular event happened, or why this particular phenomenon is the case, then you should make use of Qualitative Research.
Some studies make use of both Quantitative and Qualitative Research, letting the two complement each other. If your study aims to find out, for example, what the dominant human behavior is towards a particular object or event and at the same time aims to examine why this is the case, it is then ideal to make use of both methods.


There are various designs which are used in research, all with specific advantages and disadvantages. Which one the scientist uses, depends on the aims of the study and the nature of the phenomenon:

Descriptive Designs

Aim: Observe and Describe


Descriptive research design is a scientific method which involves observing and describing the behavior of a subject without influencing it in any way.

Many scientific disciplines, especially social science and psychology, use this method to obtain a general overview of the subject.
Some subjects cannot be observed in any other way; for example, a social case study of an individual subject is a descriptive research design and allows observation without affecting normal behavior.
It is also useful where it is not possible to test and measure the large number of samples needed for more quantitative types of experimentation.
These types of experiments are often used by anthropologists, psychologists and social scientists to observe natural behaviors without affecting them in any way. It is also used by market researchers to judge the habits of customers, or by companies wishing to judge the morale of staff.
The results from a descriptive research can in no way be used as a definitive answer or to disprove a hypothesis but, if the limitations are understood, they can still be a useful tool in many areas of scientific research.
The subject is being observed in a completely natural and unchanged natural environment. A good example of this would be an anthropologist who wanted to study a tribe without affecting their normal behavior in any way. True experiments, whilst giving analyzable data, often adversely influence the normal behavior of the subject.
Descriptive research is often used as a pre-cursor to quantitative research designs, the general overview giving some valuable pointers as to what variables are worth testing quantitatively. Quantitative experiments are often expensive and time-consuming so it is often good sense to get an idea of what hypotheses are worth testing.
Because there are no variables manipulated, there is no way to statistically analyze the results. Many scientists regard this type of study as very unreliable and ‘unscientific’.
In addition, the results of observational studies are not repeatable, and so there can be no replication of the experiment and reviewing of the results.
Descriptive research design is a valid method for researching specific subjects and as a precursor to more quantitative studies. Whilst there are some valid concerns about the statistical validity, as long as the limitations are understood by the researcher, this type of study is an invaluable scientific tool.
Whilst the results are always open to question and to different interpretations, there is no doubt that they are preferable to performing no research at all.
The case study research design have evolved over the past few years as a useful tool for investigating trends and specific situations in many scientific disciplines.
The case study has been especially used in social science, psychology, anthropology and ecology.
This method of study is especially useful for trying to test theoretical models by using them in real world situations. For example, if an anthropologist were to live amongst a remote tribe, whilst their observations might produce no quantitative data, they are still useful to science.
Basically, a case study is an in depth study of a particular situation rather than a sweeping statistical survey. It is a method used to narrow down a very broad field of research into one easily researchable topic.

Whilst it will not answer a question completely, it will give some indications and allow further elaboration and hypothesis creation on a subject.
The case study research design is also useful for testing whether scientific theories and models actually work in the real world. You may come out with a great computer model for describing how the ecosystem of a rock pool works but it is only by trying it out on a real life pool that you can see if it is a realistic simulation.
For psychologists, anthropologists and social scientists they have been regarded as a valid method of research for many years. Scientists are sometimes guilty of becoming bogged down in the general picture and it is sometimes important to understand specific cases and ensure a more holistic approach to research.
Some argue that because a case study is such a narrow field that its results cannot be extrapolated to fit an entire question and that they show only one narrow example. On the other hand, it is argued that a case study provides more realistic responses than a purely statistical survey.
The truth probably lies between the two and it is probably best to try and synergize the two approaches. It is valid to conduct case studies but they should be tied in with more general statistical processes.
For example, a statistical survey might show how much time people spend talking on mobile phones, but it is case studies of a narrow group that will determine why this is so.
The other main thing to remember during case studies is their flexibility. Whilst a pure scientist is trying to prove or disprove a hypothesis, a case study might introduce new and unexpected results during its course, and lead to research taking new directions.
The argument between case study and statistical method also appears to be one of scale. Whilst many ‘physical’ scientists avoid case studies, for psychology, anthropology and ecology they are an essential tool. It is important to ensure that you realize that a case study cannot be generalized to fit a whole population or ecosystem.
Finally, one peripheral point is that, when informing others of your results, case studies make more interesting topics than purely statistical surveys, something that has been realized by teachers and magazine editors for many years. The general public has little interest in pages of statistical calculations but some well placed case studies can have a strong impact.
The advantage of the case study research design is that you can focus on specific and interesting cases. This may be an attempt to test a theory with a typical case or it can be a specific topic that is of interest. Research should be thorough and note taking should be meticulous and systematic.
The first foundation of the case study is the subject and relevance. In a case study, you are deliberately trying to isolate a small study group, one individual case or one particular population.
For example, statistical analysis may have shown that birthrates in African countries are increasing. A case study on one or two specific countries becomes a powerful and focused tool for determining the social and economic pressures driving this.
In the design of a case study, it is important to plan and design how you are going to address the study and make sure that all collected data is relevant. Unlike a scientific report, there is no strict set of rules so the most important part is making sure that the study is focused and concise; otherwise you will end up having to wade through a lot of irrelevant information.
It is best if you make yourself a short list of 4 or 5 bullet points that you are going to try and address during the study. If you make sure that all research refers back to these then you will not be far wrong.
With a case study, even more than a questionnaire or survey, it is important to be passive in your research. You are much more of an observer than an experimenter and you must remember that, even in a multi-subject case, each case must be treated individually and then cross case conclusions can be drawn.
Analyzing results for a case study tends to be more opinion based than statistical methods. The usual idea is to try and collate your data into a manageable form and construct a narrative around it.
Use examples in your narrative whilst keeping things concise and interesting. It is useful to show some numerical data but remember that you are only trying to judge trends and
not analyze every last piece of data. Constantly refer back to your bullet points so that you do not lose focus.
It is always a good idea to assume that a person reading your research may not possess a lot of knowledge of the subject so try to write accordingly.
In addition, unlike a scientific study which deals with facts, a case study is based on opinion and is very much designed to provoke reasoned debate. There really is no right or wrong answer in a case study.
-         Specific concrete example;
-         Can help with problem solving;
-         Are often interesting to read.
-         Can take time to develop;
-         Depending on format, may need some level of good writing skills;
-         Do not usually give broad overview of issue at hand.

