AN EVALUATION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF VISUAL ARTS AND NEW CURRICULUM IN GRADE …….AT MASUNDA PRIMARY SCHOOL.3.0 INTRODUCTION
Following up on the review of the related literature in the previous chapter which looked at the conceptual and theoretical frameworks of the analysis the evaluation of the implementation of visual arts and the new curriculum in grade ……………….at Masunda Primary School this chapter will discuss the research methodology used in the study. It combines three major sections namely; methods and procedures for data collection, as well as methods and procedures for data presentation and analysis. The research uses both the qualitative and quantitative research perspective in the investigation. Thus this section shall describe this pertinent research perspective showing its relevancy in this research. The chapter shall also discuss the population to be studied, the sampling procedure to be used, and the data collection instruments to be employed in this study. The last part of this chapter describes how data is to be analysed and interpreted.
3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
The quality of any research study is enhanced by a good understanding of the research design. The research design of a study spells out the basic strategies that the researcher will adopt to develop evidence that is accurate and interpretable (Opie, 2004). Furthermore Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2010) indicate that research design describes how the study is conducted; it indicates the general plan, what happens to the subjects, and which methods of data collection are used in order to generate empirical evidence that will be used to answer the research questions.
The research methodology used in this empirical study is a triangulation of different related research techniques, which refers to a combination of mainly qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis. This process involves the mixing of mainly qualitative and quantitative methods of data analysis. The two styles have different complementary strengths and a study that employs both is fuller and comprehensive. The negatives of one method are negated by the positives of the other method (Neuman 2000).
Denzin and Lincoln (2000) describe qualitative data as detailed description of solutions, events, people’s interactions and observed behaviour, direct quotations from people about their experience, attitudes, beliefs and thoughts. Creswell (2008) concur that qualitative research is the use of in-depth interviewing and observational techniques with target groups to investigate attitudes, beliefs and social contexts associated with human behaviour.
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Building on the qualitative approach observation was used as a quantitative approach. Positivism postulates that knowledge can only be valid if all the people being observed are the same and it requires measurable uniformity across all observations (Black 2009). This was achieved by providing a description of phenomena as it existed without manipulation or control of the teachers as they implemented the visual arts and new curriculum. The positivist view, in this study, allowed the researcher to evaluate how the teachers implementing visual arts in the new curriculum.
Population in research entails the totality of items or things under consideration (Leedy 2001). It is any group of individuals that have one or more characteristics that are of interests to the researcher (Marimba and Moyo 1995). It also implies all people and elements to be studied under the scheme of the research study.
The researcher decided to use Grade ………grades/classes at Masunda Primary School as the main foci of the study. It was because that these were among the grades which were tasked with the implementation of the new curriculum. The administration was also part of the study since everything that goes by at the school goes through them. Teachers were used by virtue of them being with the children and tasked with the implementation of the new curriculum.
Redman and Mory (2009) advocates that sampling is a procedure a researcher uses to gather people, places or things to study. On the other hand Black (2009) defines sampling procedures as the process by which inference is made to the whole by examining a part which purpose is to provide various types of statistical information of a qualitative or quantitative nature about the whole by examining a few selected units. The study employed the following sampling procedures:
The researcher used purposive sampling technique in selecting the key respondents who were Grade …………….classes administrators and teachers at Masunda Primary School. When using purposive sampling technique, the researcher picks up only such sample which is relevant to the study and leaves out all others so that the purpose of the study is not defeated (Sidhu 2001). For this study these respondents were chosen on the basis that they were directly involved in day to day running of activities related to the research. The assumption was that these respondents know better and were directly involved with the implementation of the visual arts and new curriculum.
Sidhu (2001) identifies some advantages of purposive sampling. The major advantage is that sampling is within the complete control of the investigator and as such he can include in his study only the cases which in his considered judgment will make the sample quite representative. The investigator clearly knows the objective of his study. He picks up variables with these objectives in view. Unnecessary variables are dropped out and considerable time and money are saved. The other advantage is that in purposive sampling, the purpose of the study can be fulfilled even with a very small sample which is picked up purposely and carefully from the universe. As such, in the context of the study a small purposive sampling can be a very good representative.
