Quantitative Research Techniques And Designs Education Essay

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Throughout this course journal articles have been evaluated as examples of both qualitative and quantitative studies. This paper will revisit three of these articles. Two articles will be addressed as to their design, method, and application. A third article will be reviewed in terms of the study's contribution to social change and potential further audiences. The response for each topic will be assessed by the explicit descriptions of key concepts, demonstrating doctoral-level knowledge of the topic areas.

Quantitative Research Techniques and Designs

The quantitative article which will be further analyzed is "The Effects of Message Framing on College Students' Career Decision Making" (Tansley, Jome, Hasse, and Martens, 2007). This article is based upon a study regarding the impact that marketing and messaging has on college students as they prepare to make career decisions.

Quantitative Methods

The hypothesis was that persuasive messaging presented in written form would be effective in enhancing student's self-efficacy when related to career decision making. More specifically, Tansley, et. al (2007) had three research questions:

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"First, do written persuasive messages affect the career decision-making self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and intentions of college students to a greater extent than a placebo control message? Second, does the way a message is framed (either loss or gain framed) differentially affect college students' career decision-making self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and intentions? Third, what effect do persuasive messages have on students' engagement in career exploration behaviors?" (p. 302)

The measurement and instrumentations used in this study were solid. The researchers used existing tools with high validity to assess the students, including "the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale-Short Form (Betz &Taylor, 2001), the Career Decision-Making Outcome Expectations Scale (Betz &Voyten, 1997), and the Career Exploratory Intentions Scale (Betz & Voyten, 1997)" (Tansley, et. al, 2007, p. 304.) Each test independently has internal consistency reliability coefficients ranging from .72 to .93.

The population of this study is traditionally aged college students in their final year of study. A pilot study was done prior to the roll out. After successful application in the pilot group the study was conducted with a sample of 126 students. It is not stated in the article how the sample was selected, but does indicate that they were solicited from a group of undergraduate students at a southern community college.

Quantitative Design

Tansley, et. al (2007) study of career decision making was an experimental research design. In experimental research, "the researcher controls or manipulates how groups of participants are treated and then measures how the treatment effects each group" (Lodico, Spaulding, and Voegtle, 2010, p.178). In this case, the researchers treated three groups to various treatments. First each they were given an essay to read: one group was given a gain-framed message, one a loss-framed message, and the last a control message. Each group was then evaluated on their career decision making efficacy using several tools, or tests, which were administered via paper. One week later, the subjects were evaluated on career seeking activities using a final tool.

The study was conducted to see if X caused Y - if different styles of message framing caused a change in efficacy or activity of the career decision making process. The messages acted as the independent variables, and the outcomes of the tests were the dependent variables.

Quantitative Analysis

Tansley, et. al (2007) determined that "the students receiving either the loss- or gain-framed messages reported significantly greater career decision-making outcome expectations and intentions, and also engaged in more career-related behaviors in the week following the intervention, than the students who received the control message" (p.310). Therefore, the hypothesis was supported by the data collected.

A multiple regression was conducted to determine if career decision-making self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and intentions would predict students' career-related behaviors. "Results indicated that participants' cognitions predicted a significant amount of the participants' career behaviors and accounted for 10.2% of the variance in their behaviors" (Tansley, et. al, 2007, p. 311).

The researchers also used an ANOVA test to gauge the differences between the gain-framed and the loss-framed groups. Tansley, et. al (2007) determined through the ANCOVA test that "the multivariate test of this contrast on all four dependent variables was significant, Pillais' trace = .170, F(4, 120) = 6.14, p < .000" (p. 311). A MANOVA test also determined that there was no significant difference between racial groups in regards to these dependent variables.

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Qualitative Research Techniques and Designs

The article analyzed for the qualitative research techniques and designs was "The irony of globalization: The experience of Japanese women in British higher education" (Habu, 2000). This article is based upon a study of Japanese women who studied abroad at institutions in the United Kingdom.

Qualitative Design

Habu's (2000) study of Japanese students in Britain was an ethnography. The purpose of an ethnography is "to provide rich narratives or descriptions of the communities or cultures under investigation" (Lodico, Spaulding and Voegtle, 2010, p.269). Ethnographers become quite involved in their studies and with their participants, which is a necessity in order to gain insight into the cultural question being studied. The issue being addressed in Habu's (2007) study was to "identify the motivations of Japanese women to study in Britain, and to examine their experience as students as well as peripheral members of the labor force" (p.43). Habu spent time with Japanese women who were studying in the United Kingdom. During that time, the researcher gained information regarding the participants motivation for studying abroad, including but not limited to career prospects in their native country.

Qualitative Methods

The measurement and instrumentations used in this study varied. The researcher conducted interviews informal interviews, which were determined the best option for this topic, because "the complex and largely unmapped nature of the culture that Japanese women in Britain are creating cannot be captured by responses to standardised [sic] interview questions" (Habu, 2000, p.46).

As such, each interview was different, with no pre-established set of questions. Habu (2000) explains this by stating, "A more formal approach would run the risk of relying too heavily on a priori hypotheses and not allow for inductive insights to be gained" (p. 46). Interviews were conducted in person, and in the native language of the participants.

Twenty-five informants participated in this study. They were selected through purposeful sampling. The researcher solicited participants at Japanese related meetings. "Most informants were found by 'word of mouth', although no more than three informants were introduced by any one individual" (Habu, 2000, p. 47). Initial participants became key informants, providing additional information on where to find more participants.

