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Hybrid Teaching Approach: Research Methodology

Qualitative Design

Research Design and Approach

In order to investigate the effectiveness of the hybrid method of teaching vis a vis face-to-face and pure online learning methods, I propose to use a research design that incorporates both qualitative and quantitative techniques. A combination of these two approaches will enable the gathering of data on key variables of interest that must be measured and analyzed during the data analysis process.

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Since the objective of this research study is to investigate the effectiveness of a hybrid learning system as a model of quality learning and its impact on enrollment rates of adult students pursuing a public administration degree program, the most relevant research designs to apply in this case is experimental research design and descriptive research design. The experimental research design will be necessary since this study intends to establish a causal effect relationship between quality education/better student performance and hybrid learning method (Hult, 1996).

The experimental research design will therefore come in where different public administration students are subjected to any of the three learning methods i.e. face-to-face, online, or hybrid method in order to establish whether the hybrid method is more effective than the other methods. A descriptive research study on the other hand will be used in the section of the research study that will involve analysis of literature review and data collected from questionnaires and interviews.

Because this research study also intends to generate knowledge that would contribute to designing a model approach of hybrid learning, the literature review would be an integral component of the research study. This research study will rely on a great amount of qualitative data that would be collected through questionnaires and interviews as well as numerical data which would justify the use of both qualitative and quantitative research design.

Setting Sample

This research study seeks to determine the effectiveness of the hybrid method of learning among adult learners pursuing public administration degree and its relationship with enrollment rates among adult learners. The target populations of interest for this research study are public administration graduate adult learners who are enrolled in college and are actively pursuing this mode of the program; their instructors would also be part of the target population.

It is from this population that the sample of study will be pooled which will make up the actual cases that would be studied during the research study. Because the research study also involves assessing the effectiveness of the hybrid learning method from the tutor’s perspective, all public administration graduates class instructors will also be part of the target population from where sample cases will also be pooled.

Sampling

A sample refers to a subset of a particular population size; it is the proportion of the population that is usually studied by a researcher since it is impossible to study the whole population due to resource limitations (Kovacs, 1985). Since we have already determined our population of interest to be adult students enrolled in public administration degree program all that we now need to do is come up with a method that objectively selects required cases from this population.

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The type of sampling method that is used must be based on a scientific theory backed with a rationale of choosing that particular method which should be relevant to the type of research study (Adams and Schvaneveldt, 1985). Therefore for this research study, I propose simple random sampling because it a technique that ensures there is no bias in selecting cases from the population (Leedy, 1993). At the end of this process, I intend to have finished selecting the students that I will base this research on, who will be matched with an instructor who will also have been randomly selected from a population of all the tutors.

Simple random sampling is a sampling technique that relies on a simple probability method of choosing the desired sample size by random selection (Mugo, 2010). Ideally, simple random sampling involves assigning all cases of the population with numbers; once this is done the required study cases are then determined. The study population will be the sample size which is randomly picked by selecting cases from a list of numbers that were assigned to the population and then matching these selected numbers to specific cases that would make up the sample population (Newman, 1994).

For instance, in order to select 200 cases from a population of let’s say 2000 adult learners enrolled in public administration program will require assigning numerical numbers to all the cases as the first step. The second step is randomly selecting 200 numbers from the total list of 2000 numbers which represent the whole population, probably by blindly picking tags with numbers from a basket. The last step is matching the chosen 200 numbers with the population cases which will now be our sample size. This procedure will be repeated all over again when selecting sample cases of the student instructors since they belong to another category of the target population.

The eligibility criteria used for selecting sample size are the same as that required for the whole population, this means that as long as a person is included in the target population one is equally likely to be chosen as a case. To be included in the population of the study one must be an adult student, enrolled in a graduate program in public administration. For instructors, the eligibility criteria are to be an instructor who is teaching public administration to adult students enrolled in that degree program.

The major advantage of simple random sampling is that selected cases reflect the actual characteristics of the target population since the selection of the sample is done randomly (Babbie, 1992). Another advantage of choosing a sample using a simple random method is that all cases have equal chances of being chosen as samples (Glesne and Peshkin, 1992). Finally, it is a relatively simple and straight forward method of randomly selecting samples quickly from a given population (Gilgun, Daly, and Handel, 1997).

