The students ere from the same Caucasian family in Tennessee. The case study examined both risk factors as well as protective factors which help students overcome potential risk factors. The data indicated the importance of the family/s Christian faith and the positive impact it had of the students’ academic achievement. The decision for Hawkins (2011) to conduct the qualitative case study resulted from there being little research currently available on the qualities of academically successful economically disadvantaged Caucasian students.
However, there was a great deal of literature currently available which focused on negative variables which hinder students from being academically successful, therefore, the case study sought to focus on positive qualities which make students academically successful. Similarly, because the most current research appeared to focus on minority students, Hawkins (201 1) chose to focus on Caucasian students, and also noted at the school the participants attended, the lowest graduation rate was the Caucasian subgroup.
According to Hawkins (2011), ‘the purpose of this study was to examine academically successful DE students from one intact Caucasian family” (p. ). Additionally, “by gathering information about how the family supports DE students, this study sought to describe the family variables that have positive impacts on this particular family’s students” (Hawkins, 2011, p. 7). This resulted in exploring “parental perceptions of students’ success, student perception of their own success, and teacher perception of resilient DE students” (Hawkins, 2011, p. ). The focus of Hawkins’ (2011) research resulted in concentrating on family attitudes and routines, in hopes Of patterns emerging to shed light on why some students thrive more so than others. The information would then become beneficial for teachers, students and families’ of DE students. The intent of the study was to investigate the reasons for resilience in one family and resulted in “the goal was to draw conclusions in relation to actions that families can take to build better support systems for students” (Hawkins, 201 1 , p. 8).
The research was guided by three research questions, including: 1) What aspect of parenting do parents of one Caucasian DE family report as being most significant in their children’s success? 2) What do students of one Caucasian DE family report as Ewing most significant in their success? 3) What do teachers think enables some Caucasian DE students to be resilient? (Hawkins, 201 1, up. 10-11). The research data indicated both parents and the student participants viewed their Christian faith as the greatest factor in their academic success (Hawkins, 201 1).
This worldview resulted in the student’s daily lives and actions being driven by their faith. However, it is noted that the teachers of these students did not recognize the student’s worldview as a contributing factor. All three, students, parents and teachers, agreed that a student receiving support undistributed to the students’ success. Additionally, Hawkins’ (2011) research data indicated parents and students felt personal characteristics also contributed to the students’ success. These characteristics included personal responsibility, respectfulness, motivated to succeed, and a positive attitude.
Lastly, teachers indicated another possible contributing factor was that the family had both biological parents present in the home (Hawkins, 2011). The findings of the study also confirmed a previous study conducted by Werner (2005), which indicated three areas of protective factors contributing to a students success. These included factors within the person, family factors, and community factors. Hawkins Dissertation Analysis According to Array, Jacobs, Archaize, and Sorensen (2006), the nature of any qualitative research study can pose limitations and ethical issues which need to be considered.
Even with taking these considerations into mind, because the object of the research was a “concrete human experience,” the researcher recognized that the use of a qualitative method was “the most dads Tate means of knowledge production” (Brinkman & Kavas, 2005, p. 162). Hawkins (201 1), made every effort to ensure the information obtained for the study as not extremely personal to minimize potential ethical issues. Additionally, permission was obtained by the review board as well as from the participants before any information was collected.
The stated focus, intent, purpose, and research questions are clearly defined by the author. The reader is able to clearly understand these aspects of the research. Additionally, the author clearly identifies the problem and research questions, and the rationale for the research being conducted. Likewise, the methodology section clearly presents the manner in which the research was conducted and why the specific method was chosen. As a result, a fellow researcher could duplicate the research with another population to determine if the results are able to be generalized to other populations as well, or if it could be an anomaly.
The results of the data was clearly presented and related directly to the research questions, intention, and purpose previously presented. There was a balance between both the discussion of the data and the analysis completed on the data. However, there was not a significant discussion of the strengths and weakness of the research study presented, and the conclusion section did not really sum up the research study. Another limitation which needs to be noted is because Hawkins (2011) research focused on a single Caucasian DE family.
Therefore, before the findings are generalized to other populations, the data should be compared and contrasted with similar data and research findings from other studies conducted with students of other ethnic backgrounds. Similarly, the findings of the study should not be generalized to age groups and grades outside of high school students, applied to non-educational environments, and may not apply to families where both biological parents are not present in the home. A final limitation of the dissertation is the content of the abstract. The abstract did a good job of presenting the topic and intent of the study.
However, it did not really include information on the methodology, data, a discussion of any findings, or mention implications. These were included in the main document, but for someone looking to briefly review research to see if it is applicable for their research, the study may be overlooked as a result of this information not even being referenced in the abstract. Despite these limitations, Hawkins (201 1) still presents the data and its implications in a manner which is unbiased and contributes further to the literature currently available in this area.
