Writing Chapters 3 and 4 Dallas Residency, January 2010 Martha King, Senior Dissertation Editor and Annie Pezalla, Dissertation Editor Things we’ll be talking about… - Overview of the chapters. What info should go in chapters 3 and 4 – following Walden’s rubric. A few tips on writing about quantitative or qualitative data. Overview of chapters - Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 - Chapter 3 - Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method. What does each entail? Commonalities among all chapter 3 methods - ALL approaches should provide the following: - Clear intro to the major areas in chapter - Description and justification of the research design - Research questions - Setting and sample - Data collection and analysis - Measures for ethical protection of participants First, a Qualitative Study Exploring the Intrinsic Role of Agency and the Extrinsic Role of Social Expectations for Adults Who Learn to Read: A Life History Introduction The primary purpose of this qualitative life history study was to explore the roles of agency and social expectations for adults who have learned to read. The secondary purpose of this study was to describe the lived experience of adults who did not learn to read in school. This study also explored the potential applications of adult agency behaviors in reading intervention curriculum for adolescents who struggle to read. Introduction This chapter describes the qualitative research paradigm and life history design for this study of adult non- and limited readers and will discuss the rationale for choosing each in this context. In addition, this chapter describes the methodology for this study, including a description of the participants, how participants were selected, the researcher’s role, and ethical issues. An explanation is included of the data collection tools, how data was collected and analyzed, and threats to data quality. Research Design Paradigm and Tradition According to Creswell (1998) the qualitative research paradigm should be undertaken based on the following rationales: (a) research questions begin with how and what, (b) the topic requires exploration because of multiple variables and/or a lack of theory, (c) a natural setting is required…Thus, the paradigm of qualitative research was chosen because words are more indicative of the experience of learning in reference to the cultural invention of reading than the numerical data of quantitative research… Research Design Research Questions 1. What is the lived experience of an adult who does not read proficiently or who has learned to read proficiently as an adult? 2. What is the role of agency in learning to read as an adult? 3. What is the role of social expectations in learning to read as an adult? 4. How are agency and social expectations connected or revealed in the pivotal moments in the narratives of adult non- or limited readers? Methodology Participants/Population Participants were chosen for this qualitative life history because they had the shared experience of struggling to learn to read… The participants for this qualitative life story were selected by the researcher from a rural central Florida community. A convenience sample of 18 men and women who self-identified as having learned to read as adults was located through (a) referrals from teachers in public school adult education programs, (b) notices sent to community volunteer adult tutoring programs, (c) referrals from the researcher’s professional contacts… Methodology Researcher’s Role According to Creswell (1998), the researcher is an “instrument of data collection who gathers words or pictures, analyzes them inductively, focuses on the meaning of participants, and describes a process that is expressive and persuasive in language” (p. 14)…As the instrument of investigation, the researcher must recognize and acknowledge the bias that cannot be left outside the research space shared by the story teller. Methodology Data Collection Plan Data collection occurred in three distinct phases: prescreening with initial brief interviews, screening with written questionnaire instruments, and inclusion in the study with extended interviews… Data Analysis Plan Data analysis included construction of a visual display of Information (See Figure 1) based on the three-level Ladder of Analytical Abstraction developed by Carney in 1990 and Presented by Miles and Huberman (1994). This data analysis plan was chosen because it allows for the correlation and corroboration of the written instruments with the interview text in a systematic and visual format. Threats to Data Quality Unlike quantitative research, which is based on calculation and comparison of numbers and generalizations, qualitative life history research requires a check and balance system because it is based upon interpretation of words and pictures... To ensure validity, this research study of adults who learn to read will adhere to the three ideas presented by Merriam (2002)… Ethical Considerations It is a researcher’s ethical responsibility to safeguard the story teller by maintaining the understood purpose of the research… The researcher is also ethically bound to the institution that supports or sanctions the study. No participants were contacted, and no data were collected until I received approval from the Walden University Institutional Review Board (IRB) and received permission (IRB approval # 07-14-08-0314171) to begin research. After IRB approval was received, I began soliciting for participants, arranging interviews, and collecting data. Pilot Study A pilot study entitled “Pilot Study: Qualitative Life History Exploring the Intrinsic Role of Agency and the Extrinsic Role of Social Expectations of Adults who Learned to Read” (IRB# 01-1708-0314171) was conducted in January 2008 with a single participant using instruments and an interview protocol established in conjunction with a Walden University Knowledge Area Module (KAM) study entitled “Learning to Read: An Adult Perspective on a History as a Struggling Adolescent