| Surveys will be used to determine the perceptions
of people in society regarding the U.S. military. Perceptions will be examined
both in the military and in society through the use of surveys that will
collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Through the use of Likert
Scales, participants will demonstrate how much they agree or disagree with
statements about the U.S. military and its relationship with society and
The general public, young people in 18-24 age range, and the senior leadership of the military will be surveyed. The general public will be surveyed to determine the perceptions society holds in general to the military. The results from these surveys will give an idea of how the general public feels about the military it supports through tax dollars and the service of its members. Young people in the 18-24 age range are possibly the most critical to the U.S. military. Most of the recruits who come into the service each year come from this demographic. This is also an age group, however, that is also interested in going to college. While recruiters target this area the most actively, they also lose many potential recruits to college, despite offers of tuition assistance and bonuses. Discovering the interests and desires of this age group would greatly assist the military as it reaches out to its most valued demographic. The senior leadership of the military would be surveyed to determine if the leadership’s perceptions relate to those in the general public.
Three separate surveys have been prepared, each applying to one specific group (see Appendix A, B, and C). Thirteen statements are the same among all three surveys, which consist of 23 rated statements each. Statements 3, 5, 6, 8,10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, and 23 are common to each survey. The other statements on the survey are designed to relate directly to the participants
in a specific survey group. Likert Scales are used, asking the participant the degree to which they agree or disagree with the statement. The project’s four research questions were used to create the statements on the survey. Several statements represent each research question. The survey also asks for qualitative data from the participants, seeking information about age, gender, income and education level.
Mailings and the Internet would be the key distribution methods for the survey. To survey the military’s senior leadership, mailings would be effective. Military people are accustomed to filling out surveys, and would be able to return the surveys through the military's internal distribution system. For the general public and 18-24 year old age group, the Internet would be the most effective medium. People are unlikely to mail back a survey sent to them through the mail. By purchasing advertising space on Internet web sites and linking the surveys to the sites, information could be gathered quickly and cheaply. The intent of the project is to reach as many people as possible in order to get the best idea of what perceptions of the military actually are. While this is not a random sample, the scope of the project makes using a convenience sample appropriate.
The data gathered from the surveys will need to be analyzed to determine what the answers can tell us about people’s perceptions of the military. It will also
be very useful to compare the data gathered from the three distinct survey groups on the common set of rated statements.
While there may be more complicated ways to analyze and compare the data, using descriptive statistics should be effective. By determining the mean, mode, and range for each rated statement, in each survey category, the data can be analyzed to determine how strongly that survey group agrees or disagrees with a statement. Data can also be compared between survey groups to determine how in synch each group is with the other. This data will allow the research questions to be answered.