This chapter delineates all of the methods and procedures used in the collection and analysis of data. The delineation begins with a restatement of the research focus. It lists methodological assumptions and limitations, followed by a specification of both the research approach and the general design. Subject selection procedures are then listed and the survey instrument is presented and discussed. The chapter ends with a discussion of data analysis.
This study evaluated the effectiveness of college retention programs currently being implemented by 27 private, four-year colleges located in the State of Michigan.
The following assumptions underlie all of the data collection and analysis procedures that were used in the study:
(1) It was assumed that Admissions Officers will be cooperative and supply accurate data.
(2) It was assumed that the researcher-designed instrument validly measures that which it purports to measure.
(3) It was assumed that all statistics used in data analysis are appropriate to the level of data collected.
This study was limited to only those 27 private, four-year colleges located in the state of Michigan. Whether findings would be the same at similar private colleges located in different geographical areas cannot be known on the basis of this study's findings.
A second limitation of the study concerns supplemental data collected via the research instrument. These data relate to Admissions Officers' estimates of the extent to which drop-out might be due to each of five factors mentioned in the literature as contributive to student attrition and retention. These data are essentially perceptual data; that is, Admissions Officers are supplying their expert opinions about reasons for drop-out. The assumption was that Admissions Officers were experts and that therefore their estimates of factors contributive to drop-out were accurate. However, since data were perceptual rather than direct...