Research Design in Occupational Education
Hamby, J.L. (1995). An assessment of the Applied Biology/Chemistry curriculum in selected Oklahoma schools. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.
Traditional science teaching methods may be an ineffective preparation venue for students assuming careers in a technologically advanced labor market. A curriculum which stresses an applied approach employing the cooperative learning method may be a more effective means of teaching a diverse base of scientific information. For this reason, the relative effectiveness of an applied science curriculum needs to be evaluated.
Comments - The problem statement was very lengthy and needed to be reread several times to understand the point of the study. The problem did, however, agree with the title and had an educational significance.
The purpose of this study was to compare the Applied Biology/Chemistry (ABC) curriculum taught using the cooperative learning method with the traditional biology curriculum taught using more typical instruction by means of student scores on a standardized biology test and science attitude survey.
Comments - The purpose was clearly stated, agreed with the title and problem, and was limited to the researchers capabilities and resources. The purpose agreed with the problem in that it will evaluate the effectiveness of the ABC curriculum. However, the purpose revealed that this was done by comparing scores on a standardized biology test and science attitude survey.
Specifically, the study sought to compare pre-test and post-test scores on: (a) the National Association of Biology Teachers/National Science Teachers Association (NABC/NSTA) biology test of those students taught the ABC curriculum using the cooperative learning method in selected Oklahoma schools; (b) the NABT/NSTA biology test of those students taught the traditional biology curriculum using typical teaching methods in selected Oklahoma schools; (c) the NABT/NSTA biology test of those students taught the ABC curriculum using the cooperative learning method with those taught the traditional biology curriculum using typical teaching methods in selected Oklahoma schools; (d) the science attitude survey of those students taught the ABC curriculum using the cooperative learning method in selected Oklahoma schools; (e) the science attitude survey of those students taught the traditional biology curriculum using typical teaching methods in selected Oklahoma schools; (f) the science attitude survey of those students taught the ABC curriculum using the cooperative learning method with those taught the traditional biology curriculum using typical teaching methods in selected Oklahoma schools.
Comments - The authors objectives were attainable. They included enough information to accomplish the purpose and will help solve the problem. The author also included a list of hypotheses which were constructed to achieve the objectives of the study.
Review of Literature
The author provided an overview of the available literature in science education as it pertained to the objectives of the Applied Biology/Chemistry curriculum. The review of literature was very detailed; however, there were a limited number of citings used within the text. Section titles were: (1) Introduction; (2) Applied Basic Science Courses; (3) Cooperative Learning; (4) The Nature of Effective Instruction; (5) Attitudes Towards Science; (6) Related Research; and (7) Summary. Reference citations appeared correct and used proper APA style. Practical and theoretical reasoning was included and similar studies were cited.
The pre-tests were administered to students within the first four weeks of the 1993-94 academic year. One of two versions of the NABT/NSTA biology test, differing in only item order, was randomly administered to each student. All of the science attitude surveys were identical in content and form. Both the ABC and traditional students were provided identical instructions. During the last three weeks of the school year, the post-tests were given. The alternative version of the achievement test was given to each student.
Comments - The research design was adequate and the data gathering procedures were explained. The instrument was not described in detail but the sample appeared adequate. The author explained the situation clearly and reviewed the statistical techniques.
The findings indicated that use of the ABC biology curriculum produced significant gains versus the traditional biology curriculum on the NBTA/NSTA biology test. In addition, analysis of the science attitude survey revealed no significant differences for either the ABC biology students or the traditional biology student.
Comments - The findings were objectively reported; however, there appeared to be some errors in the report. At one point the author referred to a significant gain at the alpha = .05 and in the same paragraph said there was no significant gain at the alpha = .05. The tables were well designed and could stand alone. The narrative was clear and could also easily stand alone. From my knowledge, the statistical results appeared correct.
There was a summary of everything from the introduction right through the hypotheses and procedures. This appeared redundant as it was the exact same material used to start chapters one, three, and five. Tables were included in the summary.
There was a conclusion included for each objective and the basis for those conclusions was stated. The conclusions were logically stated and related to the logic included.
A list of recommendations was given in relation to the outcomes of the study. However, there was not a recommendation for each pertinent conclusion. But there was a rationale for each recommendation. The recommendations were clearly stated and ideas for further research were included.
List of References
The format of the references listed was consistent with APA style and were from a variety of sources including journals, books, and theses.
Overall Critique of the Study
Strengths - This was a much needed study in that it was the basis for the recommendation on whether or not the ABC curriculum was effective.
Weaknesses - After reading the study, it could have been better organized and checked for errors.