Case Study: Teacher Beliefs in Contemporary Science

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[. . .] Perhaps this was not an unusual finding, or perhaps it has been explained before. This could have provided an explanation for the current findings in conjunction with a follow-up of the participants. There was one other pair that was close to the cutoff of .15 and the researchers explain this result straightforward fashion. All other 12 pair comparisons indicated a solid conviction of contemporary goals compared to past goals by the teachers in those areas.

For the final research question the data analysis consisted of focused observations, interviews, and taxonomic analysis of field notes, reflexive journals, and video tapes with participants. This process produced 81 codes for classroom practice, a very large number of variables. The researchers paired this down by pairing a code with a contemporary goal in the Survey of Contemporary Goals (Why not just do this in the first place?). This resulted in 30 codes and the researchers report on consistencies and inconsistencies in convictions to eight of these. The final conclusion, not surprisingly, was that in general degree of evidence that the teachers' beliefs in the contemporary goals of science were embedded in their classroom practice despite the great variance in the teachers' actual classroom behaviors.

The data analysis, results, and conclusions of any research paper are all interconnected. The type of data analysis used in a research design determines and automatically places limitations on the results of that design. For example, most quantitative data analysis is not very helpful in determining processes, whereas most qualitative data analysis is not very good at ruling out chance or determining statistical and clinical significance of findings. The findings in the results section is of course crucial in determining any conclusions that can be made. Therefore, the data analysis should be specifically determined by the hypothesis of the research. But there are a number of other biases that can undermine any research design despite the analyses, results, and conclusions.

In the current study the researchers attempted to answer three specific questions about a group of high school science teachers. Therefore, the generalziability of any findings in this study is very limited. Moreover, the head researcher is closely affiliated with the teachers and the program by her own admission and even though she takes steps to make sure that her findings are not biased, there is a real question of bias here. Do I believe that she would have published negative findings about the teachers or about the program? I am skeptical. When there was a minor discrepant finding such as with the attitude data, the authors went out of their way to sugarcoat it. A third-party investigator would have been more credible.

Another point of contention here is the use of the qualitative data. There seems to have been very little forethought as to how to operationalize the data in order to answer question three. Qualitative data is excellent for uncovering processes, generating hypothesis, formulating questions to problems, and identifying potential solutions to them. Instead of approaching this as a quantitative issue (do teachers display the conviction that they say they have) the data could be used to identify the underlying processes that demonstrate this conviction or not. Teachers in a live classroom will always display variability in their actions in order to deal with the situation. The question of commitment may have been better answered by the students who deal with the teacher on a daily basis. Anonymous surveys and other methods could have been employed. I am not sure I can fully agree with the results and conclusions for question three of the study.

In the current study a number of problems are identified by the teachers and a large number of questions generated. I believe this to be the real value of this study and this also demonstrates the value of qualitative methods. By following the process of teaching and listening to the teachers many questions were brought up that could each serve as future research projects… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Teacher Beliefs in Contemporary Science.  (2011, June 24).  Retrieved August 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/teacher-beliefs-contemporary-science/2534005

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"Teacher Beliefs in Contemporary Science."  Essaytown.com.  June 24, 2011.  Accessed August 22, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/teacher-beliefs-contemporary-science/2534005.