This chapter describes the research design and methodology that will be employed in this study. This is done under the following headings: design and locale of the study, sample selection and sample size, research instruments, piloting, data collection techniques, and data analysis. The research methods used in this study will include library research and a field survey. Library research will involve of review of documents such as educational policy documents, government reports, research findings and relevant publications on education. The field survey will be conducted as described in other sections of this chapter.
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3.2 Research design
According Robson(2002) and Chandran (2004) research design refers to an arrangement of conditions for collection and analysis of data in a systematic relationship with the purpose of the research such that research questions are turned into a project. A research design has the following components: purpose(s), theory, research questions, methods and sampling strategy. Design is therefore a plan or strategy for conducting the research.
This study will adopt the exploratory type of research design although aspects of observation and descriptive design will be incorporated. Robson (2002) argues that exploratory design is suitable in seeking new insights, asking questions, assessing phenomena in a new light and generating ideas and hypotheses for future research. According to Chandran (2004), exploratory design is suitable in studies that seek to understand people, events and situations. The design provides new insights and discovery of new ideas to the researcher. Although the design has limitations such as lack of formulation and testing of hypothesis and it is only investigative in nature, the researcher will adopt it because it has certain critical advantages. The advantages of the design include its strength in leading to formulation of research hypothesis for further research and its stimulation of interest and encouragement of seeking to understand and gain new insights instead of testing research-related statements. The design further promotes indepthness in seeking for answers and explanations of events and situations as they take place without looking for causal links. It encourages drawing together various pieces of information and increases investigative power of the researcher. This study will use exploratory design because of the forgoing reasons. It will focus on questions that will clarify contemporary challenges in teaching and learning processes. This will shed light on how PTE can be made to be more responsive to the challenges of the 21st century.
3.3 Locale of the study
This study will be based in public teacher training colleges randomly selected in each province of the Republic of Kenya. The republic of Kenya is in East Africa on both sides of the equator between latitudes 4° N and 4° S, and longitudes 34° E and 41° E. To the north it is bordered by Ethiopia, to the northwest by Sudan, to the west by Uganda, to the south by Tanzania and to the East by Somalia. Kenya is divided into eight administrative provinces namely: Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi, North Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Western. Each province is further divided into districts, divisions, locations, and sub-locations.
Public teacher training colleges in Kenya are currently spread all over the eight provinces except Nairobi province. Nyanza has 2 colleges, Eastern province has 4, Western province has 2 while Rift valley province has 4. One college is located in Coast province, 4 are in central province while one college is located in North eastern province. There is no public TTC in Nairobi. Other institutions involved in this study include the primary school and the divisional educational office closest to the selected teacher training college in the province. KIE which is located in the city of Nairobi will also be involved in this study. It is located along Desai road, off Muranga road.
3.4 Target population
The target population for this study is 18 public primary teacher training colleges. According to Chandran (2004), population in research refers to human or non human items under investigation. The key population involved in this study is the public primary teacher training colleges (PTTCs) under whose docket is placed the task of training primary school teachers in the country. These institutions are expected to prepare teachers who implement primary school curriculum in the country. The PTTCs in this study will be represented by heads of departments, lecturers and teacher trainees who will constitute the targeted population. The population of heads of department is 168 while that of lecturers is 827 and population of teacher trainees is 15789. These figures are based on January 2009 enrolment in the 18 public teacher-training colleges in Kenya which are distributed in the country as shown in table 3.1.
Table 3.1 Primary teacher training colleges in Kenya
Public Primary Teacher Training colleges
Although the core population for this study is the teacher training colleges, a few other stakeholders in PTE will be included to enrich the findings. These are quality assurance and standards officers (QASO) previously called inspectors of schools, curriculum developers at KIE and practising teachers. There are six specialists who are responsible for curriculum development of PTE at K.I.E. The entire population of these specialists will be involved in the study as the number is small. The population of quality assurance and standards officers is 612 while that of practising teachers is 196,000.
