Frau's Blog

Research Questions

Posted on: July 19, 2009

I discarded my original problem statement, as it was too vague, and upgraded to a more specific and measurable problem statement. My new statement is as follows:

I plan to determine if mandatory monitoring of student progress using the online grade book Progress Book and spreadsheets will affect the grades of high school students, both short term in a 9 weeks, and long-term over the entire school year.

And here are some possible research questions:

1. Does monitoring student progress affect student work ethic and therefore students’ grades over time?

2. How can I best assess the students and how they are monitoring their progress?

3. How often should the students monitor or “check in” on their progress?

4. Will using Progress Book and spreadsheets encourage students to check their progress more often than interim reports and report cards?

This problem statement and the research questions primarily use the qualitative method of research. McMillan and Schumacher describe qualitative research as “gathering data on naturally occuring phenomena” (p. 26, 2006). Giving students assignments and grading those assignments is very much a “naturally occurring phenomena” in the classroom. However, I have noticed that students rarely monitor their progress in their classes. I often have students approaching me the last week of the grading period wondering if there is anything they can do to improve their grades.

 This is also what McMillan and Schumacher describe as a noninteractive method of research. Many of the research methods require interviews with the participants and having students monitor their grades does not require such interactions, but rather investigates “concepts and events through an analysis of documents” (p. 27, 2006). As I grade student work and enter their progress into the online grade book, I will then analyze the student progress. The documents in this case could be considered student report cards, or grade print outs from the online grade book. What my problem statement seeks to find out is if I require students to monitor their own grades, will their awareness of their grades improve their overall grade in my class.  

McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S. (2008). Research in education: Evidence-based inquiry (Laureate custom edition). Boston: Pearson.


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