Learning from Research: Getting More from Your Data

By Judith Bell; Clive Opie | Go to book overview

4.1
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
and PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The first doctoral study to be considered here is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis produced by Jan Gray (Gray 2000). Jan had been awarded a prestigious university prize for the research she did in connection with her MEd degree and subsequently she was awarded a scholarship which funded her for the necessary three years of full-time doctoral research at a Western Australian university. Before and during her MEd programme, she had been a teacher in various secondary schools in Australia, had become keenly interested in patterns of school non-attendance and behaviour and thought she might wish to select school nonattendance as her PhD topic.

She knew from her teaching and life experience that if teenagers don't want to go to school, they won't go and no amount of legislation will make them go. However, compulsory education is the internationally accepted indicator of commitment to the rights of the child and in most Western countries, including Jan's home territory of Western Australia, that commitment is linked to a legal framework designed to enforce school attendance. A new Western Australian Education Bill was being developed at the time she first began to consider how she might plan her research. The Bill followed the usual pattern of defining truancy, and then establishing a legal framework which she described as

-129-

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Learning from Research: Getting More from Your Data
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures and Tables xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - The Descriptive Study 5
  • 1.1 - Background to the Study and Critics of Descriptive Studies 7
  • 1.2 - The Preparation 11
  • 1.3 - Moving on to Data Collection 15
  • 1.4 - Using Computer Statistical Packages 21
  • 1.5 - The Wretched Grids 26
  • 1.6 - Discussion 30
  • Further Reading 37
  • Part 2 - Evaluation Study 41
  • 2.1 - Background to the Study, Obtaining Permission and Reviewing the Literature 43
  • 2.2 - The Preparation 46
  • 2.3 - Operationalization of the Concepts 50
  • 2.4 - The Questionnaire 55
  • 2.5 - The Findings 62
  • 2.6 - Discussion 68
  • Further Reading 73
  • Part 3 - The Experimental Study 79
  • 3.1 - Background to the Study 81
  • 3.2 - The Literature Review 84
  • 3.3 - Obtaining Permission and Ethical Dilemmas in Experimental Research 88
  • 3.4 - Aims and Purpose of the Study 91
  • 3.5 - The Plan for Data Collection and Analysis 96
  • 3.6 - The Result 101
  • 3.7 - Overall Findings 107
  • 3.8 - Limitations of the Study and Recommendations 115
  • 3.9 - Discussion 117
  • Further Reading 121
  • Part 4 - Ethnographic Study 127
  • 4.1 - Statement of the Problem and Purpose of the Study 129
  • 4.2 - Setting the Scene and the Analysis of Documentary Evidence 133
  • 4.3 - The Review of the Literature 137
  • 4.4 - The Research Contract and the Principle of Informed Consent 144
  • 4.5 - The Fieldwork 147
  • 4.6 - Analysing the Data 157
  • 4.7 - A Solution to the Problem? 163
  • 4.8 - Dcussi0n 166
  • Further Reading 171
  • Part 5 - The Survey 179
  • 5.1 - Background to the Study 181
  • 5.2 - The Preparation and Planning 189
  • 5.3 - The Staff Questionnaire 194
  • 5.4 - Discussion of the Findings 206
  • 5.5 - Discussion 217
  • Further Reading 222
  • Postscript 227
  • Learning from Research 229
  • Glossary 233
  • References 250
  • Index 255
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