Thứ Bảy, ngày 28 tháng 2 năm 2009

The Factors Affecting Senior High School Students’ English Language Learning

The Factors Affecting Senior High School Students’ English Language Learning -

The Interview of Senior High School Students about the ELL results

Source: http://blog.163.com/shenren108@126/blog/static/4490547320071116067804/#


Name:神人原创(本文未经许可不得转载,谢谢)

Subject: Research Methods and Thesis Writing

Date: 2007-12-15.

Introduction

In senior middle school, English language learning has an important position. Students have to face the college entrance examination, so they need a high score of the English language learning. In this passage, we only talk about the factors affecting senior high school students’ English language learning, considered with both good results and bed results of English language learning. Here, the results only refer to the high remark in the test.

2. Subjects

I interviewed some students in the YuMing high middle school, which enjoys a good reputation with the high rate of entranced. The students came from both fast classes (the students have high level of the total scores in the examination) and common classes (the students have low level of the total scores in the examination).

3. Data collection

This investigates included the following questions:

1) What about your English language learning results?

2) Do you like learning English language? And why?

3) Since you do not like English language, why do you still learn English language?

4) When you began to study English language?

5) Do you like your English teacher?

6) If you do not like your English teacher, whether you can still study hard or not?

7) What is the most difficult or biggest problem, do you think, in the English language study?

8) Do you like to remember English vocabularies?

9) How do you learn English language?

10) In English language learning, what do you think do you like best to do? Listen to the English music? Read some favorite English magazines? Watch English films? Or else?

11) If there were no college entrance examination, do you want to continue learning English language?

4. Data analysis

To investigation the students can be divided into two big groups, one is considered as high marks (HM) in the English language test in the final examination while the other in low marks (LM). And in the high remark group, the students also could consider with the two different attitudes towards to the degree of feeling to English language learning. High mark students who have a deep favorite of the English language learning have clear motivation, effective learning methods, language aptitude, and hard working spirit. While others who have a less favorite of the English learning also has clear motivation, and spend much time learning English language, but only in order to enter the higher schools and gets high mark. Low mark students who like to study English language study hard, have positive attitude but have less language aptitude. While others who do not like to study English language have unclear motivation, spend little time learning English language, or something else. And we will have the generally line on the following part.

5. Findings from Interview

5.1 High mark students in English language learning

The four students (A, B, C, D) I interview came from the same class who were recommended by their teacher as students representing the same level, but have different performance in English language learning: two of them are interested in English language learning while other two study English only because of the college enter examination. All of them have high mark in the examination, but the two students who are interested in English language not only have good oral speaking, but also have other good habits in English language learning. And the other two students who are not interested in English language but have high marks in the exam are poor in English speaking, only good at do the excises which they want to face in the exam. And the most influential factors of different performance among the high mark students by the interviewees’ statements as below:

1) College entrance examination. The senior middle school students must facet to college entrance examination; it is a great external force to push them to study English. In the interview, the two students who have less interested in English mentioned the pressure from the college entrance examination. They said it was college entrance examination that they attached great importance to in English learning; the college entrance examination has directed their motivation to a instrumental one.

2) Going abroad. These students mostly have integrative motivation; most of them intended to go abroad for further studies. They usually not only focus on the presence examination, but pay enough time for speaking and listening. They interested in English movies, music and magazines. Reading also became their favorite.

3) Already known more English knowledge. More and more students learned English at the early age, so when they entrance senior middle school they have known lots of knowledge such as vocabularies, grammar. These students would feel more easily to learn English, because of the already known knowledge. They have not too much difficult to study the knowledge, so they aspire to learn much more.

4) Learning attitude. The students often have positive attitude in learning English. Whatever the difficult is these students would not drop their working. They know how to adjust their attitude, whether in the worse mood or good mood. So when they come into some troubles, they would stick into working hard with positive attitude.

5) Independence in learning. According to the interviewees, they themselves always do learning according to the schedules made by themselves or in a way that they find most effective. They are conscientious and clear about what they need and what they can do, in a word, they are able to adopt various strategies.

6) Encouragement. They were encouraged by others or themselves in their study and got satisfaction and sense of fulfillment from hard working. It is competence-support, that has given them the sense of competence.

5.2 Low marks students in English language learning

The four interviewees (Students E, F, G, H ) from YuMing senior middle school were also from third grade students, but their class is not fast class. It is a common class, where the students’ mark not notably. Although students E and F could not have high mark of English, they work hard in English learning. While the other two are neither interested in English learning nor work hard. The interview has revealed that following factors influence the low marks.

1) Language aptitudes. From the interview of the students E and F, we can see that they worked hard on English learning, but have little good results. In other words, they pay more attention, the less effect. They do not have feel to the language, although they do much exercises. While students G and H fully do not like English, and don’t pay more attention to their studying.

2) English teacher’s ability in senior middle school. For most students, the senior middle school period is a crucial phase of learning. However, during that period, they were not self-determined or independent enough in their study and dependent on their teachers. If they don’t like their English teacher or do not like their teaching way, they will not like to study English hard. Even they can drop their learning.

3) Insipid of vocabularies. Most students said that they do not like to study English only because they do not like to remember vocabularies. Remember vocabularies are a long-term working, can not have quick effect in rewarding. But the vocabularies have an important part in English learning. Because the lack of the vocabularies, they give up learning English language.

4) Dependent learning. According to the interviewees, they all studied dependent others, such as teachers, parents, or friends. They could not dependent on themselves in learning. So if there were opportunities for them to get away from learning, they would do other things.

