A Correlational Study of the Relationship between Middle School Students’ Attitudes toward Reading and Their Reading Comprehension Levels
Chapter 3: Research Method
There is evidence from research regarding the relationships between attitudes toward reading and reading comprehension that attitude positively or negatively can influence students’ academic performances (Surip, 2016; Tunde-Awe, 2014; Yang, 2013; Merisuo-Storm & Sominen, 2014). Moreover, attitude levels and experiences in reading are related with attitude behaviors in that self-regulatory on behavior, feelings and beliefs are considered to be influential components of attitude that affect the expression of attitude and describes the quality of individuals’ responsiveness reactivity toward reading experiences (Ajzen—-). Research studies have indicated that students with negative attitudes toward reading tend to engage at lower rates in reading than their peers who have no attitude who are likely to extend the behaviors as they move to grades (citation).
The purpose of this non-experimental quantitative research study is to examine the correlational relationship between middle school students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading comprehension and to investigate the insight level of their comprehension reading (Little et al., 2014). Two research questions were formulated to guide this research study. These following research questions will be used to examine relationships between middle school students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading comprehension including their levels of reading comprehension. The research questions are the following:
Q1. What is the relationship between middle school students’ attitude towards reading and their reading comprehension?
Q2. What are the relationship between middle school students’ attitude towards reading and their levels of comprehension in reading?
The following null hypothesis (H0) and alternative hypothesis (Ha) are:
H10. There is no significant relationship between middle school students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading comprehension.
H1a. There is a significant relationship between middle school students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading comprehension.
H20. There is no significant relationship between middle school students’ attitudes toward reading and their levels of comprehension in reading.
H2a. There is a significant relationship between middle school students’ attitudes and their levels of comprehension in reading.
This section will discuss the research method and design including population and size, material and instruments use in collecting data, the operational definition of variable as well as the data collection method and its process and analysis. The section reviews the assumptions, limitations, delimitations and concludes with the ethical assurances and summary.
A quantitative non-experimental correlational research design is employed to investigate whether a relationship exist between middle school students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading comprehension levels. The correlational research design is selected to examine the relationship between the identified variables and investigate the extent to which the variables are related. In this case, it is the appropriate choice to investigate the relationship between variables. This study is designed to identify research hypotheses that aim to detect the attitudes of middle school students towards reading. Moreover, it is framed around research questions which help to seek the students’ lack of interest toward reading (Mertler & Charles, 2011; Leedy & Ormrod, 2010; Water, n.d.).
In this correlational study of quantitative method, two variables were adopted to determine if there is a relationship between the two variables of attitudes toward reading and reading comprehension levels. To explore this relationship, questions were posed to determine to what degree relationship exist between these variables. Posing the questions help to guide this study with hypotheses that contended with alternative hypotheses and statistical testing of null hypotheses. Alternative contends that there is a relationship while null states that there is no relationship between the two identified variables. With regard to the two variables, in this study, a sample will be selected with a sample size of 150 from three different schools in the same district area using survey questions developed by Mehmet Nuri Gomleksiz and Ohio Achievement Assessment test to collect data from participants involved in the study. The responses from respondents’ will then be obtained on each of the variables being explored and computed using descriptive and inferential statistical analyses of contingency table and chi-square statistical test with SPSS version, the degree of relationships will then be determined (Merlter & Charles, 2011; Gomleksiz, 2004; Ohio Department of Education). According to Mertler & Charles (2010), variables are identified in order to explore relationships of the variable, suggesting that by exploring relationships, correlational study should be oriented with questions and hypotheses which in this proposed research study. Creswell (2009) argued that quantitative approach uses large responses regarding to narrative which generates detailed information. Having opposed by the quantitative statistical methodology (needs revision), which provides the most data that generates through analysis of lived experiences as provided through participants’ population. It is known that quantitative is the most effective method of research study in that it offer approaches that results in relationship between variables (Creswell, 2009).
