The Variable…The Central Phenomenon/Issue…Parental Involvement

The purpose of this study is to investigate the affects of parental involvement in the success of students in the rural area of Emporia, Virginia. I have listed two research problems, one qualitative and one quantitative.

Qualitative Research Problem

What is the level of parental involvement of the parents of middle and high school students in the rural area of Emporia, Virginia and how is their level of involvement effective to the student’s education success?

When conducting qualitative research each problem should be general, open-ended, process oriented and have the following aspects:

  • Central phenomenon
  • Participants
  • Research site

The qualitative research problem focuses on a central phenomenon, such as parental involvement and uses the “how” and “what” method to focus on the concept to be studied. The qualitative research problem chosen for this study focuses on the level of parental involvement of the parents of middle school and high school students in relation to the student’s educational success. In the research problem above, the central phenomenon is parental involvement, the participants is students, parents, and the research site is the middle school and high school in Emporia, Virginia.

Quantitative Research Problem

Does parental involvement have an adverse or favorable affect on the pass/fail rate of students in the rural area of Emporia, Virginia?

The quantitative research problem focuses on the variables or the characteristic that is to be studied that can be affected. The quantitative research problem chosen for the study is relating the effects of parental involvement on the pass/fail rate of students in a rural area. Quantitative research problems should be specific, outcome oriented, have specific measurable variables and have the following elements:

  • Type of research design
  • Variables of interest and the relationships between the variables
  • Subjects involved in the study

In the quantitative research problem listed above, the participating subjects is the parents and students, the variables is the pass/fail rate and parental involvement, and the research design is to measure whether the involvement of parents in the student’s education is adverse or favorable to the students success.

The difference between qualitative and quantitative research problems is quantitative research is process oriented and does not contain variables to be measured, while quantitative research is outcome oriented, where a specific variable is measured and the researcher is studying for a specific outcome. For instance, when studying parental involvement we cannot measure parental involvement, but we can review the involvement of the parents based on an interview overtime, in which we ask a series of questions to understand the parent’s involvement in the student’s education. With quantitative research, we can utilize the student’s records to review the passing rates of students, as well as, guidance counselor reports, to see when and if parents scheduled meetings to discuss the educational needs of the student. We can also view the students pass/fail rate over a period of years and if the parents attended the mandatory meetings with teacher.

When conducting research, we want to be able to answer questions and find outcomes that can open up to more research. After completing this assignment, I have so many questions concerning the issue of parental involvement on student success; I think I have found the true goal of developing the research problem, which is to allow the researcher to explore the topic further, generate ideas, and become connected with the material.

For this assignment, information was gathered from:

McMillan, J.H. (2008). Educational research: Fundamentals for the consumer (5th ed.).  Boston:Pearson.