The previous chapter reviewed relevant literature. With the development of the global economy, the development of vocational education has been improved, and the existence of vocational training companies in the market is increasing. It is necessary to determine an effective measurement standard to measure private training. How can students’ abilities improve after the training. To advance this research, this chapter will detail the reasoning and justification behind the research process, as well as ways to analyse and explore the metrics for the vocational education and training industry.
3.1 Aims and objectives
This chapter has also been undertaken to achieve the goals of the dissertation, aims to analyse and study an effective measurement to measure how student’s ability really improves after private training course.
The subject of this report is to critically evaluate what measures are appropriate in determining a trainee’s improvement in ability subsequent to formal vocational training.
The aims of the chapter will be divided into the following sections:
1.What courses are generally offered by vocational training companies?
2.To what extent a training company can improve student’s comprehensive skills?
3.How can a trainee’s ability be measured after learning at a vocational training company?
4.How could training company use more appropriate measures to improve quality in vocational training?
The study will be conducted primarily by two audiences, trainees and teachers from private training companies. For the trainees’ research, a quantitative research method will be adopted, and students from different private training companies will be selected to conduct questionnaires. The questions of questionnaire revolve around whether the trainees feel that their abilities have improved after being trained. In what ways have their abilities been improved and what has not changed? Interviews will be used to teachers of private training companies to conduct the research. The interview questions will revolve around what qualifications can help trainees find better jobs, and the indicators they use to objectively assess and measure whether students’ abilities have been improved. (Kothari, 2004)
3.2 Research Approach
3.2.1 Primary research and Secondary research
Primary research is information that comes directly from the source of information and is new data that has never been collected before. The ultimate goal of conducting primary market research is to gain relevant insights into target market. (Surhone, Tennoe & Henssonow, 2010)
There are two common methods for using a group of people as the main research purposes: questionnaires and interviews.
Questionnaire survey is one of the methods of opinion survey with target audience. The form of questionnaire survey consists of a series of small questions written, and then visits to collect the opinions, feelings, reactions and knowledge of the interviewees (Kothari, 2004).
Personal interviews are one of the most effective forms of primary market research. Whether it’s a one-on-one interview or a focus group survey, this is the most effective and quick way to build a rapport with the respondents and understand the industry market. (Kothari, 2004)
Secondary research is industry data that has been compiled and organized and can be used directly. Usually, the collection process is faster and the cost can be saved.
A disadvantage of secondary market research is that data may not be customized to meet the research requirements of the characteristics (Avison & Stewart,1993). Although relevant research data can be collected through secondary data, its accuracy often fails to meet the requirements, so although it may be cheaper and faster to obtain it, it may not be as useful as primary research.
Secondary market research methods can be divided into three distinct sources: public resources, commercial sources, and educational institutions (Cowton, 1998).
Public resources provide a wealth of valuable information, usually free of charge; from government departments to public libraries. Commercial sources are equally valuable, but most business data involve cost factors such as subscription and association fees. The data sources of educational institutions are research conducted by universities, colleges and technical institutes.
Combining primary and secondary market research is almost certainly the best way to gain market-level perspectives and local and regional competitive perspectives. For the purposes of this study, secondary data come from a wide range of sources identified in the literature review, including Internet search engines, UWTSD library catalogues, electronic journals, and industry-specific data.
3.3 Research rationale
The latest research shows that many young people (62%) in the United Kingdom today have a clear understanding of their ideal work. But still more than one-third of people are still unsure which career they want to pursue(Guardian,2007). In this case, private vocational training companies can give full play to their strengths. Generally speaking, they will customize the course according to the trainees’ ability and needs, and then make plans for their future career and development personally.
Private training companies have their own advantages over other general vocational education, such as personalized training. The training company will set specific business goals and make training plans for them. Whether the trainees want to enhance their theoretical knowledge or improve their leadership ability, the company will provide customized courses to improve their skills and business profitability (Martin, Tanja &Kate, 2007). In terms of diagnosing the shortcomings of students, the training company will customize the course design according to the needs of students, and the one-to-one personalized tutoring and other aspects will be more detailed. The company can also provide professional guidance and advice for trainees’ future professional development, help them to know more about their most needed fields and encourage them to be more proactive in their future career demands.
