In social and natural sciences, a focused research question not only guides the researcher but also helps them to avoid spending time and resources on irrelevant issues (Kumar, 1999). In Jonah’s case, the research question would be, “the student population is largely made up of children from different races and a low socio-economic background, could socio-economic status and race be a factor that affects their reading skills?”
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The hypothesis in this case would be, “if race and socioeconomic status affect the reading abilities in children, then it could be the reason why children in his class have reading problems.”
Variables and their Operational Definitions
In this case, the dependent variable is the children’s reading skills whilst the independent variables are their socio-economic statuses and races. Reading skills refers to the ability of learning from text in relation to abilities of average and above-average counterparts. Socio-economic status refers to the level of income and education of the children’s parents.
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Based on the nature of the Jonah’s problem, the most appropriate research design would be the Correlation research design. This is because this design tests for statistical relationship between variables (Kumar, 1999). Jonah’s aim is to explain the relationship between variables, mainly, socio-economic status and/or ethnic background and reading ability.
Sample refers to a representative of the entire population under consideration. In this case, the sample will be made up of a proportional number of students from the three races under study (Whites, Hispanics and Blacks), as well as, those from varying socio-economic backgrounds.
Data Collection Strategy
Data collection techniques or strategies refer to the methods that will be used to obtain data for the research (Kumar, 1999). Because of the children’s age(s), face-to-face interviews will be most appropriate. In this way, the researcher will be able to phrase queries in ways that children can understand and respond to. For reasons of practicality, the researcher may also rely on secondary sources to obtain data on empirical researches concerning how race can affect language use.
In Jonah’s case, the intended audience might be language teachers in low socio-economic settings or those teaching children from different ethnic backgrounds. Therefore, the most appropriate method of reporting his findings would be to make a publication of the findings.
Advantages and Limitations of the Correlational Research
- It is easy to make predictions based on the relationship between variables.
- It provides a good basis for development of other related researches.
- Helps researchers obtain data where experimentation may not be possible.
- It does not provide an in-depth explanation of the causal relationship.
Other than the initial variables, a third variable may affect the relationship between them, therefore, posing a problem to the researcher.
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