Now that I’ve talked a little bit about each of the research methods, let’s put it into effect using Mixed-Methods research.
My 1st grade class is comprised of 22 students of color. Of these students, I have ELL, behavioral and low income students. Bear in mind, these are 1st grade students, most are low income students, some with behavioral problems and ELL. My study begins.
Quantitative Research: I posed the question, “What’s your favorite subject of the school day?” I gave each student a small slip in which they can write their answers on. Here’s what I found out.
Specialists (Music, Physical. Ed., Computer Ed.) – 13 students
Language Arts – 5 students
Math – 3 students
Science – 1 student
This was an interesting discovery and raised a question as to, “Why?” but I didn’t ask that then and there. I’ll talk about that a little later. I collected my students’ slips, brought them home to look making sure I got my numbers right.
The next morning, I began my Qualitative Research on my 1st grade students, pulling one student at a time for about 5 minutes to discuss, or rather have a 1-on-1 talk with my student. I asked each student privately while taking notes, “What kind of help does Mom or Dad give you at home for homework? And depending on the student’s prior response to what their favorite school subject was, I asked “Why?” and “What about this subject that makes it your favorite?” I listened intently and picked up on gestures and facial expressions that I wouldn’t have gotten with my Quantitative data. During the 1-on-1 talk, my students displayed raw emotions of bitterness, sadness, and willingness.
-15 of my students reported that their parents don’t help with homework because they aren’t familiar with the English language and don’t know where to begin with the homework materials.
-4 of my students reported that their parents don’t help with homework because of unfamiliarity with the school curriculum. Although these parents are able to help with homework, they would rather leave it up to the teacher to teach the curriculum and don’t want to mess with teaching in their own way to their child, and potentially cause a mix-up in their child’s learning.
-3 of my students reported that their parents don’t help with homework because their parents are too busy with work, or are rarely seen at home. The guardians look after these kids, but don’t provide much help with their homework.
Earlier in this post, I said I was going to talk a little bit more about the, “Why” question. My “Why” question goes along with my mixed-methods research.
Quantitative research question: What’s your favorite subject of the school day?
Qualitative research question: “What kind of help does Mom or Dad give you at home for homework?” Depending on the student’s prior response to what their favorite school subject was, I asked “Why?” and “What about this subject that makes it your favorite?”
Mixed-methods research: finding the correlation between the two research and provide explicit reasoning, justification and conclusion.
-Almost 60% of my students said their favorite time of the day was going to Specialists.
-Only 23% of my students liked Language Arts.
-13% of my students liked Math.
-Only 4.5% or (1 student) liked science.
After conducting my Qualitative research with my students, these numbers were starting to make sense.
-Almost 70% of my students aren’t receiving the needed support at home for homework and other activities because their parents come from third world countries and aren’t yet proficient in the English language to be able to help their child succeed in school. Majority of my students in this category are the ones who chose “specialists” as their favorite subject of the day. Surprised? Not so much. These kids chose specialists as their favorite subject of the day because in specialists (Music, Physical Ed., Computer Ed.) they aren’t forced to learn a core concept like they are supposed to in my general ed classroom. In specialists, they can free their mind, play with musical instruments, play catch, freeze tag, and dodge ball with one another. These are the activities my ELL students are most comfortable with because there’s no “expectations” in their learning.
-18% of my students have parents that CAN teach, but would rather leave it up to the teacher to implement materials. These are my students who chose “math & science” as their favorite subject of the day.
-14% of my students have parents that are too busy with their lives to find time to teach and revisit the learning of their child. These are the students that chose “language arts” as their favorite subject of the day. Upon analyzing my students’ responses to my Qualitative question, it makes complete sense. Because their parents are rarely present in their lives and learning, these students love to read and write independently which is why they chose language arts as their favorite subject of the day. These kids only have their books and diaries to keep them company. Often times, these students write journal entries about their day, or simply just draw pictures to illustrate their day.
In Mixed-Methods research, I used the questions from the Quantitative & Qualitative research to bring reasoning for my mixed-methods research. I am now in the phase of interpreting the data after collecting data quantitatively and qualitatively.
The correlation between my students’ answers from mixed-methods research shows that although qualitative and quantitative studies are vastly different than one another, both studies produced similar results upon analyzing. After careful analysis of the findings from my two studies, I came to realize that the number of students who weren’t receiving help from their parents due the unfamiliarity of the English language (15 students from quantitative study) were the 70% of my students from my qualitative study and this became evidence of correlating data. The correlating data continues with 18% of my students with parents who can teach but would rather leave it up to the teacher from my qualitative study were the same 4 students from my quantitative study. Essentially, I attained similar results from applying mixed-methods research and really shows me how the data from the qualitative research and quantitative research correlate undeniably. Mixed methods research produced valuable classroom data and will become an avenue for future research topics.