6. Conclusion Considered with the interviewees’ opinion, we can find that the high mark students with more clear motivation, effective learning method, self-confidence in English learning. While the low mark students attributed the influential factors to the external factors. We should not only blame the low mark students, because some of them are also know what they should do and some of them try their best to learn English, but can not get high mark in the examination. We should consider some other factors; maybe some of the educational method is wrong or not fit to these students. Some of them may do well in the listening and oral but poor grammar, so they can not get the high mark. The factors affecting senior middle school may have more, we could not find out all of them. Because the different individual will meet different personal problems, we should solve different problems according to different situations.

The Factors Affecting Senior High School Students’ English Language Learning

The Factors Affecting Senior High School Students’ English Language Learning -

The Interview of Senior High School Students about the ELL results

Source: http://blog.163.com/shenren108@126/blog/static/4490547320071116067804/#


Name:神人原创(本文未经许可不得转载,谢谢)

Subject: Research Methods and Thesis Writing

Date: 2007-12-15.

Introduction

In senior middle school, English language learning has an important position. Students have to face the college entrance examination, so they need a high score of the English language learning. In this passage, we only talk about the factors affecting senior high school students’ English language learning, considered with both good results and bed results of English language learning. Here, the results only refer to the high remark in the test.

2. Subjects

I interviewed some students in the YuMing high middle school, which enjoys a good reputation with the high rate of entranced. The students came from both fast classes (the students have high level of the total scores in the examination) and common classes (the students have low level of the total scores in the examination).

3. Data collection

This investigates included the following questions:

1) What about your English language learning results?

2) Do you like learning English language? And why?

3) Since you do not like English language, why do you still learn English language?

4) When you began to study English language?

5) Do you like your English teacher?

6) If you do not like your English teacher, whether you can still study hard or not?

7) What is the most difficult or biggest problem, do you think, in the English language study?

8) Do you like to remember English vocabularies?

9) How do you learn English language?

10) In English language learning, what do you think do you like best to do? Listen to the English music? Read some favorite English magazines? Watch English films? Or else?

11) If there were no college entrance examination, do you want to continue learning English language?

4. Data analysis

To investigation the students can be divided into two big groups, one is considered as high marks (HM) in the English language test in the final examination while the other in low marks (LM). And in the high remark group, the students also could consider with the two different attitudes towards to the degree of feeling to English language learning. High mark students who have a deep favorite of the English language learning have clear motivation, effective learning methods, language aptitude, and hard working spirit. While others who have a less favorite of the English learning also has clear motivation, and spend much time learning English language, but only in order to enter the higher schools and gets high mark. Low mark students who like to study English language study hard, have positive attitude but have less language aptitude. While others who do not like to study English language have unclear motivation, spend little time learning English language, or something else. And we will have the generally line on the following part.

5. Findings from Interview

5.1 High mark students in English language learning

The four students (A, B, C, D) I interview came from the same class who were recommended by their teacher as students representing the same level, but have different performance in English language learning: two of them are interested in English language learning while other two study English only because of the college enter examination. All of them have high mark in the examination, but the two students who are interested in English language not only have good oral speaking, but also have other good habits in English language learning. And the other two students who are not interested in English language but have high marks in the exam are poor in English speaking, only good at do the excises which they want to face in the exam. And the most influential factors of different performance among the high mark students by the interviewees’ statements as below:

1) College entrance examination. The senior middle school students must facet to college entrance examination; it is a great external force to push them to study English. In the interview, the two students who have less interested in English mentioned the pressure from the college entrance examination. They said it was college entrance examination that they attached great importance to in English learning; the college entrance examination has directed their motivation to a instrumental one.

2) Going abroad. These students mostly have integrative motivation; most of them intended to go abroad for further studies. They usually not only focus on the presence examination, but pay enough time for speaking and listening. They interested in English movies, music and magazines. Reading also became their favorite.

3) Already known more English knowledge. More and more students learned English at the early age, so when they entrance senior middle school they have known lots of knowledge such as vocabularies, grammar. These students would feel more easily to learn English, because of the already known knowledge. They have not too much difficult to study the knowledge, so they aspire to learn much more.

4) Learning attitude. The students often have positive attitude in learning English. Whatever the difficult is these students would not drop their working. They know how to adjust their attitude, whether in the worse mood or good mood. So when they come into some troubles, they would stick into working hard with positive attitude.

5) Independence in learning. According to the interviewees, they themselves always do learning according to the schedules made by themselves or in a way that they find most effective. They are conscientious and clear about what they need and what they can do, in a word, they are able to adopt various strategies.

6) Encouragement. They were encouraged by others or themselves in their study and got satisfaction and sense of fulfillment from hard working. It is competence-support, that has given them the sense of competence.

5.2 Low marks students in English language learning

The four interviewees (Students E, F, G, H ) from YuMing senior middle school were also from third grade students, but their class is not fast class. It is a common class, where the students’ mark not notably. Although students E and F could not have high mark of English, they work hard in English learning. While the other two are neither interested in English learning nor work hard. The interview has revealed that following factors influence the low marks.

1) Language aptitudes. From the interview of the students E and F, we can see that they worked hard on English learning, but have little good results. In other words, they pay more attention, the less effect. They do not have feel to the language, although they do much exercises. While students G and H fully do not like English, and don’t pay more attention to their studying.

2) English teacher’s ability in senior middle school. For most students, the senior middle school period is a crucial phase of learning. However, during that period, they were not self-determined or independent enough in their study and dependent on their teachers. If they don’t like their English teacher or do not like their teaching way, they will not like to study English hard. Even they can drop their learning.