The advantage of using quantitative correlational is its real data collection from the 8th grade middle school students in which the results, findings and analysis will be used to evaluate the student lack of interest in reading which will also be the basis of academic standard achievement state on reading. Although it will be difficult to read great number of student because the consent form that will be sent through the students, some may not deliver to their parents. Nevertheless, the analysis of data collected from participants will be valuable for research contribution. Based on the information that will be collected from OAA students’ test scores, correlational design is the preferred and appropriate for this study because correlational provides quantitative responses. The OAA will provide data that will determine if and to what extent a relationship exist between middle school students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading comprehension levels (Ohio Department of Education, 2014). The responses from survey questions will be used for identifying, examining, and analyzing relationships and through the students’ test scores which will show participants understanding and their levels of understanding in reading. The quantitative data will provide this study with the statistical information that will support the existence of relationship of students’ attitudes and comprehension in reading. Additionally, the responses from Gomleksiz’s Attitude Scale toward Reading survey questions will provide the number of middle school students who agreed or disagreed that attitude has some positive or negative impact in their readings (Gomleksiz, 2004).
In correlational design, data collection uses survey approach to provide reliable and accurate outcome in order to explain participants’ overall feelings, ideas and opinions (Mertler & Charles, 2011; Water, n.d). Mertler & Charles (2011) described the same information that involves the use of survey approach, stating that survey can have multiple objections for data collection of both quantitative and qualitative methods. Furthermore, with the same notion, Zikmund (2003) discovered that objectives in research can determine the kind of data collection when using survey design, concurring with Mertler and Charles. Not only does survey involve multiple objectives, but it also involves data that can be collected through qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Population and Sample Size
The target population for this study is 8th grade students in middle school who are taking reading (Language Arts) class in public schools. Columbus City Schools reports more than 53,000 students including middle school students in public school sectors. Columbus City Schools has a total of 109 schools and 16 middle schools. The population for the study will be selected from three middle schools in the same district. This research study is proposed for a sample of 150 participants who will respond to the invitation letter to participate in the study.
The three schools chosen for this research can be identified with the letters A, B, and C. The three schools were chosen because they have the same system of education, indicating that they all run under Title 1 public school programs, and have a diversity of students from different cultures. On the other hand, the middle schools were chosen as the research population in that as children become older, they develop necessary memory capacity to draw on past experiences and to show that students’ engagement in reading decreases as they move to grades. Moreover, this correlational design study seeks for large population sample mainly to investigate relationships between two variables by using descriptive and inferential statistical analyses that calls for chi-square test therefore; this large population sample is designed to respond to the study problem and purpose of this research study.
Probability sampling of random selection will be used to recruit participants in this study. Recruitment of participants will occur through the use of letters and phone calls. The messages will be composed by me and sent to students via school administrators for students to hand deliver to parents or guardians. The letter that will be sent to participants will consist of an IRB-approved invitation, and an informed consent form. The following techniques will be used to collect information from the target population. The data collected will be from the students whose parents signed the informed consent form and returned the form. From the total estimated of 150 participants, 50 participants are expected to be chosen from school A, 50 from school B, and 50 from school C with the average age between 13-14 years. In the case of gender, each selected school will have an unequal number of male and female students from the same school in the reading language class.
