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Public Administration

Midterm Exam Study Questions

Classical experiment design

Classical experiment design is an experiment conducted by an expert or a group of expert with an aim of finding a clear-cut route for testing hypotheses. The main reason for hypothesis testing using classical experimental design is to find the causes and effects of a specific issue. The researcher in this case has complete control over the selection of relevant independent variables, and in addition to showing that variables are related, classical experiment design offers the basis for determining whether the relationship is casual in nature or whether the relationship is caused by a third variable called experimental stimulus. For example, an organization can use a classical experiment design to determine the impact of Manhattan Bail Project on outcome of a case. Determining whether a manager accused of financial fraud could be safely released from jail before trials a bail or whether the manager will show up for trial.

Essay Questions

How theory and research are linked

The links between theory and research can be examined based on their interrelated functions and implicit definitions. For a person to provide a proof for or against an existing theory, there is need to conduct a research. In this relationship, it is true to state that a theory relies on a research just like a research relies of theory. For example, a company must use existing theories to determine how changes in consumers’ demand affect the company’s total sales. Using such theories, the company conducts various researches, collects data and analyzes every information provided to explain observed changes. From the same data collected, the company will be in a position to explain the performance challenges while considering recommendations to help solve the situation based on explainable theories.

Similarly, a research is the only process that can leads to theory development. Through research, people gather information necessary to develop new theories that can be used to explain certain observable conditions. For example, if a theory is to be developed to explain clients’ perceptions on factors affecting adherence to a nursing care plan were to be generated, it would be important to interact with the clients as the one source of data. Specific information that would be needed in this process would be the reasons why clients are willing and capable of following the care plan.

To be more precise, a theory is considered an explanation about an occurrence and the reasons for the occurrence. Through a research, it is possible to explain an occurrence beyond the already known facts, give suggestions on what we might expect in future and also organize existing facts to come up with new ideas. Through this link, policy makers are able to devise strategies to help in explaining their new ideas as a way of providing solutions to challenging situations. In other words, a theory is a summary statement explaining the entire ideas developed from a research and can be proven using facts and figures. Without the facts and figures, on cannot explain the reasons and the effects that led to the whole idea and therefore the theory becomes invalid. If for example the government asserts that the larger the amount spent on military the higher the rate of infant mortality, unless a research is conducted to understand the reasons behind such a proposition, it would be irrational to generalize the case and reason from normality. This is to say that through research, the conclusion that will be drawn from such a claim may be completely different from what people already know. Through research, we are able to give a different meaning to circumstances, based on reasons provided. In the same line, a theory engages a person’s mind to find unique reasoning behind a certain claim.

Applying traditional model of science in studying the relationship between financial incentives and employees performance

In every production process, it becomes important to analyze the relationship between financial incentives and employees performance. From the basic level of understanding, a person would note that employees productivity is pegged on the amount earned within the duration of worked. This means that employees work force is measured and compensated based on the number of hours worked and productivity level. Thus, a company that aims at improving employees’ performance must conduct situational analysis and provide data in order to explain the impact of financial incentives on employees. This can be done using any of the research methods available including traditional model of science.

The traditional model of science offers three important processes necessary for investigating the relationships between financial incentives and employees’ performance. The three processes are considered the deterministic elements of the method and helps in conducting a situational analysis, which can be used to improve organizational performance in general. The three elements that make traditional model of science chronologically applicable in this case include positivistic, deductive and quantitative.

In understanding the logics of reasoning, a research using this method is capable of explaining to the company management that employees’ production efforts are measured in terms of number of hours worked. Thus the remuneration process should concentrate more in influencing employees to work for more hours in order to improve their payment. By improving the number of hours worked, both employees and the company will be benefiting on equal terms. In explaining the three elements stated above, the process proceeds in three stages; theory, operationalization and observation. The company management must conduct a research based on relevant theories.

The theories are the founding components of hypotheses that are to be tested. For example, theories on employees’ remuneration might be relevant in testing the relationship between financial incentives and individual performance. After establishing the necessary theories, operationalization stage becomes important in testing the hypotheses. This involves explaining specific meanings of applicable variables and explaining how specific adjustments in independent variables affect dependent variables. For example, this case proceeds from explaining the independent variable and the dependent variable which are financial incentives and employees productivity respectively. Therefore, how does employees’ performance respond to changes in financial incentives over the entire production periods? From the operationalization stage, the study proceeds to observation stage where the researcher makes actual measurements based on what is seen such as trends, impact and output level. The observations are developed from theoretical statements and expectations already made concerning the study. In other words, the observations will help in explaining the stated theories even better.

Giving financial incentives on the basis of proper terms of operation is a motivation to the employees, and once there is an improvement in social welfare, people will be willing to work even harder to either achieve higher social status or to maintain current social status. This is the reason why for this case, financial incentive in considered the determinant, the independent variable and have impact on the final decision by the employee to either perform or underperform. The figurative values to be collected in this case should include initial payments and each person’s level of output, negative deviation in payment and response in output as well as positive deviations and response in output.

Methodological issues of survey

An organizational performance assessment follows systematic processes aimed at obtaining valid information about the general performance of the organization in light of the factors affecting performance. This assessment is considered important towards understanding the functioning of the organization and thus focuses on the organization as the sole unit of analysis. In conducting organizational progress performance assessment, organizations must clearly identify and define both dependent and independent variable and any stimulant if available. The assessment should consider factors such as employees’ motivation, strategic plans, capital and level of competition as independent variable and the extent to which these factors affect the company’s level of performance. From a clear definition, the organization should be in a position of explaining the impact of independent variables on dependent variable, which in this case is the organizational progress and performance.