In many scientific disciplines, naturalistic observation is a useful tool for expanding knowledge about a specific phenomenon or species.

In fields such as anthropology, behavioral biology and ecology, watching a person or organism in a natural environment is essential.
Most naturalistic observation is unobtrusive, such as a researcher setting up a camera to film the behavior of a badger underground. Most nature documentaries are examples of naturalistic observational study, where days, weeks or even years of film are analyzed and edited, to give an overview of the life cycle of the organism.
There is often little attempt at analysis, quantitative or qualitative, but the observational study does uncover unknown phenomena and behaviors.
Obtrusive naturalistic observational study is often used in anthropology, where a researcher lives with a remote tribe for a period of time and records their behavior. By living there, she is influencing their social interactions and habits, but can still make some excellent observations.
Often, anthropologists will adopt the lifestyle of a particular group of people, in an attempt to understand why they have certain customs and beliefs.
In technical terms, it would be difficult to follow people without discovery, and it would also be unethical to observe without consent, so obtrusive naturalistic observation is the only method that can be used with human subjects.
Many of the producers of the recent glut of reality shows try to claim that their shows are psychological experiments, based around observational study. This is stretching the idea too far, as there are very few people who would not change their behavior when they are aware that a camera is watching.
In these cases, it is difficult to make any realistic and valid observations about their lifestyle.
Most criticisms of naturalistic observation are based around this principle, and an anthropologist or social scientist has to ensure that they intervene as little as possible.


The survey research design is often used because of the low cost and easy accessible information.
Conducting accurate and meaningful surveys is one of the most important facets of market research in the consumer driven 21st century.

Businesses, governments and media spend billions of dollars on finding out what people think and feel.
Accurate research can generate vast amounts of revenue; bad or inaccurate research can cost millions, or even bring down governments.
The survey research design is a very valuable tool for assessing opinions and trends. Even on a small scale, such as local government or small businesses, judging opinion with carefully designed surveys can dramatically change strategies.
Television chat-shows and newspapers are usually full of facts and figures gleaned from surveys but often no information is given as to where this information comes from or what kind of people were asked.
A cursory examination of these figures usually shows that the results of these surveys are often manipulated or carefully sifted to try and reflect distort the results to match the whims of the owners.
Businesses are often guilty of carefully selecting certain results to try and portray themselves as the answer to all needs.
When you decide to enter this minefield and design a survey, how do you avoid falling into the trap of inaccuracy and bias? How do you ensure that your survey research design reflects the views of a genuine cross-section of the population?
The simple answer is that you cannot; even with unlimited budget, time and resources, there is no way of achieving 100% accuracy. Opinions, on all levels, are very fluid and can change on a daily or even hourly basis.
Despite this, surveys are still a powerful tool and can be an extremely powerful research tool. As long as you design your survey well and are prepared to be self-critical, you can still obtain an accurate representation of opinion.


This is the single most important step of your survey research design and can make or break your research; every single element of your survey must refer back to this design or it will be fatally flawed.
If your research is too broad, you will have to ask too many questions; too narrow and you will not be researching the topic thoroughly enough.


This is the next crucial step in determining your survey and depends upon many factors.
The first is accuracy; you want to try and interview as broad a base of people as possible. Quantity is not always the answer; if you were researching a detergent, for example, you would want to target your questions at those who actually use such products.
For a political or ethical survey, about which anybody can have a valid opinion, you want to try and represent a well balanced cross section of society.
It is always worth checking beforehand what quantity and breadth of response you need to provide significant results or your hard work may be in vain.
Before you start the planning, it is important that you consult somebody about the statistical side of your survey research design. This way, you know what number and type of responses you need to make it a valid survey and prevent inaccurate results.