The data that will be used for this study will be retrieved from the survey questions of Mehmet Nuri Gomleksiz and the Ohio Department of Education. The survey questions will be used to assess and measure the attitudes of middle school students toward reading while the Ohio Achievement Assessment test which is a state test given to eighth graders will be used to evaluate eighth grade students’ competency and performances in reading (Gomleksiz, 2004; Ohio Department of Education, 2014) (Appendix C). The Gomleksiz’s Attitude Scale is the 2004 updated version of the Attitude towards Reading Habits that consist of 5 Likert scale items with 30 questions; each permit responses are on a scale from “agree… disagree.” This Attitude Scale toward Reading Habit was used in the research studies of the following researchers (Arslen & et. al, 2009; Demir, 2009; Bozpolat, 2010; Mete, 2012). The data from Ohio Department of Education regarding students’ Ohio Achievement Assessment reading test scores will also be used to evaluate their competency and performances in reading (Ohio Department of Education, 2014). The validity and reliability of this proposed research study is based on the truthfulness and accuracy of the data to be collected. The data is confounded in the survey instrument developed by Mehmet Nuri Gomleksiz which will be administered to the middle school students in order to evaluate their attitudes toward reading and as well as the achievement test scores of students from Ohio Department of Education (needs revision). In terms of reliability, other studies have implemented the same survey instrument of Gomleksiz in their studies suggesting that if others have used it, the instrument (that is, survey questions) has to be accurate (Demir, 2009; Bozpolar, 2010; Mete, 2012). Moreover, the selected sample population that will participate in the study accurately will represent the view of the majority population. The percentile scores of the students who took the OAA tests and received their scores will be used to measure their performances. The OAA will be used to determine each of the three schools’ actual percentile scores which will be used to analyze the students’ performances from each of the three schools. Based on the 2014 8th grade reading scores, the required percentile scores for the state are above average and the school met the requirements.
Operational Definition of Variables
This section will discuss the two variables identified in this correlational research study: attitudes toward reading and reading comprehension levels. Correlational research study measures two variables and assess the statistical relationship of the variables and neither one of the variables are manipulated. On the other hand, an independent variable cannot be manipulated because it is impossible and unethical to do it as much as both independent and dependent variables do not apply to correlational study (Sagor, 2017). In this study, attitude towards reading is a categorical variable into a data unit of ordinal variable (needs revision) because attitude can be logically organized in sequence such as “strongly agree… Strongly disagree.” The data for attitude will be obtained from survey questions in which students’ responses will be counted and organize into patterns for analysis. Moreover, reading comprehension level is a numeric variable of discrete in which the students’ percentile scores from the OAA test will be counted using a chi-square test for two-way tables (Mertler & Charles, 2011).
Attitudes toward reading is defined as emotions or feelings experienced toward reading due to incidences that may cause that individual to avoid or have interests in reading (Crano & Prislin, 2006). In this study, attitudes toward reading is a categorical variable into a data unit of ordinal variable because attitude can be logically organized in sequences such as “Strongly agree… Strongly disagree.” The variable will use the ordinal measures to identify the respondents’ survey questions and contribute their opinion in regards to their attitudes toward reading which will be organized and coded into patterns for analysis (Trochim & Donnelly, 2008). The response format for the survey question will range from 1 to 5 (Likert response format). As such, 1 to 5 scales will help to ask an opinion questions in which the respondents will use choice response scales with no neural or undecided choices. In this case, the respondents will use “agree” or “disagree” at the end of the scale for each item (Trochim & Donelly, 2008). The collected data will be transformed into tabulations using contingency tables and a test will be done using chi-square statistics ran through SPSS (Mertler & Charles, 2011). The raw scores that determine the number of items students answer correctly without adjustments for guessing will be used. An attempt will be made to investigate relationships between students’ attitudes toward reading and reading comprehension levels. The chi-square will be used to measure the strengths in order to determine if there is an association between attitudes toward reading and reading comprehension (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010; Trochim & Donnelly, 2008). The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software program (SPSS version) will be used to analyze the data. Reading comprehension levels is a discrete variable of numeric meaning that the students’ OAA test scores can possible be counted in term of the students’ percentile scores in their reading tests (needs revision). Reading comprehension is defined as understanding a text after reading it and using what is read logically (Manzo & Manzo, 1998). Reading comprehension scores on the OAA exam will be compiled for each student in terms of their reading performance. This variable will use discrete measure to identify the respondents’ survey question responses and contribute their opinion regarding performance in reading comprehension from the Ohio Assessment Achievement (OAA) exam by using survey questions that rank the answers in order of preference (needs revision) (Ohio Department of Education, 2014; Mertler & Charles, 2011).
The 30 items of Attitude Scale toward Reading will be used to measure the participants’ attitudes toward reading (Gomleksiz, 2004). Students’ OAA test scores will be used to assess their reading comprehension performances (Ohio Department of Education).
