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COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH EXAM REVIEW Comprehensive Examination Review
COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH EXAM REVIEW Today we will… 1. Review how to respond to topics using a quantitative and qualitative approach 2. Review the basic components of a strong comprehensive exam response 3. Review examples of quality exam responses
COMMON PITFALLS OF RESPONDENTS This is a made up (“proposed”) study. We do not expect you to be an expert on one of the topics. We do expect that you are able to clearly articulate how to conduct a research study based on a given scenario.
COMMON PITFALLS OF RESPONDENTS One of the most common reasons students fail the comprehensive research exam is a lack of alignment between their problem statement, research questions, and research design.
SHOULD I USE QUALITATIVE OR QUANTITATIVE METHODS?
What do I do first? Start with a Problem Statement • What is the dilemma (or problematic situation)? • How do you envision adequately examining and analyzing the problem? • How have other people answered or addressed this problem?
After your Problem Statement/ Ask yourself: Is it Researchable? Research is a disciplined attempt to address questions or solve problems through the collection and analysis of primary data for the purpose of description, explanation, generalization and prediction (Anderson 1998, p 6). Ask yourself: • Can I “solve” my problem statement? • If no, you need to revise. If yes, ask yourself how will I attempt to do this? What will this process look like? • Then formulate research questions that derive logically from the problem statement.
Criteria for Selecting a Research Design • The Research Problem/Research Questions – If the problem calls for • Explanation or theory testing: Quantitative • Exploration or understanding: Qualitative • One approach alone is inadequate: Mixed methods • Personal Experiences – Training, preferences, time, resources ALWAYS REMEMBER The research design is dictated by the research question(s).
RQ Examples Qualitative or Quantitative? § § § To what extent is enrollment in honors level classes in middle school related to college enrollment? What is the process by which higher education official decide to release university statements relating to national issues? In what ways do pre-k teachers use play to teach math skills? ALWAYS REMEMBER The research design is dictated by the research question(s) and the research questions should come from the problem statement.
What is Qualitative Research? The purpose of qualitative research is to understand the social world as seen from a particular person’s or people’s point of view. Qualitative researchers aim to capture the voice and experiences of people and attempt to understand the world from their perspective. ALWAYS REMEMBER The research design is dictated by the research question(s).
Characteristics of Qualitative Research Qualitative research generally… • Studies people in-the-field (i. e. , in natural settings) • Uses multiple data sources • Uses lots of direct quotations from the people who are being studied • Uses rich descriptions of what is being explored • Include details about interactions between people • Includes reporting of people’s behavior and actions • Includes in-depth accounts of people’s experiences, opinions and feelings
Characteristics of Qualitative Research
DESIGN Key Questions PHENOMENOLOGICAL RESEARCH What is the essence of this phenomena as experienced by these people and what does it mean? NARRATIVE RESEARCH How do humans experience the world around them? ETHNOGRAPHY What are the cultural patterns, practices, beliefs and perspectives of a particular group in their natural setting? CASE STUDY What are the characteristics of this person, phenomenon, entity?
Qualitative Samples Primary goal: select participants/site who can best help researcher develop deep understanding of the phenomenon under study. • No hard and fast rules on the number of participants • Provide explicit rationale for why you have decided to use this sample (why is the best sample to help you objectively answer you RQs? ) • What decisions to you make (and not make) when determining your sample?
Why Consider a Quantitative Research Design? Quantitative research is called quantitative because “the data are numbers representing quantities of whatever was measured. Because the measures must usually be constructed before the study begins, such studies typically validate one or more hypotheses that specify variables of interest and the relationship between them” (Krathwohl, 1993, p. 30).
Why Consider a Quantitative Research Design? The data assists the researcher in drawing conclusions or making inferences concerning a sample and/or a population. Data is usually collected from a smaller subset of a larger population – referred to as a sample. Hypotheses statements and testing are part of quantitative research. Statistical analysis is an important tool for this type of research.
Why Consider a Quantitative Research Design? Most Quantitative Research addresses three basic types of questions: 1. Descriptive 2. Relational 3. Causal
Why Consider a Quantitative Research Design? Descriptive Studies examine the past or current status of people, groups, or processes. No attempt is made to influence or manipulate variables. The study is simply interested in describing something. Examples: The U. S. Census; Poll research; Some survey research.
Why Consider a Quantitative Research Design? Relational • The researcher is interested in looking at the relationship between two or more variables. Are the variables related to each other? If so, how? Is that relationship strong or weak? Example: Does a relationship exist between student attendance and student academic performance on a third grade reading assessment?
Why Consider a Quantitative Research Design? Causal Does one thing (treatment variable) cause or effect another thing (outcome variable)? Example: Public opinion poll that determines if an ad campaign (cause) changed the proportion of voters who would vote Democratic or Republican (effect).
Basic Components of Quantitative Responses Participants/Population What population do the participants come from? To what population do you wish to generalize? Sample Who are your participants? How was the sample drawn? Be explicit – how was it formed? Are you contrasting groups? How were the groups formed? Random assignment or pre-existing biases? Are groups independent of each other or matched?
Basic Components of Quantitative Responses Materials/Measures If survey – comprehensively describe it Pre-existing survey: why? Validity/Reliability Describe all materials/data. All variables must be described in methods section (e. g. independent, control, etc. ).
Basic Components of Quantitative Responses Procedures When, how, where distributed? Make clear exactly what you will do with the data you collect and analyze.
Basic Components of a Successful Response
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 1. A statement of the problem you intend to investigate. You should start broad and explain what is the broader issue in education to which your study is responding? What is the current educational landscape in which your study fits and how will your study contribute?
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 1. A statement of the problem you intend to investigate. Absenteeism and academic performance
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 2. Research questions that derive logically from your problem statement. There is not minimum/maximum requirement. More is not always better. Make sure these questions are clear and can be answered.
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 2. Research questions that derive logically from your problem statement. Quantitative Example: The Relationship Between Student Housing and Fourth Grade Student Reading Scores. RQ: What is the relationship between student housing and reading scores on the fourth grade NJ state reading assessment? Qualitative Example: Teachers’ Perceptions of How Housing Impacts Student Achievement RQ: In what ways does housing impact student achievement in fourth grade reading?
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 3. A coherent research plan and appropriate methods of data collection. What data do you need to answer your RQs? How will this data help you answer your RQs? Be specific. What decisions did you make regarding data? Why? How will you get access to the data? How will you ensure reliability and validity during data collection?
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 3. A coherent research plan and appropriate methods of data collection. Research Design: More than just saying “qualitative or quantitative” – explicitly state what type of design you will use. (Experimental/correlational? Case study/narrative? )
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 3. A coherent research plan and appropriate methods of data collection. Sample: Where will your data come from? Justify your sample and explain your criteria for inclusion/exclusion. How will you access the sample? Most importantly, how will this sample help your answer your RQs?
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 3. A coherent research plan and appropriate methods of data collection. Data Collection: What data will you collect and why? How will you collect your data? Describe your data collection instruments and describe them.
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 3. A coherent research plan and appropriate methods of data collection. Reliability and Validity: How will you ensure reliability and validity? (piloting, triangulation, member checking, additional coder/analyst? )
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE 4. Data Analysis: Articulate your plan for organizing and analyzing your data. Specify how your analytic approach will address your research questions. Describe the steps/stages of analysis Describe the statistical models you will use
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE Sample Topics (from previous years) RESEARCH TOPICS (1) K-12 principals’ beliefs about using test scores to evaluate teacher performance (2) Middle school math teachers’ implementation of the Common Core standards (3) School voucher programs and low-income student achievement
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE Questions?