Fitzsimmons, Kara & Detmer - Essay Prowess

Fitzsimmons, Kara & Detmer

1. After reading the article by Patel, Smith, Fitzsimmons, Kara & Detmer (2012), reflect on the data collection methods and the analysis strategies that were used to assess the data. Address the following questions in your post:

What were the key data collection methods used, and how did they align with the focus of the research?

What were the analysis strategies used, and how did they align with the type of data that was collected during the study?

What do you feel are the particular strengths of the data collection and analysis of this article? What do you consider the weaknesses of this approach?

References

Patel, N., Smith, R., Fitzsimmons, K., Kara, M., & Detmer, E. (2012). Utilizing goal setting strategies at the middle level: Helping students self-regulate behavior. Networks: An On-line Journal for Teacher Research, 14(2), 1-9.

2. Data Collection

As you consider the construction of your data gathering instruments, use the following questions and explanations by Sagor (2011) to guide you.

  • What are three data sources will you use for your AR?
  • Do you need a matrix for data triangulation?
  • Is the process I am using to answer my question clear enough that my students (clients or participants) can understand it?

When collecting and analyzing data, action researchers can do a great deal to ensure the validity and reliability of their findings by using a process called triangulation. The term triangulation refers to the use of multiple independent data sources to corroborate findings. The purpose and necessity of corroboration is the same for the action researcher as it is for the trial lawyer. A trial lawyer knows that to convince a jury of the accuracy of a legal theory, it helps to have more than one witness; the more individual witnesses whose testimony supports the theory, the more credible the theory becomes (Sagor, 2002, p. 16-18).

Educational action researchers usually have a wide variety of data sources available to them. Some of the most common data sources are the following:

Existing data

  • School/teacher records
  • Referrals to the principal
  • Attendance records
  • Tardies
  • Classroom behaviors (talk outs/negative behaviors)
  • Number of detentions (per student)
  • Number of suspensions (per student)
  • Student work/portfolios

Observation data

  • Photographs
  • Videotapes
  • Diaries, logs, journals
  • Rating scales/rubrics
  • Data obtained by shadowing students through the school day

Probes

  • Tests
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups