Section 1. Research Problem, Significance, Question(s), Title: Qualitative
1.1 Proposed Dissertation Title
(Usually a statement based on the research question–short and to the point.)
The dissertation topic is, “Successful Teaching Strategies for Working with African American High School Urban Males.”
1.2 Research Topic
Describe the specific topic to be studied in a paragraph. (Be certain that the research question relates to the topic.)
The purpose of this study is to identify successful teaching strategies for African-American urban high school males. I will probe the relationship between diversified teaching methods and student motivation. In addition, the purpose of this study is to develop a greater understanding of the cultural, social, psychological framework and needs of the African-American urban high school male to develop specific teaching strategies to address their needs. Furthermore, this study will rely on extensive literature reviews and data analysis. The data analysis collected both from primary and secondary sources will stem from general qualitative study via open coding.
1.3 Research Problem
Write a brief statement that fully describes the problem being addressed. Present this in one sentence or no more than one clear concise paragraph.
To date, there is not a plentiful amount of research linking specific teaching strategies with student success among the African-American urban high school male population.
To address this gap, this study will determine general and specific teaching techniques teachers can incorporate to achieve increased student involvement and strong relationships with their students. Thus, teachers can benefit tremendously from this study as it should help them in implementing ways of teaching that will improve learning and motivation.
1.4 Research Purpose
Write a brief statement that fully describes the intent of the study or the reason for conducting the study. Present this in one sentence or no more than one clear concise paragraph.
The purpose of this study is to identify successful teaching strategies for teachers working with African-American high school urban males. This study will illustrate the importance and application of differential teaching strategies. The study will also give a precise depiction of the available literature from various salient domains.
1.5 Research Question(s)
(What do you really want to know? The rest of this form derives from and should constantly be guided by your research question. Always consider your research question in addressing all following components of this design form.)
Based on the preliminary literature review, diversified and appropriate teaching strategies will improve the participation and performance of African-American high school urban males. The following are the research questions:
R1) What successful strategies were used by classroom teachers?
R2) What processes, strategies and techniques do classroom teachers find most effective in promoting significant learning gains?
R3) What are the major distractions faced in school by African-American male high school students?
1.6 Literature Review Section
Provide a brief overview of the conceptual framework upon which your study is based. Identify the seminal research and theories that inform your study. Discuss the topics and themes that you will use to organize your literature review. Attach the most current list of references with the Research Plan.
In order to develop a greater understanding of the cultural, social and psychological factors contributing to learning limitations and learning talents in African-American high school urban males, I consult a wide range of sources. Some of the sources address and inform the focus on psychological, social and cultural issues that affect African-American students. “African American students, as a whole, have many more barriers to overcome at home than other students in order to be successful, (Wood, 37 p. 22).” According to Pallas (1989), most African-American students have more responsibilities and less sleep than recommended. This explains in part why African-American students perform below their peers on average. Many African-American students also suffer psychological problems because they are likely to perceive that discrimination will hinder their progress (Ford, 1999).
In a research study of ten African-American undergraduate males studying in a White southern institution, the researcher found out that the students struggled with persistence throughout their education life. More than two-thirds of African-American college men do not finish their education on time and they tend to take longer or drop out (Mock, 2000, p.24). The study determined that the foundation of collegiate success is affected by their upbringing and experiences. Mentoring these students enhanced learning, helping African-American students too actively and confidently participate in their learning. Mentors should play the roles of teacher, gatekeeper, guide, and consultant Mock (2001). Additionally, he found that the community has a major role to play in enhancing African-American education by helping them to develop positive attitudes and to set academic standards.
1.7 Need for the Study
Describe the need for the study. Provide a rationale or need for studying a particular issue or phenomenon. Describe how the study is relevant to your specialization area.
