Picture
When answering
complex research questions, the researcher must dig deep to get a complete understanding of the phenomenon their studying. More importantly, the researcher
must decide the type of research study will work best to uncover certain truths about the phenomenon in question.  The entire body of data collected, not any single statistic calculated, is what ultimately must be used to resolve the esearch problem. There is no substitute for the task the researcher ultimately faces: to discover the meaning of the data and its relevance to the research problem (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, p. 30). 

The purpose of this analysis is to examine the three main types of
doctoral research: qualitative, descriptive, and experimental research.
Furthermore, the researcher will synthesize how each strand of research could
potentially be applied to the research problem in question: will administering a
reading rewards program increase/decrease a
student’s intrinsic motivation towards reading, and/or increase/decrease a
student’s overall reading achievement scores? 
           
Qualitative research has two common core attributes in common. First, it
focuses on phenomena that occur in a real-world or natural setting, and second,
it involves studying those phenomena in all their complexity. 
Some qualitative researchers believe that there isn’t necessarily a
single, ultimate truth to be discovered, instead, there may be multiple
perspectives held by different individuals, with each of these perspectives
having equal validity, or truth (Creswell, 2009; Lincoln & Guba, 1985).
Other qualitative researchers believe that all inquiry starts out in a
qualitative form (Lauer& Asher, 1988). 

Qualitative research studies typically serve one or more of the
following purposes:
 1. Description: they can reveal the nature of certain situations,
settings, processes, relationships, systems, or people. 
2. Interpretation: they enable a researcher to (a) gain new insight
about a particular phenomenon, (b) develop new concepts or theoretical
perspectives about the phenomenon, and/or (c) discover the problems that exist
within the phenomenon.
3. Verification: they allow a researcher to test the validity of
certain assumptions, claims, theories, or generalizations within real world
contexts. 
4. Evaluation: they provide a means through which a researcher can
judge the effectiveness of particular policies, practices, or innovations
(Peshkin, 1993). Studying student’s intrinsic motivation towards reading is a complex task. Many variables can potentially contribute to increased or decreased student motivation levels and reading achievement. Thus, the researcher aims to “recognize that the issue being studied has many dimensions and layers, and will try to portray the issue in its multifaceted form” during the dissertation defense process (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, p. 135). 
         
Qualitative research has five common research designs: (a) case studies,
(b) ethnography, (c) phenomenological study, (d) Grounded theory study, and (e) content analysis. While all of the qualitative research designs may be useful,
for the purpose of monitoring student’s intrinsic motivation towards reading, a
case may be one of the best options. A case study involves collecting extensive
data on the individuals (students), programs (accelerated reader), or events
(reading rewards) on which the investigation is focused. These data often
include observations, interviews, documents, past records, and audiovisual
materials (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, p. 137). Gathering many forms of
qualitative data is vital when presenting a complete and unbiased account of the
case. Thus, the research will use a variety of case study methods as data to
collect, interpret, and report.


Descriptiveresearch involves either identifying the characteristics of an observedphenomenon or exploring possible correlations among two or more phenomena (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, p. 182). The researcher also aims to do both in the research problem presented. There are four descriptive research designs: observation studies, correlational research, developmental designs, and survey research. In observational studies, when human beings are being studied, the focus is typically on a certain aspect of behavior, which can then be quantified in some way. For the research problem in question: : will administering a reading rewards program increase/decrease a student’s
  intrinsic motivation towards reading, and/or increase/decrease a student’s
  overall reading achievement scores; the behavior(s) being studied are students
  reading, their motivation, their test taking ability, and their reaction to a
  performance based reward.

A correlational study examines the extent to which differences in one characteristic or variable
are related to differences in one or more other characteristics or variables. A
correlation exists if, when one variable increases, another variable either
increases or decreases in a somewhat predictable fashion (Leedy & Ormrod,
2010, p. 183). In the research problem presented, there are six possible
correlations which are important to answering the research question: (1)
student’s intrinsic motivation towards reading and their overall reading
achievement, (2) students intrinsic motivation towards reading and their
accelerated reading scores, (3) students intrinsic motivation and the
performance based reward; (4) students accelerated reading scores and their
overall reading achievement, (5) students accelerated reading scores and the
performance based reward given as a result of their scores; (6) the performance
based reward and student’s  overall reading achievement. A developmental design often time involves the researcherstudying how a particular characteristic changes as people grow older, normally through the use of either a cross sectional study or longitudinal study. And finally, survey research involves acquiring information about one or moregroups of people-perhaps about their characteristics, opinions, attitudes, or previous experiences- by asking them questions and tabulating their answers
with the ultimate goal being to learn about a large population by surveying a
sample of that population (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, p. 187). 
           
Once the researcher has identified correlations between variables, an
experimental design could possibly be used to establish cause and effect
relationships among the variables. In experimental research, the researcher
considers many possible factors that might cause or influence a particular
condition or phenomenon. The researcher then attempts to control for all
influential factors except those whose possible effects are the focus of
investigation (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, p. 223). In this type of research,
experimenters control for independent and dependent variables. In true
experimental research, the researcher manipulates the independent variable and examines its effects on another, dependent variable (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, p. 228). Thus, when the research has evolved to the stage of defining cause and effect relationships, experimental research will be used. 
 
In conclusion, a good researcher will incorporate as many types and
designs of research necessary to solve problems. No one research design will
ever be all encompassing. A true researcher must remember that the statistical
values obtained in a research study are never the end of a research endeavor or
the final answer to a research problem- the entire body of data collected is
what ultimately must be used to resolve the research problem (Leedy &
Ormrod, 2010). Thus the research will use all three types of research:
qualitative, quantitative, and experimental, to resolve the research problem:
will administering a reading rewards program increase/decrease a student’s intrinsic motivation towards reading, and/or increase/decrease a student’s overall reading achievement scores?





References

 Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research design:
Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.).
Thousand
  Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lauer, J.M., & Asher, J.W. (1988) Composition
  research: Empirical designs
. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2010). Practical
  research: Planning and design
. Upper Sadle River, New Jersey: Merrill. 

Lincoln, Y.S., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic
  inquiry
. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

 Peshkin, A. (1988). Understanding complexity: A gift of qualitative
research. Anthropology and Education
Quarterly
, 19, 416-424. 


 

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