As the demand for vocational education increases, the number of private vocational training institutions in the market has also increased significantly. Training companies are increasingly entering the market. In most cases, vocational education costs more for each class of students than for general education subjects, mainly because of the higher cost of small classes and equipment, equipment and consumables (Training, 2011). Therefore, while spending a high amount of training costs, an excellent training company should be chosen. Therefore, in the training company industry, how to measure the ability of students and whether the students really learn the skills and maximize their potential is a problem worth studying.
3.4 Chosen Methodology
3.4.1 Case study
A case study is a method of studying specific behaviours or problems for individuals or organizations. It is a method of collecting data using historical data, archival materials, interview observations, etc., and using reliable techniques to analyse an object to obtain a universal conclusion (Byrne& Humble,2007). The case study conducts in-depth research by selecting appropriate events, and draws some assumptions and conclusions through superficial phenomena as the basis for further research in the future.
For this study, case studies are a more appropriate method because of time and cost. It can also make the research of vocational education and training companies more specific and lay the foundation for later research. Qualitative research can be carried out through a small number of training companies, which can partly reflect the vocational education and training market.
In the case study, first choose a suitable vocational education and training company for research. Then determine the subject of the case study, go to the library or search for relevant information on the Internet, or go to the location of the company to conduct on-the-spot exploration and in-depth study of specific issues.
Advantages: Specific cases can make the understanding of the theory become sensible and specific, and enable the researchers to fully understand the theoretical understanding. (Byrne& Humble,2007)
Disadvantages: the cases themselves are individual cases, and each case has its own characteristics that cannot be duplicated, such as specific time, space environment and so on. The results of case studies are not easy to be generalized and lack of objectivity.
The questionnaire survey method is a method for researchers to collect data, solicit opinions or understand the situation from the target group through questionnaires(Mathirajan,2006). The self-administered questionnaire has the characteristics of standardized access.
In this study, the questionnaire will be sent to the trainees. The question revolves around whether they feel that their abilities have improved after being trained. In what ways has it been improved and what has remained unchanged.
In this study, questionnaires will be sent to trainees. The questionnaire questions will revolve around whether they feel their abilities have improved after training. Where it has improved and where it has not changed.
When designing the questionnaire, take into account the time spent by the interviewees, and the questions should not be too many. During the questionnaire survey, try to increase the number of participants to avoid bias in their opinions. Don’t deal with too sensitive issues so as not to harm the participants’ self-esteem (Menezes, 2012).
Why to choose
Questionnaire is a survey suitable for this study. First of all, as the time for investigation and analysis is very limited, for trainees, more accurate ideas of trainees is required, so the number of trainees should be as high as possible. Compared with other survey methods, questionnaires can get more answers in a certain period of time. Secondly, in general, trainees’ information is relatively private, so it may be difficult for ordinary people to have access to them for face-to-face interviews. Therefore, the questionnaire is filled in anonymously and the results are strictly confidential, which can ensure that the privacy of trainees in the training company is not violated. Finally, the questionnaire is used to make the final results easy to be quantified, and the results are easier to be statistically processed and analysed, which saves time for this research. (Mathirajan,2006).
For the questionnaire, if it is full of multiple choice questions, it is impossible to discuss a certain question and its reasons in depth. Moreover, if the questionnaire is designed with open questions, the respondents’ answers will be different and difficult for analysis and statistics. And respondents will not necessarily willing to write a long paragraph of open questions.
The response rate of questionnaire survey is difficult to guarantee. The questionnaire must ensure a certain response rate, otherwise the validity of the data will be affected. The response rate is related to the length of the questionnaire, and the more difficult the questionnaire is, the more privacy is involved, the lower the rate of return of participating in the survey. In addition, the response rate of network survey is generally not high, and the quality is difficult to guarantee.
Reliability and Validity
The reliability of the questionnaire lies in the fact that the answers of students are not affected by other factors and they can truly express their ideas. Especially when it comes to privacy issues, such as whether they feel they have really improved after taking part in vocational training, the questionnaire can usually get real information. (Mathirajan,2006).
The disadvantage is that if the questions in the questionnaire are not clearly expressed, it will lead to the trainees’ misunderstanding of the questionnaire, and they cannot accurately grasp the environment in which the respondent answers the questions, which will affect the judgment of the reliability of the questionnaire. (Mathirajan,2006)
How to collect and analyse the data
The investigator will collect the questionnaire within the specified time and conduct quantitative analysis, such as making bar charts, percentages, etc. In the analysis of closure questions, the answers of respondents will be classified and counted. In the analysis of open questions, students’ answers should be summarised and the analysis results should be concluded (Lestrel,2010).
