SOME IMPORTANT TOPICS COVERED IN THE SEMESTER
Why teacher research? Teacher research differs from more formal or academic research about schools and teaching in a number of meaningful ways that make it quite valuable to teachers, administrators, and academic researchers alike. In other hand, is using their techniques to study everything from the best way to teach. This research carried out by teachers in their classrooms and schools. Teacher research is intentional and systematic inquiry done by teachers with the goals of gaining insights Into teaching and learning, becoming more reflective practitioners, effecting changes in the classroom or school, and improving the lives of children (Cochran-Smith & Lytle 1993; 1999). Teacher research stems from teachers’ own questions about and reflections on their everyday classroom practice. They seek practical solutions to issues and problems in their professional lives (Corey 1953; Stringer 2007). The major components of teacher research are: conceptualization, in which teachers identify a significant problem or interest and determine relevant research questions; implementation, in which teachers collect and analyze data; and interpretation, in which teachers examine findings for meaning and take appropriate actions (McLean 1995). Teacher research is systematic in that teachers follow specific procedures and carefully document each step of the process— from formation of a question, through data collection and analysis, to conclusions and outcomes. Teacher research takes many forms and serves a range of purposes, but it is conducted by teachers, individually or collaboratively, with the primary aim of understanding teaching and learning in context and from the perspectives of those who live and interact daily in the classroom (Meier & Henderson 2007; Zeichner 1999). These studies thus provide unique insider perspectives on meaningful issues in early care and education settings. A preschool or primary grade teacher, an infant/toddler caregiver, a family child care provider, or a home visitor begins an inquiry by asking a genuine question about the work in which she or he is engaged with children and families. Research questions can begin simply enough: “Should we allow pretend gunplay in any circumstances?” “How can I use storytelling to build literacy among bilingual preschoolers?” “What is it about me or my care giving that helps me build securely attached relationships with toddlers?” Teacher researchers learn about themselves as teachers as they try to understand children’s learning.
BIG R: • • • • • •
Institutional Large Scale Third Voice Share Knowledge More Qualitative Generalize Prove confirm
LITTLE R: • • • • •
Local Small population First tone voice (Experience and anecdote) More Qualitative Understand Better: Learning – teaching.
What Do Teacher Researchers Do? • • • • • •
Develop questions based on their own curiosity about their students' learning and their teaching Investigate their questions with their students systematically documenting what happens Collect and analyze data from their classes including their own observations and reflections Examine their assumptions and beliefs Articulate their theories Discuss their research with their colleagues for support as "critical friends" to validate their findings and interpretations of their data
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Present findings to others Talk to their students Give presentations (talk to teacher in room next door, go to conferences)
The preparatory Stages: -
Determine the aims and hypothesis Review the Literature Design the study Design the research methods and techniques including the instrumentation Sampling and fieldwork Processing data Collate results and write reports
Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Research. Qualitative and quantitative researches are the types of the research design. Both the research designs have different goals. Qualitative research is generally inductive and Quantitative research is deductive (Frankel & Devers, 2000). Quantitative research involves data collection, analysis and interpretation. It is mainly a statistical analysis method to solve the research problem, because data used in it, is mathematical and statistical form. Qualitative research is based on texts and images, pictures etc. (Creswell, 2003). Qualitative research includes focus group, in-depth interview, and observation to collect data and then it analyze for the study. It is subjective in nature and describes the problem of research in depth to find out its solution. Whereas quantitative research is objective and uses concepts, constructs, hypothesis which makes up a theory (Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research, 2011). Qualitative research deals in the words, texts, picture so that it can be observed. It is more flexible in comparison of quantitative research, because it allows adaption of interaction between researcher and its participants. It also include case study to resolve the research problem. It describes whole problem and it uses theories, concepts and case study. It is a descriptive and analytical tool for the research, because it describes the problem deeply and then analyzes. It considers social activities like education, health, social work, administration in the social science. Quantitative research includes survey, sampling and census method to collect data. It requires the data in the numerical value, which can be count. A researcher use all these data on the basis of the way in which a number of people act, think and feel, because in this method number of interview are considered. There are many methods by which data can be collected like experiments, observational study, and survey. Qualitative researcher collects entire data for the research but in case of quantitative research researcher uses several mathematical and statistical tool to collect numerical data. A researcher knows clearly about the research before the quantitative research but in the qualitative research, researcher has a partial knowledge about that, he is doing. Qualitative research recommended in the
earlier stage of the study, but in the case of quantitative research it is recommended after the study. Quantitative research uses numbers, and numerical values to summarize the whole study, and to look relationship between variable and participants of the research.
