The Research Strategy Qualitative And Case Study Education Essay

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This study will conduct exploratory and descriptive research on examining how veteran middle school teachers in Georgia, seeking to close the achievement gap between their white students and their students of color, develop aspects of cultural responsiveness when their students differ from them in terms of race, ethnicity, and/or socioeconomic class. Specifically, the researcher shall use case study to identify teachers who have succeeded in implementing culturally responsive approach to teaching their students, with good performance scores for their students of color.

Chapter 2 highlighted the critical need for culturally relevant pedagogy in closing the achievement gap between the students of color and their white peers. This provided motivation for the research. To address the objectives of this study, the research shall develop a multi-method research strategy that supports the exploratory and descriptive nature of the research. This chapter shall discuss the overall study design and the study's multiple data collection and data analysis activities used to collect sufficient data to answer the research questions, and data validity. It shall also discuss ethical considerations of the participants

4.1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

As demonstrated by the review of the literature, despite on-going interest and repeated calls for research, there has been little work done to analyse and document how middle school teachers implement aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color in Georgia. Yet, the need for such work is particularly pressing in light of the rapid change experienced by teachers who teach students who differ from them in terms of ethnicity, race, an d socio-economic class to improve their academic achievements. There is a wide academic achievement gap between the students of color and their white counterparts. This gap has been attributed to their race, culture, their surrounding environment and their teachers.

The following research questions will be used to examine the need, if any, for more teacher professional development training, which focuses specifically on culturally relevant pedagogy, as a means of closing the achievement gap found among Georgia middle school students.  

How do existing title one middle school teachers, seeking to close the achievement gap between their white students and students of color (Black and Hispanic), develop aspects of cultural responsiveness, when their students differ from them in terms of race, ethnicity, and/or socioeconomic class?

In an effort to gain clarity on the awareness level teachers have about their students, as it relates to race, culture, and/or socioeconomic class, I will be examining this question through the lens of the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS).  This will provide insight on the effectiveness of teacher prepared lessons and their methods of delivery.  Additionally, through this same question and lens I will be able to review whether or not teachers are communicating information to their students in a manner that is understood by all students, particularly those from varying backgrounds.

How does the professional development, provided by schools and school districts, influence teachers' ability to incorporate culturally responsive teaching practices in their classroom?

The aim of this question is to examine how schools and school districts are ensuring that teachers are aware of the impact cultural responsive teaching can have on the overall performance of their students.  Through the lenses of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and the Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, I will explore the reactions of teachers to their students with cultural difference.

4.2 THE RESEARCH STRATEGY: QUALITATIVE AND CASE STUDY

Keeping in mind the study's goals, the research strategy needs to focus on establishing how veteran middle school teachers in Georgia, seeking to close the achievement gap between their white students and their students of color, develop aspects of cultural responsiveness when their students differ from them in terms of race, ethnicity, and/or socioeconomic class. This study needs to result in a data repository sufficient to answer the two research questions posed by the study:

How do existing title one middle school teachers, seeking to close the achievement gap between their white students and students of color (Black and Hispanic), develop aspects of cultural responsiveness, when their students differ from them in terms of race, ethnicity, and/or socioeconomic class?

How does the professional development, provided by schools and school districts, influence teachers' ability to incorporate culturally responsive teaching practices in their classroom?

These two facets characterize the research strategy: qualitative and case study. The following section discusses the facets in more detail, therefore explaining their relevance to this study.

4.2.1 A qualitative study.

This study mandated a research approach that would acknowledge the complexity of social process and focus on the context and specifics of culturally responsive pedagogy. The researcher concluded that qualitative research approach oriented towards the discovery, description, and holistic understanding of process and activities is most suitable for the study. The following identifies some basic assumptions that a qualitative study, linking them to the study of how veteran middle school teachers in Georgia, seeking to close the achievement gap between their white students and students of color (Black and Hispanic), develop aspects of cultural responsiveness, when their students differ from them in terms of race, ethnicity, and/or socioeconomic class.

Research enables a holistic perspective. Qualitative research assumes that a complex phenomenon is under study and that a complex system cannot be meaningfully reduced to several variables and linear causal relationships (Patton, 1990). Qualitative approach portrays a holistic setting and impacts is that greater attention can be given to nuance, setting, interdependence, complexities, idiosyncrasies and context (p. 51). The theories of culturally responsive pedagogy combined with a qualitative research approach orients the study towards a holistic understanding of how Georgian teachers implement culturally responsive teaching.

