Methodology Chapter: Human Factors Affecting Safe Operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

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¶ … collects data to test the hypotheses. The quantitative technique is used for data collection, and data analysis. The quantitative analysis is appropriate for this research because the study aims to present and interpret the data in the numerical form. The study uses descriptive statistics for data analysis. The advantage of using descriptive statistics for data analysis is that it gives a clear picture of the data collected and used for the research project. The descriptive statistics also presents quantitative data in a manageable form, and simplifies large amount of data in a sensible manner. Identification of sample population is critical in the research methodology.

Target Population

Target population refers to the entire group that the researcher wishes to draw conclusions. The target population focuses on the characteristics of the group that will be surveyed. For this study, the target population comprises of UAV pilots in the United States, and Air Force operating at Creech AFB, NV. The total number of the target population is approximately 50 since it is anticipated that nearly 50% of the target population may not return the survey questionnaires or answer the survey questions correctly. The target population is drawn from the age group between 25 and 45 to achieve reliability and validity of the data.

Sources of Data (Sample)

Sources of data are the survey collected from the target population. To ensure that large of number of respondents fill the survey questions on time, the researcher distributes the survey questions to all the available UAV pilots at Creech AFB, NV, and this depends on the total number of the UAV pilots in the unit. The researcher allows approximately two weeks before collecting the survey questions from the respondents. To ensure that large number of the respondents answer the survey questions, the researcher personally collects all surveys from the target population. To maintain the integrity and confidentiality of the survey instrument, the researcher immediately collects the survey from the respondents upon completion.

To enhance the reliability and validity of the survey, the GCP committee is allowed to review the survey instrument to provide comments and suggestions. Moreover, small group of researchers are allowed to provide feedback. The researcher implements these measures to enhance reliability and validity of data. As being pointed out by Trochim and Donnelly, (2007), reliability and validity are the key characteristics of a quantitative research. Validity refers to the accuracy of the overall data collected. Similarly, reliability refers to the consistence and dependability of the research instruments that produce the same answers over time. Data validity and reliability produce quality research findings. To enhance the reliability and validity of the study, the small group is asked to review the survey instrument in order to recommend possible changes. Since the researcher has already designed the high quality survey instrument, the group does not recommend changes. No group participants are allowed to participate in the actual research in order not to distort the research findings

Since survey method is used for the research, the survey questions are specifically drawn to test whether to be under 40 years old and having minimum of 100 flying hours are critical attributes that all safe UAV pilots should possess. Moreover, the survey is drawn to investigate if possession of computer skills and involvement in a "human related" aviation safety incident contribute to safe operation of UAVs in USAF. To draw reliable answers to the questions, the survey questions 14 and 15 are specifically drawn to investigate the selected human factors affecting safe operations of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The survey question 14 is drawn to test the research hypothesis 1. While the survey question 15 is to test the research hypothesis 2. All survey questions are in the Appendix 1.

Since the survey instrument is not previously used, the pretest is implemented to create effective survey. Before distributing the survey questions to the respondents, the researcher conducts the pretest to determine the strength and weakness of the survey. (Barribeau, Butler, Corney, et al. 2005). The researcher conducts participating pretest where the participants are asked to explain their reactions concerning the wording, question form, and order of the survey instrument. With pretest, the researcher is able to determine if the survey is understandable. To conduct pretest, the researcher distributes the survey questions to a group of 10 respondents. After collecting the survey, the feedback of all the 90% of the respondents is positive with the regards of the survey instruments. The feedback of the respondents shows that the wordings, question form, and order of the survey are understandable.

The researcher also conducts the pretest to determine the reliability and validity of the survey. The method the researcher uses is by selecting five groups of people and asks them to answer the survey questions. After two weeks, the researcher asks the same group of people to answer the same questions again. By comparing the two surveys, the researcher is able to conclude that the study passes the reliability and validity tests because the respondents have confirmed the simplicity of the survey questions. Analysis of the answers from the pretest survey reveals that survey process conforms to the research study. For example, from the feedback, 95% of the respondents agree that the survey process conforms with the research study because the survey will be able to test the hypotheses.

Treatment of the Data

For the treatment of data, all the data collected are input into the relational database, and the data generated are analyzed and evaluated by using descriptive statistics. The data are analyzed at a significant level of p?0.05, which is an appropriate significance level for this type of research. For conveniences, the section is divided into subsections.

Sub-problem One (First Set of Hypotheses)

The first sub-problem is to identify and rank the most important experiences that the UAV pilots must possess in order to operate UAV safety based on the perceptions of the UAV pilots. In this section, the null and research hypotheses are stated, and the statistical procedure to test the hypotheses is to state two hypotheses, and the appropriate statistical test is used to accept one of the hypotheses and reject the other hypotheses.

The first hypothesis, which is a null hypothesis, is as follows:

Ho: Majority of UAV pilots do not agree that to be under 40 years old, having a minimum of 100 flying hours, and graduating from Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) are the critical attributes that all safe UAV pilots should possess.

The research hypothesis is as follows:

H1: Majority of UAV pilots agree that to be under 40 years old, have a minimum of 100 flying hours, and graduating from Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) are the critical attributes that all safe UAV pilots should possess.

Sub-problem Two (Second Set of Hypotheses)

The second sub-problem is to investigate if the involvement in a "human related" aviation safety incident and possession of computer skills contribute to a safe operation of UAVs in USAF.

The first or null hypothesis is as follows:

Ho: UAV pilots do not believe that lack of involvement in a "human related" aviation safety incident and possession of computer skills contributes to being a safe UAV operator in the USAF.

The research hypothesis in this section is as follows:

H2: UAV pilots believe that lack of involvement in a "human related" aviation safety incident and possession of computer skills contributes to being a safe UAV operator in the USAF.

The source of data is the mass of data collected from the survey respondents. The descriptive statistics is used for the data analysis and descriptive statistics is used to summarize the mass of data collected. After the researcher collates all data together, the p-value is used to test the hypotheses. The p-value is the statistical procedure that determines the significant level of the research hypothesis. To accept the research hypotheses, the p-value should be between 0.001 and 0.01. However, if the p-value is equal to 0.05 (5%) or smaller than 0.05 (5%), this study will fail to reject the null hypotheses.

The Table 1 reveals the significant level that this study accepts for the research hypotheses H1 and H2 or significant level to reject null hypotheses.

Table 1: Significant level to Accept or Reject Research Hypothesis

p-value

Outcome of test

Statement

> (greater than) 0.05

Fail to reject H0

Null evidence to reject H0

between 0.01 and 0.05

Reject H0 and therefore Accept H1.

Evidence to reject H0 and therefore accept H1

between 0.001 and 0.01

Reject H0 and therefore accept H1.

Strong evidence to reject H0 and therefore accept H1.

< (less than) 0.001

Reject H0 and therefore accept H1.

Very strong evidence to reject H0 and therefore accept H1.

References

Barribeau, P. Butler, B. Corney, J. et al. (2005). Survey Research. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University Department of English. Retrieved [26 August 2011] from http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/research/survey/.

Trochim, W & Donnelly, J.P. (2007). The Research Methods Knowledge Base, (3RD Edition). Atomic Dog Publishing.USA.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Survey of Perceived Characteristics of UAV… [END OF PREVIEW]

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