You are on page 1of 32

MARKETING RESEARCH

INFORMATION PROPOSAL

NAME : DESMOND CHOO SHYNN - JUNN


ID NUMBER : 08DIMT13-0096
TOPIC : Level of Communication
Apprehension in the classroom of
Students
1

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION

PAGE 3

BACKGROUND AND PROBLEM STATEMENT

PAGE 4-5

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE & QUESTION PAGE 6-8


INDEPENDENT AND DEPENDENT VARIABLE PAGE 9
LITERATURE REVIEW

PAGE 10-19

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

PAGE 20

SAMPLE SIZE & SAMPLING TECHNIQUES


GRANT CHART & CONCLUSION
REFERENCE PAGE 29

PAGE 21-27

PAGE 28

INTRODUCTION

Communication Apprehension (CA) is a theory developed by James


McCroskey in 1970. Communication Apprehension (CA) is viewed as the feeling of
anxious when communicating orally. He later redefined this theory as an
individuals level of fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated
communication with another person. (McCroskey 1977a ,1978)
McCroskey has classified Communication Apprehension (CA) into two
concepts. The first concept is the oral focus of Communication Apprehension (CA)
which derives from stage fright and reticence. The oral focus of Communication
Apprehension (CA) basically means the act of just talking. Over the years,
McCroskey has broadened this concept by defining it as the act of communicating in
all kinds of modes. The second concept of Communication Apprehension is the trait
and personality type variables are related to his or her Communication
Apprehension (CA). Later, McCroskey has broadened this concept more, in which not
only traits orientation is related to Communication Apprehension (CA) but both trait
and states approaches are related to Communication Apprehension (CA).
Another concept that is highly related to Communication Apprehension is
Willingness to Communicate (WTC) which indicates an individuals willingness to
communicate with another person. The trait of this concept is originated from the
work of Burgon (1997) on the concept of Unwillingness to Communicate and the
work of McCroskey and Richmond (1982) on shyness. Unwillingness to
communicates indicates the avoidance of oral communication by an individual while
shyness is a term that is used to describe an individuals tendency to be timid,
reserved, and most specifically, talk less (McCroskey and Richmond, 1982 in
McCroskey, 1997).
Communication Apprehension (CA) is normally experienced by students in
the classroom especially when they refuse to answer the educators question or
give their opinion and thoughts during a discussion in the classroom. Students who
are apprehensive in communication will face detrimental effect in the long run, and
the effect normally begins when they go for job interviews. Since, communication
skills play a major role in passing job interviews and surviving in the working world,
students have to train themselves to speak out in the classroom in order for them to
build the confidence in speaking in the real world.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY


The need to be able to communication confidently and proficiently as well as
to think critically has increased significantly along with globalization. Before this,
great GPA plays an important role in passing job interviews but nowadays, oral
communication skills, especially in English language play an important role to pass
job interviews. English language is widely used for communication in business and
private as well as most government sectors in Malaysia thus, not being able to
communicate in English language is one of the reasons why many Malaysian
graduates remain jobless (Noor Azlina Ismail, 2011).
Clearly, undergraduate students must brush up their communication skills
and critical thinking skills as to prepare themselves for the real world and to be able
to sell themselves to the employers. Previous researchers have suggested students
to participate in classroom actively as it is proven to help them improve their
communication skills as well as critica thinking skills (Howard, 2004). However, a lot
of students are reluctant to participate in class discussion because of
Communication apprehension (CA), a theory which is developed by James
McCroskey. According to McCrsoskeys original conceptualization of this theory,
Communication Apprehension (CA) is viewed as a broadly based anxiety related to
oral communication (Mccroskey, 1970). According to the previous researches, a lot
of the students choose not to participate in classroom discussion because they feel
intimidated as well as inadequate when speaking in front of their classmates and
their professors. While in a study, it is claimed that 70% of the students in a
classroom feel apprehensive towards communication occasionally and 60% of them
will not participate in classroom discussion while 33% of them will participate in
classroom discussion only when they believe their ideas are important and
worthwhile or when they feel the topic that is being discussed is interesting to them
as they have background knowledge of the topic (Wade, 1994 in Rocca, 2010).
Therefore, students communication apprehension needs to be detected and
overcome fast as it may have detrimental effects on the students communication
skills as well as critical thinking skills which will result in restricting the students
future, especially in career choices.

