Five Approaches: Problem, Purpose, and Research Questions

Subject: Sciences
Pages: 6
Words: 1715
Reading time:
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Study level: PhD

Narrative Approach

A narrative is an approach of qualitative research, which uses storytelling as a way of deriving data. Elliot (2005) asserts that the narrative approach focuses on the experiences of an individual and deriving meaning from the experiences. Since the experiences of individuals are unique, the narrative approach enables qualitative researchers to assess the experiences of individuals and understand what it means from their point of view. The unit of analysis of the narrative approach is an individual and the common method of data collection is through interviews. Development of themes and narratives are data analysis and presentation styles of the narrative approach.

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Problem Statement

As immigrants, Latino students experience discrimination in American schools. The discrimination affects their academic performance because they experience psychological disturbance while learning. High rates of student dropouts among Latino students occur due to discrimination in schools. Students and teachers discriminate against Latino students because they are immigrants and do not understand the English language (Felix-Martha, 2009).

The discrimination against Latino students also occurs due to stereotypes, racism, and prejudice, which affect their self-esteem and consequently academic performance. Comparative studies show that Latino students perform poorly when compared to other students in American schools (Felix-Martha, 2009; Montgomery, 2008). Since Latino students have unique ethnic and cultural backgrounds, they turn out to be the source of discrimination. Hence, there is a need to establish the nature of the experiences that Latino students undergo in schools.

Research Purpose

The purpose of the study is to establish the nature of the experiences that Latino students go through in American schools. In this view, the study will use a narrative approach in establishing the experience of Latino students because the narrative approach provides firsthand information about the experience of discrimination and associated impacts.

Research Questions

  1. Do you experience discrimination in school?
  2. Who is discriminating against you in school?
  3. What are the elements that people use in discriminating against you?
  4. How do acts of discrimination influence your academic performance?
  5. What do you feel when others discriminate against you in school?

Fitness of the Narrative Approach

The narrative approach fits this study because it seeks the personal experiences of Latino students. Moreover, as the study focuses on discrimination, the narrative approach is suitable (Elliot, 2005).

Case Study

A case study is an approach of a qualitative study that focuses on a phenomenon with a view of describing it in a comprehensive manner. Description of a phenomenon forms the basis of research because it provides ample information about similar phenomena in which the findings are applicable. Swanborn (2010) argues that a case study is a qualitative approach that describes an event, a person, or a phenomenon in detail. In this view, the unit of analysis is an event, a person, or a phenomenon that has specific features. Description of a phenomenon provides detailed information that is applicable in the generalization of study findings. Qualitative researchers use detailed findings of case studies in elucidating analogous phenomena.

Problem Statement

The research problem is that Clayton County Library System (CCLS) is experiencing budget deficits that make it unable to provide services to the increasing number of library users. The website of CCLS indicates that it relies on funds from the county government, grants, and Friends of the Library (Clayton County Library System, 2014). To enhance the sustainability of the library, diversification of sources of funds is necessary. Goodman (2008) argues that diminishing sources of funds for the libraries reduce the sustainability of services, and thus diversification offers a practical solution.

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Research Purpose

The purpose of the study is to identify ways in which the Clayton County Library System could diversify its sources of funding and enhance its financial sustainability in the provision of services. Identification of potential sources of funds is imperative so that the library could diversify its financial support and improve the quality of services it offers in a sustainable manner.

Research Questions

  1. As joint ventures, partnerships, and sponsorships are potential sources of funds, do they increase the financial sustainability of the library?
  2. Do potential sources of funds offer financial sustainability to the library than conventional sources?
  3. What are the potential sources of funds that could enhance the financial sustainability of the library?

Fitness of the Narrative Approach

Since the study focuses on Clayton Public Library System, it is a case study. The study aims at describing sources of funds that the Clayton Public Library System uses in terms of financial sustainability and consequently identifies other potential sources.

Phenomenology Approach

A phenomenology is a qualitative approach that underpins the essence of experience research basis. Smith, Flowers, and Larkin (2009) state that phenomenology uses a body of knowledge that emanates from experience in describing a given phenomenon of interest. This approach is applicable in education, psychology, and philosophy where empirical knowledge is present. Interviews and observations are dominant methods that qualitative researchers apply in data collection. The uniqueness of the phenomenology approach is that it focuses on perceptions and beliefs that shape human experiences with a view of describing their essence.

Problem Statement

Academic performance among schools is dependent on many factors that range from the availability of teaching materials to human resources. The debate has been raging for decades as to whether private schools are better than public schools. According to Talbott (2011), parents prefer taking their children to private schools because they believe that they offer quality education to their children. Such belief explains why the number of students in private schools is increasing exponentially. In contrast, Hyman (2010) asserts that public schools perform better than private schools. Other parents prefer taking their children to public schools because they believe they offer quality education, just like those of private schools. In this view, it is imperative to conduct a study to establish perceptions and beliefs of parents regarding the choice of schools that provide quality education to their children.


