Johnsons Views of Research as scientific evidence

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Through this quoted statement, Johnson and Christensen (2008) recognize that principles that are believed to be true today might change eventually; some of today's findings will latter be found to be partially true or even patently false. What we obtain in research is scientific "evidence". It is essential that the researcher understand this idea (p. 22).

Johnson says that for now, whenever you want to use the word proof, just use the word evidence instead. He further states that sometimes, I like to tell my students that proof is what television commercials claim for their products' performance, but in research the best we can do is to obtain evidence - we call this idea the principle of evidence (p. 23).

The NBPST is modest for their claim because some of the research findings of different institutions such National Research Council, L. Bond, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and M. Freund, George Washington University illustrate consistently positive about the impact of National Board Certification on improvements to teacher practice, professional development and areas of school improvement that are critical to raising student achievements

However other studies reveal mixed effects regarding National Board Certification. For example, several research studies conducted by W. Sanders, SAS Institute; W. McColskey and J. Stronge, University of North Carolina, Greensboro and The College of William and Mary; and Douglas Harris and T.Sass, Florida State University indicates that students of NBCTs did not demonstrate significantly better rates of academic progress as compared to students of non-NBCTs. As is often found in educational research, a constellation of factors result in higher or lower student achievement (NBPTS, 2008).

Recent studies by the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research

(CALDER) are more critical describing NBPTS certification as a "distinctive mixture of certification, preparation and merit pay, but that does not necessarily make it a more cost-effective policy compared to other options." CALDER further states that "[t]here is little evidence that the process of becoming NBPTS certified increases teacher productivity or that NBPTS-certified teachers in a school enhance the productivity of their colleagues." (NBPTS, 2008).

A 2005 evaluation of the relationship between the national certification and student performance conducted by the University of South Carolina yielded inconsistent results and, like other studies, was unable to untangle the contributions of NBPTS certification from a number of other variables impacting student performance (NBPTS, 2008). Based on the above different research findings the NBPTS is modest about their claims.

Reference: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: information paper, 15 Jan, 2008 on line As retrieved on Match 8, 2010

Q. 2 - Ans.

The aim of the experimental research is to investigate the possible cause-and-effect relationship by manipulating one independent variable to influence the other variable(s) in the experimental group, and by controlling the other relevant variables, and measuring the effects of the manipulation by some statistical means. Thus, manipulation, an intervention studied by an experimenter, is the key defining characteristic of experimental research (Johnson & Christensen, 2008). By manipulating the independent variable, the researcher can see if the treatment makes a difference on the subjects.

Q. 3 - Ans.

The given made statement depicts that a relationship is present but has problems with the other two conditions (establishing proper time order and ruling out alternative explanations) as are necessary for experimental research, so it shows that nonexperimental research was employed.

The kind of nonexperimental research design employed seems to be causal-comparative research. The causal-comparative educational research attempts to identify a causative relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable. However, this relationship is more suggestive than proven as the researcher does not have complete control over the independent variable. If the researcher had control over the independent variable, then the research would be classified as true experimental research.

In this basic design of a causal-comparative research study a group was selected that has the independent variable (the experimental group - studied math) and then select another group of subjects that does not have the independent variable (the control or comparison group - non-math). For example, the researcher in his university, some of the students studied math (either at master or doctorate level) while the other did not but select it from one discipline (however variety of other disciplines are available). He wants to find the effect of study of math on problem solving ability at the end of the year. So he selects a group of students from the math class and then selects another group of the same size from the classes that did not study math and compare the two groups at the end of the year on their problem solving ability. The result of this study could be generalized to the same university but can not be to other universities or can be generalized to the study of math and comparative cross discipline but not to all disciplines.

No, I don't agree with the researcher conclusion because one of the problems with this causal-comparative research is that since the students are not randomly placed in the groups, the groups can differ on other variables that may have an effect on the dependent variable. In experimental research we can assume that these other variables cancel out among the study groups by the process of randomization. However, in causal-comparative research if we are suspicious that some external variable might be involved, we can use some control procedure in an attempt to ameliorate the effect of the external variable.

Q. 4 - Ans



The first major approach to qualitative research is phenomenology refers to the descriptive study of how individuals experience a phenomenon (Johnson & Christensen, 2008, p. 395).

â- Here is the foundational question in phenomenology: What is the meaning, structure, and essence of the lived experience of this phenomenon by an individual or by many individuals?

