In this research project we plan to make use of the primary and secondary statistical materials of quantitative and qualitative nature alike. This will allow for using classical and contemporary mathematical and statistical methods to accomplish the goal in the Mixed-Methods Research approach (Brewer, Hunter 2005; Ivankova et al. 2006; Creswell 2012) (see Work Plan).
In the research procedure, the following research methods and techniques are planned to be employed:
In order to analyse the diverse level of social and economic growth in various spatial arrangements, single-dimension and multi-dimension methods are planned to be used including, among other things, the synthetic variable ratio, an analysis of the major components (Morrison 1990).
In the realm of grouping and classification of spatial units at various administration levels, numeric taxonomy will be used both for the hierarchical methods (Ward’s method) and the non-hierarchical ones (k-means cluster analysis) (Chojnicki and Czyż 1973).
In order to identify the factors of the social and economic growth and identification of the impact of the new challenges of the regional policy on these factors we assume making use of the correlation and regression methods both in the classical aspatial approach (partial correlations, multiple regression) as well as in an approach considering spatial relations (the spatial autocorrelation ratios, geographically weighted regression) (Cliff and Ord 1973; Anselin 1988, 1995; Brundson et al. 1996; Fotheringham et al. 2002; Griffith 2003; Lloyd 2007).
The research into the degree of concentration of the selected social and economic phenomena will be carried out by means of, among other things, the location quotient (LQ) (Florence 1929), Isard’s and Krugman’s divergence indices (Krugman 1991b, Combes et al. 2008). On the other hand, we assume that the analysis of the actual and theoretical spatial interactions in the units under scrutiny will be conducted by means of the models of potential and gravity (Isard and Freutel 1954, Chojnicki 1966).
What is more, regressive modelling as well as Markov’s chains and neural networks (Zeliaś et al. 2013, Searle and Hausman 1970, Garson 1998, Tadeusiewicz 1998) will be employed to predict the impact of the new conditioning on the factors of social and economic growth in the less developed regions.
The quantitative methods will be supplemented by means of the methods and techniques of direct survey including e-survey, an individual in-depth interview as well as focus group interviews. The resulting opinions of the stakeholders of the growth policy (public authorities – inhabitants – entrepreneurs – NGOs – local leaders) and will serve to analyse the impact of the new challenges of the regional policy on the factors of social and economic growth and an analysis of the possibilities of reinforcing them in the model system of factors. The research sample will be representative and will include all the offices of the county and commune authorities in Wielkopolska (e-survey) as well as all the individual in-depth interviews conducted with the local leaders and representatives of NGOs by counties. Due to the size of the population, the interviews with the locals and entrepreneurs will be conducted in the form of focus group interviews in the representative units of various identified types selected as a result of an analysis of developmental diversity (not more than six such surveys are planned; the ultimate number will depend on the results of the typology of intra-regional diversity in Wielkopolska). The results will be presented in the form of tables, diagrams and cartographic developments based on statistical, geostatistical packages and GIS.