3) Insipid of vocabularies. Most students said that they do not like to study English only because they do not like to remember vocabularies. Remember vocabularies are a long-term working, can not have quick effect in rewarding. But the vocabularies have an important part in English learning. Because the lack of the vocabularies, they give up learning English language.

4) Dependent learning. According to the interviewees, they all studied dependent others, such as teachers, parents, or friends. They could not dependent on themselves in learning. So if there were opportunities for them to get away from learning, they would do other things.

6. Conclusion Considered with the interviewees’ opinion, we can find that the high mark students with more clear motivation, effective learning method, self-confidence in English learning. While the low mark students attributed the influential factors to the external factors. We should not only blame the low mark students, because some of them are also know what they should do and some of them try their best to learn English, but can not get high mark in the examination. We should consider some other factors; maybe some of the educational method is wrong or not fit to these students. Some of them may do well in the listening and oral but poor grammar, so they can not get the high mark. The factors affecting senior middle school may have more, we could not find out all of them. Because the different individual will meet different personal problems, we should solve different problems according to different situations.

Thống kê và nghiên cứu khoa học

NGHIÊN CỨU KHOA HỌC LÀ GÌ?
Là tìm lời giải đáp cho những câu hỏi/ vấn đề chưa có câu trả lời bằng cách thu thập, phân tích diễn giải các chứng cứ khoa học theo các nguyên tắc và phương pháp khoa học phù hợp.

Quotes:
Research is the cornerstone of any science, including both the hard sciences such as chemistry or physics and the social (or soft) sciences such as psychology, management, or education. It refers to the organized, structured, and purposeful attempt to gain knowledge about a suspected relationship.

http://allpsych.com/researchmethods/introduction.html

Research is a process of steps used to collect and analyse information in order to increase our understanding of a topic of issue. At a general level, research consists of three steps:
1. Pose a question
2. Collect data to answer the question
3. Present an answer to the question
This should be a familiar process. You engage in solving problem everyday and you start with a question, collect some information, and then form an answer. Although there are a few more steps than these three, this is the overall framework for reasearch. When you examine an published study or conduct your own study, you will find these three parts as the core elements.
WHAT ARE STEPS IN CONDUCTING RESEARCH?
When researchers conduct a study, they proceed through a distinct set of steps. Years ago these steps were identified as the “scientific method” of inquiry (Kerlinger, 1972; Leedy & Ormrod, 2001). Using a “scientific method”, reseachers:
• Identify a problem that defines the goal of research
• Make a prediction that, if confirmed, resolves the problem
• Gather date relevant to this prediction
• Analyze and interpret the data to see if it supports the prediction and resolves the question that initiated the research.
Applied today, theses steps provide the foundation for educational research. Although not all studies include predictions, you engage in these steps whenever you undertake a research study. As shown in Figure 1.2, the process of research consists of six steps:
1. Identifying a research problem
2. Reviewing the literature
3. Specifying a purpose for research
4. Collecting data
5. Analyzing and interpreting the data

6. Reporting and evaluating research.

(From: pp 3-8, Chapter 1, Educational Research – Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research, John W. Creswell, 2nd ed, Pearson 2005, 2002)

CÁC PHƯƠNG PHÁP THU THẬP VÀ XỬ LÝ DỮ LIỆU TRONG NGHIÊN CỨU KHOA HỌC

+ phương pháp định lượng: sử dụng các con số
+ phương pháp định tính: sử dụng các chứng cứ không phải là số (ngôn ngữ hình ảnh âm thanh)

Quotes:
Quantitative versus Qualitative Research Methods

There are essentially two forms of educational research: quantitative (or statistical) and qualitative. In the past, most research was quantitative in nature, fashioned after the highly successful hard-science research methods. Since the 1990s, educational researchers have embraced qualitative research with the recognition that research on the human mind is fundamentally different from research on physical systems. Qualitative methods are used for depth of knowledge and quantitative methods are used for breadth and generalizability (emphasis added by PA). We cannot emphasize this enough: the best research designs employ both methods.
Most readers of this article will be familiar and comfortable with the ideas behind quantitative research. Because of this, and because quantitative research methods are well documented (e.g., Hopkins, 1998 ), we will not attempt a discussion of statistical research methods here. However, many readers will be uncomfortable with qualitative research because it is so different from the formal training of a biologist. Nonetheless, it is a vital component of educational research and should not be overlooked. What follows is a brief discussion of the most useful and common qualitative research methods for education.

Qualitative Research

Statistical research is well suited for drawing generalizable and repeatable conclusions based on a large sample of students, but it lacks depth. For example, suppose you use a particular approach in your course that you believe will lead to a greater understanding of transcription. You design a test that measures student understanding and give it to numerous students taught by using your approach and a traditional approach. You find that the students taught under your new method significantly outperform their peers. You come to the conclusion that your approach is superior. If your test and research methods were well designed, your conclusion is valid. You know your method is superior, but you have no data that tell you why the method was so successful (emphasis added by PA).. You probably have hypotheses about why the method worked so well (you had some reason to try it in the first place), but you do not know for sure. To properly answer the question of why, you must engage in qualitative research.

Qualitative research is also enormously helpful when you are initially investigating a particular area and are in the process of determining what questions might be interesting to study. The data of qualitative research are incredibly rich. Although this richness is an asset, it also makes qualitative data difficult and time consuming to analyze.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has developed a detailed introduction to qualitative research geared toward the scientist. This introduction, User-Friendly Handbook for Mixed Method Evaluations, is excellent and can be found online at www.nsf.gov/pubsys/ods/getpub.cfm?nsf97153.

