Ten Strategic Points for Dissertation

Ten Strategic Points for Dissertation

Ten Strategic Points for Dissertation
Ten Strategic Points for Dissertation


Institutional Affiliation

Ten Strategic Points for a Quantitative Correlational Study

1. Topic- Topic plays a critical role in offering a wide research issue in the area of: Influence of Transformational Leadership on Student Performance and Engagement.

2. Literature review – Lists primary points for four sections in the Literature Review: a. Background of the problem/gap; b. Theoretical foundations (models and theories to be foundation for study); c. Review of literature topics with key theme for each one; d. Summary

a. Background of the Problem:

i. Student engagement and performance are some of the leading problems that affect educators and institutional leaders. Numerous studies indicate that students should develop a sense of belonging for them to participate and improve their performance in school. However, there is still a dearth in knowledge on how transformational leadership can be leveraged to enhance student engagement and performance.

II. Many studies on student engagement only regard it as an indicator of academic attainment. These concepts are often premised on the idea that students who are disengaged or disaffected perform poorly. Nonetheless, low achievements can also cause students to withdraw from school.

III. There are many conditions that have been proposed as prerequisites for improved academic performance. These often range from provision of learning resources to development of conducive learning climate.

IV. However, there is a paucity of knowledge on the impacts that leadership has on promoting learning behaviors in schools. In particular, not many studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of transformational leadership on academic performance.

b. Theoretical foundations (models and theories to be foundation for study);

i. The transformational leadership theory will; inform the theoretical foundations of this study. The theory postulates that leaders posses behaviors that improve their followers’ level of motivation and innovative thinking. In so doing, the followers can effectively improve organizational innovation, individual performance, and organizational performance.

ii. Unlike the transactional leadership model, the transformational leadership theory seeks to nurture a sense of idealism and ethical standards of the subordinates by pursuing higher targets. This model was proposed by Burns on the basis of the evaluations of personal traits of a large number of political leaders.

iii. The transformational leadership theory encourages subordinates to focus their attention on long-term goals, exert their innovative capabilities, and emphasize on the changes and adjustments of the entire organizational system. In so doing, leaders can establish amicable climates for meeting their goals.

c. Review of literature topics with key theme for each one;

i. Need for Leadership to Improve Performance: In the last five years, there has been a widespread public outcry from American parents, teachers and policymakers over the gradual decline in the performance of American schools compared to other developed countries. According to Norton et al. (2012) transformational leadership is urgently needed to reverse this alarming decline in academic performance.

ii. Teachers’ self-efficacy and Student Performance- According to Gkolia, Koutelios and Belias (2018), school principals who employ transformational leadership styles improve teachers’ self-efficacy levels, thus elevating the level of performance of students. Using Teachers’ Sense of Self-Efficacy Test (TSES) they found the existence of a stability of the impacts of transformational leadership and self-efficacy within a centralized educational system, as well as the significance of the application of different transformational leadership behaviors relating to the enhancement of teachers’ self-efficacy.

iii. Integrated Transformational Leadership and School Performance- Boerberg (2016) argues that schools that refine transformational leadership behaviors to incorporate instructional management can effectively improve the leaders’ impacts on achievements. In addition, Boerberg highlights the importance of teacher-student relationships in school improvements. Although collective efficacy mediates all of the impacts of leadership on a achievements, students’ emotional engagement also contributes to mathematics achievements

iv. Academic Performance– In n effort to explore the effects of transformational leadership on student academic achievement, Chen (2014) utilized leadership practices Inventory to measure leadership practices of 154 middle and high school principals in California. The outcomes of the study showed that Transformational Leadership has no major effect on student academic attainment. The results also indicated that transformational leadership practices between principles of high performing schools and principals of low-performing schools differed.

v. Methodology– The main research design that will be employed for this study is correlational design. This is because the study attempts to measure the degree of relationship between transformational leadership and student performance and engagement. Correlational design is ideal for this study since it seeks to investigate the association between two or more variables. This will be attained by understanding and assessing the statistical relationships between them with no influences from any extraneous variable.