3.5 Sample selection and sample size
The field research will be carried out in seven teacher-training colleges, which will be sampled from the 18 colleges available in Kenya. The sample is limited to one college per province to ensure that views from all the provinces are incorporated. One college will be randomly sampled from all the PTTCs available in each province. Private colleges have been disregarded on the basis that there are many mushrooming colleges and their standards cannot be ascertained. The researcher will aim at collecting views and opinions regarding teacher education in relation to responsiveness to contemporary challenges. The research will target 258 respondents as follows:
Table 3.2 Number of respondents
PTTC heads of departments (8 per PTTC, 1 PTTC in each province)*
PTTC lecturers(8 lecturers per PTTC, 1 PTTC in province)
Practising teachers(5 per school, 1 school in each province)
Quality assurance and standards officers (3 per PTTC locality, )
PTE curriculum developers at KIE (all the 6 PTE specialists)
PTTC lesson observations (2 per PTTC)
Teacher trainees (a group of 10 per PTTC)
Total number of respondents
*Data will be collected in 7 provinces, 1 PTTC per province (since Nairobi province does not have a public PTTC.
Since this study focuses on primary teacher education, teachers training colleges will play the central role in data collection. The eight colleges selected from different provinces constitute 38% of all the public primary teacher training colleges in Kenya. This sample is considered reasonable given the constraints of financial and other resources. In order to collect information from other significant stake holders, quality assurance and standards officers, curriculum developers and practising teachers are included as respondents. The various respondents will be selected as follows:
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3.5.1 PTTC heads of departments: Each teacher training college has eight departments namely languages, sciences, creative arts, professional studies, computer, social sciences, mathematics and physical health. Eight heads of departments for each of the 7 PTTCs selected will be involved in this study. They will be selected because they are responsible for training of primary school teachers in the various subject areas. It is expected that they are experts in their areas of specialisation and they are well versed with contemporary issues relevant to primary teacher education. In addition they are policy and curriculum implementers in the colleges.
3.5.2 PTTC lecturers: Eight PTTC lecturers will be selected using stratified random sampling method in every college. A list of all tutors in every subject area will be acquired from the relevant heads of department. The first name on the list will be sampled. If for whatever reason the sampled tutor is either not available or is the head of department, the next tutor on the list will be sampled. This sample is important since PTTC lecturers are directly responsible for the delivery of the PTE curriculum and the training of the primary school teachers.
3.5.3 Teacher trainees: 10 teacher trainees will be sampled for the focus group in each PTTC. These will be volunteers from the final year class. Volunteers are preferable because they are likely to be better motivated to discuss freely in contrast to randomly selected members of focus group. According to Robson (2002), a focus group should ideally comprise of eight to twelve members. This study chose a mean of the two figures.
3.5.4 Quality assurance and standards officers: The study will target 3 quality assurance and standards officers from the divisional educational offices closest to the selected teacher training college in the province. Snowball sampling, which uses one sample to lead to the next, will be used. The researcher will identify the PTTC which will be used as the basis of identifying the divisional education office from which quality assurance and standards officers will be randomly sampled. A total of 21 such officers will therefore be sampled. Quality assurance and standards officers are responsible for ensuring that the quality and relevance of primary education is maintained in schools within their jurisdiction. They will be chosen for this study because they are considered knowledgeable in determining the extent to which primary education is responsive to contemporary issues. This is important because implementation of successful primary education is a direct outcome of primary teacher education. In addition they are familiar with the challenges encountered in the teaching and learning process in primary schools in Kenya.
3.5.5 Practising teachers: Snowball sampling will again be used in which the PTTC selected will form the basis of selecting the primary school which will be involved in the study. The researcher will identify the primary school nearest to the selected teacher training college. Purposive sampling will be used to select five teachers with the most years of teaching experience. One such teacher will be selected from each level in upper primary section; that is from class five to class eight. The choice of teachers with most years of experience is based on the following assumptions: first, they are more familiar with the issues that have confronted primary education over the years. Secondly, they are likely to provide strategies they may have used to respond to challenges they faced over the years. Finally, after years of teaching, they may have reflected on effectiveness of teacher preparation with regard to responsiveness to contemporary issues. Consequently this study seeks to obtain feedback from them on all these issues.
3.5.6 PTE curriculum developers at KIE: There are six curriculum specialists at K.I.E who are responsible for curriculum development of primary teacher education. The entire population of six staff will form the sample for this study. This sample is regarded as important because it has a special role in determining how PTE is implemented in Kenya. They are responsible for determining the content of PTE curriculum as well as appropriate pedagogical approaches to deliver the curriculum. KIE is also mandated to monitor emerging issues and incorporate them in the curriculum.
3.6 Research instruments
Four data collection instruments will be used namely questionnaire, interview schedule, focus group discussion and observation checklist. The objectives of the study as well as the research questions have been used to guide the formulation of items in the instruments.
