The Career Choices of Hispanic Female Teachers

Introduction

The purpose of this research paper is to examine reasons leading to low career advancement among Hispanic female teachers. The research, though largely descriptive, will be both qualitative and quantitative in approach. In this chapter research methods used to collect and analyze the data, its settings, and sources of the data, tools or instruments used to collect the data, data collection and analysis will be discussed. Further, the research paper will seek to highlight methods used to fix the size in of numbers – of the participants. In conclusion, the paper will try to point out the results of the preliminary study produced by pilot studies to be undertaken and finally the research will find ways in which the research findings can be disseminated.

Qualitative Methods

In this method of research, the researchers target to collect a deep understanding of human behavior and the reasons leading to that particular behavior. Qualitative research method seeks to answer the why and how to influence decision making, as opposed to quantitative which caters for the what, where, when. In this method, samples are often targeted since it is a more specific study. Qualitative research has an edge over quantitative when it comes to specific cases being studied – in this case, career choices for Hispanic female choices.

Qualitative research uses a set of predefined procedures to answer the research questions in a systematic way. Through this, evidence is collected which provides new findings that can be applied even beyond the scope of the study. Qualitative research methods that will be used in this paper will be mainly critical and interpretive.

Qualitative research is present in methods which are held together by many theories that are concerned with how the social world roles. Most of qualitative research core principles are collected from the view that essential differences exist between the science of human experiences and science of natural experiences, and that therefore it needs distinctive methods to work. In qualitative research, attention is directed towards viewing the situation through the eyes of the objects being studied and on developing impressions and principles which are formed in the collecting data.

The importance of qualitative research mulls in focusing on describing and understanding difficult instances. For instance, it explores the connection and reasons within which an activity happens. It is focused on understanding the whole multidimensional view of the issue under review. Qualitative methods are intuitive especially where the situation or the research seeks to unearth accounts of complex phenomena, produce conceptual bases, and suggest theories to simplify the phenomena. Besides, value of the qualitative research consists in legality of the information received. The major disadvantage of qualitative research is the small sample interviewed and thus cannot be construed to represent the whole populace.

The barriers to career advancement among Hispanic female teachers that were identified from a review of the literature included culture, parental expectations, lack of role models in society, and difficulty overcoming social and economic constraints. Qualitative findings from interviews of the 10 female teachers will be used to draw conclusions about each reason. The researcher assumes the views of the 10 female teachers represent the views of all Hispanic female teachers.

Types of qualitative methods used in this study also fit describing a case study, ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenology. In case studies a researcher examines particular variables or human event in their natural surroundings (Yin, 2008). The present study is a case study because it examines barriers to career advancement in a particular group of female teachers. The information will be gathered and analyzed and presented as a case. According to Armstrong (2001), ethnography is a research that targets a social group of a community. The study is also an ethnographic study because it targets females from an ethnic group-Hispanic.

In grounded theory studies, the researcher seeks to frame a theory from the data that are collected while conducting the research. Grounded theory employs a wide range of fact sources that may comprise; quantitative data, interviews, records review, observation and surveys (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). In this case, the data used to give grounded theory will be gathered from the respondents.

Qualitative research is suitable for this study because it is a more effective way to explain the case and to uncover further areas of research. Unlike quantitative methods, which focus on quantifying the reasons, qualitative research helps the researcher explain the reasons for the case (Bryman, 1993).

Ten Hispanic female teachers between the ages of 30 and 40 years from Broward County in Florida will be chosen for interviews. Data collection about their experiences related to the reasons identified as barriers to career advancement will be assessed. From the interviews, the researcher expects that more barriers beyond those already identified will be discovered from the responses about the teachers’ experiences.

The interview questions will focus on the social, cultural, and administrative reasons that hinder Hispanic female teachers from advancing to other careers, often resulting in teachers choosing to remain and retire as classroom teachers. Specifically, five major aspects related to their career will be tackled: career improvement, lack of support from administrators, culture and ethnicity, mentors, and the environment of the schools in which they are working.

Quantitative Research

The aim of quantitative research is to fix the relationship between two or more variables and quantify the findings in measurable terms. The relationship between the variables is expressed in statistical elements such as mean frequency, standard deviation, and correlation. Figures and charts may be used to visually display the results (Bengtsson, 1998).

Quantitative research can either be descriptive or experimental. Bengtsson (1998) suggested that descriptive research is an approach where the variables are measured without changes. Experimental research involves some adjustments to the variable to find out how the variable behaves under a different stimulus or catalyst.

