Measurement and Instruments for a Quantitative Research Essay

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Measurement and Instruments for a Quantitative Research Plan: Human Trafficking

For a study into human trafficking and how many people end up being trafficked every year, quantitative measurement is necessary. Qualitative methods could be used, but they would be better suited toward providing insight into the feelings of those who were trafficked, as opposed to the prevalence of the trafficking problem itself (Creswell, 2003; Given, 2008). Since there are several options and ways this issue can be measured, it is important to decide not only what type of measuring instrument will be used but the level of measurement that is really important for the study (Bales, 2004).

Human trafficking can be very difficult to measure, based on the secretive nature of much of it and the unwillingness of traffickers (and many victims) to talk about the issue (Bales, 2004; Berger, 2012). However, that does not mean there is no way to get information about trafficking or that there have not been studies done that have collected statistical information on human trafficking (Kara, 2009; Rao & Presenti, 2012; Smith, 2011; Wortley, Fischer, & Webster, 2002; Rafferty, 2007). Additionally, the feelings of others when it comes to what they think about trafficking and how much they know about it can also be a highly valuable area of study. If not enough is known about human trafficking, it can be very difficult for anything to get done that would help stop the trafficking from taking place.

Level of Measurement

For this study, the level of measurement that is important and necessary will be based on the studies that have been done in the past and what can be discovered by surveying people regarding their knowledge of trafficking. In other words, a researcher can use past studies to determine what level of measurement has been addressed by other researchers, so he can focus on what is realistic and reasonable for the current study that will be undertaken (Creswell, 2003). This study needs to measure the number of people who are taken by traffickers every year, but it is much more realistic to break that down into categories.

These can be based on countries or on characteristics of the trafficked individuals (i.e. women, children, etc.). Either way will work, and either way could provide a valid study. Attempting to do too much often does not work well, because it becomes too complex. If the researcher keeps the level of measurement to a designation by individual or by country, it should not become too complex or detailed to get good information and draw appropriate conclusions. Depending on the way the information is being stored and correlated (by hand, software, etc.), it may be possible to divide by individual and by country. An interval level of measurement will be sufficient and acceptable for this particular type of study.

Content Validity

In order for a study to be acceptable, the content must be valid and reliable (Given, 2008; Hunter & Leahey, 2008). The research can provide this validity for content by making sure the content comes from a reliable source. There are two ways to do this: by collecting the data for the study, or by using data from other peer-reviewed studies that have been deemed valid (Creswell, 2003; Hunter & Leahey, 2008). For this study into human trafficking, the researcher has decided to do both of these options. The reason behind this is based on the sensitive nature of the subject matter of the study. It can be very difficult to get people to answer questionnaires into human trafficking, so it is often much easier for a researcher to collect information from past studies as opposed to questionnaires or surveys (Rao & Presenti, 2012; Bales, 2004). By selecting information from valid, peer-reviewed studies, there is an expectation that the content will be valid for other studies, as well. Additionally, the data that is collected by the researcher can also be deemed valid, because the researcher collected it personally and he knows where it came from and how it was acquired.

Empirical Validity

Empirical validity for this study is also uncomplicated. Since the study is using the work of others and data collected by the researcher, and since the study will examine and correlate that information using SPSS software,…

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Any measurement instrument has limitations, however, and this is true of the SPSS software. The main issue is that there is no room for interpretation. Only objectivity can be provided. This is a good thing in many cases, but for a study that addresses something as sensitive as human trafficking there may be more questions than answers with this method. The why's and how's of the issue are not explored, and the computer program will only provide mathematical data that does not lend itself to any information about the experience itself. That can be what the researcher is looking for from a quantitative standpoint, but delving deeper into the issue is not something SPSS will be able to be used for. That could leave the study falling a bit flat.

The Scale Used

For this study, a Likert scale will be used. This kind of scale is based on the "agree or disagree" method of asking questions (Trochim, 2006). Often, there are five separate

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