Thursday, February 7, 2008
Research Concept Paper
Met with my advisor last week. Things went well and turned in my research concept paper. Next steps:
1. IRB application
2. Longer summary
3. Draft Survey
Research Concept Paper
Title: Hub and Spokes: Imageability of the Daily Bicycle Commuter in New York City
Objective: The purpose of the study is to gather general information about bicycle commuters in New York City. A grounded theory approach will be pursued. This data will illustrate the demographics and issues that these bike commuters face. The second component of the study will look at how a bicycle commuter views the city via imageability. The purpose is not to demonstrate the true observations, but instead to record the subjective perspective (mental image) they have of the build environment, good or bad.
Expected Output: The output I expect from this research will be a rich and detailed summary of how daily commuters by bicycle view and understand the city, and specifically New York City. The survey will paint a general picture of these commuters and give us insight as to why they choose to commute via bicycle. I expect the second part, one on one interviews, will provide a more detailed account of the positive and negative aspects of commuting by bicycle. In addition, this will also be the process by which I will get the imageability of the commuters through drawings/illustrations of their daily route.
How do you plan to:
Target Group- Through the internet, organizations, and individuals, I plan on getting the web address for the survey out. There are numerous bike forums that are specific to New York City or that have sub-forums specific to the city. I will also try and utilize the base that many organization and people have with bicycle commuters (Transportation Alternative, Times Up, Kissena Cycling Club, Bike Snob NYC, BikeBlog, Bike forums, and bike shops). In addition, I will also do postcards at bike specific events where turn out is expected to be high.
Variable-Through the different outreach methods I believe that I will get a varied response. Some of the organizations are far reaching while others target a specific population within the bicycle community. With the mix of outreach organizations and individuals I should have a random group of respondents.
Data Collection- For the survey I will use questionpro.com that provides custom surveys for graduate students at no charge. This software is complex enough to give me statistical data, and I will also use SPSS as needed. The one on one interviews will be tape recorded and I will actually have the subjects draw out their route on paper with very little direction. After that a more accurate google map of the route will be done. The location of the interviews will be chosen by the subjects for their own level of comfort and safety.
Data Analysis- For the survey I will utilize the software provided by questionpro.com and SPSS. I feel these two analytical tools will allow me to quantify the survey data accurately. For the imageability and interviews I will compare and contrast the drawn map to the google map. After that I will actually ride the route to take pictures, record important data, and get my own observations in relation to the drawn map. To analyze this data I will base it on the model of Kevin Lynch's imageability. I will use these terms (paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks) to help explain imageability, or mental mapping, that the subject drew and illustrated through out the interview process.