It is employed if the number included in the sample does not exceed required number. Purposive sampling is the most important type of non-probability sampling. Researchers rely on experience and previous research findings to deliberately obtain participants in such a manner that the sample they obtain is regarded as representatives (Sidhu, 2001). Hence, the researcher will go for individuals who will give the relevant information for instance teachers and staff that are involved with the implementation of the visual arts and new curriculum.
Sample of the teachers N= 12
All teachers from ECD A to Grade 4 were selected for the study. These were selected by virtue of their involvement with children at the school and being the people involved with the new implementation of the new curriculum.. Therefore purposive sampling was employed to select these teachers and n = 12.
Sample of school administrators N=3
The administrators shall include the Head, the Deputy Head and the Teacher in Charge who shall be chosen by virtue of their involvement with the supervision of the teachers as well as seeing to the administrative issues of the implementation of the new curriculum. All the three will participate. Therefore purposive sampling was employed and n = 3.
DATA COLLECTION METHODS
The study intended to generate primary data by using a quantitative method which comprised of observation coupled with the qualitative method comprising of interviews and questionnaires to provide a balance between precision and depth in the data. The plausible data collection methods chosen therefore included self-administered questionnaires and in-depth interviews as well as observation.
Goddard and Melville (2004) define a questionnaire as a data gathering instrument which is in the form of a document containing a list of questions which the respondents are expected to answer through writing. It is a document containing some questions which the research participants complete unaided (Silverman, 2000). This study employed a combination of closed and open ended items which were derived from the research questions for teachers and students. Cresswell (2008) reports that open ended questions allow the participants to freely give their opinions in their own words while closed questions or fixed alternative questions restrict respondents to a predetermined number of alternative responses.
Three (3) interviews for school administrators and twelve (12) questionnaires for teachers were administrated to respondents from Masunda Primary School. Respondents were selected though purposive sampling. Consent was sort and obtained from the school administration and participating staff based on interest expressed before the surveys commenced. The questionnaires were self-completed and 12 teacher responded to the questionnaires. Kvale (1996) defines a questionnaire as a document that asks the same questions to all individuals in a sample. A questionnaire was an appropriate instrument to be used to collect data as the information was from a great number of sources. Since each respondent answers precisely the same questions in the same order, they are all responding to the same stimuli.
Strengths of questionnaire
In this study, the researcher enjoyed strengths of the questionnaire as explained below. Sidhu (2001) highlights that responses from large samples can be obtained within a very short period of time. In this study, the teachers responded to the questionnaires since they were not many. Data was gathered in a short period of time from this large sample than would have been the case if the interview was used. Denzin and Lincoln (2000) posit that it is easy to fill out and is fairly easy to tabulate and analyse. In this study, the use of some closed items was convenient to the respondents as they found it easy to complete. The researcher also found it easy to tabulate and analyse the data since the responses were fixed in advance.
The questionnaire places less pressure on the participants for immediate response whereas the interview demands fixation of time and situation. In this study, the researcher gave the participants ample time to complete the questionnaires at their own pace and in the order they wanted unlike in the interview where the researcher would sometimes wait for the response before proceeding to the next question.
Challenges of questionnaire
The researcher experienced some challenges of the questionnaire technique in gathering data some of which were also noted by other researchers. Sidhu (2001) reports that a questionnaire is more or less rigid in its structure, it is not very helpful in finding information about complex emotions of participants or about sentiments which people may not like to put into black and white. Hugh (2004) further avers that questionnaires do not allow the researcher to probe the respondents so as to enter into their inner feelings. Although the researcher also provided some open ended questionnaire items to freely express their views, it is assumed that it failed to dig deep enough to provide a true picture of opinion and feelings of the participants than would have been the case in the interview.
Despite the identified challenges the questionnaire provided useful information for the study especially when supported by other techniques for example the interview and observation.
Black (2009) view observation as a research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from texts to the context of their use. Sidhu (2001) defines observation as a process of systematically recording verbal and on verbal behaviour and communication without asking specific questions. It is a research technique for making inferences about characteristics within a text or document in relation to the subject matter under focus. In this study the researcher observed the frequency with which teachers were seen to be implementing the visual arts learning area in the new curriculum. The strengths and weaknesses were observed during the research period.
Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2010) alluded that observation methods are quite essential as one can benefit a great deal in research through observing what will be happening in the field of study. Observations were used in the project because it could generate both qualitative and quantitative data. Observing allowed for facts to be interpreted later, hence separating facts from interpretation of facts.
