Research Methods

Introduction

Overview

This study is aimed at evaluating the manner in which the community perceives its schools. The evaluation is meant to facilitate the participation of all categories of the stakeholders, especially the guardians, community leaders, sponsors, as well as school authorities during the running of these institutions. The response from a sample group representing the stakeholders will be utilized. Specially prepared questionnaires will be presented to the sample groups of students, teachers, as well as other interest groups. The items in these questionnaires will be attained following an exercise, which facilitates the identification of the items that the community consider vital for evaluation. These respondents will, of course, be representatives of the entire schooling fraternity. It is for this reason that they will be regarded and termed as the sample group (Mertler & Charles, 2011).

To be fair, the selection of the sample groups will be conducted through a simple randomized sampling were each of the participants in every focus group will be accorded an equal chance of becoming a part of the sample. It will, therefore, be necessary to define the targeted population first before sampling strategy commences. As many members as possible will, therefore, be involved in the selection of the sample. This will facilitate the realization of effective representation of the targeted population. For the purpose of ensuring the uniformity of the data that is collected, the study will utilize standardized data collection methods. Nevertheless, slight variations are expected since every case or circumstance is unique, and it is for this reason that the study will progress in a well-formulated procedure so as to minimize the impact of these variations (Mertler & Charles, 2011).

This paper is a proposal for the research methodology that describes what will be studied as well as the manner in which the study will be completed. It is, indeed, a summary of what is expected from the research and the manner in which the findings can be utilized for the purpose of presenting the recommendations to the principle, the school board, as well as other interest groups. The paper ends with a conclusion as well as recommendations for future studies.

Research Questions

  1. How effective are the teaching methods that are utilized in the community schools?
  2. How does the content presented in the classroom situation impact the everyday life of the students and other members of the school fraternity?
  3. How does cultural and racial background influence the comprehensibility of the content being presented in the classroom environment?
  4. What are some of the improvements that the schools in question can make so as to advance knowledge acquisition?

Hypotheses

First Hypothesis

Ho = Effective learning takes place when teachers focus on the aspects that they perceive to be important for their students, irrespective of their impact on society.

H1 = Effective learning takes place when teachers focus on those aspects that do have some basis in the societal life and not necessarily on what they perceive to be interesting for their students.

Second Hypothesis

Ho = Language and culture have no relation and, as such, they are separable as their association does not influence learning.

H1 = Language and culture cannot be separated as their association has a great impact on learning and interaction between students and members of the community.

Background of the Study

This will be an action research and, as such, it involves the participation of the stakeholders in a progressive manner. In recent past, there have been similar studies in this area, and many of these studies have been aimed at seeking the enhancement of learning in community schools while addressing problems in the most effective strategies possible. Action research, therefore, can be said to be the process through which situations are evaluated through active participation. This form of research is, usually, undertaken by institutions as well as organizations with the assistance or guidance of professional researchers. The professional researchers are tasked with facilitating the improvement of strategies, knowledge, and practices within the environment that they practice. As stakeholders and designers, researchers propose new courses of action, which facilitates the improvement of, say, study practices. According to Kurt Lewin, a former professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appropriate studies are the comparative forms of evaluations that center on the effects and conditions of social and action strategies, which instigate a series of steps that can be taken with an aim to improve learning. Each of these steps is composed of planning, fact-finding, and action on a particular topic (Green, 2000).

This research will, basically, be an interactive inquiry aimed at facilitating the balancing of those problem-solving activities that are implemented in collaborative contexts. Being a data-driven and collaborative analysis, it will facilitate the understanding of the best procedure for improving learning. Such an understanding facilitates future predictions about institutional and personal change. It is, therefore, the best strategy to approach those subjects which require reflective understanding on the researchers’ agendas as well as the expectations of the participants. The procedure is considered to be the best strategy for advancing scholarly research works, especially those that are primarily aimed at ushering in large-scale changes or theoretical generalization. This is because of the importance of schools in the societal transformation.

This research, like the recent ones in this area, will be a strategy that challenges the traditional form of social sciences by moving beyond the reflective knowledge that has been created through sampling of the common form of variables. In fact, it has been opted for as it is the best approach to a situation like the one that is being evaluated. Since this study will be all-inclusive, it will commence with an effective validation of the topics in question as this is the only way that the presentation of genuine and well-informed strategies can be made to the relevant stakeholders. In fact, some researchers have indicated that properly designed studies result in significant and worthwhile findings and recommendations that do merit the society as a result of having criteria with agreeable standards. In this regard, it will be imperative to design the evaluation in the manner that is similar to the designing of the studies for programs such as art, health care, and human sciences (Shi, 2008).

This study will be formulated in a manner that facilitates the reexamination of original objectives in an endeavor to evaluate what has been accomplished as well as the manner in which it has been accomplished. It will, therefore, be formative and summative, i.e., it will facilitate the formulation of foundations for improving strategies and organization and, at the same time, for helping to draw lessons from the current situation in community schools. In every study of this nature, two attributes make the designing of evaluation studies possible and, in this regard, it becomes possible to tap on the advantages of such designing that, for instance, avails reexamination of objectives for the purpose of improving performance (Beiske, 2007).

