ASSESSMENT 1- THEORY AND RESEARCH
To complete this assessment you need to review:
- Study Guide: Topic 1 , 2, 3 and 4
This assessment has THREE parts
Answer the following questions by referring to the research and applying your own ideas. You must reference the research using the Harvard referencing style.
Part A: Related to Topic 1
- What do you understand by the term ‘applied research’?
- What do you understand by the term ‘research context’?
- Why is it important to frame a very clear and concise research question?
- Explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative research
- ACTION RESEARCH: Complete the following research task:
|Research task: Action research|
|Access information about action research. Use the following websites or conduct your own search: Action Learning, Action Research Association Inc., ‘Action research’, <http://www.alara.net.au/aral/actionresearch>. Dick, B., ‘Action research and action learning’, <http://www.aral.com.au/>.Wadsworth, Y., ‘Action Research International: Paper 2. What is participatory research?’, <http://www.aral.com.au/ari/p-ywadsworth98.html>. What is action research? How does action research fit the action and the research together? ____________________________________________________ Review the various flowcharts that can be used to describe action research: Google search: <http://www.google.com.au/search?q=action+research&hl=en&prmd=|
&sqi=2&ved=0CFYQsAQ&biw=1363&bih=895>.Robertson, A., Major positions in research methods, uploaded 2007, YouTube video, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srRYdpVYD2A&feature=fvwrel>. How does action research differ from conventional research? What would you need to consider if you were to implement a research project in your workplace?
- ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH: Complete the following task
|Research task: Ethnographic research guidelines|
|Think about the following ethnographic research guidelines from TESOL Quarterly: Assumptions … Ethnography (and critical ethnography in particular) adopts a complex theoretical orientation toward culture. Culture — in collectives of differing magnitude, whether educational institutions, student communities, classrooms, or activity groups — is treated as heterogeneous, conflictual, negotiated, and evolving, as distinct from unified, cohesive, fixed, and static … Data Show evidence of residing or spending considerable lengths of time interacting with people in the study setting, observing and recording their activities as they unfolded through means such as field notes (see, e.g., Emerson, Fretz, & Shaw, 1995), audio and video recordings, or both. A hallmark of ethnography is extended, firsthand participant observation and interactions with participants in the study setting. Record participant beliefs and attitudes through such typical means as notes or transcribed recordings of informal conversation and interviews, and participant journals (see Salzman, 2001). Include several different sources of data. Besides participant observation and interactions with participants, these sources might include life histories (Darnell, 2001) and narrative analysis (Cortazzi, 2001), photography, audio or video recordings (Nastasi, 1999), written documents (Brewer, 2000), data documenting historical trends, and questionnaires and surveys (Salzman, 2001). If called for, as they often are in critical ethnography (as well as in many cases of descriptive/interpretive ethnography), use additional sources of data and reflection. These include: evidence of how the power differences between you and the informants/subjects were negotiated. Though it is idealistic to think that power differences can be totally eliminated, address how they were managed, modified, or shifted and how they influenced the data gathered. your attitudes and biases toward the community and its culture. Record how your perspectives changed during the course of the research and how these changes shaped the data gathered.|
|the impact of your activities and behavior on the community. State whether you involved yourself in the ethical, social, or political challenges faced by the community. Include in the data the way such practical engagements may have generated deeper insights or affected the research (and the ways you negotiated these tensions). the conflicts and inconsistencies in the statements made by the informants (or community insiders). Rather than favoring one set of data over the other or neatly tying all the loose strands to arrive at generalizations, wrestle with the diversity of insider perspectives in order to represent culture with complexity. a broadened understanding of the context of the culture. Although context is being constantly (re)created through talk even as the informants interact with the researcher, reflect in the data the way larger forces outside the community shape culture. Study how social institutions and political agencies affect the local culture, and, similarly, seek historical data on the status of the culture before and after the research. Because ethnographic analytical procedures vary by researchers’ schools of thought, you may incorporate quantitative as well as qualitative procedures and instruments if appropriate (see, e.g., Bernard, 2002). (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc (TESOL), ‘TESOL Quarterly research guidelines: Qualitative research: (Critical) ethnography guidelines’, <http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=476&DID=|
2157>.) What are some of the possible barriers to conducting effective ethnographic research in your specific workplace context?
- Explain the meaning of ‘validity’ in quantitative and qualitative research
- Why is it important to maintain privacy when conducting research?
- What are the benefits of a code of conduct for research?
Part B: Related to Topic 2
- Why is it important to conduct a literature review prior to conducting research?
