The Subjects or Participants in the Research Study
The study entails an analysis of the beliefs held by nine teachers in Souhegan High School towards the goals and objectives of the modern science education. The school is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). CES refers to a learning community with a set of principles that govern its members and the teachers in their quest to adjust their teaching practices to meet the goals of modern science education and the student needs (McLaughlin and Talbert, 1993). The principles are in line with the commendations of the Science Education Community (SEC). The SEC stipulates that the teacher is not supposed to be an information provider in modern science education. However, he or she should be a facilitator of activities that ensure students do not commit to memory the numerous scientific concepts as presented. Therefore, SEC recommends that the teacher should help the student in mastering the skills in science and not the general concepts (Fischer-Mueller, 2007, p. 2).
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The Research Methodology, Procedures and Instruments Employed in the Study
The case study utilized three major research questions to investigate the beliefs held by teachers towards the goals of modern science education. In addition, observations and interviews were used to monitor the consistency of teachers’ classroom practices in relation to these goals. The research questions used in the study include;
- (R 1.) To what degree do Souhegan High School science teachers support the contemporary goals of science education?
- (R 2.) What is a Souhegan High School science teacher’s degree of conviction in his or her beliefs about particular goals?
- (R 3.) To what extent is a teacher’s purported belief in contemporary science education goals embedded in routine classroom practice?
The first round of the survey sampled nine teachers in Souhegan High School in line with their understanding and application of the goals of modern science education. The survey involved observations made by observers on three teachers who were willing to be interviewed during their teaching sessions. The second round involved interviewing the participants from the first survey to ascertain the accuracy and clarity of the data generated among other things. The survey utilized videotapes and audiotapes in the first and second phases respectively. These instruments were coupled with field notes and reflexive journals recorded during data collection.
Data Analysis Procedures
Utilizing the Spradley Developmental Research Sequence, the case study employed three major forms of data analysis. These include the Domain Analyses, which entails description of the social contexts of participants using observations made. The second form was the taxonomic analyses which involved use of observations to develop research questions. Finally, componential analyses which utilized selective observations meant to improve the research questions generated earlier was considered (Spradley, 1980). The data generated from the observations and interviews on the three teachers who were cross-examined was coded and analyzed to ascertain the prevailing consistencies or inconsistencies in their beliefs towards the goals of modern science education (Fischer-Muller, 2007, p. 3).
The Adequacy of the Analysis
The data generated from classroom observations for the three teachers is sufficiently analyzed in the case study through the three methods described above. However, the limited population and sample size could compromise the adequacy of the data analyzed. This is because the study considered three out of nine teachers in the school.
The Results of the Study
In relation to research question one (R1.), it was discovered that most science teachers were in agreement with the goals of the modern science education. With regard to the second question (R2.), the study indicated that most teachers favored the modern goals of science education more than the past goals. However, there was no clear-cut indication of the importance of incorporating the interaction of science, technology, and society (STS) as part of the goals of the modern science education. The third question (R3.), which dealt with the relationship between the teacher’s beliefs and their classroom practices, indicated that the three teachers showed varied degrees of the extent to which they followed their beliefs concerning the goals of modern science education. However, there was a strong relationship between the teacher’s beliefs and the goals of the modern science education for each the three teachers (Fischer-Mueller, 2007, p. 7).
Adequacy of the Results
The case study addresses the objectives of the three research questions using sufficiently analyzed data. The results generated are adequate and reliable. The grounded research questions of the case study provide sufficient data from which the end results are inferred. Despite the fact that all questions are sufficiently answered, the adequacy of the third question is limited due to reliance on a small sample size.
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The Conclusions of the Study
From the study, it is indicated that data analysis and the results obtained provide strong evidence showing the degree to which the teacher’s beliefs affect their conduct in classrooms. It also shows the extent to which the teachers attach their beliefs to goals of modern science education. However, it is advisable that one should not take these findings as the truth since they are based on percentages which can be misleading. Otherwise, there was strong evidence to suggest that the three teachers held moderate to strong beliefs to about 16 goals of modern science education (Muller-Fischer-Mueller, 2007, p. 8).
Adequacy of the Conclusions Based on the Analysis and the Results
The conclusions are sufficiently connected to the findings of the study in that they are guided by the analyses and the results. Despite the positive outcomes as indicated by the analysis of the results, care must be taken when making judgments associated with the results of the study. This arises from the fact that the study was limited in terms of scope. From the methodology, analyses and the results sections, it is evident that the study only considered three out of the nine teachers in the school.
The interrelationship between data analysis, the results, and the conclusions of a research study
A research study is carried out with the aim of generating data to support claims made in the research questions or its grounded hypotheses. To ascertain the accuracy, consistency and clarity of the data generated, the data has to be analyzed to come up with results. Results generated through this method enable the researcher to come up with conclusions which state whether the study was successful in addressing the study problem or not. Therefore, there is a strong relationship between the data analyses, results and conclusions because one cannot come up with results without analyzing data. On the other hand, a researcher cannot come up with conclusions without making reference to the results generated.
Fischer-Mueller, J. (2007). A case study of teacher beliefs in contemporary science goals and classroom practices. Science Educator. Web.
McLaughlin, M. & Talbert, J. (1993). Contexts that matter for teaching and learning: Strategic opportunities for meeting the nation’s educational goals. Stanford: Stanford University Center for Research on the Context of Secondary School Teaching.
Spradley, J. (1980). Participant observation. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.