The district leaders will be asked to participate in the research to identify any individuals who will be needed in the study. Personal phone calls, emails and mails will be used to contact the individuals to explain the needed expectations and where to send information, and to ask any questions needed to be addressed. In addition, permissions from the Institutional Review Board to protect the participants will be obtained from Northcentral University and the Ohio District before conducting this research. A letter will be sent to the selected schools via their principals and English teachers requesting permission to participate in the study. Another consent form will be sent home with students to their parents and guardians requesting permission for the students to be allowed to participate in the study. Data will be collected from all the eighth graders of each selected school and only students who return the signed consent forms will participate in the study. Mertler & Charles (2011) stated that mail surveys can have both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages consist of cost, time and speed effectiveness because by mail the cost can be quite high and the response rate is much lower. In this mail survey, by hand delivery, the cost and response rate can be lower; though, the study can gain much access to a bigger sample of individuals. If schools were to administer the questionnaires, this arrangement will help to reduce costs of postage and other items. Schleyer & Forrest (2000) found that mailed surveys cost higher than web-based and faxed surveys. Further, McCabe et al. reported similar findings in which mailed survey response rates were 40% lower than web-based survey response rates which were 63%.
This study will explore the overall correlations among attitudes toward reading and reading comprehension of students in three different schools of the Ohio School District. However, the study will only measure the students’ achievement scores from the standardized reading comprehension exams given by the school district. The Ohio Assessment Achievement test will be selected to measure the students’ reading comprehension levels. This study will limit and exclude the factors contributing or influencing students’ attitude towards reading and students’ ethnicity in regards to their cultural background. Moreover, only reading comprehension tests will be measured and tests will be only from the 2014 school year. The selected research sample will be limited only to 8th grade middle school students who are taking English classes. The result will only include 8th grade middle school students and will exclude other grade level students. Furthermore, the participants will be selected from public school located in a particular area of Ohio based on the geographic boundary.
School district leaders will be contacted by mail or email for permission to use students’ standard achievement test scores to evaluate their attitudes toward reading. Mehmet Nur Gomleksiz will be contacted to request to use his attitude scale to measure students’ attitudes toward reading. Permission from the Institutional Review Board for the protection of human subjects at Northcentral University will be obtained before conducting this research study (NCU, 2015; Ohio Department of Education, 2014). Informed consent form will be sent to parents for permission to allow their children to participate in the study. When the IRB grants permission and the identified contacted persons involved including the school principal and teachers accept my request, the package contains the informed consent and self- addressed envelope to return the survey to the selected school offices. The survey questions will then be administered to the students through teachers appointed by principals. The students who return their consent forms will participate in the study. Simple random sampling will be used to select participants. The selected students will be assigned numbers in order to protect their identity. With the approval of the school district to use the students standard test scores of OAA, the data collected will then be analyze using Chi-square statistic and SPSS.
Raw score will be calculated for effectiveness including all negative items which will be also coded before analyzing attitudes towards reading and reading comprehension data will be entered into the Statistical Package for Social Sciences program (SPSS version 20.00), a commercial available statistical software package. Data will be analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical analyses. Descriptive statistical analysis will be used on the variables to summarize the attitudes of middle school students in reading and describe the observation made. Inferential statistical analysis will be ran on the variables because it awill allow interpretation of data by presenting data in a more meaningful way and this study calls for a large sample size and it will be useful to summarize students attitudes toward reading. The 8th grade English teachers from three different middle schools will be used in the study. The principal will choose the teachers who will give out the attitude survey tests. A total of 25 students from each school will be selected from those who returned their consent forms.
The collected time for the data will be from September 2017 to July 2018. The reading attitude survey will be given to participants in the English/Language Arts class. The teachers will give the participants instructions on what to do with the survey reading attitude questionnaire. The teachers will read aloud to the students so as to ensure the students understand the questions in the questionnaire.