Overview of the Research Designs

This research will be a process of evaluating the hypotheses with the aim of disproving them. The hypothesis under evaluation will be regarded as the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis will be the proposal that will represent the present explanation of an aspect in the real world which the study will endeavor to challenge. Research design will require the researcher to provide a research hypothesis, commonly called the alternative hypothesis, as a substitute way of explaining the phenomenon. The alternative hypothesis will be formulated following the observation that the null hypothesis will not necessarily give a precise explanation for a phenomenon. The study will then proceed with testing of the hypothesis in an attempt to disprove the null hypothesis. The objective in testing of the hypothesis will be to draw the answer to the problem that is being evaluated (Neuman, 2003).

A careful choice of a research method will ease the analysis of a phenomenon thereby facilitating the procedure of drawing conclusions. The research method that has been chosen has a bearing on what is stated as the causes as well as the influencing factors in the phenomenon. Therefore, the method that has been chosen is the one that the researcher is proficient in; and it has been chosen through weighing of the constraints which may affect the completion of the study. Some of the constraints evaluated include time, ethical considerations, feasibility, money, and the measuring tools available (Lawrence, 1997).

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Methodology

Research Design

This study is aimed at gauging the community’s satisfaction with the community’s schooling system and, as such, it will necessitate planning for the purpose of establishing causality, i.e., the relationship that exists between one event and another (the effect). In this case, the effect will be, presumably, resulting from the causing event. The candidates for the causes and effects will include facts such as socio-demographic data, variables, and the states of affairs like the expected and the realized performance. Some of these candidates will be characterized by causal relationships, although these relationships do, at times, elicit much debate (Creswell, 2003).

During the study, it will be necessary to frame the querying process in a manner that enhances confidence with the results. The plan will incorporate data validation strategies that will facilitate the cross verification of several sources. In addition, the effectiveness of this study will be enhanced by combining the application of various methodological analyses while studying the perception that the members of the community have with regard to the schools in their locality. Combining multiple observations, empirical materials, and methods will enable the study to overcome the problems and intrinsic biases that may result whenever a single observation, theory, and method are applied in a study. Upon the collection of a reliable set of data, sampling, analysis, and theory development will be accomplished (Kempton, 2005).

Broadening the issues being addressed during data collection will provide for the flexibility and this will facilitate the tackling of the matters that arise once the study has began. The social study that evaluates the community’s satisfaction with schools will necessitate the utilization of methods that present broad options which enable researchers to make a selection of varying tools for gathering data. For example, in addition to interviews, it will, also, be important to have the capacity to take notes and make observations of the prevailing circumstances in the given institutions. With regard to the qualitative information collecting strategies, the study will centre on such qualification as the inter-relationships between variables. The instruments used in gathering data will facilitate the establishment of these inter-relationships as the study seeks to clarify and encourage the participants to air their views (Lawrence, 2007). The methods being employed will not detach the researcher from the research work as well as its final output.

It will be necessary, however, to search for those procedures that avoid biased information gathering and findings presentations as this will avert future disorientation. In fact, disorientation would bar credible evaluation of the cause and effect relations that are evident between the discrete and pre-selected variables. It is for this reason that a significant amount of quantitative approaches will be utilized for the purpose of avoiding subjectivity when collecting and exploring the information about the issue of community satisfaction with schools. However, quantitative techniques will constitute specific research methodologies which will help in making the data reliable (Kempton, 2005).

Participants

To facilitate the determination of the evaluation of the community satisfaction with the schooling system, pertinent information will be sought; and to achieve this, inclusion criteria in a focus group will be imposed. The respondents who will qualify for the sample selection will have to be students, teachers, or any other stakeholders who may provide the relevant details. The scenario being evaluated will have to be in operation in the selected schools. The respondents will be those directly connected to the positions and departments that are aimed at during the interviewing process. These qualifications will be imposed so as to ensure that the respondents fully understand the nature of the questionnaire used during the interview as well as the intended information with regard to the community’s perception of the local institutions. This will make the items under survey easy for them to respond to without having to guess too much since guessing would reduce the credibility and ethical standards of the results (Kempton, 2005).

I will conduct simple randomized sampling were each participants in every focus group will have an equal chance of becoming part of the sample. As all participants in a focus group will have equal chances, this sampling procedure will be the most effective. During my sampling strategy I will have to define my targeted population first. I will list down all members in the population and then continue with my selection of the sample. I intend to use the fish bowl or the lottery sampling technique during the selection process. My preference will be the fish bowl techniques as it is a method which involves selecting samples randomly from sampling frames through the application of distributed number tables. It will be easy as I will assign a number to all stakeholders in my master list (Chen, 2012). Then, I will write these numbers on small pieces of paper, which I will then draw to effect my selection. I will repeat this process till I reach my sample size for every focus group.

