ETAP 777: Methods of Qualitative Research in Education (Fall, 2004)

Guidelines for Final Project

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Overview

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Grading



Overview

This culminating assignment for this course is intended to be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your understanding of qualitative research. There are two options for the assignment:

  1. a research report on the pilot qualitative study you conducted in this course; or

  2. a formal proposal for a qualitative study.

Each of these options is described below.


Option 1: Research Report. For this option, you will submit a formal research report of approximately 3000-3500 words on the pilot study you have conducted for this course. For this report, you should generally follow the conventions of reporting research in the social sciences; you may wish to follow the more specific conventions of your particular area of specialization.

Your report should include the following components:

  • A statement of the problem in which you identify the specific issue or problem that your study was intended to address. This statement should provide some sense of the importance of the issue or problem in the context of your area of specialization or in social science research in general.

  • A review of the literature relevant to your research question. This review need not be comprehensive, but it should provide a good sense of the existing research that has been conducted on your issue or problem and any related research that can illuminate the problem. Your review should also identify how your study will contribute to the literature.

  • A description of your methodology for your study. This description should include your specific methods of collecting and analyzing data, your procedure for selecting subjects for your study, and relevant discussion of the context for your study, if appropriate (for example, some description of the classroom in which you are studying some aspect of student learning). This section should provide a sense of the appropriateness of your methods for you research question.

  • A discussion of your results. This section should provide a clear sense of what you found in your study, the importance or relevance of your results, and their possible implications.

  • A discussion of the limitations of your study. In this section, you should provide a careful discussion of any limitations of your design that might have affected your results.

  • A bibliography and any relevant appendices, including instruments or protocols you developed for your study (e.g. questionnaires, interview protocols, data analysis schemes, etc.).


Option 2: Proposal for a Qualitative Study. This option is intended for students who were unable to complete a pilot study for this course or whose study extend beyond the bounds of the current semester. For this option, you will follow the same guidelines as for Option 1. You should include the same sections in this proposal as described for Option 1, except for a discussion of results; instead, include a timetable for your proposed study.


Submission Guidelines

Please submit your final project in both hard copy and electronic form. Electronic form may be a file (or files) on a 3.5 inch floppy disk or a CD-ROM.


Deadlines

Class time will be devoted to working on the final project on Tuesday, November 30th.

Drafts of the final project are due in class on Tuesday, December 7.

The final project is due on Monday, December 13.


Grading

This assignment is worth forty points. Forty points will be earned for a final project that

  • provides a persuasive rationale for the study;
  • includes an adequate review of the relevant literature in a way that provides a useful overview of related research and builds a case for the study;
  • includes a clear description of the study design and a rationale for the main components of that design, especially regarding data collection and analysis;
  • adequately examines implications and limitations of the study;
  • is clearly written and organized.