While quantitative research relies more on statistical methods for example, regression analysis, qualitative research findings are analyzed based on the relationship of qualities (Balnaves&Caputi, 2001). In this study, since the focus is on the experiences of one group-Hispanic female teachers-quantitative research was not used.

Quantitative Analysis

Bryman (1993) notes that any measurement should be objective also, it should be quantitative and valid statistically. Quantitative data is numerical and provides statistical appraisal of a situation. In addition, the researcher in quantitative research is clear about what he or she must be measuring to institute the measures (Bryman, 1993).

Quantitative research is imperative in grouping significant element by either encompassing calculating or presenting arithmetical method to aid in explaining a given model in question. Besides, It provide researchers with a more thoughtful and understanding advantage in analyzing contents and gives him or her an informed “results” of what he or she trying to find out. It fore plan the aspects on a given study and ensures that it is designed first before actual data is collected. Also, this type of research however ignores the descriptive element of the data. This researcher in this paper did not use this tool for the research.

A quantitative research aims at finding out the quantitative relationship between two or more variables. It mainly utilizes the use of questionnaires or other equipment which are used to collect data of numerical nature.

Quantitative methods involve collection of figures to represent statistical data (Dess and Taylor, 2004). This data is precise because it uses accurate surveys and questionnaires and that it plays an important role in testing hypothesis because it is self-sufficient. However, the data collected might miss contextual facet and that researchers mainly tend to focus on the objective missing the big subject matter (Dess& Taylor, 2004). Quantitative research approach ensures that variables are measured without changes. Experimental research involves some adjustments to the variable with an aim to determine how the variable behaves under different stimulus or catalyst.

A descriptive study, also referred to as observational, relies so much on observations recorded from the behavior of the subject. In this study, since the focus is on only one group-Hispanic female teachers; the researcher applied a type of descriptive study commonly referred to as case series. The advantage with this approach is that it provides a researcher with an opportunity to set a case control. The control reasons in this research will be the cultural reasons compelling Hispanic female teachers to stagnate in their teaching career.

The case of the Hispanic female career choices was compared with females from other ethnic groups and there was a clear difference in ambitions ideals and dreams.

Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative methods

The difference that arises between qualitative and quantitative research is in the kind of data they handle. Qualitative data handles qualitative data. Qualitative data captures relations or qualities. Qualitative research involves analysis of words and other nonnumerical correlates or links (Bryman, 1993). Quantitative data is numerical and provides statistical appraisal of a situation. Qualitative research method applies more in scenarios where the researcher is not sure of what to expect.

In quantitative research, the researcher is clear about what he or she must be measuring to institute correct measures (Bryman, 1993).Further, Quantitative research differs in a big way from qualitative research because it uses quantitative data or numerical measures (Crotty, 1998). Qualitative research focuses more on qualities and captures data that is not numerical in nature. The difference in the kind of data captured also leads to differences in the way data is recorded and analyzed. While quantitative research relies more on statistical methods for example regression analysis, qualitative research findings are analyzed basing on relation between qualities.

The choice of Hispanic teachers career merit the application of both Qualitative and quantitative approach of data collection and analysis researches are descriptive in nature. The study analyses and describes relations on the reasons which face the Hispanic teachers in staying only in one profession and yet we have various opportunities in the country. A research design has to be responsive to the situation or context of the research (Bratton 2001). The research the reasons shaping Hispanics career choices calls for a more qualitative study but also approves the use of selected schools for study as opposed to focusing on a single school.

Research Design

Research design refers to the structure or key aspects of a research project. A research design is comprised of several features such as measures, programs, groups, and kind of assignment to groups. A research design also gives special consideration to issues of time distribution and how to treat each aspect, especially the research respondent groups (Creswell, 2003).

A descriptive study, also referred to as observational, relies on observations recorded from the behavior of the participant (Bengtsson, 1998). Descriptive research simplifies the general explanation or interpretation of the problem to improve understanding the problem under study.

The design of the present qualitative descriptive study will include interviews of 10 Hispanic female teachers to collect data about experiences related to their career advancement and choice of careers. The results of the interviews will be used to draw conclusions about barriers to career advancement and career choices among Hispanic female teachers.

Sampling Design

The process of data collection is a complex activity. To be able to accurately collect data from each participant, a researcher needs huge investments in resources and time. Sampling is the process of picking participants in a given in a given environment to represent the rest of the people in similar environments and situations. To get valid findings during the research, it is utterly not necessary to collect data from everybody in a given community or group of people.