This study is significant to my specialization, considering the existing and continuously growing number of African-American students in US high schools. (Bak, 1993, p.3) has examined that the performance of African-American high school males is significantly lower than all of its remaining peers. As such, this study will also be helpful for teachers to understanding their student’s learning requirements. The studied and devised teaching strategies will broaden their teaching skills. Most schools in the United States establish their mission statement in three priorities: “to stimulate the desire of the students, to provide instruction for sound scholarly achievement, and to provide an atmosphere conducive for the development of interpersonal expertise required for societal entrance” (Neely and Wheeler, n.d, p.12). These priorities, however, are unattainable for African-American urban high school males in many ways. A major factor for the learning differences between African-American males and white students is limited intellectual exposure at a young age. The motivation to study is absent in African-American male students. Neely has explained that “Urban African-American students, because of cultural and societal reasons, tend to personalize relationships, which makes the attitude of the teacher instrumental in ensuring affirmative participation” (Neely, n.d, p.24).
Describe the qualitative methodology and research model you propose to use; e.g., Merriam for a basic qualitative study, Yin for a case study, or Moustakas for a phenomenological study.
Briefly identify the method(s) will you use to collect the data, such as: semi-structured interviews, open-ended conversational interviews, journaling, letters, pictures, observations, field notes, focus groups.
The methodology used for this study will be a general qualitative study. This study will not only produce knowledge of the concept and its relevance, but will also devise ways to process the information collected by means of open coding. The data will be collected from an open-ended conversation interview with ten to twelve teachers and or administrators. Moreover, it will identify best practical teaching methods available to address the needs of a diversified classroom. Hence, identifying most effective strategies, techniques, and procedures used to address the learning needs of African-American males.
Section 2. Advancing Scientific Knowledge
DISSERTATION RESEARCHERS: Do not complete remaining sections until you have received topic approval.
Your study should advance the scientific knowledge base in your field by meeting one or more of these four criteria:
1. The study should address something that is not known or has not been studied before.
2. The study should be new or different from other studies in some way.
3. The study should extend prior research on the topic in some way.
4. The study should fill a gap in the existing literature.
Specifically describe how your research will advance scientific knowledge on your topic by answering all of these questions. Include in-text citations as needed.
2.1 Advancing Scientific Knowledge
Demonstrate how the study (a) will advance the scientific knowledge base; (b) is grounded in the field of education; and (c) addresses something that is not known, something that is new or different from prior research, something that extends prior research, or something that fills a gap in the existing literature. Describe precisely how your study will add to the existing body of literature on your topic. It can be a small step forward in a line of current research but it must add to the body of scientific knowledge in your specialization area and on the topic.
2.2 Theoretical Implications
Describe any theoretical implications that the proposed study may have for understanding the phenomena to be investigated. For example, will the study generate new substantive theory, provide a description of the lived experiences of the participants, illuminate a process or practice, or provide a description of a cultural phenomenon?
This study will draw on theories from psychology, sociology, and learning behaviors. Various studies by experts from different fields have stressed the importance of developing and implementing diversified teaching strategies for African -American urban high school males. This study will specify those successful teaching strategies for African-American urban high school males. I will make an effort to establish relationships between diversified teaching methods and student motivation. In particular, I seek to develop an understanding of the cultural, social, and psychological framework of the African-American urban males so that teaching strategies can address the needs of the population.
This research will also develop appropriate strategies for conducting a sociological study investigating behavioral trends among African American youths. Furthermore, the study will provide a new theoretical approach to a teaching-learning process that caters to young, African American learners. This will entail devising new approaches to teaching and development of the curriculum.
Various studies by experts from different fields have stressed the importance of developing and implementing diversified teaching strategies for African-American high school males. Danny Bernard Martin, who taught African-American children for more than 10 years noted that, “The same pattern that I first saw twenty years ago: many African-American students are enrolled in remedial or lower-level mathematics courses and few go on to take Precalculus, Calculus, or higher-level courses” (Martin,2000, p.1). In their study of gifted education programming, Malik S. Henfield, James L. Moore III and Chris Wood stated that “African American students are frequently missing from or underrepresented in accelerated academic programs. Even when African American students meet the minimum academic qualifications and obtain strong teacher and school counselor referrals, many choose not to participate in advanced, accelerated, or gifted education programs” (Henfield, Moore and Wood, 2002, p.59). Marcia Wade Talbert and Robin White Goode conducted a study on the performance of African-American teachers. They presented a detailed interview of Will Thomas, who had been teaching African-American students for more than a decade. Will Thomas saw a noticeable improvement in his student’s performance after making certain changes in his teaching strategies. He attributed the improvement to: “the tutoring time he added during and after school; the workshops he attended to improve his teaching strategies; his requirement that parents attend field trips with students; and the political activities he engaged in himself” (Talbert and Goode, 2011).