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=128540&tool=pmcentrez

THỐNG KÊ LÀ GÌ
PA: Là các nguyên tắc và phương pháp (quy trình, thủ tục) thu thập và phân tích các dữ liệu số (numerical data) về các hiện tượng để tìm hiểu bản chất và quy luật của các hiện tượng đó.

Quotes:
A statistic is a numerical representation of information. Whenever we quantify or apply numbers to data in order to organize, summarize, or better understand the information, we are using statistical methods. These methods can range from somewhat simple computations such as determining the mean of a distribution to very complex computations such as determining factors or interaction effects within a complex data set.

http://allpsych.com/researchmethods/descriptivestatistics.html

The science of statistics deals with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. We see and use data in our everyday lives. To be able to use data correctly is essential to many professions and in your own best self-interest.
(Collaborative statistics)

Statistics consists of the principles and methods for
1. Designing studies
2. Collecting data
3. Presenting and analysing data
4. Interpreting the results
Statistics has been described as
1. Turning data into information
2. Data-based decision making
3. The technology of the "Scientific Method"

Surfstat.australia: an online text in introductory Statistics
intro1.html 02/21/2009 16:23:37

HỌC XONG THỐNG KÊ CÓ THỂ LÀM ĐƯỢC GÌ (LEARNING OUTCOMES)?
Trả lời dựa trên trang web của surfstats

http://surfstat.anu.edu.au/surfstat-home/surfstat-main.html
- Tóm tắt và trình bày số liệu
- Tạo số liệu mới (thiết kế nghiên cứu định lượng)
- Suy luận thống kê


SO SÁNH ƯU VÀ NHƯỢC ĐIỂM CỦA HAI PHƯƠNG PHÁP ĐỊNH LƯỢNG VÀ ĐỊNH TÍNH

What Are the Major Differences Between Quantitative and Qualitative Techniques?
As shown in Exhibit 1, quantitative and qualitative measures are characterized by different techniques for data collection.
Exhibit 1. Common techniques
Quantitative Qualitative
Questionnaires
Tests
Existing databases Observations
Interviews
Focus groups


Aside from the most obvious distinction between numbers and words, the conventional wisdom among evaluators is that qualitative and quantitative methods have different strengths, weaknesses, and requirements that will affect evaluators’ decisions about which methodologies are best suited for their purposes. The issues to be considered can be classified as being primarily theoretical or practical.
Theoretical issues. Most often, these center on one of three topics:
• The value of the types of data;
• The relative scientific rigor of the data; or
• Basic, underlying philosophies of evaluation.

Value of the data. Quantitative and qualitative techniques provide a tradeoff between breadth and depth and between generalizability and targeting to specific (sometimes very limited) populations. For example, a sample survey of high school students who participated in a special science enrichment program (a quantitative technique) can yield representative and broadly generalizable information about the proportion of participants who plan to major in science when they get to college and how this proportion differs by gender. But at best, the survey can elicit only a few, often superficial reasons for this gender difference. On the other hand, separate focus groups (a qualitative technique) conducted with small groups of male and female students will provide many more clues about gender differences in the choice of science majors and the extent to which the special science program changed or reinforced attitudes. But this technique may be limited in the extent to which findings apply beyond the specific individuals included in the focus groups.
Scientific rigor. Data collected through quantitative methods are often believed to yield more objective and accurate information because they were collected using standardized methods, can be replicated, and, unlike qualitative data, can be analyzed using sophisticated statistical techniques. In line with these arguments, traditional wisdom has held that qualitative methods are most suitable for formative evaluations, whereas summative evaluations require "hard" (quantitative) measures to judge the ultimate value of the project.

This distinction is too simplistic. Both approaches may or may not satisfy the canons of scientific rigor. Quantitative researchers are becoming increasingly aware that some of their data may not be accurate and valid, because some survey respondents may not understand the meaning of questions to which they respond, and because people’s recall of even recent events is often faulty. On the other hand, qualitative researchers have developed better techniques for classifying and analyzing large bodies of descriptive data. It is also increasingly recognized that all data collection - quantitative and qualitative - operates within a cultural context and is affected to some extent by the perceptions and beliefs of investigators and data collectors.

Philosophical distinction. Some researchers and scholars differ about the respective merits of the two approaches largely because of different views about the nature of knowledge and how knowledge is best acquired. Many qualitative researchers argue that there is no objective social reality, and that all knowledge is "constructed" by observers who are the product of traditions, beliefs, and the social and political environment within which they operate. And while quantitative researchers no longer believe that their research methods yield absolute and objective truth, they continue to adhere to the scientific model and seek to develop increasingly sophisticated techniques and statistical tools to improve the measurement of social phenomena. The qualitative approach emphasizes the importance of understanding the context in which events and outcomes occur, whereas quantitative researchers seek to control the context by using random assignment and multivariate analyses. Similarly, qualitative researchers believe that the study of deviant cases provides important insights for the interpretation of findings; quantitative researchers tend to ignore the small number of deviant and extreme cases.

This distinction affects the nature of research designs. According to its most orthodox practitioners, qualitative research does not start with narrowly specified evaluation questions; instead, specific questions are formulated after open-ended field research has been completed (Lofland and Lofland, 1995). This approach may be difficult for program and project evaluators to adopt, since specific questions about the effectiveness of interventions being evaluated are usually expected to guide the evaluation. Some researchers have suggested that a distinction be made between Qualitative and qualitative work: Qualitative work (large Q) refers to methods that eschew prior evaluation questions and hypothesis testing, whereas qualitative work (small q) refers to open-ended data collection methods such as indepth interviews embedded in structured research (Kidder and Fine, 1987). The latter are more likely to meet EHR evaluators' needs.

