The work that will be presented to you is devoted to the preliminary considerations of a future research. These considerations include defining the purpose statement, the sources to be used, ethical issues that can be encountered, and the methods.
According to Creswell (2009), a consistent purpose statement includes an outline of the phenomenon that is studied and the strategy of the research. The phenomenon proposed for this study can be defined as the regulations that have been imposed with the help of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their consequences. The strategy of this research is going to be defined by the pragmatic worldview. According to Creswell (2009), this “worldview” or epistemological stance presupposes a freedom of choice and the use of varied methods that can fulfill the needs of the research. It is a rather eclectic approach that takes into account various opinions and views, different aspects and perspectives. The exact methods will be discussed later. It can be pointed out that EPA regulations affect various aspects of human activities and environment and produce varied effects. As a result, an epistemological stance that seeks to propose a comprehensive yet pragmatic view on the nature of things appears to be able to facilitate this kind of study. To make the topic more manageable, the research will be limited to the multiple effects of EPA legislation (and not just any regulations) on transportation standards.
Admittedly, even this limitation makes the current topic rather broad. The geographical limitation is not mentioned on purpose: there is a chance that global perspective will be unmanageable. Still, it is a significant part of the impact of the phenomenon, which is why it will be considered during the next stage of the research. It is expected that the analysis of gathered data will allow narrowing it and defining the direction that will be most interesting and useful to investigate. For the time being, however, this purpose definition is still an outline rather than a completed statement.
The said topic has been chosen for a number of reasons. First of all, EPA legislation (primarily the Clean Air Act) has been attracting the attention of researchers for several decades since its introduction in the 1970s (Bauner, 2011, p. 375). Naturally, the studies take different stances. Some of them provide quantitative assessments of the impact of the legislation: for example, Wilson et al. (2008) present emissions projections based on EPA regulations. Others (Munnings, 2012) offer the qualitative assessment of the legislation’s effectiveness. The legislation is studied from the point of view of the law (Munnings, 2012), environment (Wilson et al., 2008; Harrington, Morgenstern, Shih, & Bell, 2012), economics (Bauner, 2011), and other perspectives, and the related debates do not seem to die off. Moreover, the recent emissions scandal that was caused by Volkswagen is expected to lead to changes in EPA controlling mechanisms (Wilson, Quigley, Mansoor, Smith, & Signal, 2015). This fact makes reviewing EPA legislation a more timely issue.
The sources that are available for the research can be classified into the databases of journal articles and other sources. Universal databases are preferable since they do not focus on one topic. While EPA activities are aimed at environmental sustainability, their actions affect numerous aspects of human life. So far I have encountered the articles concerning EPA in the journals devoted to environmental law and ecological issues as well as transportation research and science and technology subjects. Universal databases have varied levels of access depending on the journals’ policies and institutions of the user; some of the articles are in open access. For this study, Google Scholar is selected as a primary and most convenient searching tool: it allows browsing through numerous databases, and its advanced search options are very user-friendly. Still, as suggested by Creswell (2009), several databases will be used. For this study, ERIC and ScienceDirect are selected as a possibility since the researcher has some experience with using them.
Specialized databases on the environment include, for example, GREENR. This database contains a bulk of research concerning EPA. Also, it is not improbable that other databases, specialized or not, will turn out to be useful.
It should be mentioned that most of these databases offer a wide variety of different types of materials. Creswell (2009) suggest using various sources (from books to dissertations), but particular attention is paid to academic articles due to their availability and trustworthiness. In this research proposal, journal articles are targeted for the same reason.
Other sources of the content of different types include governmental websites (in particular, that of EPA) and newspapers. The former is capable of providing the primary sources (the actual acts), environmental news, and statistical data. The EPA website may also be regarded as a source of overviews that Creswell (2009) describes as the first step in the literature selection. Newspapers offer the information about the recent occurrences (that are not reflected in academic studies yet) and expert as well as non-expert opinions that, while not objective, can suggest ideas about the public reaction to the regulations and related issues. Apart from that, a combination of judgments broadens one’s understanding of the situation and is in line with pragmatic worldview. It is most important to use reliable newspapers; some of the most famous and trusted ones are presented in the slide. The research does not have to be limited to the US newspapers since EPA’s actions have a global effect.
The issue of ethical considerations is an important part of research planning. To ensure ethical conduct, a researcher needs to clearly and honestly define the purpose (or the questions) of the research and avoid inconsistency. As it has been pointed out, the current purpose of this study can still be refined if the literature review reveals that it is too broad. Apart from that, all the gathered data must be used accurately and consistently with due referencing. Creswell (2009) warns against using language that is not objective (for example, epithets) since they can distort the message. Objectivity is also a crucial part of the conclusions.
The current research is not expected to be sponsored by anyone; no participants are meant to be involved, which means that related ethical issues will not arise. Naturally, frauds (for example, fabrication of data) are not acceptable.
To sum up, all the measures are aimed at ensuring the honesty and integrity of the research, at a professional and ethical conduct. It should also be pointed out that bias is always a possibility for a number of reasons. One of them consists in the personality of the researcher. Personal views can affect all the processes, including data selection, analysis, and conclusions. The fact that the study is expected to include the elements of qualitative methods increases the probability of bias. Describing various perspectives and referencing them can be regarded as the means of avoiding bias. Also, the possibility will be described in the limitations of the study.
Finally, a most significant part of a research outline is the suggested strategy. The methods of the research are its part. Their position in the system of research elements can be illustrated with the help of the diagram presented on the slide that has been proposed by Creswell (2009).
It is a common occurrence for pragmatism-based research to belong to the mixed methods approach. For this research, a multiphase method is suggested to ensure the inclusion of various perspectives and the appropriate usage of both qualitative and quantitative data. The data is expected to be gathered through the review of primary sources (legislation) and all the types of sources mentioned above (journals, newspapers, statistics, websites). The initial stage of the research will describe only the measurable impact of EPA requirements that define the parameters of the transport, which can be used today. The second stage (qualitative study) will describe the less measurable issues: side effects (production cost growth, technological development, and any others encountered) along with the perspectives on the necessity and effectiveness of the said requirements. The expected result will provide a comprehensive description of the various effects that EPA regulations have on transport standards.
Bauner, D. (2011). International Private and Public Reinforcing Dependencies for the Innovation of Automotive Emission Control Systems in Japan and USA. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 45(5), 375-388. Web.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research Design (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.
Harrington, W., Morgenstern, R., Shih, J., & Bell, M. (2012). Did the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 really improve air quality? Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health, 5(4), 353-367. Web.
Munnings, C. (2012). USA: Greenhouse Gas Policy under the Clean Air Act – the Authority of EPA. Environmental Policy and Law, 42(3), 184-188. Web.
Wilson, J., Mullen, M., Bollman, A., Thesing, K., Salhotra, M., Divita, F., …DeMocker, J. (2008). Emission Projections for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Section 812 Second Prospective Clean Air Act Cost/Benefit Analysis. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, 58(5), 657-672. Web.
Wilson, N., Quigley, R., Mansoor, O., Smith, M., & Signal, L. (2015). Mandatory Regulation or Self-Regulation in the Age of the Volkswagen Saga. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 128(1425), 12-13. Web.