WHAT IS RELIABILITY? The idea behind reliability is that any significant results must be more than a one-off finding and be inherently repeatable. Other researchers must be able to perform exactly the same experiment, under the same conditions and generate the same results. This will reinforce the findings and ensure that the wider scientific community will accept the hypothesis. Without this replication of statistically significant results, the experiment and research have not fulfilled all of the requirements of testability. This prerequisite is essential to a hypothesis establishing itself as an accepted scientific truth. For example, if you are performing a time critical experiment, you will be using some type of stopwatch. Generally, it is reasonable to assume that the instruments are reliable and will keep true and accurate time. However, diligent scientists take measurements many times, to minimize the chances of malfunction and maintain validity and reliability. At the other extreme, any experiment that uses human judgment is always going to come under question. For example, if observers rate certain aspects, like in Banduraâ€™s Bobo Doll Experiment, then the reliability of the test is compromised. Human judgment can vary wildly between observers, and the same individual may rate things differently depending upon time of day and current mood. This means that such experiments are more difficult to repeat and are inherently less reliable. Reliability is a necessary ingredient for determining the overall validity of a scientific experiment and enhancing the strength of the results. Debate between social and pure scientists, concerning reliability, is robust and ongoing. WHAT IS VALIDITY Validity encompasses the entire experimental concept and establishes whether the results obtained meet all of the requirements of the scientific research method. For example, there must have been randomization of the sample groups and appropriate care and diligence shown in the allocation of controls. Internal validity dictates how an experimental design is structured and encompasses all of the steps of the scientific research method.
Even if your results are great, sloppy and inconsistent design will compromise your integrity in the eyes of the scientific community. Internal validity and reliability are at the core of any experimental design. External validity is the process of examining the results and questioning whether there are any other possible causal relationships. Control and randomization will lessen external validity problems but no method can be completely successful. This is why the statistical proofs of a hypothesis called significant, not absolute truth. Any scientific research design only puts forward a possible cause for the studied effect. There is always the chance that another unknown factor contributed to the results and findings. This extraneous causal relationship may become more apparent, as techniques are refined and honed. CONCLUSION If you have constructed your experiment to contain validity and reliability then the scientific community is more likely to accept your findings. Eliminating other potential causal relationships, by using controls and duplicate samples, is the best way to ensure that your results stand up to rigorous questioning.
What is qualitative research? Qualitative research is used to help us understand how people feel and why they feel as they do. It is concerned with collecting in-depth information asking questions such as why do you say that? Samples tend to be smaller compared with quantitative projects that include much larger samples. Depth interviews or group discussions are two common methods used for collecting qualitative information.
Qualitative research seeks out the ‘why’, not the ‘how’ of its topic through the analysis of unstructured information – things like interview transcripts, open ended survey responses, emails, notes, feedback forms, photos and videos. It doesn’t just rely on statistics or numbers, which are the domain of quantitative researchers. Qualitative research is used to gain insight into people's attitudes, behaviors, value systems, concerns, motivations, aspirations, culture or lifestyles. It’s used to inform business decisions, policy formation, communication and research. Focus groups, in-depth interviews, content analysis, ethnography, evaluation and semiotics are among the many formal approaches that are used, but qualitative research also involves the analysis of any unstructured material, including customer feedback forms, reports or media clips. Collecting and analyzing this unstructured information can be messy and time consuming using manual methods. When faced with volumes of materials, finding themes and extracting meaning can be a daunting task. In quantitative research your aim is to determine the relationship between one thing (an independent variable) and another (a dependent or outcome variable) in a population. Quantitative research designs are either descriptive (subjects usually measured once) or experimental (subjects measured before and after a treatment). A descriptive study establishes only associations between variables. An experiment establishes causality.