The statistical program to be used for analysis of this survey is SPSS for Windows (Version 20). SPSS will compute the cross tabulation of chi-square test which can adopt large size sample when use with SPSS, an index of effect size (Greene, Salkind, & Akey, 2000). SPSS shows that correlation coefficients regardless of sign interprets small, medium, and large coefficients (Greene, et al., 2000). The main scores on the Gomleksiz Attitude Scale Reading Habit will be examined in order to determine whether significant relationships in attitudes towards reading exist before and after testing, using level of significance with regards to computing effect size statistic. The students’ reading comprehension scores on the OAA test will be compiled and measured using multiple regression.
The participants in the research study will be given the Gomleksiz (2004) Attitude Survey to complete. The results generated from this attitude survey will be used to score each student on their reading attitudes. The Gomleksiz (2004) Survey will follow the instruction procedures given and the attitude scores will then be computed. The OAA test scores will be used and recorded. The scores generated will be analyzed in order to answer the research questions. Two variables guide the research study: Attitude towards reading and reading comprehension levels including a categorical variable of gender relationship. The students’ reading comprehension is the predictor variable. Both variables will generate nominal types of data and the categorical variable will generate interval types of data (Reedy & Ormond, 2010; Gomleksiz, 2004).
Few several assumptions that is expected are: it is assumed that all the sample population of students in the class in the three schools selected for the research study will participate and answer all survey questions to the best of their abilities. The teachers, who will administer the survey in the classroom, will try to increase the honest response of the students.
It was also assumed that students would understand and comprehend what they read in the survey questions. But, with those students who have issues in reading comprehension, it is believed that the teachers would give their help and support the students need. The presence of the individual conducting the research study could cause bias because of the influence of the individual’s presence during the tine the survey is taken by participates.
The study emphasized the importance of reading comprehension which has been neglected in the past by researchers. However, it is crucial that teachers focus more on encouraging students to develop good attitudes in order to create effective images at the time of reading so as to understand what is being read (Kocaarslan, 2016). The teachers who will give out the questionnaires for survey to the students may not follow the instructions in the survey therefore students may find the items in the survey difficult to understand. Nevertheless, the study will be limited to only 8th grade students in only public school in central Ohio and one cannot justify that the participants will represent the other whole populations.
The study also used non-experimental methods and lacked the experiment and longitudinal design which could have given this research study the opportunity to investigate into factors that influence attitudes in teaching comprehension and the reading achievement because each of the variables alone cannot count for another variable and vice versa. Using more variables will help to test the factors involved in this research problem of middle school students displaying low interest in reading. Regardless of these limitations, the non-experimental correlational study will contribute to the literature.
Approval from NCU Institutional Review Board, SPSS, Gomleksiz Attitude Scale and the Ohio School District must be received before data will be collected from human participants. Additionally, informed consent from parents of the participant must also be approved since the participants involved are still under age. As a concept that protects individual rights, IRB is known as International Review Board. The NCU requires that before students engage in research, they must download the IRB application in the dissertation center (Northcentral University, 2015). Two applications will need to be completed and submitted to the dissertation Chair including the certification of the CITI known as the Training for Review. The two applications are the IRB application and the other applications in the supporting file that the Chair will need to approve. When approved, the chair and the scholar will receive an electronic letter of approval from the IRB Chair (Northcentral, 2015). The reason for IRB is to make sure that any research carried within the academic institution are protected by guidelines and the procedures are followed to ensure that the individuals involved in the research are not exposed to risk, and that an informed content and privacy protection are used in order to meet the University and federal laws are in compliance (Osei, 2013; Rutherford-Hemming, Vlasses, & Rogers, 2012). Assurances will be made to the participants that their names will not be used for solicitation and their information will be confidential. This assurance will be made so that the individuals would not feel coerced into completing and signing the forms. This assurance is also to ensure that the research is voluntary for each participant. Ethical guidelines and principles were introduced for researchers and writers to maintain and integrate into research in order to control the conduct of researchers when conducting research but also to help control the credibility and high quality of the research standard (American Psychological Association, 2010). In the past, research studies were carried out on human subjects and information were withheld from them. This act had led to the creation of rules and regulations to help protect the rights of people when engaging in a research study. Such studies were the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial of the Nazi Holocaust experiment and the Syphilis experiment in Tuskegee. In these two studies, tests were done using people but no informed consent was given to the people to sign before conducting the research (Nelson, 2012). In 1979, The Belmont Report of Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the protection of human subjects (DHHS, 2004) and the research were established and published in which the three ethical principles were introduced: 1) respect for persons; 2) beneficence; and 3) justice. In addition, these listed principles are built around ethical issues which consist of four different categories such as honesty with colleagues in profession, right to privacy, informed consent, and the protection of humans from harm (NIH, 2008).