Instrumentation, Materials, and Data Collection

There are two major types of instruments that will be used during this research study; questionnaires and interviews. A questionnaire is a commonly used instrument that is used in the collection of qualitative data from a sample population (Marshal and Rossman, 2002). The researcher must be aware of the relevance of data that is captured by the questionnaire and method of analysis that will be used (Wolcott, 1990). An interview is another type of instrument that is also commonly used in collecting qualitative data; it is an oral administration of a questionnaire or an interview schedule (Yin, 1984). It is for this reason why oral interview requires face to face encounter that is moderated by the data collecting person.

The following table summarizes the major objectives that these two methods will achieve in the process of investigation for this research study.

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  1. Questionnaires Form
Concept Measured Meaning and Calculation of scores Assessment of Instrument Reliability and Validity Processes for Completing the Instrument by the Responder Availability of Raw Data The relevance of Data in Measuring Key Variable
-Age of adult Learner
-Adult student performance
-Attendance rate
-flexibility of learning program
-Quality of learning
-Suitability of the learning method
-Improvement in performance
-level of interaction with other students
-Level of interaction with instructors
-general organization of course study
The type of questions that will be included in the questionnaire form is matrix questions that rely on the Likert Scale ( Bogdam and Bilken, 1992). This type of scale ranks respondent feedback on each question across several levels. For instance, it can categorize respondent response in a question that sought to know the suitability of the hybrid learning method between 1-5. 1 would be extremely dissatisfied, 2 will be dissatisfied, 3 as neutral, 4 as satisfied, and 5 as extremely dissatisfied. This will allow data analysis to be based on numerical variables after this conversion of a string variable. The questionnaire will be pretested before it is administered during the actual research in order to identify and eliminate ambiguous and irrelevant questions from the list. The use of a test-retest technique will be used when administering a questionnaire ( Blalock, 1982). The form will be filled by the respondent under the guidance of data collecting personnel who will elaborate on areas that might be confusing to the respondent. Raw data, in this case, include qualitative data i.e. subjective data. The key variables that will be measured during the research will be derived from the following variables.
-Response to student performance will be used to measure the quality of the teaching methods.
-Attendance rate response will inform on the retention rates of adult students in this program.
-Flexibility of learning response will be used to assess the suitability of the learning method.
-Quality of learning will measure the effectiveness of the learning method.
-Suitability of the learning method response will inform on the perception of an adult student on the type of learning while
– Improvement in performance will be used to measure evidence of the learning method’s effectiveness.
2. Oral Interviews (This form of data collection will be focused on Instructors)
Concept Measured Meaning and Calculation of scores Assessment of Instrument Reliability and Validity Processes for Completing the Instrument by the Responder Availability of Raw Data The relevance of Data in Measuring Key Variable
-Duration of interaction with students per week (in hours)
-Students scores which will indicate an understanding of the subject based on the particular method of learning used
-Attendance rate
-flexibility of teaching a program using the specific type of teaching method
-Perception of quality of learning
-Improvement in performance
-level of interaction with students
Students improvement.
-Overall duration of teaching the program using the specific learning method
-general organization of course study
This section will also rely on a Likert type of scale in analyzing raw data as has been described above. Pilot testing on the relevance, accuracy, and suitability of the oral interviews in measuring the variables of interest will be done before they will be applied ( Salant and Dillman, 1994). The data collecting assistant will moderate the session of the interview and guide the respondent throughout the process. For quality purposes, the session will be recorded while the researcher takes notes. Raw data, in this case, include qualitative data i.e. subjective data. The key variables that will be measured during the research will be derived from the following variables.
-Response to the duration of instruction will be used to measure the level of interaction between instructors and students.
-Student scores on subjects will measure the level of understanding.
-The attendance rate will measure retention rates based on the learning method.
-Flexibility in teaching will measure the suitability of the learning method to teachers as well.
– Perception of the quality of learning will measure the effectiveness of the teaching method.
-Students’ improvement in performance will be used to measure evidence of the learning method’s effectiveness.
– Overall duration of teaching will measure the reliability of the teaching method.