For an accurate estimate of the relationship between variables, a descriptive study usually needs a sample of hundreds or even thousands of subjects; an experiment, especially a crossover, may need only tens of subjects. The estimate of the relationship is less likely to be biased if you have a high participation rate in a sample selected randomly from a population. In experiments, bias is also less likely if subjects are randomly assigned to treatments, and if subjects and researchers are blind to the identity of the treatments. In all studies, subject characteristics can affect the relationship you are investigating. Limit their effect either by using a less heterogeneous sample of subjects or preferably by measuring the characteristics and including them in the analysis. In an experiment, try to measure variables that might explain the mechanism of the treatment. In an unblended experiment, such variables can help define the magnitude of any placebo effect.
Features of Qualitative & Quantitative Research Qualitative
"All research ultimately has a qualitative grounding" - Donald Campbell
"There's no such thing as qualitative data. Everything is either 1 or 0" - Fred Kerlinger
The aim is a complete, detailed description.
The aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed.
Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for.
Researcher knows clearly in advance what he/she is looking for.
Recommended during earlier phases of research projects.
Recommended during latter phases of research projects.
The design emerges as the study unfolds.
All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected.
Researcher is the data gathering instrument.
Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect numerical data.
Data is in the form of words, pictures or objects.
Data is in the form of numbers and statistics.
Subjective - individuals interpretation of events is important ,e.g., uses participant observation, in-depth interviews etc.
Objective seeks precise measurement & analysis of target concepts, e.g., uses surveys, questionnaires etc.
Qualitative data is more 'rich', time consuming, and less able to be generalized.
Quantitative data is more efficient, able to test hypotheses, but may miss contextual detail.
Researcher tends to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter.
Researcher tends to remain objectively separated from the subject matter.
What Is Descriptive Research? Descriptive research does not fit neatly into the definition of either quantitative or qualitative research methodologies, but instead it can utilize elements of both, often within the same study. The term descriptive research refers to the type of research question, design, and data analysis that will be applied to a given topic. Descriptive statistics tell what is, while inferential statistics try to determine cause and effect. Descriptive research can be either quantitative or qualitative. It can involve collections of quantitative information that can be tabulated along a continuum in numerical form, such as scores on a test or the number of times a person chooses to use a-certain feature of a multimedia program, or it can describe categories of information such as gender or patterns of interaction when using technology in a group situation. Descriptive research involves gathering data that describe events and then organizes, tabulates, depicts, and describes the data collection (Glass & Hopkins, 1984). It often uses visual aids such as graphs and charts to aid the reader in understanding the data distribution. Because the human mind cannot extract the full import of a large mass of raw data, descriptive statistics are very important in reducing the data to manageable form. When in-depth, narrative descriptions of small numbers of cases are involved, the research uses description as a tool to organize data into patterns that emerge during analysis. Those patterns aid the mind in comprehending a qualitative study and its implications. It is a collection of research designs which use manipulation and controlled testing to understand causal processes. Generally, one or more variables are manipulated to determine their effect on a dependent variable. What Is Experimental Research? Is a systematic and scientific approach to research in which the researcher manipulates one or more variables, and controls and measures any change in other variables. Experimental Research is often used where: 1. There is time priority in a causal relationship (cause precedes effect) 2. There is consistency in a causal relationship (a cause will always lead to the same effect) 3. The magnitude of the correlation is great. The word experimental research has a range of definitions. In the strict sense, experimental research is what we call a true experiment. This is an experiment where the researchers manipulates one variable, and control/randomizes the rest of the variables. It has a control group, the subjects have been randomly assigned between the groups, and the