The researcher enjoyed some strengths of observation as also noted by other researchers. Silverman (2000) points out that observation is potentially very important weapon in the researcher’s armoury because it can be highly cost effective. Marshal and Rossman (2006) notes that data collected through content analysis is not easily distorted.
Creswell (2008) defines an interview as a face to face conversation between the researcher and the participants for the purpose of collecting data for a research. It is a dialogue or conversation between the researcher and at least one respondent which aims to generate relevant information in a research study (Sidhu 2001). An interview is a two way process which permits exchange of ideas for the purpose of obtaining information for the study. This method is less rigid and it accommodates deviation in the conversation to enable gathering important data that may crop up with the use of open ended questions.
The approach enabled the interviewees to express their views about the implementation of the visual arts and the new curriculum. These oral asked questions were flexible. This is because they consisted of both open and closed ended questions. By using both open and closed ended approach the researcher got a complete and detailed understanding of the impact strengths and weaknesses in implementing the new curriculum. More reliable responses were given because it was in a relaxed atmosphere situation. The semi-structured interviews were so reliable because each informant was subjected to similar questions with others.
Advantages of interview
Generally, the researcher enjoyed some of the advantages of an interview as highlighted below. Kvale (1996) suggests that face to face interviews have the highest response rate relative to other data gathering instruments, the percentage of defaulters is minimized and questions are asked to the participants and prompt feedback is obtained. Moreover Sidhu (2001) posits that interviews are likely to generate useful reliable and valid information because human beings are naturally talking beings that usually prefer talking to writing. An interview enables the researcher to observe paralanguage. This helps the researcher to check the sincerity of the verbal contributions.
Disadvantages of interview
Interview is comparatively a costly affair in terms of time. The cost per case is much higher in this method than any data gathering technique (Sidhu 2001). Interviews compromise the ethical issue of privacy (Cohen, Manion and Morisson, 2010). More sensitive information could be obtained from the participants if more privacy is given as in the case of questionnaires. Leedy (2001) reports that open ended interviews can generate overwhelming data which makes quantification and analysis difficult. This will pose a hardship for the researcher when triangulating data.
Despite these shortfalls the interview provided useful information especially when supported by other techniques for example questionnaire and observation.
INSTRUMENTS FOR DATA COLLECTION
Validity and reliability of instruments
Validity and reliability are not independent concepts in research but are more like two sides of the same coin (Marshall and Rossman 2006). To ensure validity and reliability in this study, the researcher employed the technique of instrument triangulation. Triangulation entails use of a variety of data gathering instruments, sources and settings in data collection process (Kombo and Tromp 2006). This study employed respondent, theoretical and instrument triangulation. Respondent triangulation was facilitated by use of different research participants i.e., teachers and administrators. Instrument triangulation was achieved by using a variety of data gathering instruments like questionnaires, interview and observation.
Validity entails how consistently the measuring instrument measures what it is supposed to measure. Denzin and Lincoln (2000) define validity as the extent to which a measuring instrument measures what it was designed to measure. Cohen, Manion and Morisson (2010) suggest that validity means a demonstration that a particular instrument measures what it purports to measure which has taken many forms recently addressed through honesty, depth, scope of data, participants approached, triangulation and scope of the researcher. In this study, validity entails the appropriateness of the instruments, participants, researcher and other aspects of the study in providing a true reflection on the evaluation of the new curriculum.
Reliability refers to the degree to which an instrument will produce similar results at different periods (Denzin and Lincoln 2000). Hugh (2004) view reliability as the ability of an instrument to produce the same or similar responses with multiple administration of the same or similar instrument. In this study reliability entails the ability of the research instruments, participants, researcher and other aspects of the study to replicate the results if applied on a comparable similar group.
Data was presented in frequency tables as well as figures which included bar graphs and pie charts. Percentages were also applied wherever possible. A qualitative and quantitative approach was adopted for the study. In the case of interviews where respondent’s views, opinions and observations were analysed a qualitative approach was employed. However, in the case of questionnaires where quantities and figures were analysed a quantitative analysis to data was adopted. Results from the different samples were compared to ascertain triangulation of results. This was to establish validity and reliability of research.
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