This instrument will be used to collect data from PTTC heads of departments, lecturers, and practising teachers (see appendix II and III). The instruments are suitable because the respondents are literate and conversant with educational issues addressed in this study. In addition the instrument is appropriate because the questions can be answered at the respondents’ convenience given that they are busy due to their nature of work. In order to address all the areas under investigation in this study, the questionnaires have five sections based on the objectives of the study as well as research questions.
3.6.2 Interview schedule:
This tool will be used to collect data from PTE curriculum developers at KIE (see Appendix IV). The interview schedule will enable the researcher to get detailed responses from the respondents. It will also be possible to probe further for clarifications and explanations where necessary. Interview questions are designed in such a way that they probe the various areas covered by the research questions. An interview typically involves the researcher asking questions and getting answers from the respondent. According to Robson (2002) interviews are widely used in social research and the common types include structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews. Selection of the type depends on the “depth’ of response sought. Structured formats have fixed questions in pre-decided order and standardised wording where responses are selected from a list of alternatives. Semi-structured interviews use much more flexibility in terms of order of questions and responses. Unstructured “in-depth” interview will be adopted in this study as it allows the respondent to say whatever they like on the broad topic thus giving insights on other pertinent issues.
3.6.3 Observation checklist:
The researcher will observe PTTC lessons in order to examine the instructional methods as well as teaching and learning materials used by PTTC lecturers. Other areas of observation will include teacher-student interaction, linkage of content to contemporary issues and involvement of pupils in the learning process. The observation checklist is found in appendix VI. Observation will be used as a supportive or supplementary method to collect data that will compliment or set in perspective data obtained using the other instruments.
Observation method entails watching what is happening, recording this, describing, analysing and interpreting what has been observed. Robson (2002) depicts two extremes of observation namely participant observation and structured observation. The former is essentially qualitative style while the latter is quantitative style. He proposes a third approach, unobtrusive observation which is non-participatory, non-reactive and is mainly unstructured and informal. This study chooses observation for its directness which allows the researcher to look at and listen to the respondent instead of asking him/her for personal views, feelings or attitudes. Observation will avoid discrepancies between what people claim to do and what they actually do. Data from observation will compare, contrast, and supplement information from other techniques. It will also be used to set in perspective data obtained by other means. The major disadvantage of observation approach is that it is time consuming and may also introduce some artificiality due to the presence and influence of the observer. Unobtrusive observation will be used as it is the most appropriate approach to exploratory research (Robson, 2002).
3.6.4 Focus groups
According to Robson (2002) focus group refers to a group interview on a specific topic. It is an open ended group discussion guided by the researcher typically extending over at least an hour. He argues that focus groups are easy to carry out and have the advantages of being efficient in generating substantial amounts of data. The method is relatively inexpensive and flexible and participants who may be reluctant to be interviewed on their own or even fill questionnaire are likely to participate. This study will use focus groups to collect data from teacher trainees (see appendix V). This method is considered appropriate because of its potential to generate detailed and relevant responses to pertinent questions in the study. It also has the advantage of providing data more quickly and at lower cost than interviewing individuals separately. It is particularly useful here because groups of teacher trainees can be assembled on short notice.
Bogdan & Biklin (1998) depict focus groups as a good method to provide information on how groups of people think or feel about a particular topic and give greater insight into why certain opinions are held. The groups are ideal for planning and design of new programs as well as provide a means of evaluating existing programs. The researcher can interact directly with respondents and they allow clarification, follow-up questions as well as probing. The researcher can gain information from non-verbal responses to supplement or contradict verbal responses. Data gathered from focus groups use respondents’ own words and the method is flexible and can be used with wide range of topics, individuals, and settings. Finally the results are easy to understand than complex statistical analysis of survey data
There are however some disadvantages of using focus groups. The researcher has less control over group and is less able to control what information will be produced. The groups produce relatively chaotic data making its analysis more difficult. Results may be biased by presence of a very dominant or opinionated member while more reserved members may be hesitant to talk. Focus groups cannot give valid information about individuals or tell how things have changed over time. According to Krueger (1988) a focus group session should include around five or six questions and should always include ten people or less.
3.7 Piloting of research instruments
The instruments will be improved with the guidance of the research supervisors. The instruments will be pre-tested before the data collection exercise in order to determine and enhance their validity and reliability. This will be done in two teacher-training colleges, which will not be part of the study sample. The findings of the pilot study will be used to refine the data collection tools and procedures.