Practical issues. On the practical level, there are four issues which can affect the choice of method:
• Credibility of findings;
• Staff skills;
• Costs; and
• Time constraints.
Credibility of findings. Evaluations are designed for various audiences, including funding agencies, policymakers in governmental and private agencies, project staff and clients, researchers in academic and applied settings, as well as various other "stakeholders" (individuals and organizations with a stake in the outcome of a project). Experienced evaluators know that they often deal with skeptical audiences or stakeholders who seek to discredit findings that are too critical or uncritical of a project's outcomes. For this reason, the evaluation methodology may be rejected as unsound or weak for a specific case.

The major stakeholders for EHR projects are policymakers within NSF and the federal government, state and local officials, and decisionmakers in the educational community where the project is located. In most cases, decisionmakers at the national level tend to favor quantitative information because these policymakers are accustomed to basing funding decisions on numbers and statistical indicators. On the other hand, many stakeholders in the educational community are often skeptical about statistics and "number crunching" and consider the richer data obtained through qualitative research to be more trustworthy and informative. A particular case in point is the use of traditional test results, a favorite outcome criterion for policymakers, school boards, and parents, but one that teachers and school administrators tend to discount as a poor tool for assessing true student learning.
Staff skills. Qualitative methods, including indepth interviewing, observations, and the use of focus groups, require good staff skills and considerable supervision to yield trustworthy data. Some quantitative research methods can be mastered easily with the help of simple training manuals; this is true of small-scale, self-administered questionnaires, where most questions can be answered by yes/no checkmarks or selecting numbers on a simple scale. Large-scale, complex surveys, however, usually require more skilled personnel to design the instruments and to manage data collection and analysis.

Costs. It is difficult to generalize about the relative costs of the two methods; much depends on the amount of information needed, quality standards followed for the data collection, and the number of cases required for reliability and validity. A short survey based on a small number of cases (25-50) and consisting of a few "easy" questions would be inexpensive, but it also would provide only limited data. Even cheaper would be substituting a focus group session for a subset of the 25-50 respondents; while this method might provide more "interesting" data, those data would be primarily useful for generating new hypotheses to be tested by more appropriate qualitative or quantitative methods. To obtain robust findings, the cost of data collection is bound to be high regardless of method.

Time constraints. Similarly, data complexity and quality affect the time needed for data collection and analysis. Although technological innovations have shortened the time needed to process quantitative data, a good survey requires considerable time to create and pretest questions and to obtain high response rates. However, qualitative methods may be even more time consuming because data collection and data analysis overlap, and the process encourages the exploration of new evaluation questions (see Chapter 4). If insufficient time is allowed for the evaluation, it may be necessary to curtail the amount of data to be collected or to cut short the analytic process, thereby limiting the value of the findings. For evaluations that operate under severe time constraints - for example, where budgetary decisions depend on the findings - the choice of the best method can present a serious dilemma.

In summary, the debate over the merits of qualitative versus quantitative methods is ongoing in the academic community, but when it comes to the choice of methods for conducting project evaluations, a pragmatic strategy has been gaining increased support. Respected practitioners have argued for integrating the two approaches building on their complementary strengths.1 Others have stressed the advantages of linking qualitative and quantitative methods when performing studies and evaluations, showing how the validity and usefulness of findings will benefit (Miles and Huberman, 1994)

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/1997/nsf97153/chap_1.htm

VAI TRÒ CỦA THỐNG KÊ TRONG NGHIÊN CỨU KHOA HỌC

Quote:

Introduction to Role of Statistics in the Scientific Method
Statistics has a major role to play in all stages of the scientific method. This is because it is involved with the definition and evaluation of hypotheses through the collection and analysis of data. In the paths (a) --> (b) and (e) --> (b) of analytical and inductive reasoning, the methods of descriptive statistics have their role to play. They provide powerful tools for suggesting questions to ask and formulating hypotheses. This is particularly useful in the study of large data sets, especially those routinely collected without specific research purposes; in mind. Such data should also be examined for indications as to the hypothesis or theoretical model underlying the process which produced the data. Data examination may include exploratory techniques such as tabulations, summary descriptions, graphical analysis, and cluster analysis.
Statisticians play an invaluable role in this exploratory stage by working closely with researchers. A basic understanding of the subject area and excellent communication skills are important for the success of this collaboration.
The experimental process, paths (c) --> (d) --> (e), of the scientific method is intimately is involved with many areas of statistics. A description of the statistical methods and thought processes in this part of the scientific method is depicted in Figure 2 and will now be discussed.

After clearly formulating the statistical hypothesis, relevant and valid data are accumulated from historical records, sample surveys or experiments in order to test the given hypotheses and provide indications for possible alternatives. Statistics provides the researcher with an array of methodologies to help in the design of an efficient and cost-effective data collection scheme which also ensures the accuracy, unbiasedness, and quality of the data.

in the area of measurement process the statistician's technical skills are needed. Close collaboration with researchers in the subject area and communication of statistical principles are also crucial.

The principles of quality control may prove to be of valuable assistance during and after data collection. Data ought to be routinely checked for the presence of errors, biases and outliers. The relevance of the data to the hypotheses under study also needs to be continually checked.

