So far, I believe that my concept paper progress is going well. I have done a lot of work on it, though it feels like I have not even scratched the surface of what is needed for my dissertation. One of the biggest challenges in my work to date has been changing my concept paper and research design from a mixed methods to purely quantitative design. I wanted to be able to create a more accurate and measurable way of determining the success of the DLIC interventions, which initially was to be through the Oral Proficiency Test. However, as I continued to research, I found I was more interested in the effect of these interventions on the experience the students had in the classroom altogether than rote performance. To that end, I have been working on changing my concept paper to reflect that.
Currently, I am attempting to polish my literature review and the methodology, with a great emphasis placed on the methodology. Switching to the qualitative approach has been difficult, as I need to find different ways of expressing performance and success with these interventions than the quantitative measures I had earlier. The methodology, at least in terms of writing down specifics, is eluding me; since I am no longer using a quantitative method in addition to qualitative, what I have seems too succinct, and I feel like it needs embellishment. Then again, I simply do not know if I should be worrying about that at this point and just finishing a draft. If I do not feel I am omitting information, I should not worry; at the same time, I fear there is too little information at this time to make a good Concept Paper. To that end, I feel as though I simply need to make sure that I can gather more and include it in a cohesive way.
As for the concept paper format, I am still working my way through the format itself. I have been using the template more than anything to determine how best to proceed, but I am currently a bit afraid of straying from the path. I have had some ideas in a vague sense about how to format the concept paper differently, but do not want to mess with the flow of the work. I am also attempting to make sure I have enough Key Terms to sufficiently explain the concepts in my paper, as I do not want to leave any of them out. Also, I want to figure out which subtopics and themes I should include in the concept paper. Right now, I have subtopics including "Age Variables, Creation and Communicative Competencies," and more, but my issue is attempting to cover all of my ground as comprehensively as possible while still keeping the text streamlined and cohesive. I also want to be mindful of organizing the literature review and citations based on the ideas, not the authors, as I recognize a tendency to do that in my own work.
There are quite a few things that have captured my interest about the work, particularly the systemic way with which the information in my concept paper needs to be organized. In assembling my information in this way, particularly for the literature review, I am helping myself to understand exactly what I am doing and how I am doing it. My primary barometer has been to read my work and try to figure out whether or not someone besides myself would understand it, especially if they are in the field in question.
I have a few questions of my own that may help me if they are answered. First, are hypotheses sections strictly for quantitative and mixed methods study only? Are there ways to present a hypothesis in this way in a qualitative study, or is it too tied in with statistical analysis to be necessary, and that is covered by the research questions altogether? It seems as though I should find a place to have a hypothesis that I wish to prove, even with a qualitative study. I also do not really know how the Construct/Variable section will factor into my particular qualitative design. Do I have to match it to a form of statistical analysis and dictate that here, or do I wait until the Measurement section to discuss analysis?
Shank, G. D. (2006). Qualitative research: A personal skills approach Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
Schram, T. H. (2006). Conceptualizing and proposing qualitative research. Upper Saddle River,
N.J.: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall
Trochim W. M. K., & Donnelly, J. (2008). The research methods knowledge base. Mason, OH: