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Casey N.

Smith

Research Methodology

For my capstone project I will be researching the paths people are taking to become art

educators and what reasons former art educators give for leaving the profession. To gather the

data for this project my research methods will be to conduct surveys and interviews with current

and former art educators. The work of Bertot (2009), Dilley (2000), Freedman (2004), Jacob and

Furgerson (2012), Ritter and Sue (2007), and Turner (2010) have all assisted me in learning

more about these two research methods.

I will be conducting surveys as part of my research method to gather data from current

and former art educators concerning how and why they decided to become art educators, their

experiences in the classroom over time, and what reasons do former art educators give for

leaving the profession. Ritter and Sue (2007) suggest sending out email invitations to the survey,

posting invitations to the survey on websites and to listserv’s and group pages. I plan to send out

an invitation to art educator Facebook groups such as Art Teachers Teaching Art and the West

Ashley Arts Initiative. I also plan to send email invitations to other students in the University of

Florida’s Graduate in Art Education program as well as personal art educators that I know.

Bertot (2009) mentions the importance of how easy the survey is to understand and complete.

Freedman (2004) states, “It may be easy to decide what you want to study; it is harder to

determine what needs to be learned” (p. 100). This statement rings true when it comes to creating

surveys. If the questions are too broad then the answers might not give enough detail toward the

intended subject, questions should be precise in the wording so that the answer is not too

generalized. He also discusses how the flow of the survey should lead the participant toward an

end goal for the subject. This will be very important as I create my survey. I will structure the
survey to begin with how and why the participant became an art educator and lead them to the

end of what reasons do they give for leaving the profession if they have done so. Conducting the

surveys may take a week or two depending on how many educators respond early to the survey. I

will be sending out reminders asking to complete the surveys by a certain date in the hopes of

obtaining more responses. Data collected from the surveys will be entered into a spreadsheet for

analysis.

After the surveys are completed, submitted and analyzed I will be conducting interviews

with those who indicated that they have left the profession. This will help me gather further

information on what changes during their teaching profession and why they are leaving the

classroom. Jacob and Furgerson (2012) describe interviews as, “When we interview, we ask

people to share their stories” (p. 1). This is exactly what I will be doing when interviewing the

participants. Dilley (2000) builds on this storytelling concept by emphasizing the importance of

being knowledgeable about the participant’s background. He explains that if you cannot gain

information about their personal background then you should learn about the subject matter

being discussed, “At the least, I gain an understanding of social and contextual factors that might

bear upon the experiences and lives of those I interview” (p. 132). I think this is an integral part

of the interview process that I will take very seriously. I will try to learn as much about the

participant through their survey answers as I can before the interview as well as conduct

scholarly research on reasons art educators are leaving the profession. Conducting the interviews

may take a couple of weeks depending on the schedules of the participants. Some interviews will

be done in person and others will be done over the telephone due to the location of the

participant. Turner (2010) suggests a pilot test of the interview on a third party to determine if

there are any flaws or limitations in the questions or the flow of the survey. I plan on conducting
a pilot interview on some of the other students in the University of Florida’s Graduate in Art

Education program to gage what I will need to refine in the structure of the interview. Interviews

will be transcribed and then analyzed for similarities in why art educators are leaving the

profession.

To analyze and sort all the data being collect from the different sources I will be using

different methods. To analyze the data gather from the surveys I will be using a spread sheet.

This will provide an easy way to view all of the responses and I can easily group and sort the

responses according to what I am looking for. To analyze the information gathered from

interviews I will transcribe them and sort them according to the responses the participants give as

to why they chose to leave the profession. This will help me group similarities and differences in

the experiences that the participants have had in the profession. For the scholarly research

articles that I find I will be sorting them into different areas such as; reasons individuals enter the

education field, experiences during their time in the classroom, and reasons educators leave the

profession. This will help me find the expert advice concerning those areas when I am

conducting my capstone and writing my capstone paper.


References:

Bertot, J. (2009). Web-based surveys: Not your basic survey anymore. Library Quarterly. 79(1),

119-124.

Dilley, P. (2000). Conducting successful interviews: Tips for intrepid research. Theory into

Practice. 39(3). 131-137.

Freedman, K. (2004). Becoming a researcher in art education: Forming research questions.

National Art Education Association. 45(2). 99-100.

Jacob, S. Furgerson, S. (2012). Writing interview protocols and conducting interviews: Tips for

students new to the field of qualitative research. The Qualitative Report. 17(42). 1-10.

Ritter, L. Sue, V. (2007). Conducting the survey. New Directions for Evaluation. 115, 47-50.

Turner, D. (2010). Qualitative interview design: A practical guide for novice investigators. The

Qualitative Report. 15(3). 754-760.