â- The researcher tries to gain access to individuals' life-worlds, which is their world of experience; it is where consciousness exists.

â- Conducting in-depth interviews is a common method for gaining access to individuals' life- worlds.

â- The researcher, next, searches for the invariant structures of individuals' experiences (also called the essences of their experience).

â- Phenomenological researchers often search for commonalities across individuals (rather than only focusing on what is unique to a single individual). For example, what are the essences of peoples' experience of the death of a loved one? Here is another example: What are the essences of peoples' experiences of an uncaring nurse?

â- After analyzing your phenomenological research data, you should write a report that provides rich description and a "vicarious experience" of being there for the reader of the report. Shown next are two good examples. See if you get the feeling the patients had when they described caring and noncaring nurses.

The second major approach to qualitative research is ethnography is traditionally or classically defined as the discovery and comprehensive description of the culture of a group of people (Johnson & Christensen, 2008, p. 400).

â- Here is the foundational question in ethnography: What are the cultural characteristics of this group of people or of this cultural scene?

â- Because ethnography originates in the discipline of Anthropology, the concept of culture is of central importance.

â- Culture is the system of shared beliefs, values, practices, language, norms,   rituals, and material things that group members use to understand their world.

â- One can study micro cultures (e.g., such as the culture in a classroom) as well as macro cultures (e.g., such as the United States of America culture).

Illustration: The student and cooperating teacher relationship

The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the student teaching experience in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS). Specific objectives will include the following:

Gain an understanding of the relationship of the student teacher and cooperating teacher in FCS.

Identify patterns or types of knowledge which emerge in the student teaching experiences, and the meaning of those experiences to undergraduate learners.

Identify patterns or types of knowledge which are emphasized by the cooperating teacher as being meaningful to undergraduate learners.

Examine the social construction of knowledge through the relationship of the student teacher and cooperating teacher.

Interview questions included:

â- How would you define FCS?

â- What are the important ideas that you like students in FCS to learn?

â- What are some key events that stand out in your mind about student teaching?

â- In what ways was student teaching a positive experience?

â- What could have made the student teaching experience better?

â- Describe the ideal relationship between a student teacher and cooperating teacher?

â- What was the relationship like with your cooperating teacher?

â- What ideas, skills or knowledge will you take with you to a new position?

â- What gaps do you think you still have?

â- Why did you agree to be a cooperating teacher? As a cooperating teacher, what were highlights of the experience for you? What do you believe were highlights of the experience for the student teacher?

â- Describe the ideal relationship between the student teacher and cooperating teacher. Describe your relationship with the student teacher.

â- In what ways did you interact with the student teacher? In what ways did you help the student teacher grow professionally?

â- What questions or concerns did you have before the student teacher started? While the student teacher was at the setting? After the student teacher left the setting?

Questions for considerations:

â- How are conceptions of social studies played out - or not played out - in classroom practice?

â- How is the setting organized?

â- What kind of interpersonal dynamics exist?

â- What activities occur in each setting?

â- What information, opinions, and beliefs are exchanged among participants?

Q. 5 - Ans.

The research questions in Hattie's (2003) study are: expert teachers do differ from experienced teachers - and students who are taught by expert teachers exhibit an understanding of the concepts targeted in instruction that is more integrated, more coherent, and at a higher level of abstraction than the understanding achieved by other students.

Hattie (2003) employed Mixed Research Paradigm - involving quantitative and qualitative methods, or approaches in this single research. Moreover, he employed the below two subtypes of mixed research paradigm;

1.      Time orientation (i.e., concurrent versus sequential) and

2.      Paradigm emphasis (i.e., equal status versus dominant status).

Reasons of choice

In order to identified the difference between expert and experienced teacher and their impact of teaching on the students Hattie (2003), collected quantitative data from the field i.e. division of teachers into two different groups and pre and post interviews with students. While qualitative research was also conducted for gathering of behavioural data relating to classroom climate, respect for students and passionate for teaching and learning etc. Moreover, the available literature of 500,000 of studies relating to the research objectives was also reviewed. Therefore according to my understanding in this research study, the Mixed Research Paradigm uses both deductive and inductive methods, obtains both quantitative and qualitative data, attempts to corroborate and complement findings, and takes a balanced approach to research.