It is arguable that organizations always find reasons to adapt, survive and to improve their performance as well as establishing a higher market influence. Having a higher market influence as the sole objective in this case would mean that the organization’s products and services fulfill customers’ taste demands. Therefore, the decision to conduct a survey on client satisfaction remains vital in the whole system performance since it helps in understanding individual experiences over the company’s products and services and any need to improve product and service quality and quantity. 

While conducting program performance assessment based on client satisfaction, it becomes important for the organization to consider certain methodological issues. Essentially, the satisfaction survey are only useful if designed to meet particular objectives. This is only true if the satisfaction survey uses appropriate methods of study and scales of measurements. Factors such as the choice of sampling procedures, scheduling, cultural acceptability and the extent to which the question are sensitive to clients’ satisfaction must be considered during the survey. The strategy used in selecting clients for satisfaction survey must be non-biased, elaborate and internally controlled since the selection process will have influence on the kind of response the organization with obtain thus affecting the final analysis.

The organization should understand that there are no specific ways of choosing samples for this investigation. However, it is important that the samples selected be consistent with the evaluation objectives and this would mean selecting from people who have consumed the company’s product and services within a specific range of time. Therefore, the issue of timing irises for this kind of investigation. This means that as clients gain greater appreciation of the company’s products and services, their satisfaction changes and increases in real time of consumption. The most befitting decision that the organization can make ensuring that the timing for client satisfaction survey is consistent with study objectives. It is also very true that the response clients give concerning a particular product or service and thus the level of satisfaction is highly influenced by cultures. Before conduction the satisfaction survey, the organization should understand the relationship between the clients’ culture, consumptions and expected feedback. However, culture and client’s sensitivity play little control over the expected results as long as clients are consuming the company’s products and services.

Merits and limitations of survey research and questionnaire design

Budget allocation is an important process since ensures accountability in operation by a financial department. Therefore before going through the allocation process, it becomes vital to conduct a citizen survey in order to identify specific areas that should be given priority. This means that the person conducting the interview must be well prepared with the various stages and must also understand the merits and limitations of this method so that in case of any eventuality, the finance department can make proper adjustments.

Studies have shown that there is a close relationship between surveys and questionnaires and this would mean that the merits and demerits would intermarry. On the side of merits, the finance department should understand that just like a survey, administering a questionnaire is comparatively cheaper and easier especially when gathering information from such a large population. On the same note, surveys and questionnaires reduce chances of evaluation biasness because similar questions are asked several times. This means that the information gather can be compared to understand the level of impact. Surveys unlike interviews give people opportunity to express what they truly feel about a particular issue like financing a particular project. The presence of the researcher has no impact on the kind of response people will be giving. For these three reasons, surveys are considered the most elaborative methods of data collection than any other method that would be applicable for this particular study.

On the contrary, surveys are subjected to certain limitations. For example, while the finance department may be looking forwards to 100 percent turnout, the respondents may not complete all the questions or may even fail to send back the surveys. The information and data collected therefore will not be a representation of the general public. Similarly, respondents may not give same interpretation for the items presented in the survey meaning that response will depend on how bet one understands the survey questions. Distortion of original idea will complicate the final results if the survey. In addition, the fact that the respondents are free to complete the surveys on their own may not reflect the true facts on ground. The finance department is not able to know exactly who the respondents are and if the response they are giving are genuine or not. In order to improve the level of accuracy in data collection, the City Finance Department should consider controlling the mentioned circumstances and limitations. There is need to conduct pre-tests in order to identify any situation that may make data collection and analysis unsuccessful.

Internal validity, issues involved, threats and effective control to threats

Internal validity in research defines the extent which the analysis of the independent variable can accurately produce an observed effect. Some of the issues attached to internal validity include determining whether the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable is due to variation created. While designing the research to examine the effectiveness of reemployment on training program, Rose needs to concentrate on specific issues of internal validity, such as investigating the impact of training on unemployed persons, comparing those who have received training with those who are yet to go through the same training and also determine in the trained employees perform better than the untrained employees.

Specific threats to internal validity that could create negative impact for this case include history, maturation, mortality, testing, instrumentation and statistical regression. History defines events that will occur between measurements and variables in a way that such events inhibits the results obtained from the study. Maturation as a threat defines constrain factors like time creating significant changes in independent variables. This means that despite the training, individuals will still grow old, get tire and retire from their work. The testing process proceeds from a pre-test to a post-test, which means that a pre-test influences the performance of a subject on the post-test. Under instrumentation, it is true to state that any change in units of measurement or calibration will affect the actual observations. It therefore becomes a problem determining whether the conclusion that will be made by Rose in this study will be correct, whether the changes in independent variable are the main cause of the observed variations among the dependent variable and also if the variations in dependent variable are attributable to other defining causes other than the ones mentioned.

Threats to internal validity can be controlled using the information established from other relevant studies and groups. Otherwise, the investigator can control threats to validity using experimental designs and any other scientific method of. This involves conducting experimental examination taking into consideration the dependent variables, the independent variable and the stimulants or the controller. The experimental design will form the basis of understanding the mentioned relationships thus improving the level of confidence the investigator has while stating whether there exists a relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variable. The response the investigate gives in this case is highly recognized as valid and undisputable since an experiment has been conducted and the results enumerated as proofs.