Honesty with Colleagues
All groups, organizations, community members, entities and individuals who are involved in this research study and those who will contribute ideas, materials, and data would be given full recognition and acknowledgement. With all who will be involved, consents will be obtained and the method of analyzing the data collected and findings will be presented in a respectful and honest manner.
Right to Privacy
The confidentiality of every entity involved would be ensured and maintained during and after the research study. The data that will be used and the ones that will not been used (raw data) including school district personnel and student information will not be released to the public. To ensure that all materials are secured involving such groups, the original survey and the hardcopy of the interview data will be secured in a lockbox or cabinet. The computer will house all of the electronic data; for example, the district’s personal student records and survey results will be given passwords and codes to protect these data in the computer. With the maximum years given for data storage, which is three years, all the data involved will be deleted from the computer (NCU, 2015).
Letters and emails, even phone calls to inform districts, school principals, teachers, students, and parents about the nature and scope of the research study will be secured. Face-to-face meetings may be another way informed consent will reach the individuals who will be involved. These contacts will be to follow the procedure and take questions and provide answers to participants if any doubt about the research study exists.
All the individuals involved will have the opportunity to decline or refuse the research at any time. Students will be sent home with the informed consent for their parents or guardian to sign. This is to ensure that there is no deception involved and that parents are informed of the research study and to encourage them to ask questions if needed.
Protect Humans from Harm
The participants have no immediate risks associated with them in the study. The study will make effort to reduce the risk of harm that may happen to any individual who will associate with the study during, before and after the research. Risk assessment and reduction involving physical and psychological risks including protection of privacy will be avoided by developing procedures that reduces and prevents any risk to participants. A risk analysis will be conducted in order to identify any risk before starting the research as to alleviate them. The physical risks will be considered no more than minimal risks when no discomfort exists. In this case, the anonymous data will be included in order to consider the study as no more than minimal risk (HPS, 2014; NIH, 2008). On the other hand, more than minimal risk can exist when harm relates to invasion of privacy and breach of confidentiality is more than minimal risk (HPS, 2014, NIH, 2008). The questionnaire from the survey will be related to the students’ class work. The questions from the survey the participants will take will address the issue of attitudes students have towards reading and how some understand what is read. Parents and guardians will be informed that the surveys are voluntary. For this reason, any participant in the research study including parents can withdraw their child or children and there will be no penalty for leaving the research study. Furthermore, participants were informed that they may not answer all the questions if they do not want to and that any incomplete surveys will not be included in the study.
The proposed non-experimental quantitative method of correlational design will employ survey approach and will use questionnaires to collect data from sample of 8th grade middle school students. The purpose of this correlational study is to examine the relationship between middle school student’s attitudes toward reading and their reading comprehension and to investigate the insight level of their comprehension reading. Data will be collected through survey and will be administered in form of questionnaires to random sample of 150 middle school students whose parents sign the consent form and return it will participate in the research study. This study proposed two research questions to determine the correlational relationship between middle school students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading comprehension level. The hypotheses were stated clearly so that the research questions will help reveal the relationship between the two variables, attitudes toward reading and reading comprehension. The data collected from the questionnaires of attitudes scale and the students OAA test scores will be analyzed using the chi-square and SPSS statistical techniques to determine of the two variables are related. All the required methodological limitations, delimitations and assumptions regarding to this research study will be presented including ethical assurance with its issues such as honesty with colleagues, right of privacy, informed consent and protect human from harm (leedy & Ormrod, 2010; NIH,2008).
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