Statistics plays a crucial role, in experimentation. Even in the best planned experiments, we cannot control all the factors that affect our observations and we can rarely make. measurements without some noise or error from the measurement process. Hence, we have to make inferences based on imprecise sample data (emphasis by PA). To be of practical use, these uncertain inferences must be accompanied by probability statements expressing the degree of confidence the researcher has in the conclusions. To make certain that such probability statements will be possible, the experiments should be designed in accordance with the principles of statistical experimental design. These principles, together with the statistical hypothesis under study, dictate a statistical model relating the data to the statistical hypothesis through probability theory.

In other words, data have no meaning in themselves; they are meaningful only in relation to a statistical model of the phenomenon being studied. The interpretation of a set of data would be different, depending on what model was thought appropriate. In practice, some basic knowledge of the phenomenon under study is usually available to allow the researcher to specify a plausible statistical model.

http://www.pustaka-deptan.go.id/rkb/knowledgeBank/IPM/stats/stats.htm#Introduction_to_Role_of_Statistics_in_the_Scientific_Method.htm

CÁC ĐẶC ĐIỂM CỦA PHƯƠNG PHÁP XỬ LÝ DỮ LIỆU BẰNG THỐNG KÊ

- Rút ra quy luật thông qua việc quan sát các hiện tượng lập đi lập lại, sử dụng phương pháp quy nạp và kinh nghiệm thực (thực nghiệm)
- Tư duy có hệ thống và khoa học dựa trên các quy luật của số lớn
- Cho phép suy đoán về tổng thể từ một mẫu nhỏ hơn

Thứ Bảy, ngày 21 tháng 2 năm 2009

Scholarship opportunities - Deadline: Mid March 2009

Internship Opportunity - U.S. Department of Education

Brandon D. Daniels, Office of Postsecondary Education (Brandon.Daniels@ed.gov)

Strategic Planning Staff – Policy, Planning and Innovation, Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), U.S. Department of Education (Please note that this is a non-paid internship.)

Internship Dates

June 2009 – August 2009 (Interviews will take place the first week of April)

Course Credit is available.

Qualifications

• Graduate student in the field of education (Higher Education, Educational Policy, Educational Leadership, International Education, Educational Psychology)

• Background in quantitative research

• Knowledge of SPSS and knowledge of MS Office (PowerPoint, Access, Word and Excel)

Summary of Duties

Assist Strategic Planning Staff with research and evaluation activities, analyze data and synthesize information from education research and related areas, enter Annual Performance Report data into multiple databases, and prepare summary reports of current projects.

How to Apply

Please submit the following information by Monday, March 23, 2009 to Brandon.Daniels@ed.gov:

• 1 page letter, stating your qualifications, your research interests, and expectations for the internship

• Current CV

• 1 letter of recommendation from faculty member (does not have to be at your institution)

Thứ Tư, ngày 18 tháng 2 năm 2009

USING RAPID APPRAISAL METHODS

1996, Number 5
http://www.usaid.gov/pubs/usaid_eval/ascii/pnaby209.txt


Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

TIPS

USAID Center for Development Information and Evaluation


USING RAPID APPRAISAL METHODS


What Are Rapid Appraisal Methods?


Rapid appraisal methods are quick, low-cost ways to gather data

systematically in support of managers' information needs, especially

questions about performance.


Rapid appraisal methods fall on a continuum between very informal

methods, such as casual conversations or short site visits, and highly

formal methods, such as censuses, surveys, or experiments.


Informal methods are cheap, "quick and dirty," and susceptible to

bias. They follow no established procedures, but rely on common

sense and experience. They do not generate systematic, verifiable

information, and thus may not be credible with decision-makers.


Conversely, formal methods are highly structured, following precise,

established procedures that limit errors and biases. They generate

quantitative data that are relatively accurate, enabling conclusions to

be made with confidence. Because they have high reliability and

validity, they generally have high credibility with decision-makers.

Weaknesses include their expense and requirements for highly

technical skills.


Between these two lie rapid appraisal methods. They are neither very

informal nor fully formal. They share some of the properties of both

and that is their strength as well as their weakness.


Strengths and Limitations


Strengths of rapid appraisal methods include the following:


They are relatively low-cost. Rapid appraisal studies are usually only

a fraction of the $100,000 to $200,000 often spent for a sample sur-

vey. They typically have a smaller sample size and narrower focus,

and they often require less technical and statistical expertise than

formal methods.


They can be quickly completed. Rapid appraisal methods can gather,

analyze, and report relevant information to decision-makers within

days or weeks. This is not possible with sample surveys. Rapid

appraisal methods are advantageous to decision-makers who seldom

have the option of holding up important decisions to wait for

information.


They are good at providing in-depth understanding of

complex socioeconomic systems or processes. Formal

methods, which focus on quantifiable information, lose

much in "operationalizing" social and economic phenomena.


They provide flexibility. Rapid appraisal methods allow

evaluators to explore relevant new ideas and issues that

may not have been anticipated in planning the study. Such

changes are not possible in sample surveys once the questionnaire is designed and the survey is under way.


Rapid appraisal's limitations:


They have limited reliability and validity. Information

generated may lack reliability and validity because of

informal sampling techniques, individual biases of the

evaluators or interviewers, and difficulties in recording,

coding, and analyzing qualitative data. Those using rapid

appraisal methods can minimize these problems, for example, by taking steps to reduce bias during data collection and analysis, or by using more than one method to

cross-check results (triangulation).


