Method and Research Design for a Blended Reading Environment

Aleta May


October 11, 2014

Method/Research Design

Personally Defined Question or Problem

As I reflect on the research regarding blended learning environments, more specifically—comprehensive, rotation style, blended reading environments—I notice that the reason a pre-structured program is highly useful is that it models for content area teachers how to teach reading while saving them time in planning that can instead be spent on managing student data that reflects progress and considering how to scaffold small group instruction to meet the needs of students learning reading comprehension skills. A drawback that I have picked up on during my class observations is that students need to read books that are relevant to them.  What does the pre-designed, comprehensive, blended learning model contribute to the learners’ reading skills? What does it not include, yet needs to include, for scaffolding learning for this particular population? What does the program need during independent reading time to assure that students, who are not experienced at self-selection of books, will consider whether their personal interests coincide with the book they are selecting? How will students become engaged in a book that may be related to their interests, but has many features not in their current mental schemata build background knowledge about a book for independent reading? Does this model incorporate a constructivist learning style that includes engaging with peers over a shared reading? Is this model more effective for students who have prior experience with a supplemental computer reading model?


My research framework will be an interpretive framework. The following types of assessment measures will be used.

I will use the Survey of Adolescent Reading Attitudes (SARA), to measure students’ attitudes toward academic and recreational reading in both traditional print materials and in digital settings (Conradi, Jang, Bryant, Craft, & McKenna). This survey is so well suited to my research, that I will use it as is, so I can utilize the normed scores it even has. There is an allowance to have students write in responses besides just using the 18 rating type questions, so I will add in questions based on the subsections of this survey and on my observations from being in the class with students over six days.

I will be analyzing students’ discourse with each other whenever they do get the opportunity to discuss the book they are reading, a situation I intend to set up. This will require me to take regular observation notes. I will be a participant observer, taking notes during and after participation in the independent sessions with students.

During interviews with students, I will ask participants to reconstruct their experience by saying something like, “What was your experience like for you the first week or two you entered into this program?” rather than “Do you remember. . .” (Seidman, 2013). The difference is more freedom of response. During interviews with teachers, I will ask what they notice about this program that works for this particular student population and what needs to be improved.

As part of interpreting the impact of learning in a blended learning environment for specific students in this class, I will use quantitative data from Measures of Academic Progress (MAPs) in reading from benchmark assessments last spring, this fall, winter if the data is available in time for this research. Otherwise, I will select several students in both grade levels and give a progress monitoring MAPs assessment. Also, I will closely examine student progress within the Read 180 program itself.

Research Design

The design will be interpretive in that I will closely explore how learning is constructed in a blended learning environment through observation of student discourse and responses, interviews of experiences of both students and teachers, and surveying reading attitude of learners in a blended learning environment. Documents will be descriptive in that they will describe phenomenon of interest. “What are the salient actions, events, beliefs, attitudes, and social structures and processes occurring in this phenomenon” (Marshall and Rossman, 1999). The phenomenon in this study is defined as a blended learning environment.

The survey will be given immediately, so that a follow-up survey for randomly selected students later in the research may be given for comparison. Observation data will be ongoing. Interviews will be given to students and teachers after they have had time to reflect on this new learning model personally. The interviews will be recorded, as I do not believe students or teachers will be concerned about others listening to their interviews with information that is not real personal. Recording will allow me to create a script to analyze for coding patterns to search for relevant themes.


Conradi, K., Jang, B.G., Bryant, C., Craft, A., & McKenna (2013). Measuring adolescents’ attitudes toward reading: A classroom survey. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(7), 565-576.

Creswell, J.W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers.

Seidman, I. (2013). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences (4th ed.). New York, NY: Teacher’s College Press.

Marshall, C. & Rossman, G.B. (1999). Designing qualitative research (3rd ed.). Retrieved at ; on October 11, 2014.

2 thoughts on “Method and Research Design for a Blended Reading Environment

  1. winnsunshine

    The more I read about your Blended Learning Environments the more I am reminded of Montesorri schools. I love this design. It is very independent to the child and they seem to be self motivated when participating. Observations and interviews seems to be the common practice for all of our projects. We also are doing MAPs testing in our district, these are great progress monitoring information if used as soon as you get the data (which is immediately). People also need to know how to interpret the data and use it to guide their groupings. It can be very beneficial if used correctly.

    1. aletakmay Post author

      One thing I like is that being in this course at the same time we just started using Read 180 is perfect timing, getting me to get into MAPs, Read 180 and hopefully Lexia to see what turns up for interpreting. Incorporating interviews and observations will add much to interpreting.


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