Reader” (IRB#10-19-060314171). Summary Chapter 3 has described the methodology used to design this qualitative life history research, including a discussion of the qualitative paradigm and the rational for those choices. A description of the population and participants, the researcher’s role, the data collection tools, data collection plan, and data analysis plans was also incorporated. I discussed threats to data quality, validity and reliability, and ethical considerations in reference to the current research study. The pilot study was presented as a tool for designing the research study. Now, a Quantitative Study Graduation Rates at Ohio 2-Year Colleges: A Comparison of Adult Students Taking and Not Taking Developmental Coursework Introduction The first section of this chapter includes a description of this quantitative research study. The design was quasi-experimental to test the primary question about the impact of developmental coursework on graduation rates. The next section, focusing on the setting and participants, includes a description of the population, reasons to use a purposive sample, and the criteria for selection of participants. The final portions of this chapter describe cross-tabulations of the nominal data, and the analysis process utilizing the likelihood ratio chi-square technique. Introduction Quantitative research is used when a hypothesis or theory proposes that a relationship exists between variables (Creswell, 2003). The purpose of this study was to examine whether taking developmental coursework had an impact on the graduation rates for adult students. Although demographic information was included to describe the participants, much like qualitative research data, the frequencies of graduates in a particular year represent data that are quantitative and are appropriate for this type of analysis. This study was also designed to test a hypothesis, not develop one. Rather than true experimental, a quasi-experimental research design was viewed as the most appropriate for this research, because the participants were not randomly distributed within treatment conditions… Research Questions and Hypotheses The primary research question for this study was: Are there significant differences in the rate of graduation for adult learners who take developmental coursework compared to adults who do not? Additional questions included, Are there significant differences based on gender or race for graduates who took developmental coursework? Research Questions and Hypotheses 1. Developmental vs. No Developmental H0 : There is no significant difference in the graduation rates of adults taking and not taking developmental coursework. HA : There is a significant difference in the graduation rates of adults taking and not taking developmental coursework. 2. Gender H0 : There is no significant difference in the graduation rates of adults taking developmental coursework, based on gender. HA : There is a significant difference in the graduation rates of adults taking developmental coursework, based on gender. 3. Race H0 : There is no significant difference in the graduation rates of adults taking developmental coursework, based on race (non-White or White). HA : There is a significant difference in the graduation rates of adults taking developmental coursework based on race (non-White or White). Setting, Population, and Sample Setting of Study College students in the state of Ohio have the option of attending private or public institutions that provide certifications required for employment, applied degrees in various technologies, associate of arts and sciences degrees, and bachelor, master, or doctoral degrees. According to the Ohio Board of Regents (2006a), there were 638,146 students enrolled in these institutions, with 172,118 of them at community and technical… Setting, Population, and Sample Population of Study A study population can be defined in two ways (Trochim, 2001). The theoretical population is the one to which the researcher wants to generalize. The accessible population is composed of the individuals to I had access. For this study, the theoretical population was adult students, defined as age 26 and over at entry and enrolled full-time in public 2-year colleges in the United States. The accessible population was the group of adult students from the state of Ohio who were enrolled full-time and for the first time in 1999 (n = 840), 2000 (n = 884), or 2001 (n = 894) which produced a total N = 2,618. Setting, Population, and Sample Sample for Study According to Champion (2002), purposive sampling is used when there are “clear criteria for selecting the participants for the sample group to be studied” (p. 62). Rather than gathering a random sample of the accessible population from all of the 2-year institutions in Ohio, a purposive sampling of students from the 16 schools that used the COMPASS test for placement was employed... Treatment The primary focus in this study was graduation rates for adults who take or do not take developmental coursework. Developmental coursework is curriculum that has been designed to prepare students for subsequent college-level courses. The independent variable for this study was whether students took developmental coursework prior to attempting college-level coursework. Hence, for purposes of this research, students who took developmental coursework defined the treatment group. Students not enrolled in developmental coursework constituted the control group. Instrumentation and Materials A college placement test is used to identify the need for developmental coursework for students attending community colleges with an open access mission. To eliminate the extraneous effect of the variance among placement tests, students completing the COMPASS placement test were targeted for this sample. The COMPASS is a computerized assessment tool distributed by ACT…. Data Collection and Analysis This study utilized data compiled by the Ohio Board of Regents (OBOR). To obtain this information, a request was made to the OBOR. The de-identified