- RESEARCH METHODS AND DATA COLLECTION: Complete the table below by listing the advantages of each research technique
|Questionnaires and surveys||Some types of have low response rates but are more easily collated than interview data. Questions need to be worded carefully to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.|
|Case studies||Case studies can be difficult to generalise or make comparisons from.|
|Focus groups||Difficult to ensure consistency if a number of researchers are involved. Difficult to record accurately — a skilled exercise. Participants may develop ‘group think’.|
|Interviews||Time consuming. Difficult to record and transcribe.|
|Observation||Time consuming. If more than one researcher is involved, difficult to ensure consistency.|
|Statistical data||Often difficult to interpret. May require expert handling and analysis.|
Part C: Related to Topic 3 and 4
- What is ‘triangulation’?
- What are some of the factors you need to consider when presenting a research report?
ASSESSMENT 2- Analysing Research Reports
You have been given copies of two research reports. Read the reports. Select ONE of the following reports and analyse the use of research techniques and answer the questions below
- REPORT 1: Barton, D., Appleby, R., Hodge, R., Tusting, K., and Ivanic, R., 2006, Relating adults lives and learning: participation and engagement in different settings, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC), London, viewed April 2012, <http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=48>.
- REPORT 2: Leith, M., 2012, How learning English facilitates integration for adult migrants: the Jarrah Language Centre experience, NCVER, viewed April 2012, <http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/2461.html>.
- Which report have you selected for this assessment? Tick any ONE below
r Report 1
r Report 2
Fundamentals: Purpose, audience, question
- What is the purpose and genesis of the report. What motivated the research? Why was it done?
- What is the question, problem or hypothesis?
- What is the intended and potential audience?
- How is the research relevant to the organisation or audience — how might LLN practitioners and managers use this research?
Understanding research paradigms in LLN — theoretical and political lenses
- Is there an identifiable or stated theoretical view or belief which has helped to frame the question or problem?
- Identify the terms or concepts explored by the authors in their review of the literature on their chosen topic.
- How did the researchers approach finding out what has already been written on the subject?
Gathering data for research
- Note the methods and techniques used. How well are the methods described?
- What justification did they use for each method?
- What were some of the difficulties they encountered, if any, in data collection?
- How did they ensure their research was reliable and valid?
Structuring a report
- Compare the contents pages of each of the two reports. How do they organise content? What are the similarities and differences? How much is this due to the audience and purpose of the report?
ASSESSMENT 3- Design and conduct applied research
- · Imagine that you are the owner of ACTB. You are interested in growing your business and ensuring that students comply with the relevant legislation. You want ACTB to be known as the College in Brisbane that provides the highest level of support to students
In this assessment, you are required to design a detailed research to find answers to a specific research question. You need to complete the five activities below.
This is a MAJOR assessment.
Activity 1: Research Design
Part 1: Planning your research project
Plan your research project by answering the following questions. Each question must be answered in a short paragraph
A. Orienting decisions
- What are the general aims of the research? Identify an organisational or educational problem or innovation for examination.
- Who is involved in initiating the research?
- Who is the audience for the research? Demonstrate the value of what you are proposing to your proposed e.g. audience colleagues and your organisation. Does it have value for the wider international education community?
- Outline why the research is worth doing including some of the expected outcomes.
- What research has already been done in this area? Describe this briefly. (Literature reviews are dealt with in Activity 3.)
- What are the constraints of the research?
- What is the timeframe for the research?
- What ethical issues need to be dealt with in conducting the research?
- What resources are required for the research? Include human and physical resources such as technology and literature.
B. Research design and methodology
- What is the main methodology of the research?
- Determine the feasibility of the methodology and any resource constraints.
- How will validity and reliability be dealt with?
- What kinds of data will be gathered and how will it be gathered? (For example, a survey of students, interviews with staff.) Will travel be involved?
- Who will undertake the research?
- Prepare an action plan for the research team which includes items such as field testing of research tools, timelines for administering and gathering survey results, and so on.
C. Data analysis
- Give an overview of expected analysis activities.
D. Presenting and reporting the results
- Who will be the audience for the report?
- How will you design the report? Outline your report structure.
- Where will the report be shared?
- How will the data be presented?
Part 2: Designing your research project
Outline how you would design a research strategy for your workplace taking into consideration your answers to the questions in Part 1.
Activity 2: Develop a Research Question
Part 1: Design two research questions
- Design a research question or hypothesis relating to improving student support services in your organisation.
- Design a research question or hypothesis relating to improving student course progress in your organisation.
Use what you have learned in Topic 1 about developing research questions and hypotheses.
- Test questions you have designed by asking the following:
- Will the question hold my interest?
- Will my question be of interest and useful to others?
- Can data be collected to help answer the question? Do you have the expertise and resources for this?
- Do experts or others in the field think it is a useful question?
- Check hypotheses you have designed are appropriate:
- Hypotheses involve variables and need to be tested by the research. Is this what you have in mind in designing your hypothesis, or would it be more appropriate to frame it as a question?
- Do experts or others in the field think it is a likely hypothesis which can be researched?
