There are also ethical issues pertaining to the observational method that will be discussed later in this paper.
Experience surveys are widely used throughout qualitative research studies, due to their focus on bringing greater insights into the study through the interviewing of experts in chosen fields. There is also a strong focus on how to gain insights of experts in the future definition of the methodology being created, and how the research objectives can be more effectively accomplished as well. Experience surveys also are often used in the first stages of a research project. Another qualitative research technique, the case study, takes the concept of gaining insight and applies it to an organization and its dynamics. A case study seeks to define and complete a thorough analysis of one or more specific circumstances within institution of interest. The goal of case studies is to measure the relationships, inter-dependencies and cause-and-effect implications of counseling and student achievement. The case study serves to codify in many respects the insights gained from a series of experience surveys completed in a company. Another approach to qualitative research, the pilot study is meant as a trail run on a much broader, and more in-depth qualitative research effort. The Depth Interview varies from the experience survey in that with the latter the focus is on interviewing an industry expert for guidance in both the areas of the study and its potential contributions to the broader field of knowledge. With Depth interviews, the focus is on spending time specifically with the respondents and going into great depth to understand their latent attitudes, feelings, perceptions and motivations behind specific areas of interest. In many respects the Depth Interview is the most powerful there is in the area of qualitative research in that it gains insight into the specifics of the respondents' perspective and viewpoint of the areas of interest. These are interviews most commonly completed by very advanced and skilled interviewers, and as a result require much time to complete correctly. A typical interview will take between 45 to 90 minutes to complete and is often videotaped or at the very least recorded. Focus groups and panels are approaches to looking at the sociological as well as the attitudinal implications of respondents' perceptions and actions. Both focus groups and panels also look to find a level of consensus in a group and discover through a series of questions what is most critical, most important, and deliver what is most insightful in the topics of interest. A researcher focusing on the impact of counseling on students for example would use a focus group to ascertain why certain counseling services where most and least popular, and also ask what the focus group, as a representative set of students, most felt was missing in their counseling services. There would also be the opportunity to ask respondents in a focus group to break into teams and define what is most critical in the ideal counseling program. Focus groups tend to meet only for a certain length of time, in fact they are often events more than long-running research program as panels are. As a result, focus gr9oups tend to delve more deeply into specific topics and look for both insights at the individual respondent but also at the group level to specific questions and concerns. A Panel on the other hand stresses the need for looking at how attitudes, beliefs and behaviors change over time. Certain panels meld together both the quantitative and qualitative, yet in their purest sense, panels serve to create a long-term sounding board on new initiatives and plans, while at the same time providing useful insights into the attitudes, beliefs and motivations of its members. Panels are used extensively in consumer research as well, with Sony Music using them to plan their current and future artist promotions and needs. The focus on panels from a counseling standpoint is more aligned with finding out what counseling strategies are needed and how the influence of online resources and learning can accentuate the students' overall learning experience. Nominal group techniques, the Delphi method, and projective techniques are also used as part of advanced strategies in qualitative research. Nominal group techniques are specifically used for finding potential alternatives to both actual and hypothetical scenarios, and have been used successfully in new product development efforts including the definition of entirely new web designs. The Delphi Method is often compared to the Nominal Group Technique, was developed by the well-known think-tank the RAND Corporation in 1969, and centers on utilizing a panel of experts to predict future potential outcomes of a decision. The Delphi Method is commonly used in new product and new market development to specifically define how a new product will be accepted into potential markets, how the creation of value will change the existing market and how the product attributes will need to change over time. The Delphi Method's many applications (IIT, 2007) also show how counseling research could greatly benefit from the "always on" nature of research globally through the use of experts on several continents simultaneously. As IIT has mentioned in their description and recommended steps for this technique, the focus on how to integrate often conflicting points-of-view and summarize a specific course of action is critical. The Delphi Method when applied to learning strategies is particularly challenging in that it forces a strong orientation towards a common objective when in fact multiple outcomes of equal value may be possible given the situation. The use of distributed experts however is excellent in that it minimizes the effects of dominating personalities on the broader results of the research. A final set of qualitative techniques include the projective techniques which look to draw out of the most deeply held attitudes, beliefs and perceptions as they relate to the research topic of interest. This is one of the most pow4rful sets of qualitative research tools in that it allows for respondents to project their attitudes, beliefs and perceptions on other objects or people, as they often feel that their own perceptions may be wrong or socially not accepted. Typically administered by psychiatrist and psychologists, these projective techniques include word association tests, sentence completion tests, thematic apperception tests (TAT), and 3rd person techniques. At first glance many feel these are highly customizable and quickly administered to respondents, yet in fact for these qualitative tools to be successful they need to have a specific aligning with the respondent and the research objective. Interpretation is quite precise and requires a trained psychiatrist or psychologist to complete.
In summary, the area of qualitative research is focused on expanding the body of knowledge in a given research area by finding out why and how respondents view and react to areas of interest. In the case of counseling and the improvement of strategies in serving students, qualitative research can be even more powerful than quantitative research, and also sets the foundation for further, more targeted and more refined approaches to measuring and validating market dynamics. Think of qualitative research as the foundation for any research effort to understand more about a given aspect of teaching or counseling. In emerging areas of research relating to counseling, this is a critical step in the overall process of building a knowledgebase that can scale for the long-term.
Exploring Quantitative Research Methods in Education and Counseling
The science of research is based on the foundation of quantitative research. These are the collection of techniques that specifically focus on the validation through statistical techniques and sampling to project the findings of research strategies onto a broader population. As the qualitative research techniques in this paper define the knowledgebase and contribute to the body of knowledge in a given field, the quantitative techniques and methodologies serve to quantify the relationships and also allow for a projection of survey results across an entire population of respondents. In the field of educational research where counseling strategies are critical for the future success of students especially in advanced grades, the combined effects of qualitative and quantitative research is critical;. Specifically in the area of quantitative research, the need exists for defining coaching strategies that can make a significant and lasting difference in the students affected.
The intent of this section is to define those quantitative research techniques that ally specifically in the areas of teaching and counseling research. The foundation of quantitative research is based on the laws of probability, specifically relati9ng to ensuring research results based on a sample can be extrapolated to a broader population. The techniques of simple random sampling, stratified or group-level random sampling, cluster and segment sampling are all techniques used to isolate and statistically validate specific hypotheses being tested. All research projects also rely on two hypotheses, often referred to as the Null and Alternative hypothesis. These hypotheses are used for validating or refuting a fundamental research premise…