Austin, B.W. (1996). Repairing the break: Key ways to support family life, reclaim our streets, and rebuild civil society in America’s communities. Chicago: Noble Press.
Bak, H. (1993). Multiculturalism and the canon of American culture. Amsterdam: Vu University Press.
Grantham, T. C. (2004). Rocky Jones: Case study of a high-achieving Black male’s motivation to participate in gifted classes. Roeper Review, 26, 208–215.
Hobgood, B. (2001, November). When teachers don’t understand [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/1/topsyn1.html
Hrabowski, F. A., III, Maton, K. I., & Greif, G. L. (1998). Beating the odds: Raising academically successful African American males. New York: Oxford University Press.
Johnson-Bailey, J. (2004). Enjoining position And power in narrative
work: Balancing contentious and modulating forces. In K. DeMarrais & S. D. Lapan (Eds.), Foundations for research: Methods of inquiry in education and the social sciences (pp. 123–138). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Review of Section 2. Advancing Scientific Knowledge
Does the study advance scientific knowledge in the field and the specialization area by meeting one or more of these four criteria?
Does the study address something that is not known or has not been studied before?
Is this study new or different from other studies in some way?
Does the study extend prior research on the topic in some way?
Does the study fill a gap in the existing literature?
_____YES ____ NO
Section 3. Contributions to the Field
Your study should make a contribution to your field based on the approach used to conduct the research:
A. Basic Qualitative Research that explores education related experiences, how participants make sense and ascribe meaning to those experiences or illuminates educational processes or practices.
B. Case Study – The study should develop an educational lesson to be learned.
C. Grounded theory – The study should generate new educational theory or an emergent theory.
D. Phenomenology – The study should yield a description of the lived experience of the participants.
E. Ethnography – The study should produce a description of some educational
dimensions of a culture.
F. Other (e.g., action research, narrative analysis, analysis of secondary qualitative data, critical research, or other SOE acceptable qualitative research methods .)
Describe how your study is grounded in and/or adds to knowledge in the field.
Review of Section 3. Contributions to the Field
Does the Research make a contribution to the field based on the approach used to conduct the research?
_____YES ____ NO
Section 4. Methodology Details
4.1 Purpose of the Study
Describe the purpose of the study.
Why are you doing it? (The answer must be grounded in the literature in what has been done–hasn’t been done or needs to be done.)
How will the methods to be used actually answer the research question?
Review of 4.1 Purpose of the Study
Is the purpose of the study clearly stated?
_____YES ____ NO
4.2 Research Methodology
The qualitative methodologies accepted for education are ethnography, case study, grounded theory, phenomenology, basic qualitative research or other. Describe the qualitative methodology (for example phenomenology) and research model you propose to use, supported and referenced by primary sources. Describe in detail the method(s) will you use to collect the data, such as: open-ended conversational interviews, journaling, letters, pictures, observations, field notes, focus groups – focus groups are only used for ethnography and generic qualitative research.
Briefly describe how the study will be conducted. (Describe how you are going to carry out the study.)
The methodology used for this study will produce not only knowledge of the concept and its relevance, but also devise ways to process the information collected. Based on the study objectives following research methodology has been outlined:
The research is based in the theory of “multicultural education and multiethnic education. Culture consists of the behavior patterns, symbols, institutions, and other human made components of the society one lives in” (Neely & Wheeler, n.d, p.9). Multicultural education includes a method of education that facilitates learning in a number of cultural groups, which helps in promoting equal learning opportunities for students from different cultural backgrounds. On the other hand, multiethnic education relies on an understanding of the peculiarities of different ethnic groups. The two terms (multiethnic education and multicultural education) share many similarities and mostly multiethnic education is subsumed under multicultural education.
This study will be conducted in two major phases. In the first phase, I will conduct a detailed literature review of peer studies on societal, cultural, and psychological background of African American urban high school males. I will conduct an exhaustive literature review of culturally diverse teaching strategies. Special emphasis will be given to available literature on learning strategies devised for African American urban high school males. In the second phase, I will conduct a detailed case study analysis and collect primary and secondary data on the subject. The literature will be categorized and summarized into relevant categories to facilitate accurate pedagogical recommendations. Based on the analysis and the observations, I will present final recommendations.
