The Research Journey

In this course, I was challenged as a writer, a thinker, and a researcher. This course has given me the opportunity to develop skills that can assist with educational and employment pursuits. I will utilize the information learned in this class to assist faculty members in the academic department in which I am employed, with writing a research proposal, as well as, conducting my very own research on family literacy issues. This summer I will embark upon a journey with my first research project on parental involvement in a rural area. The research proposal created in this course is the basis of my study. Therefore, with the help of my advisor and professor, I will begin the process to conduct the research study. I will also, in the near future seek other opportunities to enhance the learned research skills, by finding other research projects to assist with and by possibly entering into the doctoral program.

After this class, I understand that research is the foundation for knowledge; for if you do not understand something, you research for a better understanding by asking questions to seek answers to the unknown. With this class, I have developed a better understanding of the components of a research proposal/study and I am able to identify the sections and components of a research study and create a sound argument on the data collected. I have a greater understanding of research terminology and I am able to utilize the terminology when writing or speaking. In the rural area in which I assist with numerous community projects, I plan to develop and facilitate a workshop for juniors, but specifically for graduating seniors on the research process to help prepare them for research projects in college. The ability to have knowledge of research opportunities will provide unlimited opportunities for undergraduate students, including scholarships.

This has been an awesome research experience! Not only, have I developed research skills, I was a participant in an amazing learning experience. Before taking this course, I heard so many horror stories of the difficulties of the course:

• The ability of not comprehending the material;

• The impossibility of getting an A or B in the course;

• Lastly, the dreaded research paper!

I was so afraid on the first day of class! I did not what to expect, but after the two classes, the fear ceased, because I begin to learn and the information begin to click. I truly enjoyed the class and I am in the process of assisting the youth who is affiliated with a nonprofit in a rural area with an ethnological study on black history in their hometown. We will conduct interviews, collaborate the findings, and create an individual and group project on the information. While the research, is not as in depth as the research conducted in this course, I am excited about beginning the journey of research with them!

My…My…My…This Research Paper is the…

Laaawwwwd, I have had a time with this research paper! From portions of the blogs not saving or converting…from Microsoft Word freezing up, crashing, and then my entire paper was missing! In my lifetime, I have never been so involved in writing a paper. I felt like Job when God stripped him of everything that he had…his money…his family…everything! However, like, Job…I did not curse God! I stood firm because I knew that it would work itself out because I have faith!

At the present, the two areas that I find challenging is expanding my literature review, explaining the participants for the study, and the data collection section. Since, these are the sections with high point values; I am working to ensure that each bullet point is addressed in detail. I am in the process of researching on the state department website to find statistics on the schools in the geographical location that will be used for the study. I will like to include in the paper a breakdown of the participants based on race and gender. I will also conduct a focus group with a few of my friends with children to see what they think about the study and which method would be best to gather information. I will have them review my survey, complete it, and then give feedback on the survey.

The literature review is the most important portion of the paper and I find myself making changes every time I read it. I am finding more articles that can be used as a foundation for the study, and I find myself reading the literature review to find ways to include the articles in the proposal. I am working hard to ensure that the literature review is sound! I can honestly say I slacked a little in the middle weeks…overwhelmed; but, I am back on track and ready to ensure that I produce a piece of work that is solid, passionate, and a document that I can be proud of!

Ethno…Who…Pheno…What? Qualitative Research Designs!

Qualitative research examines or discovers behaviors as it naturally evolves; it studies behavior in it’s naturalistic setting. It allows the researcher to become a participant and gather information by building rapport, being an active listener, and naturally flowing in the environment that is being studied.

In the table below, I have compared and contrasted two qualitative research designs, ethnography and phenomenological.