Further the subtypes employed were time orientation (experiment on teachers and students and literature review) of the quantitative and qualitative components and paradigm emphasis (the difference between expert and experienced teachers and impact of such teaching on concerned students).

The Advantages of Mixed Research

First of all, we advocate the use of mixed research when it is feasible. We are excited about this new movement in educational research and believe it will help qualitative and quantitative researchers to get along better and, more importantly; it will promote the conduct of excellent educational research.

Perhaps the major goal for researcher who design and conduct mixed research is to follow the fundamental principle of mixed research. According to this principle, the researcher should mix quantitative and qualitative research methods, procedures, and paradigm characteristics in a way that the resulting mixture or combination has complementary strengths and nonoverlapping weaknesses. The examples just listed for mixed method and mixed model research can be viewed as following this principle. Can you see how? (Johnson & Christensen, 2008)

Here is a metaphor for thinking about mixed research: Construct one fish net out of several fish nets that have holes in them by laying them on top of one another. The "new" net will not have any holes in it. The use of multiple methods or approaches to research works the same way (Johnson & Christensen, 2008).

When different approaches are used to focus on the same phenomenon and they provide the same result, you have "corroboration" which means you have superior evidence for the result. Other important reasons for doing mixed research are to complement one set of results with another, to expand a set of results, or to discover something that would have been missed if only a quantitative or a qualitative approach had been used.

Some researchers like to conduct mixed research in a single study, and this is what is truly called mixed research. However, it is interesting to note that virtually all research literatures would be mixed at the aggregate level, even if no single researcher uses mixed research. That's because there will usually be some quantitative and some qualitative research studies in a research literature.

Q. 6 - Ans.

Research topic

Teachers' responses to change initiative

Research problem (s)

1). Contemporary American middle schools have become increasingly diverse in recent decades and resultantly middle school teachers face a broad range of students representing a wide variety of educational needs. Tomlinson (2001) suggests that teachers respond to this diversity through differentiated curriculum, instruction, and assessment (p. 1).

However, the available research indicates that the instructional practices of many middle school teachers do not reflect responsiveness to a wide diversity of student. Instead, middle school teachers' classroom practices have been found to reflect traditional pedagogy, reminiscent of an earlier era when schools were less diverse and additional educators shouldered educational responsibilities for exceptional learners' unique needs.

2). The teachers' task is difficult since they are challenged to address the needs of increasingly diverse classrooms of learners while simultaneously ensuring that all students reach acceptable benchmarks on state tests. Whether teachers are able to successfully tackle this challenge lies in their willingness and ability to examine and alter their traditional beliefs about teaching and learning to accommodate new instructional strategies that recognize and respond to students' diverse academic needs.

This challenge requires many middle school teachers to change their traditional beliefs and practices about teaching and learning.

Research purpose

This purpose of this study is to examine the patterns of teachers' responses to change initiative which alter their traditional beliefs of teaching and learning to meet the students' diverse academic needs.

Research question (s)

1. What are middle school teachers' responses to the invitation to change their beliefs and practices to better address students' academic diversity?

2. What patterns of middle school teachers' responses to this change invitation emerge?

Q. 7 - Ans.

Though the idea is very important however it is not a researchable question in the present form because it is typically involve making judgment of morality. As such it implies notions of what is morally right and wrong or proper or improper. Empirical research cannot provide answer to such question.

Modification of the on hand research question

The opportunity for children to begin the day with a flag raising ceremony and the singing of National Anthem will have more positive child social behavior. From such opportunities they will learn lesson of values and patriotism - two sides of the same coin. It is essential that our children be proud of their identity, their language and their culture. Within this context it is important to promote the values of equality, human dignity, life, personal freedom and security, privacy, freedom of religion, belief and opinion, and freedom of expression, assembly, association, movement and residence, as espoused in the Constitution of Australia.

Our children will have to be taught to appreciate and tolerate those who differ from them. They should be taught to personify in the motto of unity in diversity. The morning flag raising ceremony and the singing of National Anthem should be seemed a tribute paid to the legacy of freedom and peace that have given by our great founders of the nation to us.

Based on the above findings the on hand research question can be modified in the flowing way;

"The beginning of day with a flag raising ceremony and singing Nation Anthem has impact on preschool children of positive child social behaviour during and after education".

8) How do quantitative and qualitative research questions differ in structure?

