Qualitative Techniques Used in Regional Elections.
Qualitative Techniques Used in Regional Elections.
The paper aims in exploration and discussion of various qualitative techniques used in the regional election processes. The article further describes the techniques and how they are utilized to collect data that is credible and direct from a reliable source. It also reviews various studies and research by different scholars who have used the methods of qualitative techniques methods of research. Moreover, this study discusses the methods used in carrying out research in regional elections. The main data under analysis is primary data; this is because for purposes of relevance and originality. Secondary data, in this case, can be obsolete due to change in trends, population and also the way technology is applied in the electoral process.
As we will see, this paper contains an introduction to the subject of focus which hints on various aspects such as to the meaning of qualitative research and techniques. It goes on and for the qualitative methods are considered as the most efficient techniques used to give data that is reliable, and it also provides a cost-effective way of getting data. The focus on the discussion of the various qualitative techniques applied during the research of the regional election process. And finally, the conclusion that gives the general overview and the opinions on the matter of qualitative methods used in the regional election.
In this current world, any region must conduct elections to have a leader chosen with the consent of the majority in that area. The process of voting in these parts must be under research before the elections of after the elections which help in determining various barriers encountered during this process. The word qualitative research involves inquisition of different disciplines of education and also the different context based on not only the academic disciplines but also the business, marketing research, service demonstration and other activities that require research such as politics in our case. It involves in seeking trends in opinions and thoughts (Miller & Dingwall, 1997).
In this context, we focus on qualitative techniques used in regional elections. The process has methods which are used to carry it out effectively. The election is the process in which citizens of a country, workers in an organization, students in school engage choosing their leaders to care about their welfare. It is when the majority comes to a consensus to come up with a leader. The main aim of this is study is to explain the process that is involved in qualitative techniques or methods of research used in regional elections (Ragin, 1989).
This approach is used to realize an in-depth research in different strategies used by political analysts and scientists, and the data that they prefer in their work to be able to gather credible findings for the discussion of the election process. After a deep research and analysis of various data sources, journals, scholarly articles, and peer reviewed articles, gathering of proper data is for the purpose of evaluating these methods that are involved in the qualitative research. The document will elaborate more on the critical processes that are involved in the quantitative techniques and reasons for using them and how they are used to realize the goal of getting better results from the respondents (Watzlawik & Born, 2007).
Interviewing technique of qualitative research involves the getting of answers by asking questions to individuals. The method includes one to one interaction between the interviewer and interviewee. It can also include the interviewing of a group of people to get a collective opinion. The process of an interview can either be carried out by calling individuals randomly or using text messages (Kvale, 1997). Interviews processes have been broken down into many categories that include structured, unstructured, informal and semi-structured interviews. They take into consideration a lot of factors which involve the focus on the research one is doing. In this case is the research on regional elections include questions that focus on the process of election (Klenke, 2008). These issues can be like the level of transparency, ease of voting, security of the votes, the integrity of electoral officers, etc. The outcome of the interview be it face-to-face, or through the telephone, it will mainly focus on the interviewee’s opinion on how was the integrity, security, and transparency of the election process.
Also, the time taken to interview a particular individual will affect the results or the interviews credibility. The interviewing a single person is monotonous. Thus interviews may get boring, and the interviewee can just answer for the sake of answering with the aim of making the researcher go way in the shortest time possible. Allowing precise and clear interview results is important. The researchers understanding on the topic of discussion and ability to manage the facts effectively during this process of regional elections is significant since people tasked with the operation of carrying interviews are officials trained on election matters (Foddy, 1996). These includes teams in the region who have a clear understanding of the voting process. The process of interview involves identifying the particular people who are interviewed and planning for the meeting. This process involves selecting an appropriate area where the interviewee is comfortable and using questions that are not personal. Also during the process, it is important for the researcher to engage the respondent to allow active participation. The proper engagement of an interviewee creates confidence and comfort thus the respondent opens up well (Mishler, 1986).
The guides that govern how an interview takes place is iterative because the questions involved are first designed, tested and finally refined regarding the topic in research. Elite interviews allow the researchers to be able to talk to people who hold the elective posts before or after the election depending on the primary research objective. They also interview individuals or officials of political parties to find out their views on what has happened, changed or is currently affecting them. In this elite interviews, the mode of semi-structured interviews used with a framework of open-ended questions that allow full expression of the interviewees (Stommel & Wills 2004).