According to Wiersma (1980), content reliability refers to the degree to which a particular measuring procedure gives equivalent results over a number of repeated trials. The test-retest or coefficient stability method will be used to determine the degree to which the same results received from the questionnaires could be obtained with repeated measure of accuracy in order to determine the reliability of the instrument. First the developed questionnaire will be given to a few subjects identical to the ones sampled for the study. The answered questionnaires will be coded and analyzed manually. Secondly, the same questionnaires will be administered to the same group after a period of two weeks and analyzed as the previous ones. Thirdly a comparison of the two sets of results will be made using Spearman’s product moment formula. The correlation coefficient will be computed to show the magnitude of the relationship between the two results. Relationship of the two results will be deemed to be greater depending on the magnitude of the coefficient. A correlation coefficient of 0.5 or more will indicate sufficient reliability of the instrument.
According to Wiersma (1980) and Annabel (1992) content validity refers to the extent to which the contents of an instrument measure what they are supposed to measure. In this study triangulation will be used to determine the validity of the items in the data collection instruments. Triangulation refers to using diverse methods and processes of collecting and analyzing data to enhance credibility and rigour of research (Robson, 2002). The four aspects of triangulation include: use of more than one method of data collection such as observation, interview and documents (data triangulation), use of more than one observer in the study (observer triangulation) combining qualitative and quantitative approaches (methodological triangulation) and using multiple theories or perspectives (theory triangulation). This study will attempt to use all the various forms of triangulation in order to enhance content validity of the instruments.
3.8 Data collection
The data collection will be preceded by familiarization visit to each of the sampled teacher training colleges, schools, KIE and divisional education offices. During these visits the researcher will review the initial sample sizes based on the actual numbers of the target population. Relevant authorities will be requested to allow the researcher to carry out research in their institutions. The purpose of the study and the significance of the data collection exercise will be carefully explained to the target samples. Consent of the respondents will also be sought. Sampled respondents will be notified and arrangements will be mutually made for the data collection exercise. The researcher and his assistants will administer the research instruments.
A cover letter will accompany each questionnaire briefing the respondents about the purpose of the research. The researcher will discuss with each respondent and set an agreed time frame for collection of the completed questionnaires. Respondents who might prefer to post the completed questionnaires through the post office will be allowed to do so. After the period for sending back the questionnaire has expired, the researcher will make follow up by reminding any respondents who shall not have returned the completed questionnaire. This will be done through telephone conversation, follow-up letter or actual visit depending on the location of the respondents and communication infrastructure. Some questionnaires will be distributed through the e-mail. Respondents who have good access to the internet and who prefer this option will be requested to fill the online version of the questionnaire and return to the researcher through their e-mail accounts. This will be an advantageous option to the researcher as it will enable the transfer of the data straight to the data management software such as SPSS. This will save a lot of time which would otherwise have been used to receive the questionnaire, code and key in the data.
The researcher will carry out the interviews in person. During the interview the researcher will take brief notes with the permission of the respondents. Interviews can be classified in two categories namely personal and phone. This study will mainly use personal interview as it allows the researcher to collect data directly and personally from the respondent. Chandran (2004), argues that this approach has the advantage of being able to probe and allow for detailed descriptions and comprehensiveness as needed. Telephone interview is direct though not face to face. This approach will be used sparingly and will be restricted to people who have telephones and who are unavailable for personal interview. It has the advantage of efficiency in terms of time and data analysis. Its limitations include cultural barriers especially in Africa where people prefer face to face interaction. Respondents may also not want to answer questions over the telephone especially to a total stranger. The respondent may also not have sufficient time to think and give a comprehensive answer over the telephone. Probing by the interviewer is also not practical as it increases both time and the cost of the interview. This study will therefore adopt the unstructured, in-depth and face to face interview to facilitate the creation of rapport, comprehensiveness of answering questions and allow probing.
The transcription of the interview will not be verbatim (recording every utterance) but will include only complete thoughts and useful information. Clarification for non-standard grammar or slang will be sought and the meaning recorded. The researcher will transcribe interviews immediately so as to resolve ambiguities while the memory is still fresh. He will review notes and interview transcripts to refine questions or add new questions based on emerging topics. When important realizations are noted during interviews, they will be written down immediately. After the interviews, the researcher will read over the interview notes and write a summary of themes.