Sampling design describes the techniques that are used to select a sample from a given percentage of a total population. Sampling design can also be a process used in selecting a given number of units in a given environment of study. Sampling design units provides a picture of a larger group from which they have been selected (Lohr, 1999). Sampling design helps the researcher to analyze and study a larger and heterogeneous population. Sampling is also economical and saves costs and time because it reduces the study population to a more manageable level.

However, sampling sometimes is biased or does not give a full picture of a representation and may lead to false conclusions; this is because getting samples that fully represent the research areas is not an easy task. Sampling involves dealing with partial information to infer something about the entire population, for instance 10 participants will be used in this research to examine the reasons affecting career advancement among Hispanic female teachers. The results will be used to infer about the entire populace of Hispanic female teachers and this foreshadows a risk of misguided information.

There are various sampling design methods, including:

  1. Data collection from probability samples. This kind of a sample is known as purposive sample. Purposive samples ensure that an inference is made about the target universe. In this kind of a sample, several assumptions must be made on collecting representative data and reporting units. However, a limit of this method is that inferences cannot be drawn in purposive samples if the probability of a given selection is not known.
  2. Data collection of random samples. In random samples no assumptions are made about representativeness because all representation is needed to ensure the estimate or averages for the total population is factored. Techniques such as comparison with historical materials or existing statistical documents are used to determine the conciseness of the estimate (Crotty, 1998). The estimates are usually based on the random sample and are only accurate if they are comprehensive and up-to-date.

Steps involved in sample design as noted by Creswell (2003) include;

  • Determine the actual size of the target population
  • Decide on the margin of expected error
  • Use of a mathematical formula to arrive at a given solution
  • Computing the part of a sample by dividing the outcome by the number 3 of the entire population.

Setting and Sample

In this study, stratified random sampling will be used because the total target population from which the sample will be drawn does not frame a homogenous population. Stratified random sampling will ensure that enough and accurate data are collected.

The sample of this study will be Hispanic female teachers. This sample is suitable because the objective of the present research is to explore their experiences related to the reasons identified as barriers to career advancement and career choices made in their teaching careers.

Data Collection and Analysis

The data collected will be reviewed by the researcher to get a representation stemming from the many information bases. The recorded statistics from the individual or group interviews will be coded according to the developing subjects that will arise from separate interviews. Throughout the process analyzing data, detailed explanations and in-depth references will be included to strengthen understanding and provide understandings into the themes that will arise.

The data will be organized after being indexed and labeled into significant and practicable categories. The researcher will collect data from 10 Hispanic female teachers from 10 different schools selected for this study. The interview will be comprised of three parts. Part one will ask personal questions such as gender, age, and ethnicity. Part two will elicit information about the respondents’ teaching careers. Part three will consist of career-related questions to elicit information about why respondents choose their current careers. The interview questions will be both closed- and open-ended.

Data analysis

Crotty (1998) describes data analysis as the process of compiling and comparing available data to discover trends and patterns that form basis for research conclusions. The way data is analyzed is critical to arriving at valid conclusions. The processes involved in data analysis include examining, cleaning, changing, and observing data. This is done with the aim of stressing on valuable information, to suggest clear conclusions, and to help in the decision making process. Data analysis is multifaceted with various procedures and methods being available for use.

Qualitative Tools Analysis

Qualitative data handles qualitative data. Qualitative data captures relations or qualities. Qualitative research involves analysis of words and other nonnumerical correlates or links as suggested by Bryman (1993). Qualitative data analysis is mostly applied in collecting data about groups and individuals and it entails carrying out independent dynamic interviews basing on the research area being studied. Qualitative research has a nature of open-ended and explanatory direction.

When carried out within a limited group of people in-depth interview is known to perform well in this kind of environment. Crotty (1998) points out that this method engages participants to get involved in contributing to usual and common questions, whereas the arbitrator reviews the reactions to arrive at a substantial and explanation of participants judgment. Also, it contributes to analyzing assessment towards subject matter under discussion and simplifies the degree of understanding and agreement within a group (crotty, 1991).

The advantage of qualitative research is that it lowers down cost than other methods involved in research and it strengthens collection of accurate, effective and reliable information about people and a problem under investigation. It is often a choice which is left when a quantitative measurement is not likely to be needed.

Qualitative research method applies more in situations where the researcher is not sure of what to expect. Qualitative data is usually in the form of pictures, words or objects. And the researchers remain objectively focused on the subject matter of the study problem.

Instrumentation and Materials

The main instruments used for data collection comprised of formal interview questions typed and printed before the interview. The questions were designed in line with the research questions to capture the objectives of the research. The research instruments were first tested with in the field with a fictitious sample before being used to extract information from the actual respondents. This was done to measure both the validity and reliability of the tools before the actual data collection process.

