Education Essay Paper on Research Methodology and Design

Research Methodology and Design

An analysis of the impact of disability on the school performance of disabled children in Perth


There are many children in the world with different types of disabilities. The disabilities that children have range from mental, physical, and visual challenges, while some children are unable to speak, see or hear. These conditions usually have different effects on their learning abilities and overall school performances. In this study, the researcher specifically evaluates the impact of the visual disability on the performance of children with this condition

 The aim of this paper is to develop and explain an ethnographic research design in order to determine the effects of visual disabilities on the school performance of children who are visually challenged. The children examined for this study includes 30 children aged between 7 to 10 years old.

This paper comprises two sections. The first section discusses and explains the reason for conducting an ethnographic research. After which the paper defines the focus question of the research. Moreover, it will discuss the role of literature in the research design and explains the answering of the research question in the study. The methods of data collection, sample collection, and analysis will be well analyzed. The paper will also outline the ethical issues associated with the research study. In the second section, it will identify the similarities and differences between ethnography and the case study approach as well as understanding how the focus of each study would be changed under the different research designs.

Part 1

Ethnographic Research Design

The topic of the study is an examination of the impact of visual disabilities on the academic performance of children with this disability. This study will seek to analyze and interpret the experiences of the children aged between 7 to years old and living within the same environment. The children attend the same public school for the visually challenged and are taught by the same teachers in the school. This study is conducted  in order to evaluate the negative impacts on the student’s performances. As a result, the ethnographic research design has been the most significant approach in developing a relevant study. Based on Creswell (2014), conducting an ethnographic study seeks to focus on the entire population that has some common cultural patterns such as the poor living conditions. Creswell (2013) also outlined that the researchers provides diverse philosophical arguments while undertaking an effective qualitative study.

The analysis of the actions of researchers may be different as the different beliefs and values relates to the nature of topic in the research design (Creswell, 2014). Many researchers have experienced different recommendations that represent their individual opinions. The philosophical understanding my change due to the interpretative frameworks utilized by the different researchers (Creswell, 2013). The concept of social constructivism would be appropriate in the current research design and methodology. This is because social constructivist directly engage with the sample or the group of students to be examines hence they are able to gather information in person, they are able to interact one on one with the sample hence collecting firs hand information (Creswell, 2013). For most social constructivists, the reality between the research and participants can be developed by individual experiences. The application of the social constructivism theory implies the need for effective interactions with individuals and their respected values (Creswell 2013). Social constructivist believe that direct interactions with the samples makes it easy fpr them to collect an unprecedented information through creating realities between the two faction while respecting each other’s values and boundaries (Creswell 2014).     In order to promote the functions of the ethnographic study, Silverman (2013) argued that researchers must be keen to determine the differences evaluated. The researchers must be aware of the topic to be studied and know what to ask and what not to ask, they should be able to stick directly to  the important point without deviating from the main are of study. The ethnographic researcher should therefore, adopt the reflexive approach to the study since it will make them pay attention to any form of biasness that might occur during the study (Silverman, 2013).

 Focus Question of the Research

The aim of the ethnographic study is to evaluate how the experiences of visually challenged children influence their school performance at Perth Primary school for the blindand compares this to the experience from children with no form of any disability within the same region.Considering the qualitative nature of the study, it outlines the clear perception of tackling the research question in the study. The nature of the research approach is relevant in describing and interpreting the schooling of visually challenged children compared to normal children in the same community (Creswell, 2014). The findings of the study will help in understand the appropriate perspectives and literature relating to schooling of visually challenged 7 to 10 years old children.

The visual challenges experienced by children aged 7 tp 10 years at Perth Primary School for the blind is easy to differentiate from those of normal students because these students require different equipment to make life bearable and worth living. For example, the visually challenged children cannot move around with an electric walking stick that enables them to know if there is an obstacle a head or not. They also require brails and special computers to improve their learning experiences. Some of these children originate from poor families that cannot afford to buy these equipment, lack of which may lead to poor performances since the visually challenged cannot read, write or even walk around without these gadgets. Unlike normal students from the main stream schools, visually challenged 7 to 10 years old children need a lot of attentions as well as assistances to make learning successful.

In his view, Creswell (2013) states that the statement of the study should clarify the main focus of the ethnographic research topic. The study only focuses on one central concept by providing a general definitive approach to it as is the case with many ethnographic studies. Similarly, the qualitative recommendations are usually subject to answering of the various questions in the study.

