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research methods代写:Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal范文

浏览: 日期:2020-02-16

  此篇research methods是内布拉斯加州大学林肯分校学生在教育管理中的坚持性:一种混合方法的研究




  Statement of the Problem

  Graduate education is a major part of American higher education, with more than one and a half million students enrolled in graduate programs (Baird, 1993). Approximately one fifth are graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees (Geiger, 1997). Out of this number, from forty to sixty percent of students who begin their doctoral studies do not persist to graduation (Bowen & Rudenstine, 1992; Nolan, 1999; Tinto, 1993). High failure rate and the ever increasing time to degree is reported as a chronic problem in doctoral education (Lovitts & Nelson, 2000) and results in a loss of high-level resources (Tinto, 1993). In educational majors, attrition from doctoral programs is estimated at approximately fifty percent. Furthermore, of this fifty percent, about twenty percent give up at the dissertation stage (Bowen & Rudenstine, 1992; Cesari, 1990). Failure at this point is not only painful and expensive for a student, but also discouraging for faculty involved, and injurious to an institution’s reputation (Bowen & Rudenstine, 1992; Johnson, Green, & Kluever, 2000; Tinto, 1993).

  The high dropout rate among doctoral students seems incongruous given the importance of doctoral study to research, education, policy, leadership and professional practice. In addition, doctoral students are considered to be among the “most academically capable, most academically successful, most stringently evaluated, and most carefully selected in the entire higher education system” (Golde, 2000, p. 199). Why doctoral student fail to meet their academic goals and leave programs prior to degree completion has long been a focus of researchers’ attention. A concomitant interest is doctoral student persistence, i. e., the ability and desire of doctoral students to persist in their academic programs throughout the successful completion of their degrees. Many studies have been done to understand aspects of attrition or reasons for persistence of doctoral students (Bair & Haworth, 1999; Golde, 2001; Haworth, 1996; Kowalik, 1989). There is much less research on doctoral student attrition and persistence in Distance Education (DE), particularly computer-mediated asynchronous learning (CMAL) environments (Tinto, 1998).

  Although learning via distance, with the help of interactive technology is a fairly new phenomenon in education, DE has become a pronounced and viable alternative to the traditional higher education face-to-face classroom mode in selected areas of graduate education. In many ways, DE using CMAL is different from a conventional educational setting. It provides participants great flexibilities for learning opportunities because of being location and time free. Instead of conventional constraints imposed by schedules for classes, DE, especially via asynchronous means, allows for and facilitates maximum involvement by all participants. It obviates the artificial barriers to learning created by restricted class time and specific location. Further, it tends to cultivate a distinctly different student population, course design, and instructional technique (Moore & Kearsley, 1996; Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2000).

  The DE student population is composed of mainly part-time adult students. Generally they have numerous and demanding commitments to work, family, and social lives, and seek ‘career-friendly’ courses, locally or at a distance, using distance learning methods (Finke, 2000; Holmberg, 1995; Thompson, 1998). These students tend to be more vulnerable to factors encroaching on their academic progress because their school-related activities often are not primary life objectives. Their other commitments assume greater degrees of obligation and necessity, at least during incipient stages of DE.

  Persistence in DE is a complex phenomenon influenced by a multitude of variables (Kember, 1990). Academic success in a distance learning environment using CMAL depends on many factors: challenges set by the distance learning environment, personally related internal and external variables, financial burdens, computer literacy, ability to access requisite technology, time management, and absent or questionable support from an employer and/or family. Researchers claim a higher dropout rate among DE students than commonly found among conventional higher education students (Carr, 2000; Diaz, 2000; Parker, 1999; Verduin & Clark, 1991). Their lack of persistence often is attributed to a failure of becoming socially and academically integrated, as well as other factors internal and external to an academic institution (Kember, 1995).

  Given the claimed high dropout rate of students from DE and the fact increasing numbers of postsecondary institutions offer advanced-degree distributed programs, it is important to know why some students are successful in pursuing doctoral degrees in CMAL environment and why others fail. Knowledge and understanding of the factors contributing to and/or impeding students’ persistence may help academic institutions better meet DE students’ needs and increase their retention and degree completion rate. This is especially important today when postsecondary institutions have to confront the growing problems of revenue generation and increasing budget cuts. Knowledge of the evolving tendencies may also serve as a baseline for higher educational administrators in elaborating extended education policies, designing and developing DE programs, and improving distant student support infrastructure.

  This dissertation will add to research on persistence and attrition of distance learners by identifying factors contributing to and/or impeding students’ persistence in the Asynchronous Educational Administration Distributed Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership in Higher Education (ELHE-DE) offered by the University Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL), using a mixed methods design. The rationale for combining both quantitative and qualitative approaches is that the quantitative data and results provide a general picture of the research problem, i. e., what internal and external factors contribute to and/or impede students’ persistence in the ELHE-DE program, while the qualitative data and its analysis will refine and explain these statistical results by exploring the participants’ views in more depth (Creswell, 2002; Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998).

  Purpose of the Study

  The purpose of this sequential explanatory mixed methods study will be to study doctoral students’ persistence by obtaining statistical, quantitative results from surveying a sample of the distributed learning ELHE students and then following-up with four purposefully selected individuals to explore these results in more depth by semi-structured interviews and other elicitation materials. In the first, quantitative phase of the study, the quantitative research questions will address how selected internal and external variables to the ELHE-DE program served as predictors to students’ persistence and/or non-persistence in the program. In the second, qualitative phase, four case studies, selected on typical response and maximal variation principle, one from each of the four groups of participants (withdrawn and inactive, active in the first half of the program, active in the second half of the program, and graduated) explored in-depth the results from the statistical tests.

  Research Questions

  For the first, quantitative phase of this study the guiding research question is: - What factors (internal and external) predict students’ persistence in the ELHE-DE program?

  The specific research sub-questions for Phase I are: 1. How do ELHE-DE program-related factors impact students’ persistence in the program?

  2. How do academic advisor- and faculty-related factors impact ELHE-DE students’ persistence in the program?

  3. How do institutional-related (UNL) factors impact ELHE-DE students’ persistence in the program?

  4. How do student-related factors impact their persistence in the ELHE-DE program?

  5. How do external factors impact ELHE-DE students’ persistence in the program?For the second, qualitative phase of this study the overarching research questions

  - How do the selected factors (internal and external) identified in Phase I,

  contribute to and/or impede students’ persistence in the ELHE-DE program?

  - How can the statistical results obtained in the quantitative phase be explained?The research sub-questions for Phase II will be formulated based on the results of the first, quantitative phase of the study.