The purpose of the study is to establish perceptions and beliefs that make influence the type of school, which parents choose for their children. To illuminate the perceptions and beliefs, the study uses the phenomenology approach.

Research Questions

  1. Which school offers quality education?
  2. What factors make you believe that private or public school offers quality education?
  3. How do you perceive the quality of education that public schools offer?
  4. How do you perceive the quality of education that private schools offer?

Fitness of the Narrative Approach

A phenomenology is a suitable approach to study because it focuses on the perceptions and beliefs that influence how parents choose schools for their children.

Ethnography Approach

Ethnography is a qualitative approach that examines cultural elements that influence the behavior of people in a given social environment. According to Hymes (2013), ethnography focuses on cultural factors that influence human behavior, as it applies anthropological and sociological knowledge. To conduct an ethnography study, one needs to focus on a group of participants that shares a culture. During data collection, observation and interviews are two main methods that qualitative researchers apply. Description of cultural elements is central in data analysis and presentation.

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Problem Statement

Cultural beliefs and norms are significant determinants of health in the Amish community. The Amish are an indigenous community in the United States that does not believe in the effectiveness of conventional medicine in the treatment of diseases. The Amish culture holds that traditional medicines are effective in the treatment of diseases because that they contain spiritual power that heals people (Fox-Kuhner, 2008). Hence, the prevalence of diseases and high mortality rates among the Amish is due to the culture, which prevents people from seeking safe and effective healthcare services from the health care system.


The purpose of the research is to examine cultural beliefs, practices, and values that make the Amish not use conventional medicine. The understanding of cultural beliefs, practices, and values that are in the Amish community is important in improving their health conditions (Purnell, 2012). The nature of the social and physical environment of the Amish community determines the lifestyles that the Amish members live and thus provides a basis for understanding the impact of culture on the health of the general population.

Research Questions

  1. Do you believe in conventional medicine?
  2. Do you seek medical services from the health care system?
  3. What are the cultural beliefs that hinder you from seeking medical attention from the health care system?
  4. Why do you use traditional medicines in curing and preventing diseases?
  5. Name cultural beliefs, practices, and values, which are important in health?

Fitness of the Narrative Approach

Ethnography is the most appropriate approach of the study because it focuses on cultural elements that affect the Amish community in a particular environment.

Grounded Theory

Grounded theory is an approach of a qualitative study that aims at formulating a theory based on a given data. Oktay (2012) describes the grounded theory as a research approach that employs inductive and deductive reasoning. The grounded theory relies on sociological concepts in explaining a certain phenomenon. According to Creswell (2013), grounded theory entails the collection of data and their analysis to generate a general explanation, which forms a theory.

Problem Statement

Empirical and theoretical experiences are important in learning among children. Educational experts have cited learning as a process through which learners gain empirical and theoretical knowledge (Flor & Juan, 2010). For empirical learning and theoretical learning to determine the learning progress of children, teachers need to understand a better way between the two learning methods so that they can employ them in teaching young children


The purpose of the study is to establish if theoretical or empirical learning is effective in learning among young children. In this view, the study will compare the learning progress of empirical learners and theoretical learners in a classroom environment.

Research Questions

  1. Between theoretical learning and empirical learning, which one offers a better way of learning in children?
  2. What are elements of theoretical learning that teachers should employ in teaching young children?
  3. What are the elements of empirical learning that teachers should employ in teaching young children?

Fitness of the Narrative Approach

Grounded theory is appropriate in this study because the study aims at formulating a theory that supports learning in children. The findings of the study could provide an important theory, which elucidates if empirical learning or theoretical learning is effective among young children.

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Clayton County Public Library System (2014). Quick facts: 2010-2011 fiscal year statistics. Web.

Creswell, J. (2013). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. New York: SAGE Publisher.

Elliot, J. (2005). Using Narrative in Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. New York: SAGE Publisher.

Felix-Martha, B. (2009). Return to Self: Chicano/Latino Youths’ Experiences in High School. New York: ProQuest.

Flor, A., & Juan, E. (2010). Speech Act Performance: Theoretical, Empirical, and Methodological Issues. London: John Benjamin Publishing.

Fox-Kuhner, S. (2008). Cultural Factors Influencing Prenatal Care in the Amish. New York: ProQuest.

Goodman, J. (2008). We would if we could, but it is not in the budget: Success stories in third party funding for public library programs. APLIS, 21(3), 101-105.

Hyman, D. (2010). Public Finance. New York: Cengage Learning.

Hymes, D. (2013). Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach. New York Routledge.

Montgomery, A. (2008). Teachers’ Perspectives of Latino Students: Meaning, Influence, and Practice. New York: ProQuest.

Oktay, J. (2012). Grounded Theory. New York: Oxford University Press.

Purnell, L. (2012). Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Smith, J. Flowers, P., & Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method and Research. New York: SAGE Publisher.

Swanborn, P. (2010). Case Study Research: What, Why and How? New York: SAGE Publisher.

Talbott, J. (2011). Obamanomics: How Bottom-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics. Washington: Seven Stories Press.