The Role of Literature in the Ethnography Study

In order to promote the research, it is crucial to understand the gaps that exist in the role of literature to determine the challenges involved in studying the topic study (Creswell, 2013). Thus, literature review is important to define the way of summarizing the evidence needed to handle the research question (Creswell, 2013). In addition, literature enables to ensure that all research information and instructions are included (Creswell, 2013). Authors usually identify any challenges of literature in order to promote future success of the research works (Creswell, 2013). In addition, the examples used in the research should be arranged properly to fulfill the needs of the literature. It is necessary to identify how the actual literature and discussion insufficiency affects the understanding of the research topic to be researched (Creswell, 2013).

An appropriate ethnographic study should comprise of a problem statement that clearly indicates the reasons for evaluating the cultural actions of the children among poor families. This emphasizes on the need to handle the cultural actions of the specific groups. Moreover, the different audiences including researchers and professionals must be considered to influence in the overall results of the study. Thus, performing a literature review on the research question enhances improved school performance.

 Methods for Data Collection

 The data collected for the study will conducted from every Tuesday from 8.00AM to 9PM  for a period of one year, that is from September 2014 to September 2015, a period which forms a complete academic year.  As a result, it is crucial to understand how to minimize the adverse experiences faced by children from poor families that affects their school performance. In order to ensure validity of the results of the findings, the triangulation method is used by the researcher as it enables his to handle various sources and types of information for the study (Creswell, 2013). The triangulation approach has different methods of data collection including observations, interviews and the administering of questionnaires. Thus, the participant observations as well as open-ended interviews will be used in the study.

The observation approach is one of the most relevant approaches for collecting data in qualitative research approach. In addition, interviews are necessary for ethnographic study in interpretation the researchers and the attitudes to be observed. The number of interviews that could be conducted in the study is close to 30 to 70 and the data should be recorded up to full saturation. The responses should be predetermined in most of the ethnographic interviews (Creswell, 2013). This indicates that the open-ended questions are approach in the collection of information, since it ensures respondents share their opinions and beliefs. It is significant to note the recording procedures used in the study and the interviewing guide to conduct the interviews (Creswell, 2013). In the ethnographic study, the various participants including teachers and key informants provide their consent for taking part in the research study. The interviews will be well done until the participants of the persons provide similar responses.

            In addition, the ethnographic study could provide for data collection through the non-participant observation (Robson, 2011). Nevertheless, it occurs more in participant observations. The participant’s observation offers some attachment with the specific groups while the non-participant observations do not provide for interactions with the researchers. According to Creswell (2013), there is need for clarification of the different attitudes, which is important concept in the ethnographic research. Thus, the first process is to identify an appropriate setting to be observed as well as the designs of an observation protocol.

Apart from all this, it is necessary to take not the disadvantages of the different participant observations including the manipulation of the respondents by the research affecting the accuracy and reliability of information obtained (Robson, 2011). Additionally, the researcher may invoke the participants’ desire to interact with him during the data collection method through asking and answering questions.   

Describe the behavior of the children in this school compared to those of children in normal school What major challenges do these children experience and how do they affect their academic performances? Comment on the overall school performances, class participation and attendance of these children compared to those of children with no disabilities.

Data Analysis

The data collected at Perth Primary School for the Blind will be analyzed after some observations and interviews of the participants. It would also offer a comparison between the groups of students from the visually challenged school to those of children from main stream in order to understand the differences in school performance. The researcher will interpreted differences in behavior, performance, and performance as well as describe the data collected during the study.  Creswell (2013) states that data analysis can be done by description, examination and interpretation of the collected results in any ethnographic study.

In addition, Creswell emphasis on the description of the cultural similarities for improved qualitative research. Creswell (2014) also states that the analysis of data offers relevant interpretations of the researchers by expressing their opinions. Robson (2011) provides that data collected in the setting should be properly examined and compared to determine the differences and similarities. Moreover, the ideas and concepts by the ethnographers should understand results tests differently to the various observations. Thus, it has proper understanding of the observations.