In regional elections, qualitative research is sponsored by the electoral commission to understand how the people’s view of how the elections took place. The process cuts across all ages from the candidates to the voters. The experiences from the process are in the primary focus of the researcher who will then analyze the problem, the improvements strategies and commendations. These research allow different regions to exchange their qualitative research and see the common shortcomings in the elections (Guest, Namey & Mitchell 2013).
The method of the focus groups as a methodology of qualitative technique on regional elections is important since a group of people who have an explicit knowledge of the process of regional elections is used by researchers to give out their opinion or views. These groups are frequently involved because the data gathered from them is authoritative. They have interactions in which data acquired from them is not easily collected from the other groups of people without interaction. The groups are preferred in data collection since there are various aspects of human interaction in the groups that have a quality control and good balance of gender, race, and culture rather thus eliminating any unwanted conflicts (Morgan, 2001). The focus groups they are led by people who are trained and equipped with knowledge on the process of regional elections. The members and the topics that are discussed or rather the questions addressed are carefully designed, analyzed and reviewed before tabled to these groups to enable a peaceful environment where people can freely interact, and opinions expressed openly (Fischer, 2005).
These groups are well structured and considered to yield a substantial amount of information. The focus groups can be one of the best forms of gathering better qualitative research data because these groups allow freedom thus there’s is no fear in airing views or opinions. Since the groups are balanced regarding culture, gender, ethnic origin, race, then the views are universal and represent a sample entire population (Trakas, 2008).
Organization of focus groups requires proper planning since getting different types people to gather in a group is not an easy task. A fundamental principle in choosing members of the focus group is when the moderator has to ensure that all group facets are represented. In the case of regional elections, the focus group can contain the youth who are the individuals in young adulthood, the middle-aged and the old-aged. The people who are legally legible to participate in the electoral process (Morgan & Scannell, 1999). Many researchers like MacIntosh recommend that a focus group can have a minimum of six people, and a maximum of ten people but Goss and Leinbach have also proven the effectiveness of up to fifteen people in a group. During the process of acquiring data from the focus groups, about two or one hours of their time is enough to prevent monotonous on a topic of discussion. Also selecting a location that is not affiliated with any member of the groups helps is creating a neutral ground of debate.
Sometimes recruiting participants in a focus group can be tough if the topic of discussion has less interest or no benefits to the focused individuals. The success of these panels will significantly rely on the personal experience of the participants in the regional elections. The teams have moderators, the people who are the leaders that select members (Morgan, 1993). The moderator sometimes can result in data that is not credible due to focus in recruiting people of particular social status, ethnic line or race.
The bias can lead to views that are not substantial to the researchers involved in regional elections. In regional elections, focus groups are used during the qualitative research because a profound answer that reflects the population opinions in what should be done to ensure that free and fair elections take place (Morgan, 1993). In the focus groups questions like; Was, the electoral body fully performed its functions? Is the candidate’s approved qualify for the positions? Were the elections free and fair? Are asked to help in getting answers to how the elections took place in the participants’ perspective. In general, terms focus groups contribute a lot to the regional election process during the qualitative research since they represent the sample of the entire population. Having the aspect of neutrality in a focus group helps in realizing data that is potential in giving results that are worth the research (DeWalt. K & DeWalt. B, 2011).
Observation is a methodology of qualitative research that involves the researcher spending time in the process of regional elections by watching how the process takes place at first hand. In this period, there known as observers. The researchers use their knowledge and senses to examine the procedures and the people involved (Guest, Namey & Mitchell, 2013). The method of observation requires engagement in the regional election process; this is where the researcher is not recognized by the particular electoral body responsible as an observer. He/she is also conscious and can clearly express how observation is done. The tactical improvisation and methodologies that the researcher uses to gain a complete understanding of the setting in consideration have to be remarkable.
Also, the researcher has to pay proper attention and record the proceedings to collect data that is of significant and substantive use (Phillips & Stawarski, 2008). In observation, there is participant observation which is where the researcher participates in the process that they are observing. The researcher can be an election official or a voter. Roles played by a participant include observation of events that are not disclosed by the informants. It can be rigged, ease of voting, the efficiency of the officers in charge of the electoral process, etc. (Corbin, Strauss & Strauss, 2008).
The method of participation allows the researchers to be aware of the level of integrity, transparency, and confidentiality of the course during the regional elections. Valid observation is required to be confidential where the election officials, voters or candidates should have no knowledge that observation is taking place. It allows the normal behavior of all parties thus allowing the observation data to be of high quality. Direct observation can also be participant observation because the subjects under consideration are involved with the observer directly (Conway & American Society for Training and Development, 1998).