1.2 Statement of the research problem


Asking questions to the students is the simplest and most effective way to
get students to participate in classroom discussion as it does not only engage
students in the learning process but also trains them to think critically of (Davis,
1993 & Fassinger, 1995). However, in a typical classroom situation, when an
educator asks the students a question to the whole class, only one or two students
will answer the question and give their opinion and thoughts to the educator. In a
worse scenario, no one will answer the educators question leaving the educator to
answer the question herself or himself in order to stop the awkward silence
moment.
Students' unwillingness to answer questions asked by the educator and
participate in classroom discussion by giving their opinion and thought have worried
the educators and academic institutions up to a point where many academic
institutions have opted to implement the classroom participation grading policy in
which the percentage that is allocated for students' participation in the classroom
could be as low as % to as high as 50% and this percentage will definitely affect the
overall grade of a subject for one whole semester (Peterson, 2001 in Meyer, 2007).
However, how effective is the classroom participation grading policy and is this the
most valid and trusted way to overcome students; communication apprehension?
Therefore, this study will explore the level as well as causes of students
communication apprehension and suggest better ways to overcome this problem.

1.3 Research objectives


The research objectives of this study are:
i)

To examine students level of communication apprehension in the


classroom.

ii)

To identify the causes of students communication apprehension in the


classroom.

iii)

To identify ways to help students to overcome their communication


apprehension in the classroom.

1.4 Research questions


The research questions for this study are:
i)

What is the level of students' communication apprehension in the


classroom?

ii)

What are the causes of students communication apprehension in the


classroom?

iii)

What are the ways to help overcome students communication


apprehension in the classroom

1.5 Operational definitions


1.5.1 Classroom participation: According to Howard, Short & Clark (1996) in
Almanzor, Daguman & Tan (2009), participation is described as an effective
learning that requires students to engage actively in the classroom. For
example, reciting in class, conversing as well as sharing ideas with the
educator and class members. In this study, classroom participation is defined
as students willingness to answer educators initiated questions as well as
their willingness to give their opinion and thoughts during discussions in the
classroom.
1.5.2 Communication apprehension (CA): Communication Apprehension (CA) is
described as An individuals level of fear or anxiety associated with either
real or anticipated communication with another person or persons
(McCroskey, 1977a, 1978). In this study, communication apprehension (CA) is
defined as students' silence in the classroom due to their unwillingness to
answer the educators initiated questions and contribute their opinions as
well as thoughts during discussions in the classroom.
1.5.3 Critical thinking: Critical thinking is described as individual who is actively
engaged in the thought process. Not only this person is evaluating, analyzing
and interpreting the information, he or she is also analyzing inferences and
assumptions made regarding that information (Walker, 2003). In this study,
critical thinking is defined as an individuals ability to contribute quality
responses, ideas or opinions to the educators initiated questions and topics
being discusses in the classroom.
1.5.4 Educator. According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
(2005), educator is as a teacher or someone involved in the process of
educating people. In this study, an educator is defined as a person who
teaches students in the university classroom.

1.6 Limitation of the study


The small sample size of this study might not allow the findings of the study
to be generalizable to all undergraduate students in this country. Apart from that,
this study is not an action research, hence the suggested ways to overcome
communication apprehension among the students in the university classroom might
not be hundred percent successful to each student who are apprehensive towards
communication.

1.7 Significance of the study


Among the reasons why graduates are facing critical unemployment problem
are because majority of the undergraduates do not posses good critical thinking
skills, communication skills, especially in English language (Kurty, 2012). These
reasons seem to be relevant as the People Management Association of the
Philippines also claims that critical thinking skills, initiative skills and effective
communicative skills are the major reasons why four out of ten graduates and
young job seekers in the Philippines are unemployed. Critical thinking is defined as
a process that requires an individual to actively engage in the evaluation, analysis
and interpretation of information. One of the ways to get students to think critically
is through questions and class discussion (Walker, 2003). Questions and discussions
will also get the students to interact actively with the educator and class members
hence improve their communication skills. However, most of the time the students
will not respond to the educators question and when students stay mute in the
classroom they will not engage actively in the class discussion. This explains why
Malaysian graduates still fail to have excellent communication skills and a study
proves that good grades do not guarantee employment of Malaysian graduates
because good command of English and communication skills are what required the
most in order to be employed (Nor Azlina Ismail, 2011). Clearly, communication
skills, especially in English language, have been one of the major reasons to why
Malaysian graduates are not able to sell themselves to the employees during job
interviews.
When English is first introduced as the medium of instruction at Universiti
8

Teknologi Mara, it is aimed at equipping the Malay and Bumiputera students with
the English language in order for them to be able to compete in the working world
with other overseas graduates (New Straits Times, 2000). Ironically, the result of a
government survey in Malaysia finds that the most unemployed graduates in
Malaysia are the Malay graduates because they do not have good communication
skills in the English language (New Straits Times, August 27, 2009). So, what have
gone wrong and could be wrong?
It is hoped that the findings from this study will provide insights to this issue
and may help instructors to help the students to improve their critical thinking skills
as well as communication skills in order for them to be fully prepared when entering
the real world.

1.8 Independent and Dependent


Variables
Generally speaking, in any given model or equation, there are two types of
variables:

Independent variables - The values that can be changed in a given model or


equation. They provide the "input" which is modified by the model to change
the "output."

Dependent variables - The values that result from the independent variables.

For this research the independent variable is the student while the dependent
variable is the communication.