The final examination will contain a general description of the cultural sharing groups in which the sample was taken, this can either be emic or etic. Emic refers to when the data is collected from the same culture while etic is when the data is collected across different cultures.(Creswell, 2013). The development of codes and categories is appropriate in promoting effective qualitative data analysis (Creswell, 2013). The ethnographic studies could use software for effective data analysis. The cross-tabulation software understands the logic of measures in matching the actual data. It is usually code based on ensure that all data and information are well tested. In addition, data analysis would require the information from fieldwork such as the process of note taking (Robson, 2011). The fieldwork provides appropriate qualitative information for understanding the real facts and data from the study. As a result, the researchers help to develop the detailed descriptions, topics and offering relevant perspectives (Creswell, 2013). The systems of coding are used in integrating the different texts and visual information into small sections. However, the codes labeling are obtained from different sources (Creswell, 2014).


 A conservative method of the sample size necessary for the qualitative studies relies on the ability to gather considerable data to each participant observed (Creswell, 2014). In the ethnographic study, the children from Perth School of the visually challenged children of ages 7 to 10 years were selected subjectively. The qualitative research approach is involved in in-depth analysis of the sample selected among fewer subjects (Creswell, 2014). In the ethnographic study, the random samples would be used in collecting the information relating to schooling among visually challenges children. The random samples promote the uniformity of outcomes obtained from the samples (Creswell, 2012). By comparing with other approach, the context of social actions of participants would select the ethnographic participants. According to Merriam (2014), the sampling method make is difficult of the selection process. The researcher will face difficulties while choosing and identifying the most preferable groups and persons to be take part in the interview. Thus, the researcher may end up selecting the wrong group for the research study.

 According to Creswell (2014), in an ethnographic study, the method of sampling depends on the nature of selection that offers relevant insights into the specific topics under consideration. Also, the participants selected in the samples many not be a representative of the entire population in terms of coverage (Berg & Lune, 2004). Coverage errors always arise from the differences between the target and sampled population. To some extent, the non-included population may have different perception to the selected population making the estimates biased. The bias is usually high in small size groups in a research study (Merriam, 2014). There are some of the processes common in sampling approach including the definition of the populations, specifying the samples, deciding on the sampling approach and size and the collection of data (Creswell, 2014).

Ethical Issues

In conducting data collection, it is important to obtain approval from the right departments to effective allowable conduction of research (Creswell, 2013) For instance; the schools and parents would submit the research for review in order to grant authorization. It is also necessary to identify the codes of ethics associated with information founded in websites and other media sources (Creswell, 2014). After starting the study, the purpose of the study must be communicated and norms expected to be followed during the study. For instance, the research study will be concerned about the feelings of the vulnerable persons in the society (Creswell, 2013). Moreover, the participants must not be pressured into signing the consent forms (Creswell, 2014). Thus, the participants must be contacted to be explaining on the nature and importance of the research study (Creswell, 2014). In addition, it will need to identify the signing of the consent forms indicating their willingness to take part in the research study (Creswell, 2014). As a result, learning about the different cultures and beliefs will help the researcher to analyze the diverse viewpoints of the participant.

 In the ethnographic study, the information letter is provided to all families to indicate their acceptance for their students to take part in the research study. In the research study, the consent form in appendix 1 will show the participants acceptance to take part in the research According to Silverman (2013), the ethnographic study should ensure that all data collected is from participants who have agreed to take part. Today, ethical issues that relates to the study must be realized in the research process (Creswell, 2014). The author states that the researcher  should include the purpose of the research explain of taking part in the study and appropriate description of the form of participants involved in the study. The informed consent explains the risks exposed to the participants and allows them to withdraw in case of dissatisfaction (Creswell, 2014).

Ethical issues are also noted during the collection, analysis and the reporting of data and information collected (Creswell, 2014). Thus, the research process should be well controlled to avoid any disruption after obtaining data and feedbacks from the participants. If participants are dishonest, they should be avoided to improve the respect of participant’s performance.  In the effective analysis of data, the researchers are supposed to avoiding the disclosure of positive outcome as well as privacy of information provided by participants (Creswell, 2014). Moreover, the data and information should be evaluated   by proper languages and minimize any forms of falsifications and plagiarism (Creswell, 2014). As a result, the purpose of the study and obtaining appropriate information should be discussed from the onset of the study. All names should be well recorded and confirmed to avoid any dishonest in the research work, (Creswell, 2014). Finally, the ethical issues relates to the publishing of study and proof for compliance.

