Method/Research Design in the Making

Aleta May


Blog Post for October 17, 2014

How will data collection ‘look’ for me? What challenges am I anticipating?

Post your Method/Research Design for peer feedback

Questions include: 1. Quantitative–Does the Read 180 program have an effect on 7th/8th grade students at Lewis Angapak Memorial School (LAMS) reading achievement?

I will look at standardized test scores from Measures of Academic Progress (MAPs) they took during September 2014 initially to note differences I find between 7th and 8th grade students entering into Read 180, with the 8th grade students having had one semester of time spent on another computer reading program (one class period per day) and those without this experience. The 7th grade students have also taken a reading MAZE (filling in the blank from word choices) comprehension test last spring, and will be given this 10 minute test in a whole group setting, at the same time both 7th and 8th grade students take the MAP tests. The test window for MAPs and the MAZE from AIMSweb opens December 1st, in time for this research. One purpose for this quantitative assessment will be to compare students’ standardized scores after being exposed to Read 180; further to compare 7th/8th grade students having had previous computer reading program experience to those who have had much more limited experience. Another purpose for this comparison is to document qualitative effectiveness of the Read 180 program by using the standardized assessment comparisons (MAPs and AIMSweb) (Huang, 2012). To interpret these results, I will include qualitative research.

  1. Qualitative—What are the students’ views about using the Read 180 program? Does the program promote reading motivation for 7th/8th grade students at LAMS? (Huang, 2012). These questions are for determining attitudes, beliefs and personal experiences about this program to look toward how motivation may affect achievement.

To determine student’s views of the Read 180 program, I will provide ten specific statements to be rated on a Likert-type scale that I obtained from an article about the Accelerated Reader (AR) program, but apply these to the program I am researching. In fact, I may use this for 8th grade students to compare Read 180 to Lexia (the program they were in last spring). Here are the questions with 1 being almost never, 2 rarely, 3 often, 4 almost always (Huang, 2012):

  1. The Read 180 program increases your reading scores.
  2. The Read 180 program increases your reading levels (lexile).
  3. The Read 180 program improves your reading comprehension skills.
  4. The Read 180 program increases your vocabulary size.
  5. The Read 180 program changes your habits and attitudes toward reading.
  6. The Read 180 program fosters your motivation in reading.
  7. The Read 180 program fosters your social interaction with your friends about book talk.
  8. The Read 180 program fosters your joy of reading.
  9. List five positive aspects associated with the Read 180 program.
  10. List five negative aspects associated with the Read 180 program.

Interview Questions (Huang, 2012).:

  1. What types of books do you like to read? Why?
  2. What are your favorite books? Why do you like reading them? What makes you want to read?
  3. Tell me about reading in your classroom, do you read alone or with others? Do your classmates value reading? How do you know?
  4. What are some things in school that help or get in the way of your wanting to read? How do they help or not help?
  5. This one for 8th grade students: What type of computer-based reading programs do you like? Why? How does the Read 180 Program motivate your reading?
  6. Does the Read 180 program cultivate your reading skills? How does it work?
  7. What types of Read 180 books do you like to read? Why?
  8. What are the strengths and weaknesses of using the Read 180 program? Why?

Additionally, I am looking for a snapshot of students’ views about using traditional resources for reading versus using technology resources and how this may apply to students’ reading within the Read 180 program. This is a Survey of Adolescent Reading Attitudes (SARA) scale I have mentioned in a previous blog and uses a scale from 1 to 6: very bad to very good (Conradi, Jang, Bryant, Craft & McKenna, 2013).

When I observe students in action, I take pictures. These pictures become artifacts for part of a story they tell. As a participant observer, it is not always best to turn and type as I assist students or enter into their individual reading group to assist, on their terms. I do not insist on helping, I am there to guide and facilitate as they write what they read on graphic organizers, figure out what a reading log should say, guide them to discovering what a word read in text means, take turns reading as a reading partner would, provide pictures or additional information from an online resource to shed light on a topic they are unfamiliar with, and more. As I write notes, I believe they create a story that may provide more questions than answers for future reflection. An observation in my situation is a reflection of what occurred that day during group facilitation. One article suggests that creating a vignette or short story with a detailed description of events may be a way to record and interpret to find a problem to be solved and suggest action based on the theory of the problem’s basis: “vignettes provide . . . hypothetical snapshots of actual classroom situations; since vignettes are problem-based, either to propose a solution or to evaluate one given” (Jeffries & Maeder, 2011, p. 166). I think writing vignettes of my observations will help me deal with the inherent “lack of uniformity” (p. 166) that occurs when observing real students in real time.


Conradi, K., Jang, B.G., Bryant, C., Craft, A., & McKenna, M.C. (2013). Measuring

adolescents’ attitudes toward reading: A classroom survey. Journal of

            Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 56(7). 565-576.

Huang, S. (2012). A mixed method study of the effectiveness of the accelerated

reader program on middle school students’ reading achievement and

motivation. Reading Horizons, 51(3), 229-246.

Jeffries, C. & Maeder, D.W. (2011). Comparing vignette instruction and assessment

tasks to classroom observations and reflections. The Teacher Educator, 46,

161-175. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

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