1.9 Conclusion
This chapter has covered the background of study, the statement of the
research problem, the research objectives, the research questions, the significance
of the research, the operational definition of terms used in this study and the
limitation of this study. The literature review of the topics related to this study will
be presented in the next chapter.

LITERATURE REVIEW
2.0 Introduction
In this study, the researcher examines how communication apprehension
(CA) is related to classroom participation. Although the topic on classroom
participation has received little attention at the higher education level but due to
the poor communication skills being the major reason why graduates and young
jobseekers are unemployed, students' participation in university classrooms has
been the focus of several studies. Summarized in the following review of the
literature are the definition of classroom participation, types of student
participation, benefits of classroom participations and factors that make the
students to be reluctant to participate in class discussion, the definition of
communication apprehension (CA), causes of communication apprehension (CA)
and ways to overcome students communication apprehension (CA).

10

2.1 Classroom participation


It is a normal classroom phenomenon to have students who will not, cannot
or simply do not want to actively participate in classroom discussion. This problem,
better known as student reticence, which can be defined as an individuals fear of
communicating for he or she believes that it would make him or her appears foolish
(Keaten and Kelly, 2000 in Li and Liu, 2011), has caused educators to be worried
because students would remain silent only because of two things, it could be either
they have understood what has been talked or discussed in the classroom or they
completely do not understand anything about what the educator is teaching and
discussing in the classroom. Active classroom participation is not just about
answering the educators question or giving opinions and ideas on a particular topic
that is being discussed in the classroom. Active classroom participation also means
that the students are ought to ask questions to the educators and the other class
members in order for two way communication to be successfully achieved. In short,
active classroom participation requires the students to participate by discussing
with the educator and the other class members as well as listening to the educator
and the other class members. There are various definitions of classroom
participation. According to Howard, Short & Clark (1996) in Almanzor, Daguman &
Tan (2009), participation is described as an effective learning that requires students
to engage actively in the classroom. For example, reciting in class, conversing as
well as sharing ideas with the educator and class members. Other scholars have
come up with several definitions of discussion. Some of the definitions of
discussions are discussion happens when three or more students, including the
educator exchange information freely, a group of two or more students share their
views and engage in mutual and reciprocal critique in alternately serious and playful
effort and the exchange and examination of different views by a particular form of a
group interaction. In short participating in a discussion in the classroom actively can
be defined as constructing of knowledge and dialogue between or among people
which involves the exchange of information about a topic (Hess, 2002 in Trainers
Times, 2005). Participation in the classroom is categorized into five categories which
are preparation, contribution to discussion, group skills, communication skills, and
attendance (Dancer & Kamvounias, 2005 in Rocca, 2010). The ways students
participate in the classroom vary according to the type of students' participation in
the classroom. There are four types of student participation which are bank of
knowledge, civil attention, interactive facilitative orientation and knowledge
transmission orientation (Howard, Short & Clark (1996) in Almanzor, Daguman &
Tan (2009). Most of the students belong to the first type of participation, that is,
bank of knowledge. This type of participation describes students as listeners to the
educator and who only take down the notes during lesson. It is also said that
students of this type of participation refuses to share their insights and thoughts
with the educator and other class members. Students who pretend to be paying
attention to what the educator is talking about by looking closely to the educators
face during lesson but they are actually clueless of what the educator is talking
11

about and what task they are actually required to do are classified as the civil
attention participators. Students who only use the knowledge taught by the
educator for instrumental purpose and memorize the knowledge that has been
gained in the class only for the sake of answering the test as well as examination
belong to the third type of participation, that is, knowledge transmission orientation.
The only type of student participation that involves students active engagement in
the classroom discussion is interactive facilitative orientation. This type of
participation is claimed to be the only type that engages students in the classroom
discussion hence making them active participants in the classroom because these
students are provided with alternative forms of assessment in order for them to
understand what is being discussed in the class. The researcher believes that a lot
of students do not belong to the fourth type of student participation because
students, in Malaysia, specifically, have been conditioned to go to school or
university for the sake of passing the test and exam in order to please their parents,
educators, or the society as a whole. Besides that, our culture emphasizes on the
need to protect the face. For example, students who belong in the first type of
participation refuse to share their opinions and thoughts as well as answering the
educators questions because they fear should their answers or opinions are wrong
and unimpressive, they would just embarrass themselves. Students who belong in
the second type of participation pretend to be paying attention to the educator in
the classroom because they simply want to please the educator and make the
educator to have good impression on them. While students who belong in the third
type of participation attend classes with only one goal, that is to study to pass the
test or examination. These kind of students will not participate orally in class
discussion because they are too busy jotting down every single thing that the
educator and the other classmates say for they believe they could use the notes for
the test and examination.
Classroom participation is crucial as it affects the learning outcomes of the
students positively (Rogers, 2009). This is because when students participate in the
classroom actively, they will have to be responsible for their own learning. For
instance, they will have to be prepared before attending classes such as doing some
reading before attending a class in order for them to be able to answer the
educators questions and contribute their two cents in the discussion (University of
New South Wales Assessment Toolkit. Apart from that, active participation in
classroom discussions affect students' academic achievement positively as the
materials that have been discussed in the classroom by the students are proved to
help the students to perform better in the test (Rau and Heyl, 1990 in Rogers,
2009). This claim is supported by Handelsman, et al. (2005) in Rocca (2010), in
which it is claimed that the increment of students' participation in the classroom is
aligned with the increment of their grades. It is also being argued by Brookfield and
Presskill (1999) in Howard (2004) that class participating in class discussion will help
students achieve a more critically informed understanding, enhance students' self