Research incorporates an emergent design. The research design cannot be completely specified in advance of the fieldwork. Clear understanding develops and evolve through the research process and each data collection and analysis activity informs subsequent data collection and analysis activities. This study, as an exploratory study, requires flexibility to respond to the researcher's evolving understanding of the phenomena and to pursue new avenues of inquiry as needed

Research is descriptive. Qualitative research focus on describing and understanding phenomena. The description involves detailed account of the context, the activities, the participants, and the process. The goal of this study is to describe how middle school teachers in Georgia develop aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color.

Research is primarily focused with the process rather than outcomes or products. Qualitative research focuses on process, and is more interested in understanding and describing dynamic and complex processes. This study is concerned with "what" and "how" in respect to teachers developing aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color, to close the achievement gap. This research focuses on establishing: How existing title one middle school teachers, seeking to close the achievement gap between their white students and students of color (Black and Hispanic), develop aspects of cultural responsiveness, when their students differ from them in terms of race, ethnicity, and/or socioeconomic class, and how the professional development, provided by schools and school districts, influence teachers' ability to incorporate culturally responsive teaching practices in their classroom.

Research involves fieldwork. Fieldwork implies that the researcher will have direct and personal contact with the people involved in a phenomenon in the natural setting of the phenomenon. The researcher shall conduct a fieldwork in with participants from Georgian schools to understand how they develop aspects of culturally responsive teaching when teaching students of color, in their natural setting.

The Research uses the researcher as the primary instrument of data collection and analysis. Qualitative research presumes that the data are meditated directly by the researcher rather than through data collection instruments such as questionnaires, surveys, among others. In this study, the researcher will collect data through observation of the teachers teaching students of color and their peers, examination of documentary evidence such as lesson plan, teaching aids, lesson progress etc, interview with participants, and examination of documentary evidence.

Research is interested on how people make sense of their lives, how they interpret experiences and how they structure their social world. Standards development is a social process whereby a variety of stakeholders come together to agree on one or more ways of doing something. A qualitative approach presumes that each stakeholder brings various interpretations and values to the process. This study directs attention to the teachers and their perception and values to the process of developing aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color. The process of research is inductive.

Qualitative research approach is exploratory and focuses on discovery. This research seeks to discover how these teachers develop aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color. It seeks to identify and characterize important categories, dimensions and interrelationships in the phenomena.

Therefore, linking the assumptions to this research demonstrates that qualitative research approach is most suitable for this study. The study requires

A holistic oriented approach to a address the complex activities, processes and forces in developing aspects of cultural responsiveness, and their interrelationships

A flexible research design that allows the researcher to pursue new directions in data collection as understanding developed during the research

Orientation towards detailed description that address both the context and specifics of developing aspects of cultural responsiveness

A focus on the participants of the study and the process through fieldwork study

An inductive process that identifies and characterizes categories and patterns in data and grounds the findings in the data

This qualitative approach complements the use of case study.

4.2.2 case study

A case study approach is useful when the opportunity to learn is of primary importance (Stake, 1994). The distinctive need for case study arises out of the desire to understand complex social phenomena (p. 14) Case study approach provides a mode of enquiry for in-depth examination of phenomena. Case study research in an empirical enquiry in that:

It investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context (Yin, 1989)

The boundaries between phenomena and context are not clearly evident

Multiple sources of evidence are used

Case study enables the use of multiple methods for data collection and analysis, the primary sources in this study were the primary source materials and documentary evidence , which includes interview with the participants, observation of lesson progress (teachers teaching mixed race classes), among others. Multiple sources of evidence and different data collection techniques (such as documentary evidence, interviews and observations) are two methods among many that Patton (1990) suggested to improve the quality of the data and research findings.

A revelatory case is one for which there is a belief that the problem under study in a particular case is common to other cases as well. If the selected teachers for study in Georgia can serve as a revelatory case, then there is a basis for discovering and describing aspects of developing cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color, that may be applicable to other situations both within Georgia and the whole country.

There are generally three types of case research studies:

Intrinsic- whereby on explores a particular case to gain a better understanding g of it

instrumental- where a particular case is examined to provide information of insight on issues or refinement of theory

Collective- where a number of cases are studies jointly in order to inquire into the phenomena, or population, or general condition.

This study will serve both intrinsic and instrumental purposes. The research will shed light on developing how teachers of Georgia develop aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color. The study will explore and describe a particular process.

4.3 STUDY DESIGN.

This research strategy provides a framework for designing a systematic study that will address the study's objectives and questions.

The figure below represents the study design. It reflects the logical flow from the preliminary activities that initiates the study and the theoretical framework, through data collection and analysis, and the articulation of a set of working hypothesis.

