This qualitative research aims to evaluate the effectiveness of various academic activities and determine which of them should receive more attention. In this paper we need to work out strategies of data collection and sampling. At the moment Green Valley Community College has faced the necessity to implement changes into the curriculum due to the fact that many students feel dissatisfied with absence of technology use in the classroom and inappropriate educational methods.
This is why it is crucial to assess the attitude of students, parents and teachers toward the curriculum. On the basis of these findings, the administration will be able to tailor the courses, offered to the learners.
The key method which is going to be used is qualitative survey. This survey will include different types of questions. First, I intend to include contingency questions in this survey. For instance, one of them will look in the following way: “Do you feel satisfied with the quality of training, provided at Green Valley Community College?
If no, tell which areas require improvement.” Furthermore, I would like to apply a five-point Likert scale item in order to measure students’ and teacher’s attitudes toward the curriculum. This question can take this form, ”How do you feel about the curriculum in Green Valley Community College?”. The respondent will need to choose one of these options:
1) Very Satisfied;
3) Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied;
5) Very Dissatisfied.
In this way, I will be better able to evaluate the perceptions and attitudes of the participants. The questions in this survey will prompt the learners and faculty to make recommendations about academic curriculum, the use of technologies, and educational methods.
I do not plan to use Yes/No and forced-choice questions in this survey because they are not very suitable for measuring people’s perception and attitudes.
Under the circumstances, a longitudinal survey study will be necessary, because it helps to understand how attitudes and perceptions change over a certain period of time (Lodico et al, 2010, p 202). In my opinion, this approach will let us see whether the new teaching methods and academic activities have managed to improve the quality of education in this college or not. At the point, I have yet to determine whether it will be a one-shot or longitudinal study.
The duration of this research will depend on the decision of the board of directors. A longitudinal study requires more time and funding, however, its findings are much more reliable. In turn, a one-shot study only measures current perceptions and attitudes, but it cannot track the change of people’s attitudes.
This study will have three groups of subjects: 1) students; 2) faculty; 3) parents. I have yet to determine the exact number of participants; however, I would like to use the so-called snowball sampling, which means that the respondents, themselves, help a researcher to find new subjects (Gray et al, 2007, p 117). In other words, those students or faculty members, whom we have already interviewed, can refer us to their group-mates or colleagues.
It has to be admitted that such approach to sampling is usually very time-consuming, because the number of participants may grow at a very fast pace (Babbie, 2008). Nonetheless, this strategy will enable me to better understand the needs of both learners and educators. According to my estimations, this research will involve at least thirty representatives of each group.
It should be taken into consideration that in the course of this research, I will also need to study several locations within the college. As it has been noted before, it is necessary to evaluate the implementation of new technologies. In this case, I will need to pay special attention to computer labs, library and class rooms.
The key task is to determine whether computers and software solutions, used in this college, are well-suited for the needs of the students and faculty. This analysis will allow the administration to see what kind of technologies is most needed. Perhaps, some computers and programs require updating and upgrading. The most convenient method of data collection is observation.
There are several steps which I need to take in order to gain permission for the study. First of all I need to contact the board of directors. These people are the key decision-makers in Green Valley Community College. They will determine the amount of time and funding that would be available for the needs of this research.
I will need to explain the potential benefits of this research for this educational institution. Moreover, I will need to contact the faculty members to make an appointment with them. It will also be necessary to contact both parents and students and explain to them the rationale for this study.
The findings of this research can be of great assistance to the administration of Green Valley Community College and other educational institutions, which have also encountered such a problem as students’ dissatisfaction. Still, the reliability and usefulness of this study will strongly depend on the research design, data collection procedures and accuracy of analysis.
Babbie. E. (2008). The basics of social research. NY: Cengage Learning.
Creswell, J.W. (2008). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Gray. P. Williamson J. & Karp D. (2007). The Research imagination: an introduction to qualitative and quantitative methods. Cambridge University Press.
Lodico, M. G., Spaulding, D. T., & Voegtle, K. H. (2010). Methods in educational research: from theory to practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.