Analysis of Phenomenological Research Article Essay Example

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Analysis of a Phenomenological Research Article

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Walker and Shepard (2011) give an account of a phenomenological study that they conducted to explore how 10 elementary public school teachers in Georgia overcame barriers to the integration of technology in teaching to successfully incorporate technology in their work. Below is an analysis of the article based on the CASP Rubric.

CASP Question Exemplary Performance:

1. Relevance of the Research Goal: A statement of the aims and goals of the research is clearly stated as to determine “why some teachers were able to successfully integrate technology in their classrooms by exploring the barriers they overcome” (Walker & Shepard 2011, p. 23). Although the importance of the research and its relevance are not directly stated, the authors point out in the abstract that the findings suggested what the critical factors for the effective incorporation of technology in the classroom were. This gives the reader an idea about the importance and relevance of the research. The introductory section of the article by Walker and Shepard (2011) provides background information about access to technology by schools and the problems in integration of technology in teaching, which is supported by a number of sources. The authors also cite the innovation-decision process by Rogers (2003) as the model used to explain the embracing of technology by teachers. Section Score ____5____

2. Appropriateness of Research Methodology: Walker and Shepard (2011) clearly indicate that theirs is a phenomenological study and they used purposive sampling to get 10 teachers whom they invited to participate in the research based on referral from their school. The use of this approach means that the research participants were well informed about the research area and were therefore a good source of information for the research given that it was a phenomenological study. The research questions centered on how “teachers who successfully implement instructional technology in the elementary classroom overcome …key barriers to technology integration” (p. 26) , effect of intrinsic and extrinsic incentives on teachers’ use of technology, impact of professional development encounters in making teachers prepared to use technology, and ways in which “the behavior of teachers who successfully integrate technology in the curriculum reflect Rogers’s (2003) innovation-decision process” (p. 26). The administration of these questions to the participants was appropriately done through the use of “an open-ended questionnaire and two in-depth interviews” (Walker & Shepard (2011, p. 26). Nonetheless, no supporting citation is given for using the aforementioned methodology. Section Score ____4____

3. Research Design: There is no mention of “research design” in the article. Although Walker and Shepard (2011) mention that the research is a “qualitative phenomenological study” (p. 26), they do not state why they chose to use phenomenology; neither do they state the appropriateness of the design to the aims of the research. Also, the authors do not state why the research design was used and whether there is a fit between what they used and what they had intended to use. No citations are used to support the design, if any, that was adopted in the research. Section Score ___1_____

4. Participants:

Walker and Shepard (2011) identified the sampling strategy as purposive sampling. They then justified the use of this strategy by indicating that the 10 teachers who were selected purposively “had reputations for promoting environments conducive to computer-based learning and technology integration” (p. 26), meaning that the teachers were well suited for providing the information required to fulfill the aims of a phenomenological study. The outcome of the recruitment strategy is presented as 10 teachers having been referred by their school to participate in the study based on their experience in using technology – which is consistent with the aims of the research – even though the design is not presented. The study’s participants are described as “two Caucasian males and eight Caucasian females—ranging in age from late 20s to late 40s” from a small school in Atlanta, Georgia (Walker & Shepard, 2011, p. 26). No names of the teachers or further details about them are provided, meaning that the teachers’ identities were protected.
Section Score ____5____

5. Collection of Data: Under “Data collection and analysis”, Walker and Shepard (2011) have outlined how they used “an open-ended questionnaire and two in-depth interviews” to collect data (p. 26). Although the exact person who collected the data is not indicated, the manner in which the data was collected and processed is described. Nonetheless, there is no mention of how the processing of the data addressed the issues that were being investigated, nor is there information on how the data collection process justified the setting for data collection. Section Score ___3_____

6. Self-Disclosure: Walker and Shepard (2011) did not disclose any relationship between them and the research participants. They also did not discuss any biases that might have arisen during the process of collecting data, and this might have affected the research design. However, it is indicated that “a second interview was conducted to investigate further and for member checking” (Walker & Shepard, 2011, p. 27), meaning that doing so could have helped check for biases. Section Score ____2____

7. Ethical Considerations: There is no mention of ethical considerations such as confidentiality or informed consent issues having been observed. There is also no mention of whether ethics approval was sought from the relevant ethics committee. Even then, it is indicated that the participants were identified through referral from their school. Section Score ____1____

8. Data Analysis: It is indicated that “data were analyzed for themes and patterns in reference to the four research questions” (Walker & Shepard, 2011, p. 27). Although it is not indicated who analyzed the data, it is clear that the analysis was a rigorous exercise that involved relating the data to the four research questions, which is consistent with the methodology used. Despite this, there is no explanation about how contradictory data were treated, nor is there is information about the quality control system that was used to check for biases during analysis. Section Score ____4____

9. Findings: The findings are explicitly statedsinceWalker and Shepard (2011) present how the findings related to each of the four research questions. However, save for one source and the model by Rogers (2003), no other sources were used to support the findings. All the same, there is a long discussion about the findings with respect to the study’s research questions. Section Score ___3_____

10. Implications of the Study: Walker and Shepard (2011) described the importance of their study by noting that it enhances positive social transformation by offering an account of how effective teachers incorporate instructional technology in teaching to advance the learning outcomes of students. Also, the discussion in general shows how the research contributes to existing knowledge about the use of technology by teachers and the related barriers and how they can be overcome. The authors also highlight how administrators need to “extend hands-on professional opportunities in their schools relative to instructional technology” so as to promote the use of technology (p. 34), a matter that is highlighted in the research findings. However, the authors did not explain any limitation of their findings or new research areas that are necessary. Additionally, there is no mention of whether or how the results can be generalized to other populations or consideration of other ways in which the findings can be used. Section Score ___3_____

11. Overall Rating