The researcher will first meet with the sampled PTTC lecturers whose lessons will be observed in order to explain the need for the observation. An assurance will be given that the observation will be carried out professionally and confidentiality of the results maintained. The observation will be both formal and informal in approach. The formal aspect will include checking the occurrence or absence of listed items in the checklist while the informal aspect will be less structured and allow considerable freedom in what information is gathered and how it is recorded. It will include note-taking of all observations that may be significant to the study.
The researcher will be the moderator of the focus groups and will direct the discussion and take notes. His role will be to keep discussions flowing and on track, guiding the discussions back from irrelevant topics and making transitions into another question. The assistant will take a separate set of notes, operate the tape recorder whenever permission is granted and respond to any unexpected interruptions. All effort will be made to ensure that notes are so complete that it can be used even if tape recording does not take place. The discussion will usually begin with welcome, then overview of topic, ground rules and then first question. The overview will provide an honest clarification about the purpose of the study and the importance of the topic of group discussion. Ground rules are suggestions that will help guide the discussion and include rules such as: minimize or eliminate side conversations, one person will speak at a time, don’t criticize what others have to say, and treat everyone’s ideas with respect. The first question will be one that “breaks the ice” and encourages everyone to talk. The moderator will make use of the “pause and probe” system in which he will pause after a participant talks before beginning to talk. This pause will give other participants a chance to jump in. Probes will be used to request for additional information. A suitable location will be identified in which participants will sit around facing each other. The conclusion of the focus group will involve thanking the group for participating. The researcher will in each case summarize what was said and ask if anything was missed out.
3.9 Data analysis
The data collected in this study will be both qualitative and quantitative. The responses obtained will be classified into the following categories:
Views regarding contemporary challenges
Indicators of responsiveness to contemporary challenges
Obstacles that hinder PTE from being responsive to contemporary challenges
Recommendations regarding enhancing responsiveness of PTE to contemporary challenges.
Data will be recorded manually on data sheets. Unless the numbers of observations and variables are small, the data will be analyzed on a computer using SPSS. The data will then go through three stages, namely Coding (transfer of data into coded sheets), typing (entering the data into computer) and editing (checking the data by comparing two independently typed data). The typing of data from paper questionnaires will be done twice. The second time will be done by a different person whose job specifically will include identifying any possible mismatches between the original and second entries.
The notes made by the researcher during the interviews will form the data to be analyzed. The notes will be based on responses made in answer to specific questions by the researcher. Analyzing interview data will begin by coding the speech into meaningful categories, which will enable the researcher to organize the large amounts of text and discover underlying patterns. An original copy of the transcript will always be kept. Bogdan and Biklin (1998) suggest first ordering interview transcripts and other information chronologically or by some other criteria. The researcher will carefully conduct initial coding by generating numerous category codes as he reads responses and labelling data that are related. He will write notes, listing ideas or diagramming relationships that are noticed, and watch for special expressions which may indicate an important idea. Lastly focused coding will be used to eliminate, combine, or subdivide coding categories and look for repeating ideas and larger themes that connect codes. Repeating ideas are the same idea expressed by different respondents, while a theme is a larger topic that organizes or connects a group of repeating ideas. After coding categories have been developed, a list that assigns each code an abbreviation and description will be made. Matrices, concept maps, flow charts, or diagrams will, where applicable be used to illustrate relationships and themes. Such visual aids will be used to enhance confirmation of themes or consideration of new relationships or explanations.
The researcher will use the observation checklist to note the presence or absence of the listed items or behaviour. The observation will mainly be structured but there will also be flexibility in terms of taking note of any other observations that may be important to the study. For structured observation, a coding scheme will be prepared and will contain predetermined categories for recording what is observed. The scheme will mainly note whether certain items or behaviour are present or not. The researcher will use tallies in the checklist which will provide frequency data, both in absolute terms (how many times each item or behaviour was observed) and relative terms (the relative frequency of different items and behaviours). This data will then be analysed and collated using percentages, frequency tables and charts. Unstructured items will be processed by first giving codes to the initial set of materials obtained from the observation and then adding the researcher’s comments or reflections (memos). The researcher will then go through the materials trying to identify similar patterns, themes, sequences or relationships and use them in focusing the next observation. A set of generalizations will then be developed which will cover the consistent ideas detected in the observation data.
The record made from focus group discussions will form the data which will be categorized, coded and analyzed. Analysis and reporting of data will be descriptive and present the meaning of the data as opposed to a summary of data. Data can be examined and reported at three levels, including the raw data, descriptive statements and interpretation (Krueger, 1988). Raw data will present statements
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