The field results obtained before the actual results were used as benchmarks during the planning process. The researcher could develop an insight to the challenges to expect in during the interview process and in analyzing the data. The data was also important in granting the possible time that would be needed for collection and analysis of the data. The field test provided a guideline on what to include and what to remove from the actual research.

Pilot testing

A pilot study involves taking small versions of a full-scale study and may be described as a feasibility study. This needs definite pretesting of a specific investigation instrument such as a questionnaire or an interview. Pilot studies form an important ingredient in a good study design. However, carrying out a pilot study does not always promise victory in the actual study, although it increases the chances of success in the actual study. Pilot studies accomplish a series of important roles and can provide useful insights for the researcher.

Pilot studies is carried out to create and test relevancy of; research instruments, Policy a research procedure, gauge the practicality of the actual survey as well as test whether the research procedure is accurate and practical. Also, the study aimed at understanding whether the sampling structure and technique are operational, assess the likelihood of success for suggested recruitment methods and pinpoint logistical complications which might surface using suggested means, approximate the inconsistency in results to in finding out sample size.

Pilot study also assesses the suggested data analysis tools and procedures while aiding in increasing preliminary data. This is done to find out possible problems that may affect the whole research process and this helps the researcher to develop a research plan that will strengthen the study and avert possible practical problems while following the research processes.

Procedures used during the pilot study

The researcher gave out the questionnaire to pilot subjects – Hispanic female teachers in an exact manner as it will be done in the main study. The respondents were then asked to give feedback to detect opacities and problematic questions. The researcher noted the time taken to fill in the questionnaire which will later be used to decide whether it is logical. The researcher confirms that all questions are tackled, and that each question gives a satisfactory variety of responses and to confirm that responses given can be interpreted by the information that is needed. Questions that were not satisfactorily answered were reworded to get certain answers and responses in the main study. After all the above procedures a decision may be made to reduce, review, cut out the unnecessary questions and if need be pilot again.

After the respondents are through with interview, part three will follow. Part three will consist of a team of 6 experts reviewing and screening the questionnaire contents to ensure that clarity is present.

Several social and individual reasons exist about why Hispanic female teachers may or may not advance in their career. One of them may be lack of administrative support. Also it is worth noting that lack of interest and lack of backing and encouragement from workmates and administrators is also a barrier to the teacher’s career advancement goals.

Protection of Human Findings

To ensure the use of ethical procedures, the purpose of the research, procedures, and expected results will be explained to the participants. This will be done to ensure that participants in the research feel safe and that no data will be used against them. The researcher will obtain consent of the participants before beginning the interviews. To ensure confidentiality of the study and honesty in answering the questions, names of the participants in the study will not be used. A similar code for each participant will be used to ensure confidentiality. Data analysis will include only summary information and quotations.

Full acknowledgment of information cited from secondary sources will be done with suitable in-text citation and references to avoid unauthorized and unacknowledged use of other people’s ideas. Unauthorized use of other people’s ideas amounts to infringing on copyrighted information that is unethical and illegal (Brauneis, 2009).

Dissemination of Findings

The aim of the researcher is the information contained in this research will reach out to as many people as possible. It is also anticipated the findings of this research will be useful to society and especially in changing the opinion of the Hispanic female teachers towards certain careers.

This can only be realized if the information is disseminated to the public. The researcher will seek various forums for example seminars, academic journals, and organized rallies to disseminate the results of the study to targeted recipients.

The researcher will seek to present the research findings in seminars related to education. Education seminars organized by learning institutions, government, and nonprofit organizations bring together various policy makers who need to be informed about the reasons that affect career choices by different groups of people. The objective of presenting this research is to provide more information on the views held by Hispanic female teachers on career choices; the research also seeks to uncover the underlying reasons that discourage Hispanic female teachers from advancing into other careers.

Academic journals are also read widely by academic policy makers, as they rely on findings published in such journals to respond to various issues affecting academics. Since this research will outline one of the problems affecting academic advancement among the group of Hispanic females, it will be important the information is published in the journals so the policy makers can access and respond to it. The researcher also further recommends more research on the topic of career advancement and career choices of Hispanic females in education.

Conclusion

The career choices of Hispanic female teachers will be put into focus to determine the underlying reasons that affect their career advancement. Several tools will be employed including data collection methods, data analysis procedures as well as protection of findings from the research. Several reasons were noted that affect career advancement of these teachers. Evident among them was the lack of interest and support from administrators.

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