 

Ethnography

Phenomenology

What is….    It is a detailed description and interpretation of cultural patterns (natural beliefs, expectations, behaviors) and meanings within a culture or social group. It is mostly used by anthropologists. The study is used to described and interpret the experiences of participants in order to understand the “essence” of the experiences as perceived by the participants.
How to create a research problem?   The research problem is general and is subject to change as the study is conducted and new information is discovered. The research problem helps to identify the design needed to conduct the research. The research problem is focused on what is essential to discovering the meaning of the event, episode, or interaction to understand the participants voice. It is usually a single, central question, with sub questions to be used to help the researcher collect data.
How participants are selected?    The participants are selected using purposeful sampling and not representative of a large population.  The participants are chosen based on their ability to provide a detailed understanding  and best representation of the culture being studied; selects individuals who will be the most informative. There are between 5-25 participants, selected because they have lived the experiences being investigated and are willing to consciously share their thoughts about their experiences.   
How is data collected?    Data is collected using three methods: observation, interviews, and document analysis. Researchers engage in extensive fieldwork in the naturalistic setting to gather data or information. The researcher becomes a participant and observes the culture for weeks, months, or years, by interacting or interviewing members of the culture. Researchers also analyze documents that are affiliated with the participants to help support the data collected. Data is collected using a close, personal, semi-structured or unstructured interview. Interviews are usually long; lasting no more than two hours, and the researcher usually conducts several interview sessions with each participant. The interviews are tape recorded.
How is data analyzed?    Data is organized and categorized, summarized, and interpreted. The researcher classifies the data by discovering patterns, ideas, explanations, and understandings from the data. The researchers analyzes the tape recordings and notes from the interviews, creating codes and concepts that form the basis of the descriptions and meanings expressed by the participants.

Ethnography and phenomenological qualitative research designs both study participants in a natural occurring setting, utilizing interviews as a method of data collection, and using codes and categories to classify, interpret, and find meanings based on the information received from participants.

For a better understanding of the two research designs, I have provided below two examples of ethnography and phenomenological in action!! Enjoy!!!

Introducing our YouTube Ethnography Project- Kansas State University- Digital Ethnography Class!

 

The Phenomenological perspective-Taken from the free online course The body: a phenomenological psychological perspective. For more, visit The Open University’s OpenLearn website.

Parental Engagment: Research Article Reflection

To conduct the research on parental engagement and student achievement, I will utilize the following two journal articles to help support the study:

  1. Do parents know they matter? Engaging all parents in learning
  2. Low-Income Parents’ Beliefs about Their Role in Children’s Academic Learning

Do parents know they matter? Engaging all parents in learning 

The article Do parents know they matter? Engaging all parent in learning, is a qualitative study that summarizes the findings from a research project conducted by Alma Harris and Janet Goodall. The study was conducted in the United Kingdom to explore the relationship between parental engagement and student achievement and involved case studies from 20 schools, with 314 respondents. The study also included a range of documentary evidence and performance data for each case study.

Participants and Sample Population

The sample population was selected using a purposeful sampling technique. The schools chosen for the study were selected based on specific criteria: development and the particular focus of parental engagement. The schools chosen were selected to ensure that the population was representative of the geographical mix of urban and rural schools. The sample considered other factors such as economic status, how many students enrolled, and minority percentages.

Data Collection Methods

Data collection for the project was conducted in two phases over a 12-month period. Phase one consisted of data collection from 30 schools, selected based on the two main criteria types, which were the type of parental engagement and the schools focus. The data collected from the thirty schools consisted of student performance data, such as test scores, attendance and behavioral records.  Phase two of data collection involved in depth case studies from a sample of 20 schools, as well as, performance data from these sties. The schools were chosen because they involved the most innovative teaching practices. The case studies involved interviews with respondents that consisted of teachers, parents, support staff and students.  

Data Analysis Methods and Conclusions

The researchers analyzed the data to discover trends and patterns. The case study evidence allowed the researchers to detail and identify key themes in the relationship between parental engagement and student achievement. The themes were:

  • Students, parents, and teachers have different views of the effectiveness of parental engagement.  Parents view their engagement as supporting their child; teachers view the support as a means to improve the child’s behavior and as support for the school; while the student viewed the engagement as “moral support” and interest in their education.
  • Parents and students viewed parental engagement as the parents being supportive and valuing education.
  • The data revealed that parental engagement was a good effect on student behavior.
  • Some parents are “hard to reach.”

Based on the trends noted above, in my opinion the conclusions were valid given the study design used by the researchers. The researchers identified the factors and barriers to the study, as well as, used the interview process to identify and determine factors that can hinder, and promote parental engagement. The researchers ensured that the respondents chosen were reflective of the socioeconomic, racial, and geographical areas chosen for the study.

