Week 8: How am I preparing for data collection?

The data collection is essential for discovering the answer to my project proposal question. In knowing this, it is important for me to gather concise, relative information that will assist me in determining whether or not simulations are beneficial with students in elementary school. As I came up with my methodology, I discovered that using qualitative research would be the best approach to use. I decided to use observations of the students and interviews as my two main forms of gathering data. I then would finish off with a quick survey, that I feel will help me to gauge which simulations the students enjoyed the most and feel they would like to return to in the future.

Hoepfl (1997) discussed how qualitative research can be very time consuming and hard on the person giving the interview, dependent on emotional issues and the population that need to be interviewed. Even though it can be a lot of work, and stressful Hoepfl feels that using qualitative research can give you information that you may not be able to gain through surveys. (1997) I decided to do both in short quality bursts, with this in mind.

In using observation, I plan to focus on the following:

  • Student engagement through body language
  • Interaction with their peers while doing the simulation
  • Their understanding of what they are doing while exploring the simulation
  • Final expressions of like or dislike of the given simulation

These will be obtained by me while I am watching the students engage in the simulation. Then I can finish off with a quick group discussion if I have not obtained all of this information through my observations.

“…the qualitative research interview is a method which most research participants accept readily” (Cassell, & Symon, 2004, p. 21). A lot of data collection happens in this manner. As long as you are precise in questioning, focusing on exactly what data you would like to obtain, you can get some extremely helpful information. Then there is the thought of too much data. I could see where people can become overwhelmed with this idea. This is why I decided to focus my interviews to only a few questions:

  • What do you think of science-based simulations so far?
  • Do you think they are helpful in any way? If so, how?
  • Do you think using simulations to introduce a lab experiment would be beneficial?
  • How do you think teachers should use science-based simulations?

I feel that this will help me in better understanding their thoughts on using simulations, while we are in the middle of exploration. Then in the end, I can survey their thoughts on each simulation used.


Cassell, C., Symon, Gillian. (Eds.). (2004). Essential Guide to Qualitative Methods in

Organizational Research. (pp. 11-22). London: SAGE Publications.


Hoepfl, M. C., (1997, Fall). Choosing Qualitative Research: A Primer for Technology

Education Researchers. 9 (1), Retrieved from http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/v9n1/hoepfl.html


2 thoughts on “Week 8: How am I preparing for data collection?

  1. Good Afternoon Sunshine,

    How will you collect observation data? I’m curious, because I am familiar with some methods, but less familiar with others? Will your data be anecdotal where you watch body language and make notes every so many minutes, or keep records over time to look for changes? Including interaction with peers is important because sometimes a distracted peer creates distraction with the focus student, or the opposite, where the peer helps draw the focus student in by their actions.

    I agree with you that it is easy to get overwhelmed with too much data. There seems to be a balance between keeping questions in an interview focused, yet broad enough to gather unexpected findings. I’m wondering whether it is best to pick one form of data as the center of the picture, while using surrounding information from other data to interpret. I think I may be doing that when I use observation—keeping that as the center.



    • Aleta,
      Thank you for the feedback. I had been contemplating that for a while now. I think I have come up with a couple things to look at and a spot for those unexpected things that happen when observing. As for your comment on having one form of data as your center focus, that tends to be the case for a lot of things. I try to use several so I don’t have just the one, it keeps from misinterpreting the data. To have a center focus and others to support is perfect.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s