I will pick out small groups of individuals having important characteristics in common, such as students and teachers; and for other stakeholders, – job position, employee’s department, and job title. This will be in order to reduce a great deal of variation of the data collected from the focus group. The participants will be of various ages, gender, and marital status. The data collected from each group will be placed in the same category separate from the one which will hold that of the other groups. This will enable the perception of each group to be assessed separately from the others. Since this research will require a great level of coordination and cooperation and since the participants come from varying backgrounds (Frank, 2007), I will adhere to such ethical value as the non-disclosure of sensitive information about an individual in order to promote trust, collaborative effort, accountability, fairness, and mutual respect.

Ethical Considerations

Because this study will involve human participation, specifically, the stakeholders of community schools as well as the community members, I will have to address certain ethical matters. The ethical issues I am planning to put into consideration will be necessary in ensuring that the privacy and safety of the participants are safeguarded. Among the important ethical considerations that I am planning to practice are the confidentiality and consent (Frank, 2007). In an attempt to secure the participants’ consent, I will relay every detail of my study to them beforehand. These details will include the purpose and aims of the study. This strategy will facilitate the understanding of the important details that I seek to evaluate as well as the vital position that they hold for this research to be successful. I will also advise the respondents that they reserve the right to withdraw from my study if they find it uncomfortable to continue. I will ensure the interviewee’s confidentiality by ensuring that no personal information like names and contact details are disclosed in the final research paper. I plan to only include all the relevant details that will help answer the research quizzes.

Instruments

A survey questionnaire will be used as the basic data gathering tool for this research (See the Appendix). The questionnaire will be subdivided into two basic sections: the profile section and the surveying proper section. The profile will contain the socio-demographic attributes of the interviewees including interviewee’s name and phone number, the meeting place, gender, and age. The survey proper section will be exploring the participant’s perception of the schooling strategies that are utilized in local institutions. In addition, the survey proper section will include questions aimed at establishing the strengths and weaknesses of some of these strategies and how they can be improved. The questions will be open and, unlike the Likert format, the participants will be in a position to give wide responses. There will be no scale used in the interpretation of the responses because the aim is not to develop statistics like the ones used in the quantitative surveys (Creswell, 2011).

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The open questions will allow the study to effectively establish the qualitative approach and gather data that will be intended for the use in the constant comparative method. I will ensure the validity of my research questionnaire by facilitating interviews of at least five respondents in each focus group. The respondents and their answers will be used as part of the main study process as well as in testing purposes. After the delivery of all the answers, I will request the respondents to make more suggestions and effect all the necessary corrections in a manner that will help to improve the validity of the study. I will then revise the survey proper section based on those suggestions that the respondents give (Frank, 2007). This will help me to exclude irrelevant questions and change all the vague and difficult terminologies that may deter the respondents from comprehending the questions into simpler terms.

Data Processing and Analysis

After gathering every completed questionnaire, I will then obtain the total responses in every item. Consequently, I will use the reverse directed hypothesis, which appears to contradict the traditional hypothesis, where researchers choose theoretical frameworks that they apply in modeling the phenomenon intended for the study. In this case, I will continue with marking the key points in the data corrected using serialized codes. I will proceed with grouping the codes into related concepts in an attempt to make the data more workable. From the concepts, I will derive the categories which will lay the ground for coming up with my theory. If need be and because this data cannot be analyzed through the use of scales as with the case of statistical data (Creswell, 2011), I may repeat the coding, concept and category formulation, and theory development process until I have obtained a satisfactory result.

Conclusion and Recommendation

There will be a closing analysis of the perception that people have on the local schools and the effectiveness of the strategies that are adapted by the management of these institutions. Upon the completion of data analysis, it will be possible to discover and elaborate on how effective the members of the community consider the adopted learning strategies to be. The findings will provide a possible foundation for future studies on the impact of the environment as well as the teaching strategies on the students. In addition, the findings will provide useful suggestions that can be utilized by the learners, tutors, and other stakeholders as they endeavor to enhance learning and the relationship between various learning institutions and the communities where they are situated. The proposed study will build on the current knowledge on the impact of culture and racial matters on the learning institutions (Mertler & Charles, 2011).

As stated earlier, the manner in which this study evaluates the perception of the members of the community on the local schools will form the basis for future studies. The study is expected to be of great help to those students who wish to achieve autonomy as they take control of the skills required for an effective integration in the community. It is also expected to indicate how proper utilization of learning strategies enables learners to improve the transfer of communication skills to, say, workplaces, especially where they interact with people who come from varying cultural and racial backgrounds. As such, it will act as an inspiration to other researchers who wish to conduct related studies. The paper is expected to be in a position to provide learners and researchers with a general guideline that can be applied in executing those plans that have been devised for the purpose of meeting the strategic goals (Mertler & Charles, 2011).

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