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As a community college instructor I have been teaching an introduction to statistics course for more than a decade So I am familiar with the concepts of qualitative data quantitative data independent variables and dependent variables Also I teach descriptive and inferential statistics However I was not familiar with the practical aspects of designing a qualitative or quantitative research study The two important things I have learned about research design are the role of theoretical frame work and the importance of gap in the research The articles on African American doctoral student success and navigation tool support in distance education helped me to understand the use of theory in a research studyAt the beginning of the class I had an over all idea of my research topic which was the impact of alternative assessment techniques in a math class The bibliography assignment of this class helped me to understand the gap in the research I am very surprised to see how a thorough literature review helps a researcher to narrow down the research topic For example after reading several articles on alternative assessment techniques in a math class I came to know that the influence of alternative assessments has not been investigated in developmental math classesThe application assignment showed me how my research topic could be investigated by using all the three methods of study namely qualitative quantitative and mixed study Since I have been teaching regression analysis and hypothesis testing procedures for my statistics class I am very comfortable with quantitative data collection instruments and data analysis However I was not familiar with instruments and data analysis of a qualitative study I was very surprised to know how the input of participants in a qualitative study brought meaning to the research question Also I was able to understand the huge role researchers play in a qualitative study
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