Low-Income Parents’ Beliefs about Their Role in Children’s Academic Learning

The article, Low-Income Parent’s Beliefs about Their Role in Children’s Academic Learning, is a quantitative study that summarizes the findings from a research study conducted by Kathryn Diamond and Deborah Stipek. The purpose of the study was to gather information on the belief of low-income parents and their role in their child’s educational future.

Participants and Sample Population

The sample population consisted of 234 low-income African-American, Caucasian , Latino, and Asian Parents of second and third grade students in three geographic locations: a rural community in the northeast, a large urban northeaster city, and a large urban west coast city. The 234 participants were representation 165 classrooms in 103 schools, which consisted of 31% of second graders and 69% of third graders. The participating schools chosen varied in economic status and diversity. For the study, the breakdown of the population of students is as follows: 41% Caucasion, 36% African American, 16% Latino, 2% Asian, and 1% Native Americans.

Data Collection Methods and Analysis

The researchers used a variety of data collections methods, such as questionnaires, interviews, and analysis of performance data of students.

The researchers used questionnaires to gather responses from teachers for each student who participated in the study concerning their reading and math skills. The questionnaire also provided room for teachers to explain further the role of the parent in their child’s studies and in this case, the teachers were able to elaborate as to if they provided the teacher with special suggestions to assist their child.  The participating teachers received a stipend for completing their questionnaire.

The researcher interviewed parents over the phone during late spring and early summer to allow parents the chance to reflect on the entire school year. Most of the parents interviewed were mothers and other adults were interviewed if they were the primary care taker of the student participant. The interview covered a range of questions including demographics, parent impressions of their child, and involvement in homework assignments or school functions 

The researcher used information from the parental interviews and performance data to create specific categories to analyze the data, based on ideas and trends that emerged from a few of the open-ended questions that were answered by the parents. The researchers thus created a rating system based on the results. The open-ended questions allowed the parents to elaborate on their role in their child’s educational process and provided a tremendous amount of information that was either negative or positive.

Conclusions and My Thoughts

The researchers concluded that low-income parents rated involvement as very important in their child’s educational success. Communication from teachers is vital to the success of the parental engagement interaction between the student and the parent. The study showed that students rely on parental reinforcement in the subjects of reading and math.

The research showed that because barriers such as ethnicity can create a language barrier, parents found it important to visit their child’s school to gain a better understanding of the child’s educational progress. It is important for parents to encourage their children’s educational success.

In my opinion, based on the study design used the results are valid. The researcher identified barriers, as well as, focused on the data trends from the interviews of the parents. The researchers did not make any assumptions but relied on the information from the teachers and the parents to draw general conclusions on the date involving low-income parents and parental engagement.

While the research covered all factors, the researchers should have provided the rating system for the parents in the form of a survey for the parents to mail back to the research the team. In the event, that there was a language barrier, the researchers could have translated the survey into the appropriate language.

References

Drummond, Kathryn V. & Stipek, Deborah (2004). Low-Income Parents’ Beliefs about Their Role in Children’s Acadmic Learning.   The Elementary School Journal, 104(3), 197-213. Doi: 10403-0002505.00

Harris, Alma & Goodall, Janet (2008). Do parents know they matter? Engaging all parents in Learning. Educational Research,        50(3), 277-289. Doi: 10.1080/00131880802309424

Threats to Validity

In conducting a study on parental involvement and the affect it can have on student academic achievement, the following factors can create a threat to internal validity and create limitations in the results of the study:

  1. History
  2. Selection
  3. Instrumentation
  4. Subject Attrition
  5. Statistical Regression
  6. Experimenter effects
  7. Subject effects

Participant Selection and Statistical Regression

The study on parental involvement will involve teachers and parents of students in grades fourth (4), sixth (6), and ninth (9). To complete the study we will administer a survey and conduct an interview with the parents and teachers of the students. In order to select the sample population of parents to participate in the study, we will ask the teachers to provide the names of parents that maybe interested in completing the study. The sample population can pose a threat to validity if the teacher does the following:

  • Only provide names of parents who are involved in the students academic success
  • Provide the names of parents who are involved and not involved, but provide a greater number of parents who are involved.