12

awareness and capacity for self-critique, foster appreciations of other peoples


opinions and help people to take informed action in the world. Clearly, there are
many benefits of active participation in the classroom but sadly, despite the
benefits that can be achieved through participating actively in classroom discussion,
a lot of students still fail to be actively engaged in classroom participation. Students
who fail to participate actively in classroom discussions happen to be one of the
most devastating classroom phenomena (Petress, 2001). Besides that, active
classroom participation is very important in an ESL or EFL classroom because the
time that is spent by the students in the classroom is the only time they would use
the language. If they do not use the language in the classroom, they would have
difficulty improving their proficiency in the English language. Hess (2002) in Trainers
Times (2005), claims that participating in classroom discussion will help the
students to develop their skills to think critically and projecting ideas. Besides that,
active participation in classroom discussion will improve the students speaking and
listening skills because when the students are actively involved in the discussion,
they will listen attentively to others opinions or ideas as well as to the educators
questions in order for them to be able to answer the educators question as well as
respond to the opinion or ideas given by the class members during the discussion.
Other than that, the students would not only improve their confidence to speak out
in the classroom setting but also at public places because they are already used to
speaking in front of a group of people. This is very important especially when they
graduate from the university because job interviews are normally conducted by
more than two interviewers and when the students have started working, they need
the confidence to speak out in meetings or speak to their employers as well as
colleagues.
Alpert (1991) in Rogers (2009) claims that there are three factors that make
the students to be reluctant to participate in classroom discussion which are
components of adolescent culture, upper middle class aspirations for success and
the teaching approach used by the instructor. In another study by Crombie (2003) in
Rogers (2009), it is claimed that the factors that shy the students away from
participating in classroom discussion are class size, gender balance, discipline of the
cause and educators behavior. While in a study by Li and Liu (2011), it is claimed
that students are reluctant to participate on classroom discussion because of six
factors. The first factor is students' low self-esteem. The second factor is most
students are scared of being ridiculed if they give inappropriate responses and
inaccurate answers. The third factor is most students believe that should they give
appropriate response and accurate answer that is merely because of luck or by
accident. The fourth factor is cultural differences. For example, some cultures forbid
students from speaking out to the teachers especially, elder students and students
who are of a higher status as a sign of respect. The fifth factor is students who have
very little experience, shy or less competent in the knowledge or language prefer to
remain silent in the classroom. The sixth factor is communication apprehension that

13

is referred to individuals who are scared of communicating with or in the presence


of others. The researcher believes that these factors, which have been suggested by
the previous studies are relevant because generally, people who are confident are
the extroverted ones with a high self-esteem and normally extroverted people are
the most likely to volunteer to answer educators questions and contribute their
opinions and thoughts.

14

2.2 Communication Apprehension (CA)


One of the many factors of students refusing to participate in class
discussion communication apprehension is communication apprehension (CA).
Communication apprehension (CA) is a theory developed by James McCroskey.
According to McCrsoskeys original conceptualization of this theory, CA is viewed as
a broadly based anxiety related to oral communication (Mccroskey, 1970 in Rayan
& Shetty, 2008). Later, communication apprehension (CA) is redefined as an
individuals level of fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated
communication with another person or person (McCroskey, 1982 in Rayan &
Shetty, 2008). In short, communication apprehension can be understood as the fear
of speaking.
The causes of Communication Apprehension (CA) have not been studied in
great detail however some researchers have identified several causes of
Communication apprehension (CA). Kelly and Keaten (2000) in Smith (2009) have
pointed out introversion and neuroticism as the causes of communication
apprehension (CA). An introverted person is bound to face communication
apprehension (CA) because he or she is typically shy, reticent and self-centered
whereas a neurotic person is more likely to face communication apprehension (CA)
because he or she is abnormally sensitive, obsessive and is always tensed and
anxious. Smith (2009) has also claimed that communication apprehension (CA)
could be due to lack of proficiency in the target language, especially English
language, lack of practice, and insecurity. Apart from that, there are another five
factors that are claimed to be the causes of communication apprehension (CA) as
being pointed out by Wilder (1999) in Smith (2009). The first cause is career form
which is stemmed from the feeling that a persons job, career and future in danger
every time he or she speaks out in a group or a meeting and pick up the telephone.
The second cause is perfectionism which is stemmed from a persons desire to
always want his or her speech to be perfect. The third cause is panic which is
stemmed from a persons unreasonable expectations with fear of failure and real
physical symptoms. The fourth cause is avoidance which is stemmed from a
persons fear of failure. A person who is scared of failing will avoid speaking in
uncomfortable and unfamiliar situation at any cause. The fifth cause is trauma
which is stemmed from a persons experience of being told that he or she is not
good enough. Educators must be aware of the actual factors or causes of
communication apprehension among students in the classroom as this problem
needs to be overcome in align with the actual factors of students being
apprehensive towards communication in order for the solutions to overcome
students communication apprehension in the classroom be successful.