Hawkins Dissertation Personal Application After reviewing the dissertation completed by Hawkins (201 1), there are a number of areas which an educator can take away from the research study when working with students. For instance, there is Often an idea within society, that a large family and a mothers decision to remain home with her children may contribute to the family being in a lower socioeconomic class than if the family size were smaller or the family had more than one source of income.
However, the case study completed by Hawkins (2011) helps to illustrate how it is possible for a family to be larger in size and the mother remain at home while still being a positive support for the academic success of their children. As a result, the parents in the case study were a positive example for their children and helped to encourage them in their Christian faith, thereby overcoming other potential obstacles often associated with being in a lower socioeconomic class. Another application from this study is the need to consider a student’s family of origin as well as cultural background, including religion.
While the educators did not recognize this as a contributing factor in the outcome Of the students success, for the family it was of significant importance to them. If an educator had taken this into consideration, they may have approached the way they support a students education differently. For instance, the family in the study was Caucasian, while if they had been of a different ethnic background, they may have had a different view of family and education, resulting in a different outcome. The same could have been said if the family had a different worldview.
By knowing a student and recognizing their preferences, it is possible for a teacher to have a greater understanding of then and therefore better meet their needs. In regards to how to complete a dissertation, the work done by Hawkins (201 1) helps to emphasize how effective the proper use of headings and subheadings is to the flow and understandability of the document can be. The style and layout of the document made it easy to follow and the researcher’s purpose, intent, and support for completing the study is clearly understood.
However, if the format and style of the document had not been as well thought out and easy to follow, it is possible for a reader to have missed information or misunderstood what the author was intending to communicate. As a result, taking additional time to ensure the text flows easily, is presented in a style which is not only pleasing to read, but also flows logically can be key in effectively communicating with the reader. Lastly, Hawkins (2011) helped to bring focus to how the research was relevant to current literature, as well as how it can be used to shape future research.
When seeking to present a research study, keeping this in mind, helps the author to bring relevance and applicability to the work they are completing. Failing to make these connection can have the reverse affect and result in the reader walking away from a research study still asking the question of how does this relate or pertain to their current situation. Heap, H. M. B. (2013). A collective case study of the perceptions and implementation Of self advocacy from four educators Of students with disabilities. Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. Heap Dissertation Summary Heap (2013), completed a collective case study, which focused on the perceptions and implementation of self-advocacy from educators of students with disabilities. This study was a qualitative research study, and focused on four educators’ perceptions and implementation of teaching self-advocacy. The educators served different roles within the same school.
The study looked at the time preparation, implementation, and reflection as it pertained to teaching self advocacy of these four educators. The reason Heap (2013) pursued this research project, was because of the gap currently in the available literature between educators’ perceptions Of self advocacy and how the perceptions affected the educators’ practices. Additionally, there was even more of a lack of research around how educators with different roles perceived and addressed self advocacy with students with disabilities.
Additionally, the desire to see how the different roles perceived self advocacy resulted in Heap (2013) seeking to thoroughly understand each educators role and an in-depth understanding of their individual experiences, resulting in the desire to conduct a collective case study. According to Heap (2013), the purpose of the study was to identify the perception of four educators (an administrator, a counselor, a general educator, and a special educator) within a public secondary educational setting on teaching self advocacy to students with disabilities and strategies taught (p. 9).
The research collected revealed themes and patters, which explained these four educators’ perceptions and expectation, and how these affected their behaviors in supporting self advocacy of students with disabilities. Four research questions were used to help guide the research study. 1) What do educators perceive students do in order to self advocate? 2) What are educators’ experiences in developing student self advocacy? 3) What roles do educators perceive they have in developing self advocacy Of students with capabilities? 4) What actions and behaviors do educators demonstrate to encourage self advocacy amongst students with disabilities? Heap, 2013, up. 10-11). The anticipated benefit of seeking to answer these questions while conducting the research was to be able to help address potential issues educators may have when they seek to implement self advocacy instruction with students with disabilities (Heap, 2013). The data collected in the research study was collected through interview, observations, and through other documentation which was made available to the researcher. Data revealed that behaviors either helped students agonize their limitations, wants, and needs, or helped students set goals or act towards obtaining resources (Heap, 2013).
Additionally, these behaviors were either directed towards individual students or a group of students (Heap, 2013). The data revealed, the administrator showed both behaviors by almost half of what the counselor, general educator, and special educator did; however, the special educator was the only educator which had considerably more instances of helping students to set goals or act towards obtaining resources than helping students recognize their limitations, wants, and needs Heap, 2013). All educators used similar strategies for teaching self advocacy to students.