If the teacher provides a greater list of names of involved parents than, non-involved parents it will create a sampling error and selection bias because the two groups will be unevenly represented. In this case, the teachers will control the sample population and in some instance, could provide the names of parents that only have the characteristics in favor of what the study is analyzing, which leads to statistical regression.

Statistical regression can pose a threat to validity because the list of participants provided by the teachers may have been provided because the parents are involved with the student’s academic success. In another instance, to complete the study we will contact the guidance counselors at the school for test scores of students to draw comparisons. If the guidance counselor only selects the scores for students with high-test scores, it can pose a threat to validity in the study because favorable or misrepresenting information was provided to be analyzed.

History

During the study, numerous uncontrolled events could occur that can affect the outcome of the results. For instance, if the parent or teacher participating within in the study occurs a major crisis, such as death, illness, loss of employment, a major move, or other natural, uncontrollable occurring event, this can result in a fluctuation of test scores for the students of the parents. The event can also hinder the parents or teachers from participating in the study, leading to subject attrition.

Subject Attrition, Subject Effects, and Instrumentation

The study will relies heavily on the ability of the parent and teacher to respond to interview questions and a survey. If the participants encounter a naturally occurring event that can potentially hinder them from responding, this may lead to subject attrition, in which the participant drops out of the study.  Subject attrition can affect the validity of the study because non-responses and non-participation from participants will affect the results.

In the interview, the researcher will be aware of the participants’ ability to provide unrealistic information during the observational process to prevent the threat of subject effects on validity. During the process, if the participant has an idea of the purpose of the study, they may answer the questions in a way that is untruthful and present themselves favorable to the results of the study. The change in behavior will affect the results of the study and can lead to a threat on validity due to instrumentation. If the interviewer or observer becomes bored or tired during the process, the behavior could change the response and thus affect the results.

Experimenter Effects

In analyzing the results of the study, the researcher will consider the affect of experimenter effects on validity, by not stating assumptions. For instance, if the study reveals that parents are involved in the student’s academic life, it does not mean the student is successful academically. The researcher will not draw conclusions based on the results provided, because there can be other underlying factors that could contribute to the success or failure rate of a student. The researcher will ensure that all factors have been considered before analyzing the results. The researcher will use supplemental questions during the interview process that will identify the underlying factors or other confounding variables that can affect the results of the study.

Causation…

Joey and the Broken Refigerator….  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTbZoKEOkUg

As portrayed in the clip from the show, Friends, Joey accused Rachel of breaking his refrigerator because it stopped working after she moved in. As portrayed in the clip and in real life, it is human instinct to generalize and draw conclusions based on the evidence presented and your personal view or experiences. In fact, this is a touchy subject because in some cases, your personal generalization can be incorrect. This is causation! Causation is the relationship between conduct and result. It is the belief that a certain outcome is the result of a certain variable.

For example, in the study “Casual Beliefs of Public School Students about Success and Failure in Music,” Roy Legette studied motivation and achievement in relation to Attribution Theory. In the study, students were given a list of attributes, in which they had to choose what they thought was important in succeeding or failing in music. The study used a survey and an information sheet to collect date on the student’s background, such as musical ability and class environment, but no information was reported relating to socioeconomic factors of the student. The results of the study showed that students placed more importance on individual ability and effort for success and failure in music. This study is prime example of two of the reasons that causation should not be inferred from comparative or correlational designs:

  1. There should be efficient evidence in prior research that shows an existing relationship between the variables being studied.
  2. Researchers should accept with caution the results of the study and suggest limitations on the results based on other unknown variables.
  3. Other variables associated with the relationship or outcome of the study were not included in the study.

When studying the concept of causation in a comparative or correlation study, researchers should never make assumptions based on the information presented, especially if it was captured with a survey without noting other factors, such as cultural and economic factors. For instance, in the music study, the researcher used a form to capture background information, but there is no information on the socioeconomic factors for the students, which play an important role in their ability to practice and study the music. The students who may not have adequate transportation to stay after school or may not have an instrument at home to practice after hours; these are important factors in determining if the results of the study are accurate.