Quantitative Research question

Qualitative Research Question

A quantitative research question is an interrogative sentence that asks a question about the relationship that exists between two or more variables. It is mostly closed-ended questions which are focused on getting participant responses to standardized items for the purpose of confirmatory research in which specific variables are measured and hypotheses are being tested. Common forms are descriptive, predictive and causal research questions (Johnson & Christensen, 2008).

Descriptive research questions seek answers to "How much?", "How often?", "What changes over time or over different situations?" type of questions.

Predictive research questions are questions that seek to determine whether one or more variables can be used to predict some future outcome.

Causal research questions are questions that compare different variations of some phenomenon to identify the cause of something. These questions involve the manipulation of an independent variable and the comparison of the outcome of this manipulation.

Regardless of the type of research question, the researcher should formulate it in very specific terms because a research question that is stated in very specific terms ensures that the researcher has a good understanding of the variables that are investigating.

To drive these points home, the researcher should consider the difficulties that he would encounter if he asked the question "What is the effect of participation in extracurricular activities on academic performance?" This is a good research question in that it asks an important question. However, it is worded so vaguely that it is difficult to pinpoint what is being investigated. What type of extracurricular activity and what type of academic performance? There are many different types of extracurricular activity, and it would be inappropriate to assume that all types would have similar effects. Similarly, academic performance could refer to overall average performance or to performance in specific subject areas. Now contrasting this question with the following question:

What effect does playing football have on students' overall grade point average during the football season?

This question specifies exactly the variables that are to be investigated: the extracurricular activity of playing football and academic performance as measured by overall grade point average (Johnson & Christensen, 2008).

A qualitative research question is an interrogative sentence that asks a question about some process, issue, or phenomenon that is to be explored. It is a general open ended and overarching question that the researcher would like to answer. These questions are often used for exploratory research, such as when the researcher wants to know how particular participant think or feel or experience a phenomenon or when the researcher wants to know why participants believe something happens (Johnson & Christensen, 2008).

From this overarching research question the researcher can frequently narrow down the purpose of the study into more specific questions. It can be helpful to state the general purpose of the study and then state a number of subquestions that break the overall research question into components that will be investigated.

For example, Boycott, Waller, and Kin (2001) investigated the beliefs that preservice teachers held about their principals. Their statement of purpose was as follows:

The purpose of this study was

to explore the social context of

schools and schooling influenced

preservice teacher's personal

constructs of the principal.

That research question that follows from this purpose statement is:

How does the social context of a school influence preservice teacher's beliefs about the principal?

This overall research question seems to be very similar to the statement of the purpose and tends to restate the purpose in question form. Moreover, Bodycott et al. (2001) asked the following two subquestions in the form of "aims" of the research:

"The first aim of the study was to determine preservice teacher's beliefs about principals."

"The second aim was to identify what or who influenced these beliefs."

These two questions provide specific focus to the study and help ensure that the researcher knows exactly what is being investigated in the study (Johnson & Christensen, 2008).

Q. 9 - Ans.

Major ethical issues

The facts of this case though do not stipulate that the investigator wants to identify the factors that predict "persistence" in problem solving task amongst children, however I presume that the investigator intends to do this research for the child population only.

It is assumed generally that research involving children and young people should only be conducted where:

the research question posed is important to the health and well-being of children. However, a research procedure which is not intended directly to benefit the child subject is not necessarily either unethical or illegal. Such research includes observing and measuring normal development and the use of 'healthy volunteers' in controlled experiments;

the participation of children is indispensable because information available from research on other individuals cannot answer the question posed in relation to children;

the study method is appropriate for children;

the circumstances in which the research is conducted provide for the physical, emotional and psychological safety of the child.

We assumed that the above situational preconditions are fulfilled by this study (if not then it should and in contrary it will be dealt as ethical issues).

Treatment of research participants is the most important and fundamental issue that researchers must confront. Therefore the investigator should use no research procedure that may harm the child either physically or psychologically (Johnson & Christensen, 2008, p. 105). The ethical principle in research should be that one ought to treat humans with respect to ground a requirement that in scientific research, prospective human subjects should not become subjects of a scientific research experiment unless they have given free and voluntary, informed consent to participate in that experiment.

