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Paige Hoyle
University of St. Thomas

Dr. L.S. Spencer

EDUC 6327: Educational Research Design and Data Analysis
Fall 2015


Developing a research plan was a foreign and intimidating concept when I began
this course. I understood it as a process in which researchers would develop a hypothesis
then conduct a study to prove their hypothesis was correct. I never envisioned one day
being able to understand how to design and implement a research plan as I do now.
As I have learned this semester, developing a research plan is far more complex
and systematic. The goal of research is not only to gain the understanding of an issue, but
also to provide a deep reflection and bring about positive changes. I now understand the
many benefits of developing a research plan such as problem solving skills, encouraging
the development of professionalism, as well as giving teachers the tools and resources to
feel empowered.
The final project of designing a research plan was overwhelming at first, however
after thinking and reviewing all of the concepts learned in each learning module it felt
very natural and easy to transfer my new knowledge into the plan.
I have developed skills in problem solving when developing my research plan, as
well as collecting, analyzing, and interpreting my data. An example of problem solving
occurred when I was thinking of developing my questionnaire for the teachers or the
parents. I found it very difficult to decide whether or not it would be more beneficial to
provide the questionnaires to the teachers or the teachers. I eventually decided since not
all student participants would have a teacher it would be better to gauge the experience of
the all student participants at their homes. I had to make this decision so my results would
be uninfluenced and unbiased.
As a first grade teacher, I hope to be able to incorporate small elements of
research planning each and everyday. I mainly plan to use them when developing lesson


plans that match the TEKS as well as meeting the needs of my diverse students. I find
myself constantly observing my students during instruction, reflecting on what is working
and not, acting on my observations, evaluating my students progress as well as my own,
and modifying my instruction so all my learners are benefitting from my instruction.
I know as I continue in my studying through the University of St. Thomas, I will
be able to apply these skills as well. I originally felt very intimidated with this course due
to my lack of experience in quantitative and qualitative research. While this course has
taken me far outside my comfort zone, it has infinitely taught me how to be adaptive and
reflective in my research and in my thinking about familiar topics.
The topic of universal preschool has become my obsession since beginning
graduate school. I am most curious as to the impact of preschool education on lowincome students. I believe vehemently it is beneficial for every child who has the chance
to attend. I also believe it should be a requirement in public education. I will continue to
research findings that not only prove my opinions are correct but also research that may
criticize these programs. I believe that to fully comprehend an issue as important as this,
both sides of an argument should be understood. I plan on sharing my findings orally
with my colleagues as well as when writing to my local and state representatives about
supporting universal preschool.