Saturday, August 15, 2009

Evaluating Research Methods

Being able to conduct different types of research in the field of education can be very helpful when looking for different approaches to teaching.

Scenario 1: Ten students are available for in-depth interviews. Participants will be selected based on their involvement with the peer mediation program. They will be observed over three weeks. Analysis will attempt to determine issues concerning peer mediation.

~This scenario seems to be more of the qualitative research method. This scenario deals primarily with collecting data as a case study through lived experiences, which makes it a phenomenology (McMillan & Schumacher, 2008).

Scenario 2: Two classrooms of students are selected. There are 30 students in each class; each groups will have similar demographics-age, sex, race, socio-economic background, etc. Classes will be randomly divided into two groups of 15 students. Of these two groups, one randomly selected group will get training on peer mediation and the other group will not. Thus in each classroom there will be one group that is trained in peer mediation and one that is not. Analysis will occur on which groups have the fewest office referrals.

~This scenario fits more into the quantitative research method. It has an experimental set up by using two groups; a controlled group and an experimental group. The person conducting the research has a handle on what can happen (McMillan & Schumacher, 2008).

Scenario 3: A school counselor is interested in knowing how student attitudes affect the value of peer mediation to decrease the number of office referrals that are being filed for inappropriate interactions.

~This scenario is more of a mixed method. The qualitative portion of this method would be the way the data is collected – the students in their natural settings. The quantitative portion of this method would be the way the data is used after it is collected.

Scenario 4: Peer mediation has become widely used in many schools. The feelings of those involved in the process are little known-either from those doing the mediation or those receiving it. The ZASK-R Acceptance Preference Survey will be given as Pre- and Post-tests to 40 students participating in mediation. Follow-up interviews will be conducted on a bi-monthly basis.

~This last scenario also seems to fit into the mixed method of research. The qualitative portion of this method would be the follow-up interviews that are being conducted while the quantitative portion would be the Pre- and Post-testing.

To be a better teacher, I need to understand and use the best method of research. Which ever method I choose to use, it needs to be as accurate as possible to better help my students.

McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S. (2008). Research in education: Evidence-based inquiry (Laureate custom edition). Boston: Pearson