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Veronica Wilkerson

Johnson
IDSL 845 Quantitative
Analysis
July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal
INTRODUCTION

The value of community arts engagement in furthering the growth and


development of community colleges is clear. Research shows that
community colleges help to create a sense of place and culture in our
society, and therefore their involvement in artistic endeavors in the
community are laudable. Having a community arts presence increases
their visibility, influence, and their intrinsic value to the quality of life.
An educator, Horswill (2003) stated, regarding arts engagement - Art
is not simply tangential or decorative; art is not just pretty objects or
colorful scenes on walls; instead, visual arts display the wide-open
potential for the human spirit to be wholly creative, enhancing the life
of the community. Horswills students participate in artistic
endeavors that aid local community groups, schools and humanitarian
efforts. An example of such service learning endeavors includes Art
on the Edge, a local after-school arts program sponsored by Saint
Vincent de Paul for which Horswills students provide art works they
have created and they serve as volunteers. (Horswill, 2003).

IDSL 845

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

Moreover, George Handley (2001) encourages the integration of


service learning in humanities courses to create a stronger connection
between the arts and the communities in which they are created. He
lists a series of reasons, including the importance of teaching
students that there is a vitality to the arts in community life, and most
importantly, in the very places where they reside (p. 57). Arts
organizations need volunteers to operate, students need to learn from
role models in the arts community, and higher education benefits,
empowering them to seek ways to bring ideas to, and from, the
community (p. 57). Since the arts are alive in the community,
connecting college students with real artists and arts organizations
makes the creative process more relevant.

This research proposal will focus on the question:


To what extent are student outcomes advanced by community college
programs that engage the community through the arts?
Hypothesis
I expect to find through this research that students thrive in an
environment of cultural arts engagement, being particularly exposed to

IDSL 845

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

service learning opportunities in their respective cities, and/or otherwise


taking an active role in participating in artistic endeavors inspired by their
college or university. It is hypothesized that student learning outcomes
are measurably improved by exposure to community arts engagement.
Methodology
The Dependent Variable (DV) in this study is Student GPA. I am
interested in discovering to what extent Student GPA scores are improved
by students exposure to the arts through service learning activities or
community arts participation.
The Independent Variables (IV) are:
1. Service Learning Program courses in which students have the
option of enrolling.
2. Creative arts courses in which students can enroll, and their art is
shared with the community through artistic outreach endeavors.
3. Community arts volunteering for which students receive credit
and/or experience in their respective area(s) of creative expertise.
In order to know the playing field of this study I want to determine the
relationship between community arts engagement/service learning and
student success scores, I will create a pre-course and post-course survey
based on reviews of higher education arts engagement instruments. Both

IDSL 845

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

surveys will have 10 questions that focus on the students arts and civic
engagement courses, knowledge, and community arts endeavors. From
the results of the surveys this study will attempt to draw conclusions bout
any role that the student arts engagements have played in the
improvement of their GPA scores.
Once I have the survey data in hand, I will first conduct t tests to compare
the GPA scores of the students to whether they participated in the service
learning or community arts courses and college outreach endeavors. It is
possible that student outcomes related to community arts engagement will
differ based on their respective backgrounds and academic ability. To
address this likely correlation, I will use multivariate ordinary least
squares (OLS) regressions (Vogt. p. 202-203) to control for the influence
of academic ability in determining the effect of community arts
involvement on students academic performance. In addition, to help with
student engagement measures to determine the extent to which hours or
number of courses taken in community arts endeavors increased their
academic performance I will use Cronbachs alpha = .70 to determine if
each of the IV variables are correlated.

IDSL 845

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

As stated by Vogt. (2007, pgs. 119-120), construct validity concerns the


question of whether the instrument is actually measuring what one intends
it to measure. To determine the substantive impact of IV (community
engagement courses/experiences, ordinal measures) on DV (student GPA
scores, ratio), r = 0.85, p<=0.05, R-squared = 0.49. Results from these
inferential statistics will likely provide a strong, positive relationship,
generalizable to the population. According to Vogt. (2007, p. 121-122),
Threats to construct validity occur when there are problems with the
measures the researcher uses to study the construct or concept, as when
the researcher uses an inadequate operational definition. Threats to
construct validity mostly have to do with errors made through poor
operationalizations or definitions used in measurement. I will therefore,
in my formative work on this study, reflect on my definitions and
measurements after the data have been collected from the pre-course and
post-course surveys, to further assess their validity and reliability, and I
will put them on my quick checklist to be systematically reviewed
before proceeding with my summative evaluation. This will help me
mitigate threats to validity and reliability.

IDSL 845

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

I will use a large sample size of 100 students enrolled in a specific


community college in a city that has a population of 150,000, in order to
estimate the average GPA of 500 students who are involved in community
arts courses and/or activities. This approach will be based on Vogts
recommendation (Vogt. 2007, p. 84) that bigger is always better when
determining the representativeness of a sample. I will be taking a random
sample of the 100 students, computing their mean GPA based on the
variables, and generalizing the results to the population of 1,000 students.
This sampling method of using a larger sample size will reduce threats to
validity and reliability.
I will collect my data for the research design from community college
student records and from the pre-course and post-course surveys. I will
formulate questions carefully in order to glean the most accurate
responses for use in establishing reliable measures that are statistically
significant. I will assign numbers to the questions to quantify them, and
take an average of the answers in order to make an overall scale.
Cronbachs alpha will help determine if my questions are measuring the
same thing.
Discussion and Conclusion

IDSL 845

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

This study hypothesizes that students academic performance improves in


an environment of cultural arts engagement and that service learning
through the arts, which exposes students to community arts endeavors,
further strengthens their academic and civic acumen. The arts are a
valuable component in education as they are in the human experience.
This study explores the relationships between a community arts engaged
learning environment and student academic performance. It presupposes
that the community arts engagement encompasses a broad array of
educationally purposeful endeavors. The findings will likely corroborate
existing data in the field, and therefore perpetuate the notion that
community arts engagement enriches the learning experience of students,
and their civic awareness. The results of this study will also aid federal,
state and local policymakers, leaders in the arts and arts organizations, and
colleges and universities that are seeking experiential data to determine
funding or to further establish programs that increase community arts
availability in our society. A standard belief in this discussion is that
community arts engagement truly enhances the quality of our lives, and
the educational experiences, and achievement, of our students.

IDSL 845

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

References
Handley, G. B. (2000). The humanities and citizenship: a challenge
for service learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service
Learning, 8 (1), 52-61.

Laurie Olson-Horswill, (2003). Art and service learning: the


magnificent moonsters:. Laurie Olson-Horswill, Department of
English, North Idaho College, Coeur dAlene Lake, Idaho., pgs. 1-10.
http://www.mesacc.edu/other/engagement/Journal/Issue3/Horswill.pdf
Last retrieved 7-5-13.
Vogt. W.P. (2007). Quantitative research methods for professionals.
Boston, MA: Pearson.

IDSL 845

July 5, 2013

Research Proposal

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