Research Aims and Objectives
The aims of the proposed research are twofold. First, the research will investigate the factors underpinning the perceptions of the quality of higher education in Kosovo. Second, the study will compare perceived qualities of higher Education among three countries, the US, Slovenia, and Kosovo. To realize the stated research aims, the research proposes the following study objectives:
- To study the factors influencing the perceptions of the quality of higher education in Kosovo and compare them with those of the US and Slovenia
- To probe the extent to which the identified factors in objective 1 affect the levels of the quality of higher education in Kosovo compared to the rest of the studied countries
- To recommend best practices that would improve the quality of higher education in Kosovo
Reviewed literature suggests a series of factors spanning the higher education sector of Kosovo, including corruption, political interference, and divisive ethnicity among others. Based on these and other factors, the following conceptual model would be useful in the development of research hypotheses that will guide the entire study process. It should be noted that the conceptual model proposes several hypotheses, as indicated subsequently.
- Political Unsoundness
- Divisive Ethnicity
- PERCEIVED QUALITY
- Political Unsoundness
- Divisive Ethnicity
- PERCEIVED QUALITY
The proposed conceptual model indicated in figure one results in the development of the following research hypotheses
H1-political unsoundness in Kosovo has a positive correlation with divisive ethnicity in the country
H2-political unsoundness in Kosovo has a positive correlation with corruption in the nation
H3-political unsoundness in Kosovo has a negative correlation with the perceived quality of higher education in the country
H4-Divisive ethnicity in Kosovo has a positive correlation with corruption in Kosovo
H5-Divisive ethnicity has a negative correlation with the perceived quality of higher education in Kosovo
H6-corruption in Kosovo has a negative correlation with the perception of the quality of higher education in country
The drawn hypotheses, aims, and objectives of the proposed study lead to the formulation of the following two study questions:
- What is the contribution of the political landscape in Kosovo to the perception of the quality of higher education in the country? What factions of the higher educational system are under the direct and indirect effects of corruption?
- How does the perception of the quality of higher education in Kosovo compare with that in the US and Slovenia? What are the indicators of the quality of higher education in each of the three countries?
The proposed study will adopt the qualitative design. Qualitative methods are popular among social scientists since literature indicates their efficacy in such contexts. For example, according to Berg, Lune and Lune (2007), qualitative methodologies allow researchers to conduct in-depth analyses that provide better insight into the studied relationships than other methods could enable. The fact that the nature of the proposed study entails an analysis of social factors-education is grouped under social sciences-it would be critical establishing the deepest insight into the nature of the quality of higher education in Kosovo in comparison to the Slovenian and American systems. The quantitative methodology does not suit the nature of the proposed study since it does not provide a framework of studying 'perceptions'' which is the primary factor underpinning the investigation. In this case, it should be considered that numerical data does not capture the quality of relationships between respondents, as does the descriptive qualitative data. It could be for this reason that most social scientists have been preferring the qualitative methodology.
The Proposed Sample and Approach to Sampling
The proposed study shall use two types of data, primary and secondary. The secondary sources to be used are majorly based on the review of related literature on the research topic while primary data will be collected from thirty-two respondents from four institutions of higher learning in the study region. Secondary data will specifically be useful in the comparison of the perceptions of the quality of higher education in Slovenia, Kosovo, and the US. Using both secondary and primary sources will enable the interpretation of the research findings easier and appealing to readers. Reviewing of literature and collecting of data using primary sources such as focus group and interview ensures that this research could communicate using both, numbers and words. Above all, combining these two types of sources made the researcher avoid or limit personal biases (Lai, 2010).
It is noted that the researcher will choose only a small sample of thirty-two respondents from a comparatively larger student and professor population in the study region. For this reason, it will be necessary to use a sampling technique that reduces the probability of a biased selection of respondents. Therefore, according to Creswell and Creswell (2017), the random approach is the most preferred method when researchers desire to give an equal chance to each of their prospective respondents to be included in their study. In this case, the study will recruit twenty students (four from each of the four Kosovan institutions of higher education), four higher education administrators representing each of the four institutions, and eight professors (two from each of the four institutions). The researcher will strive to ensure a gender-balanced selection of respondents. However, since the study will adopt the random sampling approach, realizing this outcome might be challenging.
The researcher will first send consent forms to the prospective respondents. Alongside the consent forms, the study sample will receive detailed descriptions of the study, including its objectives and scope. During this phase of the data collection, it would be useful for the respondents to understand the importance of the research before comprehending their responsibility. Therefore, the researcher shall take responsibility of respondents' education, which is one of the ways of promoting their wellbeing.
After willing respondents shall return their signed consent forms, it will be necessary for the researcher to contact those who shall have been selected for inclusion in the data collection process. The criteria for inclusion shall include the need for the respondents to be currently undertaking a course at any level of learning from a Kosovan institution of higher learning. It means that the researcher will exclude former students from the list of respondents.
The process of primary data collection will commence in the autumn of 2018 and end in January 2019. Actual primary data collection will be done through focus groups. Focus groups are forms of group interviews that allow several respondents to discuss their perceptions concerning a given topic of research (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). Two critical reasons shall inform the choice of this approach to data collection. First, it should be understood that using focus groups in the collection of data saves on the cost and time dedicated to the procedure (Lai, 2010). Second, the cited study notes that since the process of data collection occurs in groups, researchers have a chance of obtaining more sincere and well-thought responses to questions posed.
The researcher will model the questionnaire used during focus group discussions on the factors affecting the quality of higher education drawn from literature. To ensure the reliability and validity of the questionnaires in the data collection process, it will be critical that the researcher conducts a series of validity and reliability tests before subjecting it to a panel of experts for further analysis. The researcher will conduct the focus groups on the school premises after they shall have obtained the consent of the specific universities.
Analysis and Presentation
Since the collected data shall not contain numerical information, it will be enough for the researcher to conduct basic statistical analyses on the collected data. First, the researcher will apply content analysis in coding the information collected according to their thematic implications. After that, it will be useful conducting t-tests using the SPSS software for Windows to determine the statistical significance of the relationships among the tested hypotheses. Determining the statistical significance among tested variables is one of the ways of avoiding improper deductions of the data collected. Once the data shall have been analyzed the researcher will apply data presentation tools provided in Office Excel to present the findings in visuals, including charts, tables, and other related visuals for discussion.
Berg, B. L., Lune, H., & Lune, H. (2004). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences (Vol. 5). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications.
Lai, H. J. (2010). Secondary school teachers' perceptions of interactive whiteboard training workshops: A case study from Taiwan. Australasian journal of educational technology, 26(4).
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