These strategies Included “positive reinforcement, direct instruction, graphic organizers, modeling, inventory of performance levels, and inventory’ of expectation” (Heap, 2013, p. 84-85). While each educator used all of these strategies, it was noted that the counselor used more positive reinforcement, direct instruction, and inventory of performance levels than Other educators. Likewise, the special educator utilized graphic organizers and modeling more than other strategies. Heap Dissertation Analysis
Heap (2013) did an excellent job of providing support for the decision to select a qualitative research design over a quantitative research design. Furthermore, the decision to specifically use a collective case study to create a greater understanding of why a phenomenon occurs instead of the decision to use a more quantitative approach to form generalizations about a phenomenon. Heap (2013) also understood in order for this study to be reliable and valid, the potential for bias needed to be addressed. Heap’s (2013) research study had a lot of detail throughout the document; forever, the flow of information was difficult to follow.
The table of contents was provided to help guide the reader in identifying where the information was in the document, but the use of headings and subheadings could have been done in a manner which was more effective in helping the reader follow the authors train of thought and the data being presented. Doing so would have broken down the information in a manner where the reader could locate what they were looking for and decipher the information better than when presented in a larger section. Additionally, several of the sections appeared to simply repeat other orations of the document which may not have been necessary.
For instance, there were two sections of the document which addressed the matter of limitations. The first section mentioned some limitations of the methodology selected, but the second limitation section in the results portion of the document was vague. This limitations section of the document appeared to simply restate how participants were selected for the study and the setting of the study itself. There was no mention of how this may have impacted the study or its ability to generalize the results to another population, so it is nuclear as to why the author appeared to present this information again.
Likewise, there was no mention of any specific limitations by the author in this section at all; however, every research study will have limitations despite any precautions put into place which can and should be noted. One of the limitations Heap (2013) recognized was the potential for information collected in the observation portion of the study to potentially be skewed as a result of the participants knowing they were being observed. While they were observed in their natural environment as much as possible, hey was still the potential of this awareness creating some additional level of stress on the participant.
Additionally, it is possible for the participants to have altered their behaviors during the times of observation because they were aware of the study being conducted. Heap (2013) did attempt to minimize this by conducting an interview following the period of observation. Lastly, the information presented by Heap (2013) was written in a manner where the style of the writing was not consistent. For instance, there were a number Of times when the information was presented and the author would o back and forth between first and third person.
Another example would be the use of headings and subheadings in some sections of the document were not utilized enough, while other sections did use headings more effectively. As a result of these inconsistencies, the flow of reading the dissertation was difficult to follow at times. Heap Dissertation Personal Application After reviewing the dissertation completed by Heap (2013), there are a number of things which can be gleaned by the reader regarding completing a dissertation. Most importantly of which is the need to ensure the style and manner in which the information is presented is consistent throughout the entire document.
Doing so brings about a level of continuity to the document and makes the flow of the document more readable and easier for the audience to read and process the information. Similarly, the proper use of headings and subheadings can help to further communicate information clearly to the reader about the research. Another application gleaned from the way in which Heap (2013) wrote this dissertation is the need to ensure the details provided within the document are both thorough as well as precise. Sections which provide too little information are vague and make it difficult for the reader to follow the research process.
Ambiguity in the writing also leaves the intent of the research and the relevance of the research to the current literature as well as the field of education as a whole in question. A final application gleaned from Heap (2013) in the area of conducting a research study is in regards to addressing ethical issues. Heap (2013) acknowledged the potential stress to the participants and the influence this may have on the data being collected. There was an effort made to minimize he impact of this stress on the participants as much as possible and to also preserve the data being collected.
This included ensuring the identity of participants remained confidential, and keeping all research data in a locked file. The importance of preserving the rights of the participants was also upheld by informing the participants they could withdraw from the study at any time, and the data collected from the participant would be destroyed. Likewise, when conducting any research, it is important to inform the participants of their rights, including the right to withdraw from the study, as ell as the right to privacy, and the steps taken to ensure confidentiality of the data they may share with the researcher.
In regards to application within the academic environment, the research study provides support for the use of self advocacy within the classroom environment when working with students with disabilities. First, educators in various roles can help support students with disabilities through the use of self advocacy strategies. This may include helping a student to identify resources to meet their needs, or encouraging them to effectively communicate their needs and wants to others around them.
Secondly, educators should participate in training on self advocacy methods and how to use them within their specific roles. Doing so will help educators to be more confident and effective in encouraging student self advocacy. A third application, would include helping students and their families by knowing the laws related to the education of students with disabilities, and helping to provide resources for the student and their families on these laws and rights. Doing so helps to build rapport with families and creates a collaborative effort towards helping students to self advocate.
Lastly, as an educator, be open to continually research the area of self advocacy both its methods and problems with practice, as well as how self advocacy might be influenced by the cultural differences of students and their families. More specifically, how self advocacy may be communicated as well as received by different cultures can help an educator to better meet the needs of the student without applying his or her own cultural filter.