During this process of observation, proper planning should take place for a researcher to be able to familiarize or rather have an idea of the group of people observed. The observation must also have a goal or an aim of focus. An example is when the researcher needs to know the extent of how policy implementation in the region and its effects on the subjects under it. Thus the observation will be among the party implementing and the ones who are being affected by the implementation (Guess et al, 2013).
Observation technique is significant during formative and summative phases of issues of public interest evaluation. An example of a developmental stage is when the regional election process is operating under the guidelines set by the respective electoral bodies. The developmental phase can be used to show any fault that is probable, it is where the election process is taking place, and this is done by the examination and observation the extent to which the people understand the concepts engage in interaction and ask questions.
Summative phase determines the success of the election process, this technique directly applied in the examination of approaches that are implemented in the conduction of an activity and how the voters, candidates and election officials are involved. Generally, in the regional election observers serve an important role in assuring the possibilities of having a successful election or maybe discover the flaws of the current regional election to be able to determine the success of the coming election and counter any anomaly (Hennink, Hutter & Bailey, 2011).
Survey questionnaires are also a better methodology of a qualitative technique of qualitative research that is aimed at describing a complicated phenomenon or scenario. The regional elections are not an easy task since it is an exercise that everybody looks into not only the locality but also the entire external community. Since elections are a measure of democracy, integrity, and transparency, survey questionnaires prove to be a major method of conducting a qualitative research for the process. The method of investigation also involves information gathering from a target population where some techniques of statistics are used in the research. The survey questionnaires have different methods of delivery. The researcher in charge, of the regional elections, requires a particular group of people in whom the survey questionnaire will be administered to; they can use the various method provided they focus on their original population (Presser, 2004).
The survey questionnaires are distributed through emails; this is when a target group of people who are of the legal age to vote is sent emails where they get the surveys answer them and return the feedback to the researcher. Although this one of the cheapest ways to administer the survey, it has a low rate of response since most users can flag the questionnaire as a spam email. The other method of administering can be by use of a telephone. The researcher calls the individual participant on the list and asks questions directly. This method gives good results since it is a direct communication thus allowing a very high response rate and also those who are questioned tend to give the answer since they feel safe from the judgment of the researcher which is a basic human instinct (Inter-parliamentary Union, 2008).
The problem giving survey questionnaires in using telephones is that it is a very expensive method to the investigator. Also face-to-face is another way of delivering the survey questionnaire it is where an inquiry is directly from a participant. This is also an effective way since it has a high response rate from users. The face-to-face method is very significant in collecting complex data; this is in the context of regional elections where some parts of the survey require explanation to the participants that they are not to be judged or questioned for their opinion and their views are for quality assurance purposes (Sybouts, 1992).
The design of these questionnaires will depend on the population under survey. The answers to closed-ended questions are designed to allow only one answer to be chosen. These issues are structured in a fashion that responses do not overlap. A sample of closed-ended question can be:
“Do you agree that the election was transparent and credible? answers: Agree, disagree slightly agree, slightly disagree, strongly agree, strongly disagree, neither agree or disagree.”
This can be a scale of grading the closed-ended question or one can use the yes/no questions. The returns of closed-ended questions make it easy for the researcher to analyze the data efficiently. The open-ended questions can be utilized when the questions in which respondents are required to answer with their opinions. These responses are broken down into categories that can be further analyzed to understand the meaning of the data. In the case of a regional election taking place, researchers collect different respondents’ opinions on the elections proceeding or after the elections have taken place. This supports a systematic approach that is rigorous in data collection, and it ensures that the information that is required is obtained (Covington, 2008). The comprehensiveness of survey questionnaires makes it possible for researchers to come up with reliable data that is required for coming up with ways of improving or making sure that the regional elections are successful.
In conclusion, qualitative techniques mainly focus on the information given by the data rather than the magnitude of the data since information is vital in conducting qualitative research. The regional elections which are a basis in which people tasked with the development of the local society or community have to accurately analyze and research to give out proper findings on how to carry out transparent elections. The methodologies or techniques discussed above, are evident in that observations and questionnaires can fall under survey, but still, they have different modes of delivery. And also focus groups and interviews involve engaging of the participants only in a direct way. Moreover, the carrying out of these methods of qualitative techniques requires a face-to-face mode of delivery to ensure the total effectiveness of the methods. Researchers are those who are responsible for conducting analysis and findings of the data on the regional election. They have to be well acquainted with matters of voting to be able to carry out observation successful focus group interviews and survey questionnaires. Thus researchers need to be fully equipped and conversant with the electoral process to be able to conduct a successful qualitative research on the regional elections.
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