15

2.3 Ways to overcome students


communication apprehension in the
classroom
Communication Apprehension (CA) must be addressed fast as to avoid
students from being too comfortable staying mute in the classroom because
Communication Apprehension (CA) is a hidden disorder that is hardly recognized
by people, including the person who is apprehensive towards communication. One
popular encourage students to actively participate in class discussion is by
incorporating the graded class participation policy for each subject. Educators are
ordered by respective academic institutions to give students grades for their
participation in the classroom and the grades could be as low as % or as high as
50% (Peterson, 2001 in Meyer, 2007). Though grade class participation seems to be
the most ideal way to force the students to participate in class discussion, there are
a few issues that derive from this assessment strategy. According to the University
South of Wales' Assessment Toolkit, unfairness issue might arise because some
students actually have the answer to the educators questions and opinions
regarding the topic that is being discussed in the classroom but they normally write
it down on a piece of paper and ask their friends, normally the person who is sitting
next to them to read it aloud. If classroom participation is only regard as
contributing orally only, classroom participation grade policy would not do justice to
the students have the ideas or the answers but who are apprehensive towards
communication. Besides that, graded participation may not be the best way to
encourage students to participate in class discussion as some teachers define
participation poorly hence it is not being assessed in a reliable manner (Bean &
Peterson, 1998 in Rogers, 2009). For example, the educators might give the same
grade to all the students in the classroom as the classroom participation grade
would normally be used to help students to pass a subject and this would not do
justice to students who make an effort to actively participate in the classroom.
Therefore, it would be best to overcome students communication apprehension first
before carrying on with the grading class participation strategy.

16

In order for students to actively participate in class discussion, their


communication apprehension must be overcome first. In a study by Townsend
(1998) in Wilen (2004), a few methods have been recommended for the instructors
to help students speak out. The recommendations are instructors should encourage
students to think about and write out questions they have and encourage the
students to write down topics and issues that they would like to discuss in class,
instructors should provide students ample of time, such as five to ten minute, to
review their notes and gather their thoughts before starting a discussion, instructors
should get students to write out their reactions to their readings and then compare
their reactions to the readings before discussions, instructors should make students
work in pairs for activity that involves open ended questions, instructors should
encourage students to explain their responses to questions with reference to the
text and instructors should encourage students to share their questions with a
congenial partner and rehearse their thinking.

In another study by Wilen (2004), it is recommended that instructors should


solicit responses from students who are reluctant to participate in class discussion
by asking for agreement or disagreement with prior comments, paraphrase the
previous comments, share a reaction to the topic as this way will help them to
speak out and move the discussion forward. Similar to the recommendations by
Townsend (1998), this study also suggests that students need to be given time to
prepare before starting a discussion as this will help them to participate actively in
the class discussion. It is also suggested that instructors should give students
assignments that require them to write out their responses so that the students will
have more points to be discussed and shared in the class discussion. Similar to the
recommendation by Townsend (1998), this study also suggests that instructors
should. Create minimally intimidating contexts for students to share ideas such as
working in pairs or small groups as this will reduce the intimidating contexts for
them to share their ideas.
Wilen (2004) has also suggested some ways that instructors can use to
encourage students to participate in class discussion. Among the ways are
instructors should respect students' ideas during discussion, democratic classroom
discussion should be designed, modeled and practiced by the instructor, instructors
should prepare students for the discussion in order to build their confidence,
instructors should allow choose topics, issues and problems that the students are
interested in, instructors should balance large group discussion with small group
discussion and instructors should make an effort to call on non volunteers, use waittime and probe initial student responses. In a study on the causes of reticence in an
EFL classroom by Liu (2005), it is recommended that EFL educators should be aware

17

of the reticence among the students in the classroom and educators should provide
the students with more chances to speak and create a learning environment that is
friendly and supportive in order to encourage them to speak. Apart from that, it is
also recommended that the lesson should be on interesting topic as it will grab the
students interest to contribute their ideas and opinions regarding the topic. In a
study by Fakhri Khader (2011) on the effect of cooperative learning strategy in the
reduction of the oral communication apprehension, it is claimed that communication
apprehension can be reduced by using cooperative learning approach. Cooperative
learning is defined as a teaching strategy which involves students of different levels
of learning ability which are then put together in a small group consisting of four to
six students and the educators will act as the facilitator. This approach is believed to
be successful in improving the students' learning and developing their oral
communication as well as higher order thinking skills. Besides that, this approach
can also intrinsically motivate the students to learn and it provides them with equal
participation and simultaneous interaction (Davis and Murril, 1994; Philips, et al
2004 in Fakhri Khader, 2011).