The lack of determining or recognizing unknown factors such as, socioeconomic is problematic in a correlation or comparative study because the results do not include dependent or confounding variables that are important to the outcome of the study. It is important when conducting a comparative or correlation study to have a list of follow-up questions or supplemental questions, or an interview for participants to determine all factors that could be the cause of the outcome.

When conducting a comparative or correlation study researchers should not try to draw conclusions based on previous research studies. For example, in the music study, the researcher compared the ability of a student to be successful in a tutoring program to the success in a music program and in both instances; the ability of the student was the underlying result. While, the studies have similar results, researchers should not attempt to create a relationship based on previous statistical results, especially if the evidence does not support the assumption. The researcher should have found a study that was based on music to show a comparison and not on academic skills of the student.

Overall, when conducting a correlational and comparative study, causation can play an important role in analyzing the outcome of the results; researchers should be cautious when analyzing results and stay away from making assumptions based on their personal beliefs, as well. In the case of Joey and the broken refigerator, there are other variables in the equation that should be analyzed, not just the arrival of Rachel!

For another example on causation view the YouTube video link below, Independent & Dependent Variables (and causal arguments too) and Causation

Independent & Dependent Variables (and causal arguments too)

Causation

For this assignment, information was gathered from:

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

Educational Research….What do you stand on?

The process of conducting educational research is engaging, rewarding and the very foundation of the research depends on the relationship that is formed between the researcher and the participants. It is important, as an educational researcher, to consider the rights of the participants in the study, which include confidentiality, consent, and honesty; without the participants, the research would be impossible. Let me explain!

When informing a population of a study, the researcher should be open and honest about the scope of the project, presenting the purpose of the study in detail, being sure not to omit any specifics that maybe misleading to the participant. If a researcher omits pertinent information when explaining the project, it could lead to bias and in the end cause the participant to discontinue the study because trust has been broken. It is important when conducting educational research to build trust with the participant, to ensure that the answers are not subjective, but honest.

The concept of honesty is very important when conducting educational research, especially involving children and parental consent. Researchers should inform the parent with all details of the study, before handing them a consent form to sign. If a parent cannot read or is a non-native speaker, it is important to ensure that the parent understands every detail of the study before they sign their child to participate. It is important to have written consent from the participant when conducting a study, due to the numerous guidelines protecting children from being mislead or coerced into a situation. Confidentiality is important but can be risked depending upon the response received.

For example, children are fragile and certain questions can cause certain responses. If you asked a child, the question “How is your family, the researcher may get all types of responses from positive to negative.  The children may be in a happy home or in a home where domestic violence or a control substance abuse is prevalent. Such a response could cause a breech in confidentiality, which is another important aspect of educational research.

Confidentiality is very important when conducting research to ensure the participant that all answers no matter the response will be kept between the researcher and the participant, unless an agreement has been made to share the results. With this said, how should the researcher react when interviewing a child or a participant and information is presented that states child abuse or domestic violence in the home that could lead to child endangerment. Would they break the parental consent form and inform authorities? Would they include the information in the findings, but not report it? These questions all propose a breech in confidentiality. What would you do; easier said than done, right? While confidentiality is very important in conducting research, it is the right of the child or participant who may be fearful to have someone speak out for him or her.

Ethics play a vital role when conducting not only research, but also in our daily lives. I believe that the same positive principles and morals that we stand on in our own lives, we should utilize them when conducting research. The question to you is “What if you were the participant?”

 

A Sample of Convenience: Research Method

Research Problem

In rural settings, does level of parental involvement relate to test participation on all tests grades 4, 6, and 9 and what affects level of involvement?

Why Convenience Sampling Method?

This study will examine the level of parental involvement in relation to student test participation in grades 4, 6, and 9. To select participants (the persons from which data is collected) for the study, I will utilize the convenience non-probability sampling technique, which is the selection of a group of participants because of availability. Since, the study will be focused on one school division in a rural; the convenience sampling technique is chosen because data will be gathered to understand parental involvement in a specific area.

The usage of the convenience sampling method will prove to be less costly, less time consuming, be easier to administer, and will hopefully have a high participation rate because I will not be comparing the information to another rural or urban area, but focusing on a specific area.