They lack quantitative data from which generalizations

can be made for a whole population. Most rapid appraisal

methods generate qualitative information. Even those that

generate quantitative data (such as minisurveys and direct

observation) cannot be generalized with precision, because they are almost always based on non-representative

samples. While a rapid appraisal method can give a picture of the prevalence of a situation, behavior, or attitude,

it cannot tell the extent or pervasiveness. For example, it

may show that many farmers are not using credit facilities,

but not the percentage of farmers.


Their credibility with decision-makers may be low. Most

decision-makers are more impressed with precise figures

than qualitative descriptive statements. For example, a

sample survey finding that 83 percent of local entrepreneurs were satisfied with technical assistance provided is

likely to carry more weight than the conclusion, based on

key informant interviews, that most entrepreneurs interviewed seemed satisfied with the technical assistance.



When Are Rapid Appraisal Methods

Appropriate?


Choosing between informal, rapid appraisal, and formal

methods of data collection should depend on balancing

several potentially conflicting factors:


purpose of the study ( importance and nature of

the decision hinging on it)

level of confidence in results needed

(accuracy, reliability, validity)

time frame within which it is needed (when decision must be made)

resource constraints (budget, expertise)

nature of information required


Regarding the last factor nature of the information

required rapid appraisal methods are especially useful

and appropriate:


When qualitative, descriptive information is sufficient for

decision-making. When there is no great need for precise

or representative quantitative data, rapid appraisal is a

good choice. When there is a need to understand complex

cultural, social, or economic systems and processes, qualitative information from rapid appraisal methods have an

advantage over formal methods for example, when

assessing organizations and institutions, socioeconomic

conditions of an area (communities, for example), or the

cultural patterns, behaviors, values, and beliefs of a group

or population.


When an understanding is required of the motivations and

attitudes that may affect behavior, for instance of a development activity's customers, partners, or stakeholders.

Rapid appraisal methods are successful in answering the

"why" and "how" questions. For example, key informant

interviews or focus group discussions are more likely than

sample surveys to provide insightful answers to such

questions as, "Why are farmers not adopting the recommended variety of seeds?" or "How are macroeconomic

policies being implemented?"


When available quantitative data must be interpreted.

Routinely generated quantitative data from activity records and performance monitoring data about financial

outlays, input and output volumes, products and services

provided to customers, customer usage, results targets

accomplished or missed may require explanation. Many

of the rapid appraisal methods are useful in interpreting

such data, resolving inconsistencies, and deriving meaningful conclusions. Suppose, for instance, performance

monitoring data show female farmers aren't using a technical package recommended by an agricultural development activity. Interviews with key informants and one or

two focus groups can shed light on this.


When the primary purpose is to generate suggestions and

recommendations. Often an evaluation is used to

solve a problem facing an activity. What is needed are

practical recommendations. For example, the manager of

a contraceptive social marketing activity may be concerned with finding ways to augment sales. The manager's

needs can be served by eliciting suggestions in interviews

or focus groups with doctors, pharmacists, medical workers, traders, and customers.


When the need is to develop questions, hypotheses, and

propositions for more elaborate, comprehensive formal

studies. Key informant and group interviews are widely

used for this purpose.


Common Rapid Appraisal Methods


The most commonly used methods include:


Key informant interviews. Involves interviews with 15 to

35 individuals selected for their knowledge and to refect

diverse views. Interviews are qualitative, in-depth and

semistructured. Interview guides listing topics are used,

but questions are framed during the interviews, using

subtle probing techniques.


Focus groups. Several homogeneous groups of 8 to 12

participants each discuss issues and experiences among

themselves. A moderator introduces the topic, stimulates

and focuses the discussion, and prevents domination of

discussion by a few.


Community interviews. These take place at public meetings open to all community members. Interaction is between the participants and the interviewer, who presides

over the meeting and asks questions following a carefully

prepared interview guide.


Direct observation. Teams of observers record what they

see and hear at a program site, using a detailed observation form. Observation may be of physical surroundings

or of ongoing activities, processes or discussions.


Minisurveys. Involves interviews with 25 to 50 individuals, usually selected using nonprobability sampling techniques. Structured questionnaires are used that focus on a

limited number of closed-ended questions. Generates

quantitative data that can often be collected and analyzed

quickly.



Each of these methods has particular situations in which

they are most appropriate or useful, as well as distinct

advantages and limitations. The matrix on page 4 summarizes this. For information on individual methods, see

additional Tips, or selected further readings below.














Selected Further Reading


Kumar, Krishna, Rapid, Low Cost Data Collection Methods for A.I.D., A.I.D. Program Design and Evaluation

Methodology Report No. 10. 1987 (PN-AAL-100)


Kumar, Krishna (editor), Rapid Appraisal Methods,

World Bank Regional and Sectoral Studies, 1993.


Kumar, Krishna, Conducting Key Informant Interviews in

Developing Countries, A.I.D. Program Design and

Evaluation Methodology Report No.13, 1986 ( PN-AAX-226)


Kumar, Krishna, Conducting Group Interviews in De-

veloping Countries, A.I.D. Program Design and Evalua-

tion Methodology Report No.8, 1987 (PN-AAL-088)


Kumar, Krishna, Conducting Mini Surveys in Developing

Countries, A.I.D. Program Design and Evaluation

Methodology Report No. 15, 1990 (PN-AAX-249)


Rapid Appraisal and Beyond, The Participation Forum

Workshop Notes, 1995.