Despite the approaches that have been recommended for educators to be


used in the classroom as a way to overcome students communication apprehension
in the classroom, the students must also play a role to improve their confidence in
answering educators question, asking questions to the educators and responding to
what is being discussed in the classroom by giving opinion and ideas. Regardless of
whatever ways that the educators use to overcome this problem but if they
students do not have the motivation to improve themselves, the educators effort
would be useless. Students in university especially, should be mature enough to
decide on what is good and what is bad for them. They must also do a lot of reading
because the best way to be able to answer the educators question and give ideas
and opinions in a classroom discussion is by having facts or schemata on the topic
that is being discussed. Therefore, the students must also make an effort to improve
their confidence in speaking as it will not only benefit their grades but it will also
benefit them when they go for job interviews and when they are in the working
world.

18

2.4 Conceptual Framework

Communicatio
n
Apprehension
(CA)

Unwillingness
to participate
in classroom
discussion

Poor
communication
skills and
critical
thinking skills

Figure 1.1 Conceptual framework

The study is stemmed from communication apprehension (CA) among


students. Students who suffer from CA will be reluctant to participate in classroom
discussion. This is because one of the reasons why students do not participate in
classroom discussion is because of communication apprehension that is referred to
individuals who are scared of communicating with or in the presence of others
(McCroskey, 1982 in Rayan & Shetty, 2008). When students do not participate in
classroom discussion, they will not be able to brush up on their communication skills
as well as critical thinking skills. Classroom participation is crucial as it one of the
ways to get students to think critically is through questions and class discussion and
classroom discussions will also get the students to interact actively with the
instructor and class members hence improve their communication skills (Walker,
2003). If this continues until the students graduate, chances are, they might face
threats of not being able to pass job interviews and being employed as lack of
critical skills, poor communication skills and total lack of command in the English
language is the major reason of the unemployment of graduates in Malaysia (Kurtty,
2012).

19

2.5 Conclusion
Researches from previous studies have proved that communication
apprehension (CA) among students is one of the causes that make students do not
want to participate in classroom discussion and it is crucial to help students
overcome this problem in order for them to be able to become active participants in
classroom discussion so that they can maximize the learning outcomes as well as to
equip them with good communication skills that will be needed when they graduate
from universities.

20

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.0 Introduction
This chapter explains the research design of this study, the method of data
collection, the population as well as the sample of this study and the data analysis
of the data. The data that has been analyzed will then be presented in the next
chapter.

3.1 Research Design


This study will be carried out using a quantitative approach as well as qualitative
approaches. Under the quantitative approach, a survey research design that will be
used in this study is a cross-sectional survey. A cross-sectional survey is one in
which data are collected from selected individuals at a single point in time (Gay,
Mills & Airasian, p. 184). Apart from that, non-participant observation will be used as
one of the research designs in this study. Non-participant observation requires the
researcher, who is the observer to not directly involve in the situation being
observed (Gay, Mills & Airasian, p. 382). Besides that, unstructured interview will
also be one of the research designs for this study. Unstructured interview is an
informal interview that is not aimed at obtaining answers to predetermined
questions but rather to obtain information about where the participants are coming
from and what they have experienced (Gay, Mills & Airasian, p. 386). These are the
research designs that will be used to gather the data that is needed for this study.

21

3.2 Population and Sample


The major target population of this study is undergraduate students at the Faculty
of Education at Universiti Putra Malaysia. The purpose of using undergraduate
students from this particular higher institution is because as being stated in the
significance of the research, A government survey in Malaysia finds that the Malays
with poor English language skills as well as communication skills make them the
most unemployed graduates in Malaysia (New Straits Times, 2000). Since the
students at UPM are Malays and Bumiputeras, it is best to use samples from the
higher institution in order to see whether or not the findings of this study are
contradict with the report from the local newspaper. The sample size for this
research is 217 students out of a population of 200 students. The larger samples
increase the chance of significance is because they more reliably reflect the
population mean.

3.2.1 Sampling Techniques.


The sample of the study will be selected using the random sampling. Simple random
sampling is the process of selecting a sample in such a way that all individuals in
the defined population have an equal and independent chance of selection for the
sample. The selection of the sample is completely out of the researchers control;
instead, a random or chance, procedure selects the sample (Gay, Mills & Airasian, p.
131). Besides using the undergraduate students as the sample for this study, two
educators from the institution will be interviewed in order to gain their insights on
ways to overcome students' communication apprehension.