Part 11

 The culture sharing research study using the ethnographic research may be similar to the case approach. Nevertheless, the main purpose of ethnographic study is to understand how the cultural actions occur apart from creating a relevant understanding on the specific case (Creswell, 2014). The ethnographic method is contributed by the sociological and anthropologic researchers (Creswell, 2014). In contrast, the case study is related to the disciplines of psychology, medicine and political science (Creswell, 2013). A case study research work helps the researchers to conduct detailed study on the specific cases relating to real life situations. As indicated in different research designs, the main step in completing a case study research work is the identification of relevant phenomena. Nevertheless, the main purpose of ethnographic research study is to understand and interpret the culture sharing concepts. On the other hand, the case study framework focuses on studying a relevant comprehensive description and proper examination of different cases to improve understanding (Creswell, 2014).

In addition, the selection of participants in ethnographic studies focuses on a specific cultural unit, while the case study approach has an objective to understand and crate a specific case (Creswell, 2014). Another main difference among the two research designs is reflectivity and   being native with the researchers, which is not common in case study designs (Creswell, 2013). The describing of data by the ethnographers shows the social events and situations, as the case study defines the specific contexts (Creswell, 2014). In an ethnographic study, the researchers seek to obtain appropriate sense on the findings. In contrast, the case study approach provides an actual interpretation, generalization of the learned issues (Creswell, 2014).

 Nevertheless, there are exists some similarities between the ethnographic research study and the case study designs (Creswell, 2013). Both use the purposeful sampling approach to obtain approach sample sizes (Creswell, 2014). They also use the different forms of data collection including observations and interviews depending on the research study. Thus, both share the types of data collection approaches. In the aspects of data analysis, ethnography and case study offers effective description and themes. In both research methods, data is indicated through appropriate observation protocol and filed notes (Creswell, 2014). The ethnographers have used the narrative presentation approach including figures and tables. In addition, the case study uses the narrative, figures and tables for presentation of findings (Creswell, 2014). Both the ethnographers and case study person’s uses transcriptions and computer files for data storage.

The qualitative research approaches and questions through ethnographic and case study research approaches promotes the understanding of the purpose of the study. Thus, if the case study approach would be used in place of ethnography, the research questions would emphasizes more on  the  experiences of the students and how they  facilitates improved school performance among the children from poor families. The table below shows differences between ethnography and case study

Ethnography Case study
Done within the same culture Done either in the same or cross culture
Deals with specific samples Can combine different types of samples
Mostly have primary data Mostly have secondary data


 In summary, the first part of the report describes the ethnographic research approach to be used in the research including the subsections of data collection methods and analysis, the role of literature as well as evaluating the ethical issues on the research design. The research seeks to explain the culture shared by children from poor families through the social constructivism approach to understand their experiences in the schools. The ethnographers would use different approaches in collecting information including the observations and interviews as well as the analysis of data. Thus, the research study will be conducted using appropriate ethnographic methods. It will also include the ethical issues requiring information letters and consent forms to all participants of the study. Lastly, the second part compares the research approach of the ethnography and case study. It will detail the similarities and differences of the research approaches and how changing the research approach would affect the research question.


Berg, B. L., & Lune, H. (2004). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences (Vol. 5). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. London, UK: Sage publications.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. London, UK: Sage Publication, lnc

Merriam, S. B. (2014). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Robson, C. (2011). Real world research: A resource for users of social research methods in applied settings. Chichester: Wiley.

Silverman, D. (2013). Doing qualitative research: A practical handbook. London, UK: SAGE Publications Limited.

Information letter to parents

An analysis of the impacts of academic performance among the visually challenged children f

I have read the information requirements and understood the nature of the research that will be undertaken by the child from 03/09/14 until 17/09/15. I also understood that my child’s participation in the study was out of free will and I have the authority to withdraw him/her from the research at any appropriate time.

 Thus, I agree that my child _______________________________________will take part in the ethnographic study on schooling among children from poor families.


Name of parent or guardian


Signature of parent or guardian

Appendix 1

Consent Form

An analysis of the impacts of academic performances among visually challenged children

I have read the information requirements and understood the nature of the research that will be undertaken by the child from 03/12/14 until 17/02/15. I also understood that my child’s participation in the study was out of free will and I have the authority to withdraw him/her from the research at any appropriate time.

 Thus, I agree that my child _______________________________________will take part in the ethnographic study on schooling among children from poor families.


Name of parent or guardian


Signature of parent or guardian