Data Analysis

The data analysis for this research study will be both qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative data will first be coded and then analyzed using descriptive statistics technique while quantitative data will be analyzed using statistical programs such as SPSS (Silver, 1993). Once the data has been organized and analyzed it would now be easy to perform various statistical tests on it to determine whether there is a positive causal effect association between the hybrid method of learning compared to the other two methods of learning.

Some examples of relevant statistical tests for this research will be Pearson Correlation Coefficient which is a measure of linear dependence, referred to as a correlation between two variables of interest that occurs in a continuous format (Nye and Null, 2001). Variance and Standard Deviation are used to measure the variability of a dataset i.e. how widely the data is dispersed (Kelle, 1980). The standard deviation is the square root of the variance (Kelle, 1980). The coefficient of Determination will be used to measure the accuracy of a regression equation through comparison of variation between two values (Herman, 2009). Since it is a measure of accuracy, the higher the value the more reliable is the equation.

The nominal variables for this research study will be the mode of learning, the flexibility of the learning program, quality of learning, age, the suitability of the learning method, and level of student interaction among others. The types of variables that will be categorized using an ordinal scale are perceptions, learning quality, categorization of student performance, and student improvement in learning.

The hypothesis for this research study can be framed to state “hybrid mode of learning is the best method of instruction among adult students who are pursuing a degree program in a higher institution of learning”; this would be the alternative hypothesis. The null hypothesis can be framed to state that “hybrid mode of learning among adult students pursuing a degree program is not the most effective method of learning”.

Ethical issues

As a general rule, every research study must incorporate very essential considerations of ethics that must be observed throughout the process. One such ethical issue to consider is referred to as confidentiality and privacy; in this section, the researcher put in place measures that guarantee the privacy of respondent information that is given in confidence (Gilgun et al, 1997).

Since this study will involve the collection of variables that are confidential such as student test scores, rate of improvement, and perceptions of their instructors, it would be important to guarantee the privacy of information given. Informed consent will be achieved by ensuring that the respondent provides consent by agreeing to the stated terms of the research which they must then sign; this is also important to avoid future accusations of unethical practices. During the process of obtaining consent from the respondent, the researcher will also inform them that the research is not harmful in any way.

References

Adams, G. & Schvaneveldt, K. (1985). Understanding Research Methods. New York; Longman Inc.

Babbie, E. (1992). The Practise of Social Research. California; Wadsworth Publishing Company.

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Blalock, H. (1982). Introduction to Social Research. Washington DC; Prentice-Hall.

Bogdam, R. & Bilken, S. (1992). Quantitative Research for Education. Boston; Allyn & Bacon.

Glesne, C. & Peshkin, A. (1992). Becoming a Qualitative Researcher: An Introduction. New York; Longman.

Gilgun, K., Daly, S. & Handel, G. (1997). Qualitative Methods in Family Research. London; Sage Publications.

Herman, K. (2009). Types of Data Collection Instruments. Web.

Hult, C. (1996). Researching and Writing in the Social Sciences. Boston, Allyn & Brown.

Kelle, U. (1980). Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis: Theory Methods and Practice. London; Sage Publications.

Kovacs, A. (1985). The Research Process: Essential of Skill Development. Philadelphia. Davis Company.

Leedy, P. (1993). Practical Research: Planning and Design. New York; Macmillan Publishing Company.

Marshal, C. & Rossman, G. (2002). Designing Qualitative Research. California; Newbury Park.

Mugo, F. (2010). Sampling in Research. Web.

Newman, L. (1994). Social Research Methods. Boston; Allys & Bacons.

Nye, H. & Null, H. (2001). SPSS Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Boston; Brown & Company.

Silver, D. (1993). Interpreting Qualitative Data. London; Sage Publications.

Salant, P. & Dillman, A. (1994). How to conduct your own Survey. California; John Wiley & Sons.

Wolcott, H. (1990). Writing up Qualitative Research. California; Sage Publications.

Wilcox, C, Statistics Tutorial: Bias in Survey Sampling, StatTrek.com, 2010. Web.

Yin, K. (1984). Case Study Research: Design and Method Applied Social Research Methods Series. London; Sage Publications.

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