Various methods can be used for descriptive research including; naturalistic observation, scientific methods, surveys, case studies, correlational studies, and experimental research (Hockenbury 21-27). Three of these methods will be used to discuss this hypothesis. These methods are; survey, correlational studies and experimental research. Each of these methods has its own pros and cons as discussed below.
To begin with, surveys are advantageous in that information can be obtained first hand by direct interviews and also from a larger population. However, dishonesty of the interviewees poses a major challenge as some may fail to tell the truth about their personalities. Misrepresentation is a common problem since not all members of a population participate in the process. Moreover, accuracy of the survey largely depends on selection of the representative sample. Also some surveys such as telephone-based interviews are costly and consume a lot of time.
Correlation is a valuable procedure in examining the relationship between two variables and how they vary relative to each other. These relationships are useful in predicting occurrences as well as ruling out and identifying the factors that warrant more detailed study. The major demerit with correlational research is that it does not clearly establish causality.
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On the other hand, the experimental method is the only scientific strategy that can provide compelling evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables (Hockenbury 26). It is however quite tasking and time consuming as control experiments have to be used in order to minimize the influence of extraneous factors on the experimental outcome.
In using a survey to find out whether watching violent television increases aggression in children, a representative group of children in the relevant age group is selected and then direct interviews may be conducted or questionnaires administered with properly structured questions to capture the essence of the study. From the responses obtained, analysis is carried out to determine the relationship between the factors under consideration.
Analysis of the data gathered from the survey can be done using correlation studies. According to Hockenbury 925), In this process a correlation coefficient which is a numerical indicator of the strength of the relationship between two factors ranging between -1.00 and +1.00 is assigned to indicate how any two factors vary relative to the other. For instance depending on the survey results, a correlation coefficient between “watching violent television” and “aggression in children” as the factors can be assigned. If aggression increases with increase in watching violent television, the coefficient is positive and if the two factors vary in the opposite direction, the coefficient is negative. The magnitude of the coefficient as it tends to 1.00 indicates the strength of the correlation between the factors.
Bearing in mind that the correlation method does not clearly show the causality relationship, the experimental research comes in handy to solve this problem. In this process, “watching violent television” can be treated as the independent variable causing variation in “aggressiveness in children”. By varying the frequency of watching violent television, observations can be made on the change in the behavior of the children. In conjunction with the main experiment an experimental control may be conducted to take care of extraneous factors such as in-born aggressiveness. The experimental outcome can then be used to determine whether watching violent television truly has any significant effect on aggression in children.
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