Review of 4.2 Research Methodology
Does the research design proposed seem appropriate for the research question? Is the research design clearly and accurately described? Can the design answer the research proposed sample, design and analysis?
_____YES ____ NO
4.3 Population and Sample to Selection of the Research Site
Describe the characteristics of the larger population from which the sample (study participants) will be drawn. Next describe the sample that will participate in the study and the sample size. Justify the sample size with support from the literature.
In qualitative research, the setting of the study is selected because the purpose of the study and the research questions can best be answered in that setting particular setting.
Qualitative research makes use of what is known as purposive sampling. That is, the study will take place in a carefully selected setting and using participants that have been chosen for specific reasons or characteristics. For example, the setting may be representative of the phenomenon or problem for study (what is typically found), or one where the phenomenon exists in the extreme (making it easier to identify critical concepts, variables or themes). The setting may represent a critical event where the phenomenon may suddenly emerge. However, the site is not randomly selected as is frequently done in quantitative research. (The learner may want to locate and review resources on “purposive sampling” in qualitative research.)
The research sample for this study will be African American high school males; the data of interest are the performance ratings of this sample. In this case, factors such as income, influence, and academic support are relevant to the data. The proposed research site is the Summerfield community in Marion County, Florida, United States. The population consists of Black suburbanites. Despite being one of the wealthiest Black counties in the United States, statistics show that the school district is one of the poorest performing schools in the state. With over 100,000 students participating in a standardized achievement ranking test, the district emerged 23rd out of the 24. When ranked in terms of individual schools, one high school in the county, with a 99% Black population, scored lowest in the district (Lynn, Bacon, Totten, Bridges, & Jennings, 2010).
Review of 4.3 Population and Sample to Selection of the Research Site
Are the population and the sample adequately and accurately described? Is the sample size appropriate?
_____YES ____ No
4.4 Sampling Procedures to Selection of Participants
Describe how you plan to select the sample. Be sure to list the name of the specific sampling strategy you will use. Describe each of the steps from recruitment through contact and screening to consenting to participate in the study.
What criteria will you use to select the participants for your study? What is the process you will use to select them? How many participants do you intend to include in the study and why?
Participants for the study will be separated into two groups:
1. A sample of 10-12 teachers and or administrator
For the selection of teacher and administrator participants, I will employ a stratified random sampling strategy for the teachers and administrator participants. The research design requires teachers and administrators from diverse disciplines, which can only be accomplished through stratified sampling. Knowledge and information required relative to the study objectives is depended on the diverse disciplines in which individual teachers and administrators address in the school. The stratified random sampling strategy will actualize quality homogeneity in the determined classifies.
Importantly, the method will ensure that all subgroups of the subjects are represented in the sample, ensuring study of the entire relevant staff population (Lynn, Bacon, Totten, Bridges, & Jennings, 2010). In addition to the proposed samples, I will conduct an ethnographic observation of the schools to assuage data solidity.
Review of 4.4 Sampling Procedures to Selection of Participants
Is participant involvement and participant selection fully described and appropriate for the study?
_____YES ____ NO
4.5 Data Collection Procedures
Describe where and how will you get the data and describe the exact procedure(s) that will be used to collect the data. This is a step-by-step description of exactly how the research will be conducted. This should read like a recipe for the data collection procedures to be followed in your study. Be sure to include all the necessary details so that someone else will be able to clearly understand how you will obtain your data.
The data collected for this research project will be a general qualitative study via open coding. Approximately, ten to twelve teachers and or administrators (from a neighboring public school district) will be asked a series of questions. The primary question will be, “Describe what strategies, techniques, and processes you found most effective in working with African-American high school urban males.” A secondary question will be, “If any, what were the largest obstacle(s) in working with this population of students?” Last, each conversation will be individually recorded, and transcribe via open coding.
Review of 4.5 Data Collection Procedures
Does the researcher describe in detail the procedure to be followed in a step-by- step way so that it is completely clear how the research will be conducted? Is the data collection appropriate for the proposed study?
