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An evaluation is as a statement of value, usually spoken or written. It also refers to the assessment of value of something or the act of considering or examining something in order to judge its value, importance, quality, extent, or condition. It may involve the use of or comparison in different dimensions using an example or a description of a model or pattern for something, especially one that forms the basis of a well accomplished, established and accepted theory or methodology. (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000).
Therefore, research evaluation can be defined as assigning of ‘value judgment’ to a research work. (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000).
According to Fraenkel & Wallen (2000), it involves an appraisal that carefully uses measurement tools which analyzes or takes into consideration the research methodologies that have been employed, research paradigms, reliability, validity and ethics in research.
Without any stint of doubt, we are all aware that a good research study should adopt a given methodology, must be reliable and valid. These key elements are important and must always be taken into cognizance when evaluating a given research work because ‘they give the work the credibility it deserves’. (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000).
Once the research work satisfies the aforementioned conditions, its findings can then be implemented. Therefore
‘with a little ingenuity, the implementer can assemble an extensive box of tools that will enable him/her give the client association or organization a good and solid footage to build a focused and strategic program.’ (p. 97).
This is an article about ‘Perpetuating gender stereotypes in the classroom’ from the viewpoint of the teacher. This research is quantitative and has corroborated its findings with quantitative data figures. This is a clear show that it was more interested in the facts and the relationship that exists between gender stereotypes and the initial teacher preparations and their role in perpetuating the same.
Despite being credited with the above fact, the research article 1 can be critiqued for being imprecise. Most of the facts have been repeated. Moreover, it has not effectively brought out a more generalized result on the area of study. This therefore gives logic to the argument that it was basically interested in facts for fact’s sake’. (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000).
This also clearly gives credence to the fact that it was more driven by the curiosity of the researcher and not in informing understanding of the disciplinary subject of concern which is the key ingredient and is more preponderant in the backdrop of the study.
After having selected a broad area to study, the title of the research article is not declarative and has, to a less broad extent identified a specific issue or issues within the study area. This is crucial in the research because the issues identified can be used in forming the main component of the study.
The research problem does clearly convey the main goal or intended outcome of this study. As such, it effectively captures the interests of the reader in this work. The importance of this study in assigning new knowledge is otherwise not clearly indicated.
This research is quantitative hence highly descriptive. This is true because it covers the entire UK region but appears based on a case study that was carried out in an array of primary schools in Northern Ireland (NI).
Despite being quantitative, the study has also employed ‘qualitative dimensions’ which also gave insight into the awareness of the existence of gender stereotypes within a classroom set-up by the teacher.
Insofar as these two approaches are concerned, the research article can be said to have been interested both in numerical and narrative forms of data thus both deductive and inductive respectively. Based on this di-pronged approach, the research article therefore lacks ‘a clear and distinct methodology’. (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000). Its methodology can be assumed to be both qualitative and quantitative. Thus if taken to be a product of a qualitative study the use of the case study would be said to be inappropriate. From the other end of the spectrum, if assumed to be quantitative, then qualitative facts would be irrelevant in this case.
The research article has endeavored to collect data though a ‘survey (using a postal questionnaire), interviews with teachers (focus groups) and with teacher educators (one-to-one)’. (Smithers & Zeintek, 1991).
Even with the presence of this data, the researcher has not stated the hypotheses and how the findings from the aforementioned instruments were used in testing the hypotheses or in answering the questions relating to the subjects mentioned in the study. The research has used a survey why is suitable for vast populations. It sought to collect data with the main aim of recounting a population that was too outsized to be observed.
The questionnaire design which was based on A five-point Likert scale (1_strongly agree, 2_agree, 3_disagree, 4_strongly agree, 5_don’t know) adopted in measuring attitudes and opinions of the teachers to the three major issues (Likert, 1932) of teacher preparation/ training, gender parity in the classroom and occupational typecasts/ stereotyping was closed-ended hence did not give any room to add pertinent information.
This limited the respondents as they did not have enough freedom in providing their peculiar responses to the issues hence were compelled to give their responses according to any one of the choices made by the researcher. This might have given clue to the choices that were most sought after by the researcher.
Validity and reliability
In research, validity refers to the degree to which a given research work measures the concept, point, aspect, property, attribute or element it says it is. (Murphy, 1997).
In this research article, there is the measuring of the attributes that were related to the study area, for instance teacher preparation. The questions that were centered on the study were also valid and were based on the aforementioned three major issues.
Validity is also augmented after careful pretesting of other possible questions that are designed in measuring similar concepts. (Kirk and Miller, 1986).
This is particularly true for this research article. It has meaningful relations with comparable measures that were previously used (McMahan et al., 1999). It has also made comments that give or represent evidence of the truth of something to earlier researches that were done in this area. (Murphy, 1997).
Its validity and reliability have been reinforced by a ‘multi-method triangulation approach’ of both qualitative and quantitative methods that are an embodiment of a survey and an interview. (McMahon et al., 1999).
This proves beyond any doubt that the respondents knew what was being measured and had the capacity to understand it. Hence the study has succeeded in retrieving results that are valid. Selection of samples was done in different institutions with little biasness and the questions used in investigations might have been well understood by the researchers and the respondents.
The results of the research are also reliable in that they are objective and independent and are a reflection of reality.
This is an article about ‘Equality and Inequality of Opportunity in Education: Chinese Emergent Bilingual Children in the English Mainstream Classroom’ (Chen, 2007). Article 2, unlike the former, is highly qualitative in its approach and/or methodology. Thus it was interested in individual cases and small groupings.
This research article can be critiqued for being too difficult to understand as the findings or qualitative observations are deductive/ narrative hence takes a lot of time to interpret and come up with an un-biased judgment or conclusion.
A paradigm is a hidden and significant acceptance of responsibility for a given finding and a rational structure upon which a research study and relevant development in a field of investigation is based. (Kuhn, 1962). The research article has established and maintained a clear and well defined paradigm in its study area.