To complete the study we will contact a school division located in a rural area with a survey for completion by the teachers, which proposes a problem with participation that we are aware of; ie…teachers not completing and returning the survey. Although, we understand the weaknesses of utilizing this sample such as, low involvement from participants, the choice to use a non-probability sampling procedure is more feasible than utilizing a probability method for a small population of participants.

You may ask why a different sampling method was not chosen to select participants for the study; I will provide in the chart below a break down of each sampling method with its strength and weaknesses and identify why it is not a good method for the study on parental involvement.

Why Not Another Method?

Sampling Method

Strength

Weakness

Probability or the random selection of participants that allows the researcher to guess the chance of selecting each member; researchers know the outcome.
Simple Random Easy to analyze and interpret results

 

Easy to understand

Requires numbering each participant to complete the selection process

 

Normally used with a large participant population; This study requires a small sample population.

Systematic Easy to analyze and interpret results

Easy to understand

 

Easier to draw a sample

If used could only choose teachers who speak positively on parental involvement and is not a clear representation of the population of teachers and parents; may not approve to show a good representation.
Proportional stratified Fewer subjects needed

 

Easy to analyze and interpret results

 

Easy to understand

 

Compares subgroups

Although, this could be used for the study, the weakness is that this method requires subgroup identification of each population element, in which the teachers may identify if asked, only parents to be surveyed or interviewed who display a positive vibe of parental involvement, especially since the researcher has no prior knowledge or way of contacting the parents.
Disproportional stratified Fewer subjects needed

 

Easy to analyze and interpret results

 

Easy to understand

 

Compares subgroups

 

Ensures adequate number of participants in each subgroup.

The downfall to this method is it requires proper division or examining of subgroups to ensure it represents the population to be studied. In the study on parental involvement, it will be difficult to identify which teachers will choose to participate in the study because a survey will be utilized to gather information.
Cluster Efficient with large populations

 

Inexpensive

 

Uses a participant list

 

This method is ruled out of the parental involvement study because the population studied is small and this sampling method is best used on large populations; it would prove to be inadequate for this study.
 

Non-Probability  or the probability of including or selecting participants is unknown.

 

Convenience Chosen Technique see explanation located under Why Convenience Sampling Method
Quota Inexpensive

 

Less time consuming

Easier to administer

 

High Participation rate

 

Representative of the population

This sampling technique is not chosen because research shows that it is more time consuming than convenience sampling.
Purposeful Inexpensive

 

Less time consuming

 

Easier to administer

 

High Participation rate

 

Adds credibility to qualitative research

 

This technique was not chosen because the study is not qualitative.

 

Hmmmmmm…Literature Review?????

What is a literature review?

A literature review is an important section of a research proposal or article that develops the relationship between the “existing knowledge and the problem that is being investigated.” The purpose of a literature review is to:

  • Refines the research problem
  • Establishes conceptual or theoretical point of reference
  • Develops significance
  • Identify methodological limitations –which methods work best
  • Identify contradictory findings
  • Develop research hypotheses
  • Learn and discover new information

The literature review is essential for defining the research problem and developing an understanding of the problem investigated.

How to Conduct a Literature Review?

There are six steps in conducting a literature review:

Six Steps to Conduct a Literature Review

 

 

The above diagram lists the six steps for conducting a literature review. The steps listed will help you locate, review, and analyze the studies related to your specific research problem.

I have provided below videos that will assist you with starting your literature review. The videos were excerpted from a lecture by Professor Lisa Dierker QAC 201: Applied Data Analysis September 23, 2009 Wesleyan University

Video One explains the purpose of a literature review and the difference between primary and secondary sources.

Video Two explains how to identify and use an on-line database to conduct the search.

 How to write a literature review?

After you have completed Steps 1-5, the next step is writing the literature review and there are three steps:

  • Provide a brief summary of the articles
  • Analyze the studies
  • State how the reviewed studies are related to the present research

When writing the literature review please ensure that all literature chosen is up to date and should explain actual findings from the studies examined. By showing the relationship between the findings from other studies to the research problem chosen by you, you will build credibility for your research proposal. 

For further tips on how to write the literature review please review the video below “Literature Review: Outline and Write the Literature Review.”

COMM600 Professor at the University of Maryland University College explains the process of writing a literature review!

 

GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Problems….What…Parental Involvement?

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.