Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hashing out my research question

I know this is looking ahead a little bit to the final project, but I really liked the way that Stetar laid out a systematic approach to thinking through a research question.

I think that my question is basically: What is the impact of 1:1 devices in the middle school classroom on student engagement, attitude toward learning, and achievement measures?

I am interested in iPads or other tablets--something that imitates (at least to some extent) the smartphone experience. I think that those skills are very forward thinking, and plus lots of kids have smartphones. Sometimes I look at a classroom (or my own meeting and work habits) and see kids who look much more engaged with their phones than their school work, even though this is against the rules.

Using the information in the Week 8 Slideshare by Dr. Josepch Stetar, I am going to try to work through my research question here:

Criteria for identifying research problem:
1.      Must be interesting enough to hold my interest
YES, definitely interesting to me!
2.      Must be within my range of competence.
   I think it would be within my range of competence. I might have to say that I need to learn a little something more in order to do an analysis of the test scores, as it might involve some qualitative data analysis.
3.      Must be a manageable size
   Maybe three different schools with similar demographics and similar data going into the situation? This might require a co-researcher
4.      Must have some basis in theory—ie, topics found in the lit review
  Yes, there has been work done in this field already. Certainly there is a lot around engagement and achievement.
5.      Must have the potential to make an original contribution—can’t be a duplicate of something that’s already been done.
   Yes, I think that it would not be an exact duplicate of something that's already been done. But I will need to find more articles for my lit review to determine whether that is actually correct.
6.      Must be based on obtainable data—research plan must be viable and practical.
   Test scores, student interviews, observations, teacher feedback, maybe administrator feedback (these different information sources could serve as triangulation)
7.      Must permit me to demonstrate my independent mastery of both subject and research method
   Yes, I think the research methods would be solid and I already have a good grasp on the subject, so I would just be adding more knowledge/expertise as I prepared for and engaged with this research project.

The research question must look for a relationship between 2 or more variables.
Yep, as listed above. 1:1 devices and engagement, attitude, and achievement scores.

The next step is to delve more into the research for my literature review.

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