CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODS AND METHODOLOGY
The research methods and methodology used in this study explicitly illustrates the key parameters assessed and techniques used in evaluating and analyzing them. It bases on the fact that every research focuses on the primary variables that either reinforce or counter each other to give an outcome that responds adequately to some of the pertinent questions behind the study. This section underscores the fundamental role that research takes in any field, which include bridging gaps in knowledge, expanding the existing knowledge base, and using accurately determined facts to debunk some of the popular conceptions that may be erroneous but have widely been accepted as undisputable truths. The methodology details the research design, research population, data collection procedures, data analysis criteria, ethical considerations during the data collection and methods to ensure internal and external validity.
This research is primarily a case study that focuses on the available findings from multiple studies conducted about the thematic area of educational patterns among the black population in America. It narrows down the data various proximate case studies to focus mainly on the achievements of Black Americans. Since the studies on academic achievements have both empirical and qualitative imperatives, the case studies will be subjected to a mixed qualitative and quantitative assessment. The choice for a case study as the research design for this study is informed by the fact that assessing academic achievements of a generation cannot be accurately determined through using real-time approaches such as administrative of questionnaires. Therefore, secondary data sources will be more suitable for determining trends and fluctuations in academic achievements among the American-born Africans that spans a longer period backward from the time of this study.
The process and impacts of acquisition of knowledge can be assessed through different approaches. Nonetheless, this study uses mixed study (qualitative and quantitative procedures) to evaluate the secondary materials written about the academic status of the African American children living in the US. It is largely a case study involving the assessment of the education standards of the African Americans. Quantitative research is suitable for analyzing the demographic trends while qualitative design looks at the particular social perspectives that influence the education levels of African Americans such as the feeling of being disadvantaged and the broader community perception of education. From the standpoint of a researcher, using case study for this survey enables the leveraging of the limitations of each of them resulting in more precise, accurate and verifiable data (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004).
The case study will enable a close examination of data within the particular context of academic excellence of the African Americans studying in the United States of America. Furthermore, a case study will allow the selection of a limited part of the whole population as the subject of research to investigate the aspect of concern, which in this instance is their educational attainments. Yin (1984) describes case study research method as an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used. Since the studies on an ethnic group in a formerly racially explicit America portends various intricacies, a case study will enable a holistic and in-depth investigation without any unnecessary biases. According to Gulsecen & Kubat (2006), the role of the case study as a research tool becomes more prominent when examining issues associated with education. A case study is also appropriate for sociological studies and community-based problems including poverty, unemployment, drug addiction, illiteracy (Johnson, 2006).
This research will seek to exploit the various advantages of case study including enhancing the ability to transcend the limitations of quantitative statistical results and understand the behavioral conditions through the actors perspective. Furthermore, case studies bring together both quantitative and qualitative data thus help in explaining both the process and outcome of a phenomenon through complete observation, reconstruction, and analysis of the cases under investigation (Tellis, 1997).
This study will focus on the American-born African Americans studying in the United States. However, it will also draw proximate information about the other racial groups in the United States to be used in determining the comparative academic achievements between them. The African Americans consist of two segments including the immigrants and American-born Africans (Kent, 2007). Though these groups may have different experiences, their social experiences are fundamentally similar since they live in a diverse country where racial identity is a common point of reference in virtually all social discourses. The number of American-born Africans is increasing proportionately with the rising number of African immigrants to the United States (Kent, 2007). The new flows of Africans in the US result in an upsurge in achievements in the different fields of research, development, and innovation among the African American.
To date, the African Americans and Caribbean are a growing composite of the United States population. The African Americans play a critical role in the ethnic and racial transformation in the US in the current century. Despite the fact that the non-black Hispanic and Asian immigrants outnumber them, the rate at which the African population is growing is remarkable. Preliminary studies indicate that in the major cities of the United States such as Miami, New York, and Boston, the blacks accounted for at least one-fifth of the total population between the year 2001 and 2006 (Kent, 2007). Historically, the US has served as an important destination for students from Sub-Saharan Africa seeking high-quality education, especially in the institutions of higher learning. The population records marked disparity in educational attainments compared with the rest of the immigrant communities therein.
The African Americans studying in the US, which will be the primary study population for this research, come from different countries in Africa; majorly West Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt among others. Historical records indicate that the early generations of African Americans in the US were brought to the new world involuntarily during the despised slave trade. Report from the Institute of International Education bases in New York indicates that 90% of African students seeking to pursue higher education overseas prefers the US. Some of the reasons behind these preferences are the perception that it offers equal opportunities for academic success, provides high-quality academic standards and embraces tolerance to diversity. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics, the US will remain a strong magnet for students from Sub-Saharan Africa seeking a high-quality education overseas.
Data Collection Procedures
The fact that this research is a case study implies that secondary sources of information including journals, books, periodicals and institutional databases will form primary sources of information. Various techniques including a careful search of university databases and library catalogs, actual visits to resources centers that serve as repositories of crucial social information and reading of literature from the public and private libraries will be essential in determining the most relevant sets of information to be used in affirming or refuting the hypotheses presented herein.
Secondary data are sources of information that have been collected, synthesized and presented in different forms including books, journals, and articles. Keywords including education of African Americans in the United States; academic attainments of African American students studying in the United States of America; experiences of American-born Americans within the US school systems; and registration, retention and graduation rates of American-born Africans studying in the United States will be used in obtaining relevant materials. High levels of skepticism will be used to ensure that the selected readings not only have authority but also provide verifiable, consistent, precise, clear, conscience and valid information.
Different considerations inform the choice of secondary data for the completion of this study. First, obtaining already documented information is cost effective to obtain compared to primary sourcing information. Second, the time used in obtaining information from secondary sources of data is less than that used in completing the collection of primary data. According to Browne (2011), the secondary sources of information has the potential to yield more accurate data than those from primary research. Nonetheless, this assertion not always applies to all cases. Therefore, the study will concentrate on obtaining materials from agencies whose information have higher levels of confidence (Browne, 2011). These organizations include government and international organizations dealing with the issue of immigrant education and other aspects of social capital. Exclusive sources of information for this research will include reports from the large-scale survey and a census, which are likely to yield more accurate results.
Data Analysis Criteria
A cases study on the educational attainments of African Americans studying in the United States will inevitably generate a variety of quantitative and qualitative data that must be reduced to reduce them to more comprehensible forms for use in drawing correct and accurate inferences. Descriptive analysis, which involves measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion, will be employed in this study (Wetcher-Hendricks, 2011). Descriptive analytics includes the changing of raw information drawn from different sources into forms easily understood and interpreted (Wetcher-Hendricks, 2011). It will include reassigning data from the secondary sources, ordering and manipulating them to generate descriptive information.
Through descriptive analysis, it will be possible to describe the fundamental features of the study. The aspects include fluctuations in the number of African-American students in American universities of over the years, the graduation rates of African American students and the general factors that determine the likelihood of African American scholars graduating with various qualifications from institutions of learning.
The measures of tendency including mean, mode, percentages and median will be used in analyzing the data drawn from different literature. Mean will be used to determine the average number of students graduating from American universities, whereas mode will be critical in relating the likelihood of an African American student graduating from the colleges among other racial groups. The choice of descriptive statistics for this study is because it provides clear and straightforward summaries of different information obtained from various databases. When used with simple graphical analysis, it will be effective in providing details for drawing meaningful conclusions from the study.
As a social study, this research is likely to involve interactions with diverse perspectives, opinions, and cultures of people as presented in the secondary material used for its completion. This study will accurately and honestly communicate the data, results, methods and procedures as used in the...
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