The paper "Effects of Self-Regulated Learning Strategies on Preservice Teachers" is a brilliant example of an education research proposal.
The paper titled “Effects of Self-Regulated Learning Strategies on Preservice Teachers in an Educational Technology Course” is authored by two researchers from the University of Alabama namely Joel P. Lewis and Brenda C. Litchfield. The article is published in the Education journal, which was once the most respected academic sources in the education field. This paper is a critical appraisal of the said paper which will specifically address issues such as purpose, framework, research paradigm, and methodology.
Title and Abstract
The title “Effects of Self-Regulated Learning Strategies on Preservice Teachers in an Educational Technology Course” is self-explanatory. It serves the main purpose of a title which is to inform the audience of what the whole article is all about and what to expect inside the article. The title can be said to be relatively long with fourteen words given that (Salkind 2005) recommends titles to be ten words long. The abstract on the other hand gives an overview of the whole article. This particular abstract includes all the vital elements of an abstract in that it mentions the purpose, data collection methods, data analysis methods and also highlights major conclusions.
This sets the research purpose in context by giving out the general background information of the same. The authors have achieved this as they mentioned. In this section, the authors have included general assumptions in this field. This section also carries out the significance of the study section. The authors note that this particular study is important in that currently, there is new federal legislation pertaining to education and at the same time, technology incorporation in learning. As such, the research will inform on how self-regulated learning strategies on preservice teachers can affect the learning and teaching process in a technology course more in online learning.
Hypothesis and Research Questions
The hypothesis of the study is clearly specified with the statement that preservice teachers must be prepared to incorporate technology within the curriculum and teach students the use and disposal of the technology. Meanwhile, the research questions revolved around the difference in SRL skills as determined by the posttest MSLQ between the students in the WebQuest group, Control group and Survey Only Group and the components of MSLQ that best predict the grade in the final course. These questions provide clarity as to the type of data to be gathered by the researchers.
The literature reviews in research articles put current research in context with past studies on the same issue (Sandelowski 2000). In this article, the authors explored past research widely. However, some of the articles explored by the research are relatively very old. For instance, the authors have cited the works of Thorensen and Mahoney which was published in 1974. This work could be irrelevant in the study assuming monumental changes that have taken place in the field of education ever since. On a positive note, there are recent articles such as Moos (2009). Salkind (2005) says that sources for any research article should be always new to maintain relevance and ensure the information contained therein is updated.
The article has a methods section as opposed to a methodology section. Walter (2010) says that the two are fundamentally different though the two terms are wrongly used synonymously. The article has committee this mistake by as it contains the contents of a methodology yet it is labeled as “method”. According to Walter, ‘method’ specifically shows methods of data collection. A methodology, on the other hand, contains methods and other issues such as the research paradigm. The authors have clearly indicated the research paradigm as an experimental design.
In this section, the authors have also indicated the sample size as 71 and the method of data collection as online questionnaires. This section, however, does not indicate the sampling method used to identify participants. According to John et al (2007), randomization is the most important aspect of sample selection. In the article, the randomization scheme was known as a randomized pretest-posttest control group design. Specifically, participants were assigned randomly to the Control, Survey Only and WebQuest Groups.
The section also contains other elements such as training modules. It in this section also that the authors indicate the variables. Walter (2010) says all these are components of a methodology section.
This study used descriptive statistical data analysis tools and methods. MSLQ scales were completed in SPSS and analyzed using the one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). In this section also, the authors referred back to the research hypotheses with respect to the research question and data obtained.
The authors make clear and concise conclusions from this study with respect to their research questions. They conclude that it is not necessary for students to complete a lesson on SRL to increase self-regulation on time and study environment.
The authors indicate the limitations of the study which informs other researchers on the potential challenges they are likely to face should one choose to replicate the research.
Answer to Additional Questions
The author uses a qualitative experimental paradigm. This paradigm uses the appropriate paradigm that suits the type of data to be collected and the purpose of the research. In this particular article, the author sues a relatively smaller sample. Silverman and Marvatsi (2008) write that a quantitative approach would be appropriate if the sample size was very large. They also indicate that the quantitative research paradigm is suitable for research studies whose interpretation and data collection requires large scale generalization in terms of grouping and categorizing respondents. In the research article, the type of research and the number of respondents do not allow large scale generalization. On the other hand, the research is experimental or exploratory in nature as it is exploring the effect of combining two variables namely online learning and self-regulated learning and academic performance. The researchers acknowledge that past research has addressed the impact of self-regulated learning on academic performance but it has not been tested on how it applies in online learning.
This study is based on a conceptual framework. Although this is not explicitly stated, it can be deduced from the text. The authors’ motivation for the research is to fill a knowledge gap in the use of SRL learning in the online learning environment. The authors note that there is a shift towards technology adoption and the introduction of new federal laws. They acknowledge that past research in SRL has only been done though it is mainly based on the classroom scenario. With expected changes in-laws and increased use of technology and the internet inclusive of online learning, it is better to understand and equip experts in the field of education with knowledge on how SRL applies and impacts online learning. The research thus does not seek to dispute or confirm any theory but rather create develop new knowledge on a new concept. This concept serves well the intended purpose which is to investigate SRL and academic learning in preservice teacher education.
The study is qualitative which fits well for the research as the data to be collected was qualitative in nature. Silverman, David, and Marvasti (2008) say that using a quantitative approach would not be inherently wrong but rather the choice of approach, whether qualitative or quantitative is determined by the type of data to be collected and the research problem. Going by the classification provided by Sarantakos (2005), the research is a fixed qualitative in nature. This is because the research follows a fixed approach to the study almost similar to quantitative research. This is apparent from the way the research seeks to assign three conditions from the word go without creating room for any condition that may be realized midway through the research. Again, the researcher is very clear and informed about the research topic. Sarantakos (2005) also writes that in fixed qualitative research, any form of data analysis is conducted only after data collection which is the case in the current article. The authors present their results and conclusion in one section, only after analyzing and interpreting the data.
Stringer (2004) clearly states that the purpose of research in any given scenario is to “provide people with knowledge and understanding that makes a difference in their lives.” He adds that “research is a form of transformational learning that increases the ‘stock knowledge’ that provides people with the means to engage their lives more effectively” (p. 3). This study’s main purpose is exploration. It seeks to explore new concepts of learning using SRL on preservice teachers through online learning. The research seeks to explore facts and interpret the relationship between different variables given different conditions. Stringer writes that this called exploration or experimentation which is fundamentally different from the revision of new theories or collection of information about a particular subject. The authors set out the purpose of the article right at the abstract- “the purpose of this study was to investigate self-regulated learning and academic performance in preservice teacher education by incorporating self-regulated learning training into an under-graduate educational technology course” (Lewis & Litchfield, 455). For the research to fully attain its purpose, readers must be able to understand the results and their interpretation. According to Wallen & Fraenkel (2001), good research must separate the results sections from the discussion and the conclusions. The current article combines the results and conclusion sections making it hard for the reader to differentiate between the two and understand the implications of the findings in the particular field.
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Lewis, Joel & Litchfield, Brenda (2010). “Effects of self-regulated learning strategies on
preservice teachers in an educational technology course.” Education volume, 132(2), 455-464
Salkind, Neil J. (2005). 'Writing a Research Proposal' In Exploring Research / Neil J.
Salkind. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. Chapter 13, pp. 249-251
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Walter, Maggie. (2010). 'Extract: Social research methods' In Social research methods /edited by Maggie Walter. 2nd ed. South Melbourne, Vic. Oxford University Press, pp. 12-27