22

3.3 Instrumentation
3.3.1 Questionnaire
The first instrument that will be used in this study is a 21 items - scale
questionnaire that is adapted from a study conducted by Meyer (2009). This
questionnaire is aimed at determining the undergraduate students level of
communication apprehension (CA). The questionnaire is divided into two parts
which are part A and part B. Part A comprises of five questions and the responses
are put in a Likert scale form in which Never, 2 indicates Rarely, 3 indicates
Undecided, 4 indicates Often and 5 indicates All of the time. On the other hand, part
B comprises of 16 items and the responses are also put in a Liker scale form in
which 1 indicates Strongly Disagree (SD), 2 indicates Disagree (D), 3 indicates
Undecided (U), 4 indicates Agree (A) and 5 indicates Strongly Agree (SA). The
questionnaire is aimed at determining the undergraduate students level of
communication apprehension (CA). The questionnaire is included in the appendix
section.

3.3.2 Unstructured interview


The second instrument that will be used in this study is unstructured interview. The
purpose of interviewing the samples is to complement and extend the data from the
questionnaire as well as to find out where the samples are coming from and their
experiences. The interview is aimed at finding out the causes of students
communication apprehension during class discussion and ways to overcome their
communication apprehension. Apart from that, two educators from the institution
will also be interviewed as to obtain their views on this matter and possible ways
that they have used to overcome students communication apprehension in the
classroom and possible ways that they would apply in the future. Even though
unstructured interview does not require predetermined questions, it is suggested
researchers should prepare a set of questions in order to guide the conversation
(Agar, 1980 in Gay, Mills & Airasian, 2011, p. 314). The interview questions are
included in the appendix section.

23

3.3.3. Observation scheme


The third instrument that will be used in this study is an observation scheme.
The observation scheme is systematically structured in order for the data from the
observation to be systematically recorded. The observation scheme consists of five
criteria which are peer interaction, 'participation, engagement in class discussions
and answer educators initiated question. Each criterion is provided with four
qualities ranging from one as the most positive description and four as the most
negative description of the criteria listed in the observation scheme. Each quality
specifically describes the criteria that are being observed. The researcher will have
to choose the quality that best describes the students in the natural setting of the
observation. The observation scheme is included in the appendix section.

3.4 Data Collection


Before the real data collection process for this study is carried out, a pilot study will
be conducted on a smaller population of the same intended samples for this study
such as undergraduate students from different faculty. The results from the pilot
study will help to improve and amend the questionnaire. In collecting the real data
using the intend samples, a cover letter that explains the purpose and the
significance which have been endorsed by the researchers Dean will be attached
together with the questionnaire. Then, the questionnaires will be distributed to the
samples in their classroom, with the permission of the instructor. The samples are
given ten to twenty minutes to answer the questionnaire and after they have
completed the questionnaire, the research will collect the questionnaire. This way is
chosen in order to avoid unreturned questionnaire. After that, the responses will be
tabulated for data analysis as the samples for the interview are based on the
findings of the questionnaire. For the unstructured interview, fifteen samples, five
with the highest score, five with the lowest score and five with the medium score
will be used as the interviewees. The interview sessions will be conducted at the
faculty and will be audio taped. Tapes are convenient and reliable, and they ensure
that the original data are available at any time (Gay, Mills & Airasian, 2011, p. 387).
The researcher will also observe a classroom to see how the undergraduate
24

students participate in the classroom and identify whether or not the responses
given by the samples in the questionnaire as well as during the interview make
sense to what is being observed. Finally, the researcher will interview two educators
from the institution for their views on students communication apprehension and
ways to overcome this problem.

25

Pilot survey

Make amendments to the questionnaire based on the results from


the pilot

Distribute questionnaire to the targeted samples.

Analyze data from the questionnaire.

Interview fifteen samples, five with the highest score, five with the
lowest score and five with the medium score.

Observe a classroom.

Interview two educators form the institution.

Figure 1.2 Data Collection flowcharts

26

3.5 Data Analysis


After the completed questionnaires have been collected, the resulting data
will be tabulated and entered into a spreadsheet in the SPSS program. Then, the
data will be summarized using descriptive statistics. The types of descriptive
statistics that will be used to measure the value of data from the questionnaires are
the frequencies, the mean and the media. Apart from that, the data will be
measured for its variability in which the range, the quartile deviation and the
standard deviation will be used as the measures of variability.
As for the data analysis for the unstructured interview, the interview
transcripts will be read and memos will be written. Then, the interview transcripts
will be described and this step focuses on describing the participants and the
phenomenon of the study in detail. The interview transcript is classified into several
categories according to its theme. The themes will be derived based on the
literature review of this study and the data that has been collected. Finally, the data
from the interview transcripts will be coded and each code will indicate a certain
pattern and meaning.
As for the data analysis for the observation, the resulting data from the
observation scheme will be tabulated and entered into a spreadsheet in the SPSS
program. Then, the data will be summarized using descriptive statistics. The types
of descriptive statistics that will be used to measure the value of data from the
questionnaires are the frequencies, the mean and the media. Apart from that, the
data will be measured for its variability in which the range, the quartile deviation
and the standard deviation will be used as the measures of variability.