Analysis of Qualitative Data

The researcher did not express enough information to give high credibility. There was only one data source used (taped interviews), and the interactions with participants were short (1-2 hours). It is not stated whether participant review, member check, peer debriefing, or an external audit were used to control researcher bias. Dependability is low as there was not a detailed description of the analysis procedures. Transferability is extremely low, since a standardized set of interview questions were not used and therefore cannot be duplicated. In addition, the interview setting was not described.

Habu (2000) found three patterns of experience that emerged from the responses of the female Japanese informants used in this case study. The first pattern saw students who received little support on passing their degree. The second was institutions allowing students to pass due to the tuition dollars they brought in. The third pattern was where students were fully integrated and engaged.

The researcher's means of analysis is not clearly stated in the article. Based on the fact that interviews were held and themes were identified, it can be logically assumed that the researcher coded the interviews - either the notes or full/partial transcripts - in order to establish the themes. Results were displayed through the use of a thematic report.

Reporting and Contextualizing Research for Social Change

The article discussed in this section is "A content analysis exploring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender topics in foundations of education textbooks" (Macgillivray and Jennings, 2008). Macgillivray and Jennings had one overarching question guiding their research: How are LGBT topics treated in foundations of education text books.

Macgillivray and Jennings (2008) conducted a content analysis of eight textbooks commonly used in foundations of education university courses. Content analysis of documents is a form of archival research. It "is the systematic analysis of existing documents…[and] requires researchers to devise coding systems that raters can use to quantify the information in the documents" (Brown, Kozby, Kee and Worden, 1999, p. 95). The texts selected were based on various criteria, and in the end represented eight of the most popular foundations of education texts as of January 2007.

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The authors individually conducted content analysis of the texts. They began by reviewing the indexes and table of contents, then did a line by line analysis to find all mentions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) topics. Each of the two researchers then developed categories to code the information. Macgillivray and Jennings then began synthesizing the information, comparing their individual analysis for commonalities and differences. "This constant comparative process involved clarifying the definition of each category, condensing or expanding the categories until we were able to construct categories that were triangulated against the data and each of our own interpretations of the data as well as categories developed in previous research" (Macgillivray and Jennings, 2008, p. 177)

Further implications for practice were indicated through an example provided at the end of the article. In this example of 'best practice', an author who had successfully integrated LGBT issues into a foundations of education text book describes how that was done. This included ensuring that LGBT issues were "disassociated from bullying, youth suicide, or other youth risk factors" (Macgillivray and Jennings, 2008, p. 184). The author in the example also appropriately associated these issues with that of transgenderism and everyone being either male or female. Another helpful suggestion for the texts, which are used to educate future teachers, was offering those who may have antigay opinions that they do not have to agree that it is 'okay', instead they "should agree upon and teach their future students democratic ideals such as 'it's not okay to discriminate against those who are gay'" (p. 184).

Further research was recommended in the conclusion of Macgillivray and Jennings article. First, they recommend that another content analysis be performed within 5 years in order to determine if any progress has been made in the areas of LGBT topic inclusion. Furthermore, Macgillivray and Jennings (2008) indicate that their "findings hold broad relevance for other issues of identity and representation in textbooks" (p. 185). They close by offering a reminder that textbooks are often utilized as de facto curriculum and it is important that educators be critical in reviewing the information they are teaching for unintentional messages or omissions.

The audience Macgillivray and Jennings (2008) were trying to reach is varied and wide. The main audience is consumers of educational textbooks, such as faculty, teachers, and students. This research could highlight discrepancies or areas in which the text lack full detail in regards to the topics this audience is teaching or learning. The second audience could include those who publish or edit such textbooks. Editors and publishers alike would be interested to know where their texts are giving incorrect or incomplete information, in order to be the most marketable and competitively up-to-date text. The last of the key target audience are those interested in LGBT issues and how they are communicated. This audience would be interested to know which texts do not thoroughly delve into LGBT topics, in order to advocate for more accurate and current information in educational materials.

This study was published by the Journal of Teacher Education, edited by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Other organizations which may be interested in this study are the American Association of University Professors (AAUP); Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&P); National Adjunct Faculty Guild (NAFG); and a variety of state faculty associations for both private, public, and community colleges.

Due to the topical nature of the information, several publications focusing on diversity issues could also utilize this study/article. They include: the Journal of Moral Education; Journal of Social Issues; Diversity Journal; and Journal of Cultural Diversity. Specific to LGBT issues are the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Journal of Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education, Journal of LGBT Youth

While foundations of education texts are most often used in teacher education, they are also utilized in higher education administration and student affairs education. As such, organizations such as the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), which publishes the Journal of College Student Development; the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, who publish the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education; and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators would also be possible audiences for the results of this study.

Diversity issues go hand in hand with social change, and have been driving institutional/organizational change in a variety of industries, including education. As such, this article has the potential to facilitate change. The first change which could result is a more deliberate review and enhancement of LGBT issues by textbook editors. Those who purchase textbooks, such as deans and faculty, may also begin to seek out those texts which have proven to more fully explore LGBT issues and education for teachers.

From a topical standpoint, social change has often been linked to activism, or social action, throughout history. "Social action occurs when a disadvantaged segment of the population becomes organized, perhaps in alliance with others, to make demands on the dominant community institutions for increased resources or treatment in accordance with social justice (Ridini, 1998, p. 20). Ridini also states that "the goal of social action is to ensure a more equitable distribution of power, resources, or decision-making in the community" (p. 20). When applying that logic to Macgillivray and Jennings (2008) study, it can be said that more prolific information on LGBT topics in educator texts is a catalyst of social change through advocating for equality in resources.