The facts show that in this study the subjects (participants) will be intentionally deceived as to the purpose of the experimental activity. Under the principle of informed consent, research participants are supposed to receive information about the purpose and nature of study in which they are being asked to participate so that they can evaluate the procedures to be followed and make an informed judgment as to whether they want to participate (Johnson & Christensen, 2008, p. 116). However the nature of this study necessitated for making use of deception in the form of with holding information because if the true purpose of the study had been revealed, it could have altered the outcome and invalidates the results.

Procedures to be employed

Particular care is required when conducting research with children (the situational preconditions for research involving children as stated in first part of this answer are fulfilled) the following procedures need to be employed;

1. Non-harmful procedures

The investigator should use no research procedure that may harm the child either physically or psychologically. The investigator is also obligated at all times to use the least stressful research procedure whenever possible. Psychological harm in particular instances may be difficult to define; nevertheless, its definition and means for reducing or eliminating it remain the responsibility of the investigator. When the investigator is in doubt about the possible harmful effects of the research procedures, consultation should be sought from others.

2. Consent and Children

It is essential that the child has full information about the research in order to give their 'informed consent' to take part, and that consent is 'freely volunteered'. The child should also know that 's/he can withdraw at any time'. Information presented to the child and parent, should explain: what will happen; what is being asked of the child; that the child can agree - or disagree to take part - without adverse consequences; and may withdraw at any time (Johnson & Christensen, 2008, p. 112-113); and be given in clear language at a level that the child can understand, using visual aids if necessary.

3. Parental Consent

Minors, however, are presumed to be incompetent to make decisions and cannot give consent. Therefore parental consent is required where it is viewed that a child is incapable of understanding the implications of taking part in a study or where the child is regarded as incompetent to consent. Although the child's assent is advisable, the power to consent, in law, is that of his/her parents or legal guardian. Those acting for a child are only acting legally if participation in the project is of benefit to the child. If it is not, the parent or guardian could be said to be acting illegally.

Parental consent might be active (consenting to participate in a research study by signing a consent form) or passive (consent is assumed from not returning the form).

4. Additional consent

The informed consent of any persons, such as schoolteachers for example, whose interaction with the child is the subject of the study should also be obtained. As with the child and parents or guardians informed consent requires that the persons interacting with the child during the study be informed of all features of the research which may affect their willingness to participate time (Johnson & Christensen, 2008, p. 115).

5. Deception

Although full disclosure of information during the procedure of obtaining consent is the ethical ideal, a particular study may necessitate withholding certain information or deception (Johnson & Christensen, 2008, p. 116). Whenever withholding information or deception is judged to be essential to the conduct of the study, the investigator should satisfy research colleagues that such judgment is correct. If withholding information or deception is practiced, and there is reason to believe that the research participants will be negatively affected by it, adequate measures such as debriefing, dehoaxing, and desensitizing should be taken after the study to ensure the participant's understanding of the reasons for the deception. Investigators whose research is dependent upon deception should make an effort to employ deception methods that have no known negative effects on the child or the child's family.

6. Confidentiality

The investigator should keep in confidence all information obtained about research participants. The participants' identity should be concealed in written and verbal reports of the results, as well as in informal discussion with students and colleagues. When a possibility exists that others may gain access to such information, this possibility, together with the plans for protecting confidentiality, should be explained to the participants as part of the procedure of obtaining informed consent.

Q. 10 - Ans…

My area of interest for futuristic research would be in module 4 (non-experimental quantitative) on below topic for the reasons stated therewith.

Steps Forward: Education Law in 2020

This topic will examine that where will education law be in 2020? The bleakest scenario for those involved in education would be one where teachers are working to comply with a mountain of legal regulation, glancing over their shoulders because of a constant threat of legal action and conscious about the potential legal implications of every act and omission, remark or form of physical contact with pupils. Is this likely to occur? Hopefully not.

However, the only thing that can be predicted with any degree of certainty is that the law will play a greater role in schools in the future than it does now. This has been the trend for the last ten years and it is one which will continue for the foreseeable future. The legal intervention of schools is unstoppable.

Areas of education which were previously immune from legal intervention are now heavily regulated and litigated. There is perhaps no better example of this than the rules in relation to the statutory curriculum. Today we have primary legislation detailing not just the subjects but the specific topics which must be taught in schools. Twenty years ago the law simply guaranteed a child a free school place. Today, an entire tranche of the statute book is devoted to working out how places in popular schools are distributed.

The key question and focus of this paper will be to examine how much further the law can go and to attempt to identify the areas where this growth will take place.