Harry B Sturges K M & Klinger J K  'Methodology' chapter

Excerpt from 'Methodology' chapter :

Harry, B., Sturges, K.M., & Klinger, J.K. (2005). Mapping the process: An exemplar of process and challenge in grounded theory analysis. Educational Researcher, 34(2), 3-13.

Read the article listed above and provide your impressions. In one page, summarize the authors' experiences in conducting a grounded theory study in an educational setting. What were some of the challenges they faced? What are your thoughts in general on conducting qualitative research in the field of education?

Grounded theory is generation of a hypothesis (or assumption) that proceeds from observation and rich qualitative study. The authors wanted to show that qualitative study in general and grounded theory approach in particular could be used in conjunction with the subject of education.

The purpose of the study was (a) to investigate whether and, if so, how, the processes used to identify, assess, and place students in high-incidence special education programs contribute to the overrepresentation phenomenon; and (b) to identify referral and placement decision-making processes that successfully mitigate overidentification and overrepresentation while also providing beneficial educational outcomes for students.

The number of schools (12; racially diversified) and population sampled (71 audiotaped interviews with district and school administrators, related service personnel, and Teachers) was unusually large for a qualitative study. The Interviews were semi-structured with the central question being, "What do you think explains overrepresentation?"

General observation became more intensive with in-depth analysis focused on 12 students.

The advantage of the qualitative study is that it provides rich information and is especially useful in an area that constitutes humans, a diversity of opinions and characteristics (therefore cannot be studied in a laboratory) and is comprised of constantly fluctuating conditions.

On the other hand, the qualitative study is replete with subjective pitfalls: self-reports are potentially subjective, interpretations of interviewers and interviewees are subjective, and there are none of the scientific regulations, inherent in the empirical study, that are meant to restrain bias. These are the main pitfalls of the qualitative study.

It seems to me that grounded theory when used in education may be safe in that it can be used as jump-start to an assumption that can then be tested with a quantitative study. In other words, only assumptions are made and recognized as such. Authors do not arrive at absolute conclusions.

A qualitative study too is more reliable when conducted on a confined small population and testing the feelings of that limited, closely defined population. It is less reliable when extended to Education in general, particularly since each and every school is comprised of its own factors, teacher / pupil / parent characteristics, and so many other variables that make it impossible to impose general conclusions.

Part 2: (page 2-5)

For this assignment, please select one of the five traditions (use the Phenomenological approach) and provide a brief description of 1) your topic or research question, 2), the approach, 3) your sampling and recruitment strategies, and 4) an outline of each step of the data collection and analysis process. When describing your approach and outlining the steps of your data collection and analysis, be sure to provide a rationale for your methodological choices and cite your sources. For example, if you will be conducting open coding, what are the steps and how did you learn about this approach-what is your source?

Research question

The purpose of this research study is to determine the effects of popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter and other social media technologies (i.e. texting, chat) on the oral and written communication skills of American college students. Social media was designed to improve communication among peers, colleagues, family, friends, and associates, instructors of all academic levels. In addition, social media, social software, and social networking sites (textese) seem to have a great potential as learning and teaching tools. However, what is noteworthy and relevant about these technologies is research has also shown that dependence on social media has naturally reduced the face-to-face interactions formed among students, parents, and professors because of disengagement stimulated by electronic media, texting, and social media compositions, hiding the features associated with a student's real character and voice (MacArthur, 2007). The more the students depend on social media to interact with superiors and associates, they will use increasingly textese and abbreviate writings to convey their options, and the more they will find opportunities to avoid confrontations.

The research questions that will guide this study are the following:

1. Is there a significant relationship between frequent use of textese on college students' reading fluency and writing skills?

2. Is there a significant relationship between frequent use of textese and the deterioration of college students' reading fluency and writing skills?

3. How does the frequent use of social media affect vocabulary and composition skills of college students?

4. How does the reading fluency and writing skills of frequent textese users compare to the reading fluency and writing skills of infrequent textese users?

2) The approach,

This will be a qualitative phenomenological study. The study will be qualitative since I want to arrive at a rich understanding of the phenomenon under question and want to expose the experiences and perceptions of the students from their own perspectives. It will be a phenomenological approach in that I will explore the feelings and attitudes of the students to social media and whether they think that social media has impeded their literary skills and, if so, whether they are disturbed by this fact. In other words, what we have until now is speculative research that opines that social media adversely impacts literary skills. The objective of this study is to approach it from the student's existentialist perspective.

3) Your sampling and recruitment strategies

Since the whole purpose of the phenomenological approach is the lived experience of the participants, the sampling approach will be purposive and the desired population small. Following Giorgi's (1985; 1989) recommendations, I would gear for 10 individuals and purposely select them from word-of-mouth recommendation of a 15-18 age range (this is the age that is typically most into social media) and seek pronounce ably heavy social media users (i.e. users of at least 6 hours per day).

I will compose a list of more than 10 individuals (possibly twice as much) in order to be sure that I will at least gain ten who agree to participate. I will grade the individuals in order of preference of selection and approach the desired individuals directly informing them about the purpose and procedure of the study. I will also attempt to gear the study towards their time preferences and take into account their considerations.

4) An outline of each step of the data collection and analysis process

Phenomenology is conducted via interviews, discussions and participant observation, and its objective is to represent the phenomena from the perspective of the research participants. The attempt of the researcher is to bracket his own assumptions and values and attempt to see the experience precisely as the participant views it. In other words, the endeavor is to "crawl into the participant's shoes." Pure phenomenological research seeks to describe rather than explain and to start form a perspective that is liberated from assumptions (Husserl 1970). More recent researchers state the impossibility of absence of bias and recommend that the researcher include himself in the framework of his research as an interested, although not totally detached participant (e.g. Stanley & Wise 1993). This study will take the latter approach.

The scope of this study will be extended to observations, surveys, individuals career interest, education experience, career interests, and potential career opportunities.

I will use Creswell's (1998) process which is the following:

1. The investigator writes research questions that explore the meaning of that experience for individuals and asks individuals to describe their everyday lived experience.

The 2 core questions will be:

Do you see a difference on your reading / writing skills when compared to less-frequent social media-users?

If so, how much of this do you think may be attributable to your use of social media?

I would also want to know how much of their tiem they engage in social media and which activities they otherwise engage in during the remainder of their spare time.

2. The investigator collects data from individuals who have experienced the phenomenon under investigation. Typically, this information is collected through long interviews.

I will audio record -- with permission of interviewees all interviews. Each interview will be assigned a code, for example "Participant B, 21 May 2013." Each interview will be recorded on a separate cassette I will also make sure, according to Easton, McComish and Greenberg (2000) that the interview setting must further be as free as possible from background noise and interruptions.

3. The phenomenological data analysis: the protocols are divided into statements or horizonalization, the units are transformed into clusters of meaning, tie the transformation together to make a general description of the experience, including textural description, what is experienced and structural description, i.e. how it is experienced.

Explication of the data follows the following 3 steps:


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