How do you make sure that your questionnaire reaches the target group? There are many methods of reaching people but all have advantages and disadvantages.
For a college or university study it is unlikely that you will have the facilities to use internet, e-mail or phone surveying so we will concentrate on only the likely methods you will use.


This is probably the most traditional method of the survey research design. It can be very accurate. It allows you to be selective about to whom you ask questions and you can explain anything that they do not understand.
In addition, you can make a judgment about who you think is wasting your time or giving stupid answers.
There are a few things to be careful of with this approach; firstly, people can be reluctant to give up their time without some form of incentive.
Another factor to bear in mind is that is difficult to ask personal questions face to face without embarrassing people. It is also very time consuming and difficult to obtain a representative sample.
Finally, if you are going to be asking questions door-to-door, it is essential to ensure that you have some official identification to prove who you are.


This does not necessarily mean using the postal service; putting in the legwork and delivering questionnaires around a campus or workplace is another method.
This is a good way of targeting a certain section of people and is excellent if you need to ask personal or potentially embarrassing questions.
The problems with this method are that you cannot be sure of how many responses you will receive until a long time period has passed.
You must also be wary of collecting personal data; most countries have laws about how much information you can keep about people so it is always wise to check with somebody more knowledgeable.


The design of your questionnaire depends very much upon the type of survey and the target audience.
If you are asking questions face to face it is easy to explain if people are unsure of a question. On the other hand, if your questionnaire is going to include many personal questions then mailing methods are preferable (but may violate local legislation).
You must keep your questionnaire as short as possible; people will either refuse to fill in a long questionnaire or get bored halfway through.
If you do have lots of information then it may be preferable to offer multiple-choice or rating questions to make life easier.


It is also polite, especially with mailed questionnaires, to send a short cover note explaining what you are doing and how the subject should return the surveys to you.
You should introduce yourself; explain why you are doing the research, what will happen with the results and who to contact if the subject has any queries.


Multiple choice questions allow many different answers, including don’t know, to be assessed. The main strength of this type of question is that the form is easy to fill in and the answers can be checked easily and quantitatively; this is useful for large sample groups.
Rating, on some scale, is a tried and tested form of question structure. This way is very useful when you are seeking to be a little more open-ended than is possible with multiple choice questions. It is a little harder to analyze your responses. It is important to make sure that the scale allows extreme views.
Questions asking for opinions must be open-ended and allow the subject to give their own response; you should avoid entrapment and appear to be as neutral as possible during the procedure. The major problem is that you have to devise a numerical way of analyzing and statistically evaluating the responses which can lead to a biased view, if care is not taken. These types of question should really be reserved for experienced researchers.
The order in which you ask the questions can be important. Try to start off with the most relevant questions first. Also friendly and non-threatening questions put the interviewee at ease. Questions should be simple and straightforward using everyday language rather than perfect grammar.
Try and group questions about similar topics together; this makes it a lot quicker for people to answer questions more quickly and easily.
Some researchers advocate mixing up and randomizing questions for accuracy but this approach tends to be more appropriate for advanced market research. For this type of survey the researcher is trying to disguise the nature of the research and filter out preconceptions.
It is also a good idea to try out a test survey; ask a small group to give genuine and honest feedback so that you can make adjustments.


This is where the fun starts and it will depend upon the type of questions used.
For multiple choice questions it is a matter of counting up the answers to each question and using statistics to ‘crunch the numbers’ and test relevance.
Rating type questions require a little more work but they follow broadly the same principle.
For opinion questions you have to devise some way of judging the responses numerically.
The next step is to devise which statistical test you are going to use and start to enter some numbers to judge the significance of your data.

Advantages of surveys

-         Good for comparative analysis.
-         Can get lots of data in a relatively short space of time.
-         Can be cost-effective (if you use the Internet, for example).
-         Can take less time for respondents to complete (compared to an interview or focus group).

Disadvantages of surveys

-         Responses may not be specific
-         Questions may be misinterpreted.
-         May not get as many responses as you need.
-         Don’t get full story.


This is where you have to analyze the results. Be self critical whether your results showed what you expected or not. Any survey has flaws in its method so it is always a good idea to show that you are aware of these.
For example, a university represents only a narrow cross section of society; as long as you are aware of this then your results are valid. If your survey gave unexpected results explain the possible reasons for why this happened and suggestions for refining the techniques and structure of your survey next time.
As long as you have justified yourself and pointed out your own shortcomings then your results will be relevant and you should receive a good result. 
Sampson Gods power o (2011) Introduction to Research ,publish by .Inye integrated servics No.72 Azikiwe Street Mile 2 Diobu Port Harcourt.Nigeria Rivers State