COMMON RAPID APPRAISAL METHODS






METHODS





Useful for Providing



Advantages



Limitations



KEY

INFORMANT

INTERVIEWS


--general, descriptive data

--understanding of attitudes and

behaviors

--suggestions and

recommendations

--information to interpret

quantitative data

--provides in-depth, inside

information

--flexibility permits exploring

unanticipated topics

--easy to administer

--relatively inexpensive

--takes 4-6 weeks

--does not generate quantitative

data

--susceptible to interviewer and

selection biases




FOCUS

GROUP

INTERVIEWS


--customer views on services,

products, benefits

--information on

implementation problems

--suggestions and recommenda-tions for improving activities

--can be completed rapidly (5

weeks)

--very economical

--group discussion may reduce

inhibitions, allowing free

exchange of ideas


--does not provide quantitative

data

--discussion may be dominated

by a few individuals

--susceptible to moderator

biases




COMMUNITY

INTERVIEWS


--village/community level data

--views on activities and

suggestions for improvements


--permits direct interactions

between evaluator and large

numbers of individuals

--can generate some quantitative

data on community

characteristics, behaviors,

opinions

--participants tend to correct

each other, providing more

accurate information

--inexpensive and quick (5-6

weeks)

--can be manipulated by elites

or monopolized by individuals

--cultural taboos or norms may

inhibit discussion of certain

topics




DIRECT

OBSERVATION


--data on physical infrastructure,

supplies, conditions

--information about an agency's

delivery systems, services

--insights into behaviors or

events

--phenomenon can be examined

Thứ Sáu, ngày 13 tháng 2 năm 2009

Edison quotes

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Nhiều người bỏ lỡ các cơ hội vì chúng luôn mặc quần áo công nhân và làm ta nghĩ đến lao động cực nhọc.


Genius is one percent inspiration and nine-nine percent perspiration.

Thiên tài là một phần trăm cảm hứng cộng với chín mươi chín phần trăm mồ hôi.

Chủ Nhật, ngày 08 tháng 2 năm 2009

This is myself, as seen by Astrocenter!!!!!!

Tôi không tin bói toán, nhưng quả thật nó có tác dụng giảm stress. Vì vậy, tôi là một thành viên của nhiều nhóm bói toán (!!!!!) (in spite of being a Catholic and an intellectual, an academic as they say), trong đó có Astrocenter. Phải nói thêm, tôi chỉ đọc bói toán bằng tiếng Anh, một thói quen có thể bị nhiễm từ năm tôi sang Mỹ dự thính về phương pháp giảng dạy tiếng Anh từ năm 1989 (cách đây đúng 20 năm), và bài học đầu tiên là cho ... xem bói chỉ tay bằng tiếng Anh, với mục đích vừa chơi vừa học. Vì bói toán là một việc rất đời thường, và qua các mẩu bói toán (tử vi phương tây) bạn có thể học được rất nhiều cách diễn đạt đời thường của tiếng Anh về những vấn đề rất đời thường. Nói thế, để biện minh (!) cho thói quen rất không Công giáo, không trí thức, không hàn lâm chút nào này của tôi, cho đỡ ... kỳ ;-)


Và dưới đây là phần tôi mới nhận hôm nay, mô tả tính cách của tôi qua tử vi phương tây (sun sign: Virgo). những phần tôi tô đậm là những phần tôi thấy quả thật là có giống tôi, ít nhất là qua nhìn nhận của tôi. đưa lên đây như một nhật ký cho chính mình, và cho những người bạn bè thân thiết của tôi ...


---
Dear Anh, Astrocenter has prepared your personal AstroProfile as a starting point for reflection about the forces that shape our lives. It provides not only a snapshot of your Sun Sign traits, you will also find accounts of your Life Path number, and your Chinese Sign. Get a new perspective. Enjoy!

Best Wishes,
The Astrocenter Team

Element: Earth

Mode: Mutable

Ruler: Mercury

Color: Beige, Marine Blue, Gray

Famous Virgos:
Yasir Arafat, Ingrid Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Sean Connery, Agatha Christie, Gloria Estefan, Greta Garbo, Richard Gere, Michael Jackson, Jesse James, Stephen King, Freddie Mercury, Maria Montessori, Bruce Springsteen, Mother Teresa, Deng Xiaoping

Strengths:
Analytic, competent, devoted, diligent, efficient, focused, level-headed, principled, reliable, systematic
(nói chung là đúng!)

Weaknesses:
Critical, pedantic, pessimistic, petty, perfectionistic, prudish, reserved, suspicious, schoolmasterly, timid
(hoàn toàn chính xác!!!!)

As the sixth sign of the zodiac, you represent purity, perfection, and practicality, Anh. Virgos put things in order to unify the world. Mercury, the planet of mental and intellectual principles, and ruler of Virgo, makes you a methodical and organized worker who brings an analytical, systematic approach to all facets of life. You project a serious image overall, one only strengthened by your problem-solving skills and fastidious refinement.

Yours is the second of the earth signs, Anh, which makes you a dependable, responsible individual. You are reserved and modest in your behavior, and discriminating in your choices. (quả đúng vậy! tôi nghĩ thế, nhưng không biết mọi người khác có nghĩ vậy không nhỉ????) You connect strongly to Mother Earth, and are therefore extremely health-conscious.

Virgo rules the sixth house of the horoscope, associated with the quality of work. Furthermore, this sector of the chart shows how you analyze, deal with, and communicate details. The sixth house also involves health matters in general.

Virgo's mode is mutable, which means that you are a levelheaded communicator who makes sure that whatever is being discussed is precise and accurate. Your role in a team is that of quality control. (chúa ơi sao mà nó đúng thế! tôi lại đang bị làm QA cho cơ quan của tôi mới chết chứ! đúng là số rồi!!!! ;-))