d. Synthesis/Summary

a. Background: There is need to close the existent literature gaps on relationship between transformational leadership and student performance in schools.

b. Gap/Problem: There is a paucity of research that investigate how transformational leadership can be used to improve student performance.

c. Final thoughts

3. Problem statement – Explain the phenomena to study (qualitative) or variables/groups (quantitative) to study, in one sentence: In the last ten years, American schools have been recording poor performance compared to other developed countries. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center (2015), mathematics and science evaluation results indicate that American citizens continue to rank average and behind other advanced industrialized nations. While the United States has some of the most advanced learning infrastructures, resources and technologies for supporting educational activities, students still continue to register average performance. Consequently, there is a growing group of scholars who have decided to investigate school leadership as a necessary ingredient in improving performance. In this respect, leadership influences on school performance is still a green field. In particular, there is still a scarcity of literature that attempt to investigate the impacts of transformational leadership models on student performance.

4. Sample and location – Identify sample, needed sample size, and location (study phenomena with small numbers and variables/groups with large numbers): A total of 20 schools with heads who utilize transformational leadership models to manage their schools and students. Students will be from both high school and elementary levels. Both girls and boys across different school-going ages will be selected as participants of the study.

5. Research questions- Provide research questions to collect data to answer the problem statement: What is the effect of transformational leadership on performance of students in schools? Does transformational leadership increase student engagement in learning? Does transformational leadership improve students’ academic performance?

6. Hypothesis/variables or Phenomena – Develop Hypotheses with variables for each research question (quantitative) or describe the phenomena to be better understood (qualitative): Transformational leadership improves students’ academic performance in school. Transformational leadership improves students’ level of engagement. Transformational leadership does not improve student academic performance. Transformational leadership does not improve students’ engagement in learning.

a. Sampling Procedure- The main sampling procedure that will be sued for this study is stratified random sampling. This sampling procedure offers a convenient method of selecting representative samples from subpopulations. This sampling process is undertaken in the same way as simple random sampling. As soon as each of the strata has been clearly defined, subpopulation listing or frame is constructed of the people who are the prospective participants (Mulcahy & Gregory, 2009). Stratified random sampling deals with some of the concerns within the error introduced by random sampling. In stratified random sampling, the population is subcategorized into subgroups and subpopulations and the samples drawn from such groups or strata. This method is useful when there is need to make comparisons among the subpopulations, where the subgroups have extremely different characteristics or in situations in which there are concerns that a subgroup may be underrepresented in the sample. This sampling process also plays a crucial role in reducing possible biases and sampling errors.

7. Methodology and design – Describe the selected methodology and specific research design to address problem statement and research questions: Quantitative design that will be used for the study. There are various reasons why this method will be utilized for research. For instance, quantitative design is more reliable and objective. In addition, it can utilize statistics to support generalization of findings. Moreover, this methodology can be helpful in reducing and restructuring complex problems to a limited number of variables. Correlational design will also be used in this study as a tool to examine the relationship between transformational leadership on student performance and engagement.

8. Purpose Statement – Provide one sentence statement of purpose including problem statement, sample, methodology, and design: The purpose of this correlational study is to explore the strength of relationship between transformational leadership and student performance and engagement. This purpose is driven by the desire to determine if leadership strategies can be used to improve the performance of students within the American environment since concerns have been raised that American students record lower or average performance in relation to their counterparts in other developed countries.

9. Data collection – Describe primary instruments and sources of data to answer research questions: The main data gathering tools that will be utilized for this study are questionnaires. Questionnaires are not only important in examining quantitative significance of relationships between variables, but they can also act as important tools for understanding the attitudes and perceptions of students and teachers towards transformational leadership model.

10. Data analysis – Describe the specific data analysis approaches to be used to address research questions: The data gathered will be analyzed and interpreted through the utilization of correlation analysis (Moutinho & Hutcheson, 2011).  In particular, the Pearson’s correlation coefficient will be utilized as the statistical test for the examination of the relationship or association between two continuous variables.

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