ESTABLISHING A CURRENT RESEARCH AGENDA WITH KEY RESEARCH ACTIVITIES IS CRUCIAL for the continuous development of career and technical education (CTE) programs that meet the needs of students, industry and society. Research frameworks for CTE were developed over the past decade from studies completed by Lewis (2001) and Pearson and Champlin (2003). Lewis (2001) conducted a needs-sensing study in 2000 in collaboration with the National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education (NDCCTE) and the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE). Pearson and Champlin (2003) completed a follow-up of the Lewis study with the NDCCTE and NRCCTE. Most recently, the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE) proposed a research agenda for CTE in response to the Congressional mandate outlined in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV). Rojewski (2002) noted that few descriptive research frameworks existed for CTE. He suggested that a conceptual framework for a research agenda should be based on the existing literature, the current state of education reform, and projections of future direction for the economy, work-family-community demands, and CTE.
The conceptual framework that provided the primary foundation for this study was based on investigations and reports produced by Buriak and Shinn (1989, 1991, 1993), Radhakrishna and Xu (1997), Silva-Guerrero and Sutphin (1990), and Rojewski (2002). Each of these researchers concluded there was, indeed, a need for focused, relevant and rigorous research in CTE. The following graphic illustrates the conceptual framework that was used in this Delphi investigation to arrive at the elements of a new research agenda for CTE. In addition to research problem areas from the aforementioned researchers, input was secured from CTE stakeholders using a modified Delphi design, and members of the research committee of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).
The primary purpose of this study conducted during 2007-2008 was to identify consensus among nationally dispersed CTE experts using a Delphi technique regarding problems, objectives and activities that comprised a …