An interest in a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in Public Universities located in California would provide me with an estimated 32 options as provided by the College Scorecard provided by the U.S Department of Education (College Scorecard, 2020). The data collected for this particular website is provided through the federal reports from institutions, the information on federal financial aid, and the tax data. The Scorecard incorporated several indicators that were not provided earlier by institutions of higher education. Therefore, a potential student can make comparisons of the schools using the indicators to inform their decisions on the university they want.
The Reliability and Validity of the Collected Information
Considering the information was collected through the federal reports from institutions, on respective financial aid, and the tax information, it is proper to state that the information is valid. This is because the schools are expected to present accurate information used in the formulation of those reports. The reliability of the collected information relates to the consistency in the measures. In this case, one is to consider the indicators for comparison. Currently, the website considered the earnings of students getting federal financial aid, repayment period for student loans, typical debt loans, graduates from the school thus getting those who dropped across income bands and by gender. These indicators are similar for all the schools listed on the website increasing the reliability of information collected.
Additional Research Research Areas for the Political Science Program
Most of the information provided by the Scorecard is primarily median data and ranges of distinct metrics and hence very difficult to have similar outcomes (Williams, 2018). Other research areas to be considered include the success rate of university students in achieving good living standards from that particular program, the states which the successful graduates live, how satisfied are the students with the curriculum and the learning hours, and specific earnings of the program in different regions.
The collection of this additional information required in conducting secondary research using surveys and shared information on social media platforms. The current digital era has many people sharing their experiences in different universities. While these views are subjective, they could provide insight into the program’s curriculum and learning schedules. Furthermore, the research could also use other college information platforms such as the Department of Labor Career tool will also provide further information required.
The data collection method to be improvised is the survey technique. The method will gather information through a web-based questionnaire that will list important questions related to the research purpose. The survey questions include the range of costs incurred during the university period, whether the learning schedules were flexible enough to incorporate volunteering activities or part-time jobs, the ease or difficulty in getting an internship or employment opportunity on the course, did the program and university play a significant role in aligning the individual with their career goals, has the working environment incorporated the lessons learned in school, and whether the student loans are an extreme burden to repay considering the average salaries one had gotten over time. Furthermore, the research will also look at the diversity incorporated in school and the class. The question is whether the school environment was diverse enough to understand the different experiences related to the program and the development of social life. Is the location of the school conducive enough for the program such as the access of other organizations that provide learning experiences.
For each of the questions, a Likert scale is to be improvised. This method looks into attitudes and opinions and the respondent will use a tick or dot sign to illustrate their level of agreement. After the data collection, the analysis of the data will follow the cross-tabulation method that will utilize basic tabular forms. Inferences are to be drawn from the different data sets included in the research (Surendran, 2019).
A test of significance is prudent in determining the claims about a parameter that is not known. The significance test utilizes the information for the evaluation of a hypothesis through a comparison of sample points of parameters to the values in the hypothesis. A statistically significant test is one that illustrates a low probability that outcome occurred just by chance. In this case, the variable from the College Scorecard to be considered is the average salaries that graduates of the selected program and specific school earn. This is compared to the content and the strategy improvised by the school in discussing the curriculum.
It considers the learning environment, its diversity, and the flexibility to allow the students to visit real situations and apply the knowledge learned in school. An efficient learning environment that focussed on practical situations equivalently to theory learning makes it easier for the students as they assimilate into their working environments in school. These students achieve higher competency levels that attract better remuneration compared to those who cannot apply the knowledge in real-life situations. A test of significance is hence essential for the two variables.
External and Internal Validity, Potential Threats, and methods to be Improvised to Minimize them.
The internal validity of this research study is related to the extent to which the research will be in a position to establish a trustworthy cause and effect relationship between a treatment and its result (Cuncic, 20190. Internal validity is supposed to eliminate the possibility of having alternative explanations for the findings. For instance, in this research, the internal validity question could be whether the salaries that the individuals are getting are due to the conditions of their learning environments such as the flexibility and opportunity to practically implement the theory learned in class.
The potential threats to the internal validity question include the history threat which entails the specific events that have occurred between the first and second measurements. In this case, we are considering the period one was in school and the time they have earned salaries related to the program. These events have a potential likelihood of affecting the outcomes of interests such as behavioral changes, macroeconomic changes, or government interventions in particular sectors. To handle this threat, the research will incorporate randomization for the treatment and control group participants and also randomly selecting the participants who represent the population one wants to study.
The second threat to the research’s internal validity is the maturation threat which involves the effects that subjects have undergone with time (Cuncic, 2019). This threat potentially makes the scores go up in the post-tests compared to the pre-tests due to the maturing that the respondents have undergone. This maturation which happens more likely changes their self-perceptions, their efforts, and their views towards certain issues. Therefore, it becomes difficult to establish the cause and effect relationship between the two variables. To this effect, in handling the maturation threat, random assignment, and study protocol for the participants to accurately get the responses and any changes that have occurred that could impact the former (Cuncic, 2019).
On the issue of external validity, this involves how well the research’s outcome can be applied in distinct settings (Cuncic, 2019). It is about how generalizable these findings can be in terms of other people, situations, or periods. The potential threats to external validity include the reactive or interaction effect of testing (Yu, n.d.). This threat involves a pretest increasing or decreasing the sensitivity or responsiveness of the subject to the experimental variables. This process could use an inclusion and exclusion criteria where the research clearly defines the population one is studying in the research. This understanding of the research population ensures that one does understand their levels of sensitivity and responsiveness and the significance to the outcome in case any changes do occur.
The second threat is having participants that have done multiple treatments such that the multiple treatment interference makes it difficult for the research to control the impacts of prior treatments (Yu, n.d.). In handling this threat, the research needs to establish a psychological realism for the research. One could also improvise replication where the research is done again with different samples or settings to affirm the results. These two strategies will ensure that the respondents are not heavily influenced by the multiple treatments they have undergone.
Cuncic, A. (2019, February 25). Understanding internal and external validity. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/internal-and-external-validity-4584479
Surendran, A. (2019, December 9). Quantitative data: Definition, Types, analysis, and examples. Retrieved from https://www.questionpro.com/blog/quantitative-data/
US Department of Education. (2020). College Scorecard. Retrieved from https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/search/?state=CA&control=public&completion_rate=0.5..&cip4_degree=b&page=0&sort=completion_rate:desc
Williams, D. (2018, April 12). How the flawed earnings information in the college scorecard misleads students (opinion). Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2018/04/12/how-flawed-earnings-information-college-scorecard-misleads-students-opinion
Yu, C. (n.d.). Threats to the validity of the research design. Retrieved from https://web.pdx.edu/~stipakb/download/PA555/ResearchDesign.html