Preliminary activities. The researcher conducted an extensive literature review on the theories of culturally responsive pedagogy, the achievement gap, and reducing the achievement gap. The review corroborated the need for this research and provided support for the research objectives

Data collection, data reduction and data analysis. The researcher will collect data sufficient enough to address the study's two research questions through the use of multiple methods of data collection and multiple sources of evidence. The data will be collected, coded and analyzed. Synthesis of the data will involve comparing and checking data from various sources

Findings. The researcher will document the findings on developing aspects of culturally responsive teaching.

Derive a working framework. The findings from the study shall be used to derive a working framework of developing aspects of culturally responsive teaching in Georgia.

Final report. The researcher will then compile the results of all activities in a report document.

Purposeful sampling will be incorporated into the research design. Purposeful sampling is based on informational, rather than statistical considerations. Its main purpose is to maximize information rather than facilitate generalizations.

4.4 SOURCES OF DATA AND DATA COLLECTION

The research will document all evidence for developing accurate chronology of how teachers in Georgia develop aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color. Documental all evidence will help the researcher uncover meaning, develop understanding and discover insights relevant to the research problem (Yin, 1994).

This study shall use three techniques to collect data

Documentary evidence consisting of primary source materials related to culturally responsive teaching and pedagogy, and the achievement gap

Guided interviews with middle school teachers of Georgia and other educational stakeholders

Participant observation of selected culturally responsive teachers

4.4.1 Primary source material and documentary evidence

Documentary information is likely to be relevant to every case study topic : it can help the researcher uncover meaning, develop understanding and discover insights relevant to the research problem (Yin, 1994). The researcher shall gather primary source material relating to culturally responsive pedagogy. The key criteria for selecting the primary material is :

Authority -necessary for establishing the document's credibility.

Relevance- the documents must be relevant to the study.

4.4.2 Guided interviews with teachers of Georgia and other stake holders

Patton (1990) observed that interviews provide a way of collecting information and finding out about things that the researcher cannot directly observe. Yin (1994) noted that interviews are an important data collection technique for a case study because case studies are usually about human affairs, therefore they should reported and interpreted through the eyes of specific interviewees, and well informed respondents can provide important insights into a situation. For this study, interviews shall serve the following purposes:

Obtaining here-and -now constructions of a phenomena

Reconstruction of previous events

Projection of the future

Verification and corroboration of data from other sources

The researcher shall identify teachers who shall participate in the interview and observations for the study. Interviews with the participants shall provide a basis for understanding how teachers of Georgia develop aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color. The interview shall provide:

Historical information (such as background on the context, origin, and early responses to cultural diversity and culturally responsive teaching)

Information about more recent development activities (such as how teachers develop aspects of cultural responsiveness, challenges faced by these teachers and their students, how the professional development provided by schools and districts influence the teachers abilities to incorporate aspects of cultural responsiveness in class, therefore answering the second research question)

The researcher shall record the interview process on tapes for later transcription,

4.4.3 Participant observation

Observation of participants implies active engagement with the individuals in their natural setting. The researcher in this study will observe the selected teachers in the classroom, teaching students of color. The researcher shall observe how these teachers employ culturally responsive teaching methods to enhance the achievement of their students. Observations shall be important because:

It shall maximizes the researcher's ability to grasp motives, beliefs , concerns, interest unconscious behaviors and customs of the participants

It shall allow the researcher to see the world as the participants see it, live in their time frames, to capture the phenomenon in and on its own terms, to grasp the culture in its own natural , ongoing environment

It shall provide the researcher will access to the emotional reactions of the group introspectively, i.e in the sense that is shall permit the observer to be the data source

I shall allow the observer to build on tacit knowledge, both his own and that of members of the group

The participant observation in the study shall involve the following steps

Observation of the teachers conducting their lessons in the classrooms

Recording the observations in a set of field notes

Interviews subsequent to the meetings with selected participants to serve and debriefings and member checks for data quality of the researcher's field notes

4.5 SELECTIONS OF PARTICIPANTS

The researcher shall use purposive sampling technique to select key participants that shall represent the population. Purposeful sampling aims at maximizing information collection for variance, and identifies information-rich sources for in-depth data collection ( Patton, 1990).

The selection of the participants shall be guided by two objectives

Maximize the breadth of perspectives on how teachers in Georgia develop aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color, and how the professional body provided by schools and school districts influence the teacher's ability to incorporate cultural responsive teaching practices in their classroom

Focus on specific topics for which the researcher require in-depth explanations, characterization and refinement

The researcher shall develop a list of potential study candidates including identified culturally responsive teachers, members of district school committees, and other educational stakeholders.