researcher only tests one effect at a time. It is also important to know what variable(s) you want to test and measure. A very wide definition of experimental research, or a quasi experiment, is research where the scientist actively influences something to observe the consequences. Most experiments tend to fall in between the strict and the wide definition. A rule of thumb is that physical sciences, such as physics, chemistry and geology tend to define experiments more narrowly than social sciences, such as sociology and psychology, which conduct experiments closer to the wider definition. ‘Feasibility’ vs. ‘Viability’ If you are starting a business, planning an investment, or embarking on a project, it is necessary that you determine whether it is viable or even just feasible for that matter. Knowing the feasibility and viability of an endeavor or business venture will help evaluate its sustainability and the success of the project or business. What is ‘feasibility,’ and what does it entail to get a feasibility study of a project? Likewise, what is ‘viability,’ and how can one determine if a project is viable or not? Let us define what these words mean and how they can be done. ‘Feasibility’ is a study that aims at uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of an existing business or a proposed business venture. It takes into consideration the opportunities offered by the environment, its resources, and the subsequent success of the venture. It should include the description of the product or service, its historical background, operational details, financial data and accounting statements, legal and tax requirements, and its policies on management and marketing research. ‘Viability,’ on the other hand, is the study or an investigation of the existing business or proposed venture’s sustainability. It determines whether the proposal should be approved or not. It involves dealing with strategies on how to make the business grow and last. Business growth is an important aspect of viability. How long a business will last is determined by its viability, and it can be seen in the profits that the business has made for a certain period. Good profit means a better chance at success for the business.
Validity The concept of validity is described by a wide range of terms in qualitative studies. This concept is not a single, fixed or universal concept, but “rather a contingent construct, inescapably grounded in the processes and intentions of particular research methodologies and projects” (winter, 2000, p.1). Although some qualitative researchers have argued that the term validity is not applicable to qualitative research, but at the same time, they have realized the need for some kind of qualifying check or measure for their research. For example, Creswell & Miller (2000) suggest that the validity is affected by the researcher’s perception of validity in the study and his/her choice of paradigm assumption. As a result, many researchers have developed their own concepts of validity and have often generated or adopted what they consider to be more appropriate terms, such as, quality, rigor and trustworthiness (Davies & Dodd, 2002; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Mishler, 2000; Seale, 1999; Stenbacka, 2001). The discussion of quality in qualitative research initiated from the concerns about validity and reliability in quantitative tradition which “involved substituting new term for words such as validity and reliability to reflect interpretive [qualitative] conceptions” (Seale, 1999, p. 465). The issue of validity in qualitative research has not been disregarded by Stenbacka (2001) as she has for the issue of reliability in qualitative research. Instead, she argues that the concept of validity should be redefined for qualitative researches. Stenbacka (2001) describes the notion of reliability as one of the quality concepts in qualitative research which "to be solved in order to claim a study as part of proper research" (p. 551). In searching for the meaning of rigor in research, Davies and Dodd (2002) find that the term rigor in research appears in reference to the discussion about reliability and validity. Davies and Dodd (2002) argue that the application of the notion rigor in qualitative research should from those in quantitative research by “accepting that there is a quantitative bias in the concept of rigor, we now move on to develop our reconception of rigor by exploring subjectivity, reflexivity, and the social interaction of interviewing” (p. 281). Lincoln and Guba (1985) argue that sustaining the trustworthiness of a research report depends on the issues, quantitatively, discussed as validity and reliability. The idea of discovering truth through measures of reliability and validity is replaced by the idea of trustworthiness (Mishler, 2000), which is “defensible” (Johnson 1997, p. 282) and establishing confidence in the findings (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). If the issues of reliability, validity, trustworthiness, quality and rigor are meant differentiating a 'good' from 'bad' research then testing and increasing the
reliability, validity, trustworthiness, quality and rigor will be important to the research in any paradigm.
Some Research Topics covered in this semester