_____YES ____ NO
4.6 Guiding Interview Questions
Describe the interview method will you use and how you will conduct the interviews. List the guiding interview questions to be used to guide the semi-structured qualitative interviews with the participants. Provide a rationale for how and why you are using the interview technique you will use to address the primary research question. Be sure to discuss the results of any field test with content experts that was conducted as a part of the process of developing the final version of the guiding interview questions. I will conduct open-ended, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews. Open-ended interviews will allow participants to discuss their views, opinions, and experiences in full detail. In contrast, a set interview with closed questions could hinder the expression of their opinions and feelings. A face-to-face interview will enables me to observe non-verbal communication and will allows both the participants and me to seek clarification on points that arise in the conversation. I will audio-tape the interviews with permission from the participants to ensure an accurate rendering of the interview. With the use of a semi-structured interview design, I will ask a specific set of questions with each participant (Polit & Beck, 2008). The interviews will consist of three open- ended questions:
• Can you tell me about the challenges African American male students go through? What is the scope of the problem?
• How does your current teaching strategy reconcile, address, and recognize those challenges?
• Why do you think African American urban male students should have a different teaching strategy from their white counterparts?
The interviews will last approximately 40 to 60 minutes. These questions, however, are just a guide to the interview sessions; it is the participant’s responses that will determine the length of the interview.
Review of 4.6 Guiding Interview Questions
Are the guiding questions appropriate to be used to facilitate the interviews? Are the guiding questions appropriate given the research question and the proposed methodology and model to be used in this proposed study?
_____YES ____ NO
4.7 Other Data Collection Procedures
For those studies in which alternative data will be collected and used such as: archival data, pre-recorded data, sent or unsent letters, journaling, poems, passages from literature, descriptive essences, objects or images, etc., describe the methods you will use to collect and analyze this alternative data. Provide a rationale for how and why you are using this alternative data.
If you use observations for data collection:
What will be your role in the setting? How will you record your observations? Provide an observation protocol or guide that reflects the behaviors that you plan to observe.
I will collect demographic and behavioral data on African American students from archival sources. I will obtain this archival data from public government agencies and academic institutions, and from private data sets collected by researchers. I will use archival data to expand the data set; it will allow me to analyze trends over time, and it will also allow me to look at data from periods before this study. Archival data will provide context for the results of the implementation of my recommendations and will allow me to analyze whether my recommendations effect tangible change. I will use content analysis to measure cognitive variables and I will use longitudinal study methods to analyze data trends over time.
Review of 4.7 Other Data Collection Procedures
For studies in which alternative data will be collected, did the researcher describe the alternative data that will be used, describe the methods that will be used to collect the data, analyze the data and provide a rationale for how and why the alternative data will be used?
_____YES ____ NO
4.8 Proposed Data Analyses
Provide a step-by-step description of the procedures to be used to conduct the data analysis. Support this process by identification and reference to primary descriptive sources. Check that the data analysis process is consistent with the accepted analytical steps for the specific qualitative methodology chosen to conduct this study. If you plan to use Qualitative data analysis software, list the software you will use and describe how it will be used.
It is anticipated that the research will predominately feature primary sources of data. The data collected will essentially be qualitative in nature and in some cases quantitative data will be also be taken.
A thorough analysis of the genuineness, relevance and applicability of the data collected will be conducted before considering the same for the research. The selected information will then be categorized into “ideas, concepts, behaviors, interactions, incidents, terminology or phrases used” (Powell and Renner, 2003, p.2). These categories will both be preset categories and emergent categories.
Chenail is of the opinion that the decision-making process in research can best be understood as an integrated system in which choices influence choices so although a particular procedural choice is made at one point in the research process; this choice may need to be re-considered as other issues arise or as new insights arise in the research undertaking. The repetitive aspect of qualitative research means you should continuously check and re-check the decisions made (Chenail, 2011, p.1713).
Review of 4.8 Proposed Data Analyses
Is the data analysis that is proposed appropriate? Is there alignment between the research questions, proposed methodology, type or types of data to be collected and proposed data analysis? Is the language used to describe the type of design and data analysis plans consistent throughout?
