In research, the term research method refers to a procedure that helps the researcher to find the necessary data, on which to draw the conclusion of the study, or make predictable results of the research (Vaus, 2002). This procedure involves collecting data, which acts as research inputs, and then converting the data into outputs: the research findings. The research method that would be most appropriate to study the social exchange theory of sexuality is survey method. Survey is a research method, which involves undertaking a background study on a given situation using the subjects of the study as the main sources of data. A researcher can use interviews, personal case studies, observations, or questionnaires when using survey as a research method (Wood, 2006).
According to Cherry (2011), survey research method is an appropriate method of conducting a qualitative research. A qualitative research is a research based on the study of human behavior: why human behave they way they do and which factors govern their behaviors. In this case, a research on the social exchange theory of sexuality is termed as qualitative research since it involves the study of human sexuality behavior. Therefore, a survey would be the most appropriate method of conducting this research.
In relation to the theory, the researcher would examine a number of factors, which contribute to sexual relationships between a man and a woman. To begin with, the researcher would examine the time taken in a relationship before the partners engage in sexual intercourse. By examining this factor, the researcher would be able to find out the amount of time relationships take before they become sexual. This factor would also help the researcher to find out the sub-factors, which contribute to time differences. For instance, why do some relationships take more time than other relationships before they start becoming sexual? In conducting this study, the researcher may also examine who between a man and a woman is more likely to make the first sexual advances in a relationship.
Sprecher, one of the theorists of social exchange theory of sexuality, views relationships as contracts where benefits come at a cost. For this reason, the researcher in this study may also want to find out which costs does one incur in a relationships, and what benefits does one reaps from a relationship. Moreover, the social exchange theory of sexuality do apply in the today’s relationships where parties consider other factors such as financial status and social class before entering into sexual relationships. Based on this, the study may investigate the factors, which individuals consider before they get into sexual relationships, and the reasons behind such considerations.
When using survey as a research method, the research selects the appropriate method of conducting the survey, based on the characteristics of the research subjects. In this case, the appropriate survey method would be use of questionnaires. Questionnaires are appropriate where the population of the study is large and widely spread across a large geographical area (Cherry, 2011). The population of this study is not limited to any geographical area since the focus is on social behaviors, which affect the sexuality of the entire human race. The researcher may start by designing the questionnaires, based on (but not limited to) the factors mentioned above. The next step of the study would be to determine an appropriate sample size. The researcher may use random or stratified methods of sampling (Wood, 2006). However, the right sample size should be selected because; a very large sample size may be difficult to analyze while a small sample size may give invalid results. For the purpose of this study, an appropriate number of participants would be 100 participants, due to limitation of research resources. After determination of the sample size, the researcher can then collect the data issuing questionnaires, and later analyze it for the results.
By conducting this research, we can learn more about human sexuality: social factors contributing to sexual relationships, the rationale behind sexual relationships, and why humans behave the way they do when it comes to sexual relationships.