data, as delivered to the researcher, contained information compiled by OBOR and recorded on a CDROM in comma-delimited format. Data Collection and Analysis Descriptive and Inferential Analyses Individual student information of age, gender, and race…was totaled and cross-tabulated across the control and treatment conditions of the independent variable. Subsequent to these tabulations, an inferential analysis was conducted to test the research questions. For the primary question, the independent variable was having taken or not taken developmental coursework, and the dependent variable was the frequency of student graduation in a year across 5 years. Because both variables are nominal level, a test of independence required a chi-square analysis of the 2 x 5 contingency table. Description of Pilot Study The population for the pilot study (IRB # 08-22-06-0272517) included students attending their first college who were enrolled full time, age 25 and over, and who graduated within 3 years of beginning college. The population was divided into two groups, one containing individuals who took at least one developmental course, and the second containing individuals who did not take any developmental coursework. Implications of Pilot Study With the limited research conducted on the specific population of adult students who go on to graduate after taking developmental coursework, additional studies must be conducted… Conclusion This chapter contained an explanation of the research study, research questions and hypotheses, and additional factors relating to the project. After the discussion of the pilot study, including the implications found, the next step was to conduct the research study. The next chapters will describe what process was followed for conducting the study and analyzing the results. Then the findings are presented and discussed. Finally, a presentation of the conclusions drawn and recommendations made are included. Big picture • Chapter 3 lays out your plan of attack: How will you actually carry out your study? • Your methods should be logically connected to your research question. Commonalities among all chapter 4 results • • • • • Introduction Data collection Data analysis Findings (raw data) Conclusions – a summary of findings (Just the facts, ma’am) Tips on writing a quantitative chapter 4 - Summarize patterns - - If you merely provide a table or chart, you leave it to your readers to figure out for themselves what that evidence says. Instead, digest the patterns to help readers see the general relationship in the table or chart. Common mistakes in a quantitative chapter 4 - Reporting every number from the table or figure - - Paint the big picture, rather than reiterating the little details. If readers are interested in specific values within the patterns you describe, they can look them up in the accompanying table or figure. Guidance in the APA 6th edition manual on reporting statistics is on pages 116-117 and in Chapter 5, Displaying Results. Example: Narrative Of the total superintendents surveyed, 61 (39.1%) had obtained a doctorate degree. Within this category, 34 (55.7%) were servant leaders, and 27 (44.3%) were nonservant leaders. A total of 15 superintendents were education specialists, an official title defined in this state as having all of their doctoral credits for formal coursework; however, deficient the credits and final product of a doctoral study. Within this cohort of 15, 7 (46.7%) were servant leaders, and 8 (53.3%) were nonservant leaders. In the most widespread category of this demographic, 80 (51.3%) superintendents had obtained a master’s degree as their highest level of formal education. Of these superintendents, 38 (47.5%) were designated servant leaders, and 42 (52.5%) as nonservant leaders. Table 10 presents a visual summary of the data from SASL response data. Table that followed Table 10 Self-Assessment of Servant Leadership Information for Highest Academic Degree Obtained Results Highest degree obtained Servant leaders N Nonservant leaders Total % N % N % BA 0 0 0 0 0 0 MA 38 47.5 42 52.5 80 51.3 Ed. Specialist 7 46.7 8 53.3 15 9.6 Doctorate 34 55.7 27 44.3 61 39.1 Totals 79 77 156 Common mistakes in a qualitative chapter 4 - Providing little detail about data analysis. - “And then there were themes…” - How did you categorize your data? What was your process? Be specific. Common mistakes in a qualitative chapter 4 - Assuming objectivity as a researcher - If you have a preestablished relationship with your study participants, you cannot assume that your role is unbiased. - What potential disadvantages might your study have due to your personal experiences? - What potential advantages might your study have due to your personal experiences? Presenting data in a qualitative chapter 4 • Identifying participants • Editing transcribed material for readability • Formatting transcribed material A few notes on tables - Summarize data in visual form Make relationships easier to see Use horizontal lines only Making horizontal lines Horizontal lines Horizontal lines Table headers • Two components – Table number (e.g., Table 1) – Table title • • • • Clear and concise description of the table Italicized underneath the table number Use title capitalization No period at the end • Table headers go above the table Example table Table 1 Mean Heights of Young Boys and Girls Tables within the text • Refer to tables by numbers (not title or “the table above”) – Example: “…as displayed in Table 1.” Figures • Like tables, also summarize data in visual form • Include graphs, charts, diagrams, maps, photographs, etc. Sample Axes • Labeled • With units • Y-axis written horizontally • Contains zero point • Just long enough to include all data Figure caption - Placed below the figure Contains italicized figure number Has figure caption/description Period at the end. Figure 1. Mean heights of different aged children. Figures within text • Same as tables • Refer to figures by number (not by title or “the figure above”) • Example:…as displayed in Figure 1.