PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN RESEARCH SUBJECT BY BSED SECOND YEAR STUDENTS: BASIS TO QUALITY OUTPUT
Research subject requires prerequisite courses and knowledge. The prerequisite courses are algebra and statistics and the general education courses. Algebra and statistics are important in the computation of quantitative data. The general education courses are necessary to give the student adequate training in the use for example of the English language to express himself, as English is used as the medium of communication. The other subjects are necessary because it gives the students enough knowledge to support his academic investigation. In the case of the Bachelor of Education degree students the prerequisite courses aside from English are the specific education courses that are identified by their school administrators.
The research process is important. Here we enumerate the major stages of conducting a research and how it poses as a problem to sophomore college students.
Finding a Topic. Finding a topic is a difficult process. A topic must be within the realm of the student’s specialization that is, it should be about education. Choosing a topic is difficult because it has to be delimited until a specific topic is chosen such as the effect of obesity on the academic performance of first grade elementary students. Most always students do not know how to start unless they are guided by their mentors.
Statement of the Problem and Formulating the Hypothesis. Stating the problem such as the “Effect of obesity on the academic performance of first grade students in an urban poor community,” is difficult to make. The rigors of stating the research problem is dependent on the students sufficient understanding of the variables that are classified as either dependent or independent, intervening or mediating variables, of a cause and effect relationship or a correlational relationship between variables, and spurious relationships. These are necessary for the student to formulate an intelligent and research worthy research problem.
Review of Related Literature. A review of related literature requires the student to read a voluminous material that will guide him in the selection of a topic and in the statement of a research problem and the formulation of a hypothesis. The student who is not used to going to the library will have to go and face the librarian. Going to the library also requires the student to have a prior knowledge of the system and organization of the library. The student is also expected to know how to properly cite the sources of literature and researches reviewed. These are taught in a research subject.
Methodology. The methodology requires the student not only skills in mathematics and statistics but also a technique in data gathering. The skills in math and statistics are learned in the previous semester while data gathering techniques are learned in a research subject. Research instructors should be able to distinguish between quantitative methods that require the use of statistics and qualitative methods that require a rigorous and lengthy process of documentation and observation.
Writing the Research Proposal. The research proposal is a formal write-up that contains the research topic, the statement of the problem, the hypothesis, a review of related literature and the methodology. This is where the communication skills of the student is tested.
Data Gathering and Field Work. Data gathering requires the student to craft a questionnaire that will capture all the data necessary to measure the variables and establish their correlation or cause and effect relationship. This is a very sensitive process that demands a lot of time and concentration of the student. Once the questionnaire is approved by the adviser, the field work begins. Entry into the community requires that the student formally communicates with the head of the community and the respondents using a signed letter. Privacy and ethical considerations are of utmost concern during this process. One the data are gathered, exit from the community should also be formalized in a thank you letter.
Data Analysis and Interpretation. This is where another hardwork is required. Data analysis is the time when coding skills and interpretation is used in qualitative data. Statistical skills are needed in the analysis and interpretation of quantitative data.
Writing the final research paper. Once the conclusion is made the student now writes the whole paper starting following the format of a research paper. The paper also includes a segment where a list of all literatures and books reviewed and read are listed in what is called as a bibliography or at time references.
The basis to quality output of a BSED sophomore student in a research subject is the student’s academic confidence (Steven, 2009), which is achieved with a proper guidance and mentorship of an adviser and support from peers (Chew, n.d.). This confidence is also strengthened with a more than adequate academic preparation in the prerequisite courses and statistics and a knowledge and skill in the rigors of research taught in the research subject.
Chew, M., n.d. Tips for Undergraduate Researchers. [online] Available at: <http://robotics.eecs.berkeley.edu/~pister/etc/urtips.html> [Accessed 15 May 2011].
Steven B., 2009. Academic Research a Painful Process for Students. [online] Available at: <http://acrlog.org/2009/02/18/academic-research-a-painful-process-for-students/> [Accessed 15 May 2011].