Week Two Blog 636

Essential Question: How is Qualitative Research a good lens through which to view classroom research?

What is qualitative research? Unlike quantitative research, which tracks countable data like grades, qualitative data looks at things like survey or interview results to gain “an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior” (Wikipedia.com). Classroom Research is defined by Kirkwood Community College “as an ongoing and cumulative intellectual inquiry by classroom teachers into the nature of teaching and learning in their own classrooms.” Qualitative research methods provide a good lens through which to view classroom research because it examines human behavior and the reasons for that behavior. It is a great way for teachers to look at their classroom and see what they would like to change before researching ways how to change it. You then can do studies and see if what you are doing is working or what difference it is making in your classroom.

According to education.com, some of the qualitative methods used to measure teaching effectiveness include interviews, observations, or first- person document analysis. Other techniques are available, as well. Studies that use these methods have some things in common:

  • Their data is descriptive (e.g. field notes, interview transcripts).
  • Their analysis is inductive (the questions and focus evolve as the data is collected).
  • Their data are typically collected in natural settings.
  • Their data are not reduced to numbers and they do not employ advanced statistical procedures. For the most part, their reports are descriptive and conceptual.

Their goal is to understand basic social processes (e.g. how children play and learn in a group). In addition they try to grasp the view of the world from the point of view of the participants (the teachers, students and others related to the classroom). http://www.education.com/reference/article/qualitative-research/

Qualitative research uses methods that might tell us more about how we’re doing in the classroom than standardized tests. Doing a qualitative research project like asking students their opinions or having another teacher come in and observe me will help me to make adjustments to things I’m doing in the classroom that I’m not even aware of. I look forward to learning more about qualitative research methods and how to use them to expand my knowledge about what I’m doing and how I can change up my teaching to reach more students.

Reference

Kirkwood Community College – CASTLE. (2013). Retrieved September 9, 2015, from http://www.kirkwood.edu/site/index.php?p=281

Qualitative research. (2015). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 8, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Qualitative_research&oldid=679125147

Qualitative Research. (2015). Retrieved September 9, 2015, from http://www.education.com/reference/article/qualitative-research/

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8 thoughts on “Week Two Blog 636

  1. I really liked how you defined qualitative research, how it’s good lens through which to view classroom research by examining human behavior and the reasons for that behavior. You said allowing another teacher to observe you and having them provide feedback is a good way to see what you’re missing or can improve on. That’s a good idea. Even if you didn’t have another teacher, recording yourself is another option.

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  2. Their data is collected in natural settings, I like that, we don’t have to manipulate what we are doing in class in order to do qualitative research. It can be done at all times, not just when we get the results to a test we have given or get our standardized test scores back in the Spring. I like how it allows us to look at student behavior to analyze what is going on with student learning, look to see what they are dealing with and why they are doing the things they are. I’ve never been one to think it was a good idea to just look at numbers, I just never knew there was a specific name for it. I also like how it tells us how we are doing in the class more than just the scores we receive from our students, because we can’t control their mood, emotions, level of trying, or outside circumstances all of which can effect their final grade on a written test.

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  3. “Their analysis is inductive (the questions and focus evolve as the data is collected).” I am looking forward to this part of qualitative research myself. The ability to inquire deeper or investigate unforeseen thought processes presented by students.

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    1. I like how you talked about behavior in your definition of qualitative research. Although behavior was implied in other sources I read, I hadn’t really considered its impact. In qualitative research you can consider every part are every situation and behavior is one part of learning. It determines what you will learn and how you will learn it. Behavior also determines how teachers or students will changes. It implies how we will improve to do better next time.

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  4. “Qualitative research uses methods that might tell us more about how we’re doing in the classroom than standardized tests.” I think if all of the critics of education right now took the time to do some qualitative research instead of standardized testing, our whole education system would be so much better off. Standardized tests show us only how well students can take tests, but not necessarily how much they actually know.

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