While reading Stotsky and Mall’s “Understanding Research on Teaching the English Language Arts: An Introduction for Teacher,” the first chapter from Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts, I was considering my master’s research project idea and research model. The following passage describes the type of research I would like to conduct:
Not all studies using quantitative methods focus directly on cause and effect relationships. Many such studies are correlational rather than experimental. They seek to discover whether one entity is related to another, and if so, how or to what extent. Researchers may then try to infer cause and effect, but must do so carefully”(9).
Since 1998 I have taught writing part time at a local community college. The English department requires the use of the writing center for all remedial courses as well as the college composition course. The students are required to pay for an extra credit hour and 25% of their course grade is determined by their performance in the writing center. Over the years I have heard students assert various claims about the quality and usefulness of the center and its workbook. I have often wondered if there is a “type” of student who feels “certain” ways about the writing center.
I have been considering measuring, through student surveys, if there is a correlation between student satisfaction with the writing center experience and any or all of the following: learner types, personality types, or locus of control. For instance, would there be a correlation between level of satisfaction and learner type such as self-directed? Or would there be a correlation between level of satisfaction and personality type like “sensing” from Myers-Briggs? Or would there be a correlation between level of satisfaction and locus of control, which essentially is the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them?
At this point I need to determine what is most relevant. I would imagine that setting up the survey is going to be tricky because the responders will need to self report level of satisfaction and learner type, personality type, or locus of control.