_____YES ____ NO
4.9 Role of the Researcher
Provide a description of the researcher’s pre-understandings, preconceptions and biases about the topic and about how the researcher will set them aside?
If doing observational data collection, explain your role as either a participant observer, observer, or fully immersed.
I have conducted a thorough literature search on the study and, therefore, have pre-understandings, preconceptions, and biases about the topic. They include; in the American educational set up African-American male students are underrepresented as a whole and where their presence exists they perform below par compared to their white counterparts. The racial card has always stalled their progress since they perceive that discrimination will be used as a stumbling block to their progress. In order to set aside all preconceived ideas on the topic, I will use bracketing prior to analyzing the data. Bracketing refers to the process of identifying and setting aside any preconceived beliefs and opinions one might have about the research topic (Polit & Hungler, 1999, p 247; Streubert & Carpenter 1999, p 21). I will bracket out any presuppositions in attempting to confront the data in pure form. I will bracket preconceived ideas in order to minimize bias and to be able to analyze the data in an honest and objective way.
Review of 4.9 Role of the Researcher
Does the researcher describe the process by which he/she will identify and set aside pre-understandings, pre-conceived ideas and biases that could interfere with conducting the proposed study?
_____YES ____ NO
4.10 Credibility, Dependability and Transferability
Present a strategy to ensure credibility, dependability, and transferability in the proposed study. Because the researcher is the primary instrument of research in qualitative studies, describe how you will establish credibility for the research. Describe the training and experience you have in regards to your methods for collecting and for analyzing your data. Credibility refers to confidence in the accuracy of the data as reported as well as a systematic and thorough interpretation by the researcher. Credibility involves carrying out the study in a way that enhances the believability of the findings of the data over time and over conditions. Credibility is assessed by how well you demonstrate your understanding of your research methodology and how well you apply the methodology to data collection and data analysis. Credibility is assessed by how well you demonstrate your understanding of your research methodology and how well you apply the methodology to data collection and data analysis. Describe how you will demonstrate your expertise in regards to your research design. Transferability is demonstrated by showing that the sample fairly represents the target population, as well as by showing that the sample participants have the knowledge, experience, or expertise necessary to provide information that the discipline or field and the target population would find meaningful in regard to the topic. Dependability is demonstrated by providing clear, detailed, and sequential descriptions of all procedures and methods, such that another researcher could repeat each of them faithfully.
Guba and Lincoln (1981) developed specific principles to examine trustworthiness and quality of research. These include credibility, dependability, and transferability. Credibility evaluates quality and refers to truth in data (Polit & Beck, 2008). In this research plan, the pilot study will guarantee credibility by identifying flaws in the methodology at an early stage; this will allow enough time to rectify these flaws before the main research takes place. In addition, I will achieve credibility by means of consultation with appropriate documents and preliminary visits to the participants. Lincoln and Guba (year) and Erlandson et al. (year) recommend “prolonged engagement” between the investigator and the participants; this relationship allows the investigator to gain an adequate understanding of an organization and to establish a relationship of trust.
Dependability refers to the stability of data over time (Polit & Beck, 2008). Lincoln and Guba (year) stress the close ties between credibility and dependability, arguing that in practice, a demonstration of credibility goes some distance in ensuring dependability. This may be achieved through the use of “overlapping methods,” such as individual interview, seeking the services of an independent coder aided with categorization and coding, and peer examination (discussion of the research findings with impartial colleagues experienced in qualitative methods). In order to address the dependability issue more directly, the processes within this study and the research design will be explained in detail, thereby enabling a future researcher to repeat the work, if not necessarily to gain similar results.
Transferability refers to the extent to which findings can be transferred to other settings (Polit & Beck, 2008). Lincoln and Guba (year) and Firestone (year) are among those who suggest that it is the responsibility of the investigator to ensure that contextual information about the fieldwork sites is provided to enable the reader to make such a transfer. In order to achieve transferability, I will provide detailed information about the research methodology as well as information about the purposive selection of the sample of teachers and African American male students.
Review of 4.10 Credibility, Dependability and Transferability
Does the researcher present a strategy to ensure credibility, dependability and transferability in the proposed study?
_____YES ____ NO
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