27

Research Questions

Instrument

Method of analysis

a)Survey questionnaire

Part A 7 items

1) What is the
level of
Students
communication
apprehension in
the classroom?

b)Observation
Observation scheme

a) Survey questionnaire

Part B 16 items

2) What are the


causes of
students
communication
apprehension in
the classroom?

b) Unstructured interview.
(Questions are prepared to
prompt the interviewees)

3) What are the


ways to help
overcome
students'
communication
apprehension in
the classroom?

a) Unstructured interview.
(Questions are prepared to
prompt the interviewees)

28

SPSS program.

Descriptive statistics.

Measures of central
tendency (mean, median,
mode)

Measures of variability
(range, quartile deviation,
variance, standard
deviation)

SPSS program.

Descriptive statistics.

Measures of central
tendency (mean, median,
mode)

Measures of variability
(range, quartile deviation,
variance, standard
deviation)

SPSS program.

Descriptive statistics.

Measures of central
tendency (mean, median,
mode).

Measures of variability
(range, quartile deviation,
variance, standard
deviation)

Reading and memorizing.

Describing.

Classifying.

Identifying themes.

Coding.

Reading and memorizing.

Describing.

Classifying.

Identifying themes.

Coding.

Table 1.1 Methods of data analysis

3.6 Conclusion
This chapter has covered the research design, the sample population, the
instrument, the data collection method and the data analysis. The next chapter will
be discussing on the findings of this study.

29

GRANT CHART
JANUARY
2015

FEBRUARY
2015

MARCH 2015

APRIL 2015

1. LITERATURE
REVIEW
2. QUESTIONAIRE
DISTRIBUTION
3. ANALYSIS

4. FINDING AND
CONCLUSION
TABLE 1.2 Research Grant Chart

RESEARCH CONCLUSION
A series of studies are reported which indicate that high
communication apprehension have lower academic achievement in traditional
interaction-oriented educational systems than low communication apprehension,
but that no similar relationship exists in a communication-restricted educational
system. Data are also reported indicating that high communication apprehension
prefer mass lecture classes over small classes while moderate and low
communication apprehension preferences are the reverse. The implications of these
results for choosing or designing instructional systems are discussed. In addition,
unlike public speaking that allows them to prepare their speech beforehand,
meetings or group discussions requires the students to be able to speak English
spontaneously while maintaining the conversation.
Thus, with this findings in this study, it is hoped to help lecturers of
English in attempting to improve learning environments by creating relaxed
atmospheres for students, which can make them feel safe to speak or express their
views.

30

31

REFERENCE
Academia.edu,. 'LANGUAGE LEARNING ANXIETY AND ORAL
PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH OF COLLEGE FRESHMEN'. N.p., 2015. Web. 29
Apr. 2015.
Apprehension, Developing. 'Developing Engineering Students' Communication Skills
By Reducing Their Communication Apprehension'. Academia.edu. N.p., 2015.
Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
Burt, Pryor, and Butler Jeff. 'Communication Apprehension And Cultural Context:
Acomparison Of Communication Apprehension In Japanese And
Americanstudents.'. Freepatentsonline.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
Garber, Richard, Richard Garber, and View profile. 'Joyful Public Speaking (From
Fear To Joy): Who Found That 70% Of The U. S. Public (Or Perhaps University
Students) Feared Public Speaking?'.Joyfulpublicspeaking.blogspot.com. N.p.,
2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
Google Books,. 'Classroom Communication And Instructional Processes'. N.p., 2015.
Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
McCROSKEY, JAMES C., and JANIS F. ANDERSEN. 'THE RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN COMMUNICATION APPREHENSION AND ACADEMIC
ACHIEVEMENT AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS'. Human Communication
Research 3.1 (1976): 73-81. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
McCroskey, James C. The Impact Of Comprehension Apprehensive On College
Student Retention And Success. 1st ed. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
McCroskey, James. The Relationship Between Communication Apprehensive And
Academic Achievement Among College Students. 1st ed. West Virginia University:
James C. McCroskey. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
McCroskey, James. What Have We Learn In The Last 4 Decades. 1st ed.
Pennsylvania: James C. McCroskey, 2015. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
New York Times Magazine,. 'DonT Be Shy - New York Times'. N.p., 2007. Web. 29
Apr. 2015.
Zakaria, Wan Nuur Fazliza Wan, and Nor Syamimi Iliani Che Hassan.
'COMMUNICATION APPREHENSION AMONG PART ONE BUSINESS
STUDENTS IN UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MARA (Uitm)
KELANTAN'. Researchers World 6.1 (2015): 31. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
32