2016 Election Essay

Total Length: 587 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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The 2016 Election

The Research Question

My question regarding the 2016 election is this: why did Americans vote for Donald Trump? This is a decidedly open-ended question, which means it would involve exploratory research rather than the testing of a hypothesis. The research could consist of a mixed-methods design with both qualitative and quantitative research conducted. Individuals could be asked both open-ended questions and closed-questions (with Likert-scale measures in place).

How I Would Answer This Question

A good means of collecting data for exploratory research is the interview method or the survey method (Leonard, Noelle et al.). First, I would break up the voting sample into demographics: (a) gender, (b) age, (c) voting history (Party affiliation), (d) region of the country, (e) religion, (f) ethnicity/race, and (g) ideology (ex., conservative, liberal, libertarian, reform, etc.). Then I would seek to obtain a sample of participants that could provide me with a significant set of data that I could draw reasonable conclusions as to why different voters voted for Trump. I would like to post a survey online using social media—Facebook and Twitter—and also obtain individuals for interviews using social media as well. The interviews would provide me with a qualitative data set and the surveys would provide me with a quantitative data set.

Evidence I Would Need to Obtain but Cannot Obtain

Self-reported data is not always the most objective and does not always offer the most empirical of proofs.
It is not like observing the results of test and obtaining clear evidence. In other words, the objective data that I would like to obtain would primarily still be highly subjective because it would rely on individuals stating their reasons for voting for Trump. Sometimes people fail to articulate their reasons sufficiently or might hide their true reasons for fear of being judged. The type of objective, clear-cut evidence I would like for this study would thus be impossible to obtain by conducting interviews and surveys. The data would still be considered subjective because of the self-reported nature of the data set. The perfect evidence to support my argument would be an empirically-provable data set where the data is completely objective, valid and reliable—but there is no clear way to discern this data set, as human motivation is a highly subjective subject that can only be explored. It can only be described in qualitative terms,….....

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References

Leonard, Noelle R., et al. “A multi-method exploratory study of stress, coping, and substance use among high school youth in private schools.” Frontiers in Psychology 6 (2015): 1028.
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