The key participants shall be selected based on the following criteria

Role of the individual in developing aspects of cultural responsiveness, teaching of students of color, or participation in school district boards and policy making, and direct or indirect participation in educating students of color

Assessment of authority and knowledge of individual in discussing developing aspects of cultural responsiveness when teaching students of color, and policies that affect teachers in developing aspects of cultural responsiveness

School or organizational affiliation, and specialty. Identifying where a teacher teaches and what subjects is necessary for ensuring a wide range of perspective

4.6 DATA ANALYSIS

4.6.1 Strategy for data analysis

The researcher will on the data through a process of induction to determine the categories, patterns and working themes. Developing the coding categories shall be accomplished by examining the data for regularities, patterns and topics and using words or phrases to represent the topics and patterns. The objective of coding of the data is to facilitate the search for patterns and themes in the data, foe easy analysis and interpretations.

This research may result in accumulation of large amounts of qualitative data from interviews, observation and study of documents and research memos. This may require database management software for handling and storing the data.

The researcher shall select a full-text based management software program for this purpose, that shall low for the creation of one or more databases to store and manage the data, index the data and code , and provide other functionalities such as audit trial..

4.6.2 Analysis of primary source material

The primary source material shall be undertaken by first developing a historical reconstruction of:

the policies that affect culturally responsive pedagogy in schools

policies on closing the achievement gap, such as the no child left behind

integration of cultural responsiveness in teacher training programs

Most of these source materials are official records. The researcher shall document all the findings from these documents for coding

4.6.3 Analysis of guided interviews

The researcher shall analyze the results of the interviews from the perspective of the concepts of developing aspects of cultural responsiveness, and policies that affect the implementation of cultural responsiveness in schools.

The data shall be coded into relevant categories. Coding is a form of content analysis that involves identifying, coding and categorizing the primary patterns on the data.

4.7 QUALITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS OF THE STUDY.

The most important aspect of any research is to incorporate appropriate mechanisms that assure the researcher and reader of the research of the quality of the research, its process and findings.

4.7.1 Quality of data sources

This research shall ensure that it employs high quality data sources. The researcher shall be keen through the study to capture quality data that build an understanding of developing aspects of cultural responsiveness in teaching students of color. The following procedures shall assist in ensuring that quality data is collected

Use of primary data sources from established repositories of educational documents.

The researcher shall use purposeful sampling to select the participants for the study to ensure authoritative data. The researcher shall identify knowledgeable respondents and sources. Purposeful sampling shall ensure that the selected participants are individuals who are knowledgeable and have recognized authority by virtue of their roles in implementing cultural responsiveness in the education of students of color

Recording of observations for the study and interview progression site to ensure against data loss and corruption.

4.7.2 Systematic management of data

The researcher shall implement systematic collection of data after the identification of high quality data sources. The following activities shall assist in maintaining quality control during data collection

Prolonged engagement. The researcher shall regularly attend classes of the selected participant teachers to observe the implementation fo culturally responsive teaching. Regular attendance shall increase the familiarity of the researcher with the teachers and student participants in the class, therefore reducing potential research effects on the phenomena and its participants.

Persistent observation. Prolonged engagement shall enable the researcher to develop an understanding of the essential characteristics in the phenomena through persistent observation

Recording and transcription of interviews. The researcher shall us a digital recorder to record interview processing instead of relying on post-interview write-ups

Purposeful sampling. This shall enable the researcher to maximize the range of information collected. Purposeful sampling shall enable the researcher to collect sufficient data to provide a rich detail of implementation of cultural responsiveness in class

Data management controls. The researcher shall implement data management procedures such as recording primary source materials in databases and physical files, balding database of transcribed interview results, and maintenance of inventories of the collected data, for systematic recording and access.

4.8 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

The students, teachers and other selected participants are valuable contributors to this research project. The researcher shall ensure that their participation in this study does not expose them to any risk. The researcher shall protect the privacy and confidence of all the participants using pseudonyms. The study participants can provide important feedback and useful contributions to the analysis throughout the course of the project. The researcher shall also ensure that the participants perspectives are accurately reflected,, therefore, the researcher shall share the transcriptions of interviews and analyses of the conversations with the study participants during the data collection and write-up process.

The researcher shall commit to protect the integrity and reputation of the participant schools, and therefore shall share the observations and analysis with school administrators and faculty involved in the study during the course of the project on a regular basis, seeking their feedback and ensuring that their perspectives have been faithfully rendered.

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