Part 3: Explain why questions were selected
Provide background information about why you selected these questions or hypotheses, such as whether, and how, practitioners or learners were involved, whether the needs of the wider LLN field were considered, and whether policy makers or others influenced
Using the two topics from Activity 2, select a referencing style based on the requirements of your context.
Prepare an annotated list of references on both topics. Include a range of references including journal articles, reference books, articles and reports accessed online and through other sources such as conference presentations.
To complete this activity you will need to return to the scenario in Research task: Privacy and ethical considerations in Topic 1. Alternatively, you may choose to identify a possible research project relevant to your context which would use the three components listed in Research task: Privacy and ethical considerations.
Use the following resources:
Ethical issues checklist, below (adapted from Patton, 2002, op. cit., pp.408–409.)
Privacy policies for your setting
Other relevant codes of practice.
|Ethical issues checklist|
How will you explain the purpose of the evaluation and methods? What language will make sense to participants in the study? What details are critical to share? What’s the expected value of your research to the participants? Promises and reciprocity:
Why should the interviewee participate in the interview? What have you agreed to do with the research (for example, provide the participant with a copy)? How will you keep track of this? Risk assessment:
In what ways, if any, will conducting the interview put people at risk? How will you describe these potential risks to interviewees? How will you handle them if they arise? Can you ensure the cultural appropriacy of research tools? How will you manage this? Confidentiality:
What are reasonable confidentiality and anonymity considerations? Will names, locations, and other details be changed? Where will data be stored? How long will data be maintained? How much will you explain of this to the candidates? Informed consent:
What kind of informed consent, if any, is necessary for mutual protection? What are your local organisational guidelines and requirements? What has to be submitted, under what time lines, for approval, if applicable?
|Data access and ownership:|
Who will have access to the data? For what purposes? Who has right of review before publication? For example, of case studies, by the person or organisation depicted in the case; of the whole report, by a funding or sponsoring organisation? Interviewer need for debriefing:
How will you and other interviewers likely be affected by conducting the interviews? What might be heard, seen, or learned that may merit debriefing and processing? Who can you talk with about what you experience without breeching confidentiality? Advice:
Who will be the researcher’s confidant and counsellor on matters of ethics during a study? (Not all issues can be anticipated in advance. Knowing who you will go to in the event of difficulties can save precious time in a crisis and bring much-needed comfort.) Data collection boundaries:
How hard will you push for data? What lengths will you go to in trying to gain access to data you want? What won’t you do? How hard will you push interviewees to respond to questions about which they show some discomfort? Ethical versus legal:
What ethical framework and philosophy informs your work and assures respect and sensitivity for those you study beyond whatever may be required by law? What disciplinary or professional code of ethical conduct will guide you?
- Design a range of documents required to communicate with participants and others within the organisation for the following components of this research:
- Access to attendance records
- Recording interviews with a representative selection of students.
Ask colleagues for feedback on your documents and procedures. Make any adjustments as a result of consultations
- Use the following as a guide:
- Plan a questionnaire or survey activity for the research project which includes all of the information and instructions required by the research team, the respondents and any others who may be involved, for example, admin staff, family members, interpreters, bilingual assistants.
- How will you go about getting approval for the research activity?
- How would you design the questionnaire, cover letter and instructions for administrators and respondents?
- How much information should you collect?
- What timeframe are you working in?
- What attendance records will you need if you are looking for patterns? Will this information guide your questions?
- How many students should be involved in the survey? Using Zemke and Kramlinger 1986, on page 20 in the document at: <http://ohioline.osu.edu/b868/pdf/b868.pdf>, calculate an appropriate sample size.
- Should you use an online survey or paper-based survey? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both in terms of administering, collecting information and recording and classifying data?
- What questions will you include on your survey? Open-ended or closed, or a combination of both?
- Is each question necessary? Is each question unambiguous (that is, not a double question or a leading question)? Is each question inoffensive? Can all of the respondents be expected to understand it? Field test the questions.
- How will the questionnaire be analysed? This should be considered before the questionnaire is administered.
- How will you describe the research to the respondents in a cover letter or similar? How much information is necessary on the purpose and context of the project?
- What instructions will be necessary on the questionnaire or survey regarding returning responses, timeline?
- What demographic information is required (and necessary), such as age, country of origin, language, gender?
- What privacy considerations need to be made?
- What cultural considerations have to be made?
- What processes will need to be put in place to keep data secure?
- What will you give back to the respondents once the research is completed?
Activity 6: Analyse Key Findings and Implications
- Draw up a matrix which summarises the key questions, key findings and implications for practice and lists the recommendations.
- Add a column in which you comment on whether or not the findings have relevance to the wider international education field and any reservations you note
- Add an additional column for any reservations the researchers have.
 For example, McKay (2005) lists ‘respecting participants’ as an important ethical consideration in language education research, e.g. using research to benefit learners, and sharing knowledge that comes from the research with participants.