The interview method is a research method in which researchers collect data about each other’s psychological characteristics and behaviour through conversations with the research subjects(Menezes, 2012).
In this study, an in-depth understanding of the private training company will mainly take the form of interviews. The teacher of the private training company will be interviewed during the research. According to their experience, in general, what qualifications can help a person find a better job that suits him better? In their view, did the course they designed improve the student’s ability and why. And what metrics they use for objective assessment and measurement.
Why to choose
For this study, the interview method is suitable for quick and intuitive understanding of the current situation of the training industry. The interview method is to obtain first-hand information more deeply and directly according to research requirements. For example, if you want to learn about the curriculum and evaluation model of a training company, you can go directly to the training company to interview teachers or managers, ask relevant questions and invite them to answer them. At the same time, interview the teachers in the training institutions face to face, you can also have the opportunity to ask questions. Therefore, more complex problems can be discussed, and new and in-depth information can be obtained. (Lestrel,2010).
Compared with the questionnaire, the interview requires more time, manpower and material resources. For example, interviewing teachers from several different training companies, you need to go to several different places. Due to the time consuming of the interview survey, it is difficult to conduct it on a large scale, so the sample of general interview survey is small(Lestrel,2010).
As the interviewees are required to answer in person, the interviewees may feel concerned about the lack of privacy, especially for some sensitive questions, such as the evaluation of students’ ability in the training company, which may make the interviewees avoid or fail to answer truthfully.
The interview survey has a flexible aspect, but it also increases the randomness of the survey process. The answers of different interviewees are various and there is no unified answer. Therefore, the processing and analysis of interview results are more complicated. (Cacciattolo, 2015).
Reliability and Validity
Because the interview process is fast, the respondent often cannot think for a long time when answering the question. Therefore, the answer is often the spontaneous response of the respondent. This answer is more realistic, reliable, and rarely disguised or faked (Menezes, 2012).
Since interviews are often face-to-face conversations, there are fewer respondents and higher response rates. Even if the respondent refuses to answer certain questions, he can get an overview of his attitude towards the issue.
How to collect and analyse the data
The interview survey is an exchange conducted between the two parties. Due to ethical considerations, recording will not be performed on the spot. The collection of data can only be recorded by paper and pen. Record the conversation as completely as possible to avoid missing important information. The processing of the results is also as uniform as possible. To find common ground, must also pay attention to the new information. (Cacciattolo, 2015).
3.4.4 Focus Group
Focus Group is a conversation with a group of respondents in a semi-structured form by a moderator. The moderator is responsible for organizing the discussion. The main purpose of the group discussion method is to gain a deep understanding of some related issues by listening to a group of respondents selected from the target market that the researcher wants to study. (Lestrel,2010)
For the purposes of this study, participants were not observed and recorded for ethical considerations, and because of time and manpower, the focus group team was more difficult to study, so it will not be used in this study.
3.5 Ethical Considerations
In order to effectively solve the ethical issues of the dissertation, the following points must be achieved.
It is important that respondents volunteer to participate in the research. In addition, participants have the right to withdraw from the study at any stage if they wish. Respondents should participate on the basis of informed consent (Cacciattolo, 2015). The principle of informed consent involves the researcher providing sufficient information and assurance of participation, allowing the individual to understand the impact of participation and, without any pressure, to reach a decision that is fully informed, considered and freely determined to do so (Cacciattolo, 2015). Respondents’ privacy and anonymity are essential, and the highest level of objectivity must be maintained during the research process, subject to the Data Protection Act.
The manual files and data will be stored in researcher’s secure cabinet at all times. The cabinet will be installed with a combination lock, encryption and password protected, only the researcher can get access to it. The electronic questionnaire will be stored on the researcher’s computer. The electronic questionnaires will be stored on the researchers’ computers, and the files will be placed in an encrypted document folder and will be deleted as soon as the study results come out.
This chapter describes the research methods used in this study, namely case studies, questionnaires and interviews. It also provides a reason for choosing their method and its limitations. The next chapter will collect, analyse, and present the results of data collection.
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