CHAPTER THREE                                    METHODOLOGY       To answer the primary research question, “To what exten...
mail survey or conduct a phone survey, and it would be much more difficult to obtainparental consent. Because the survey i...
The survey was designed to be completed in a relatively short amount of time. Itincluded graphics and no right or wrong an...
Campbell and Peart’s (1999) study defined a caring relationship as involvingprofessional behavior and academically educati...
that students can understand (Campbell & Peart, 1999, Silvernail, 1979). Finally, inproviding feedback, it is important fo...
The literature revealed most teachers, of those interviewed, were committed to awide repertoire of teaching strategies (Ha...
Survey questions thirteen through sixteen had to do with a teacher’s preparationand organization of students’ learning exp...
Children may also get the message they are being recognized through the non-verbal behaviors of their teachers. Questions ...
peers, teasing, and snickering to exemplify the kinds of potentially damaging issues thatteachers should not ignore. Adult...
Questions thirty-nine through forty-two asked questions about perceptions ofcaring within the context of their art classro...
necessary for obtaining a rich and full understanding (Goldstein, & Lake, 2000). In orderto find out about caring from the...
experience what it is like to be in the setting. Therefore, it is essential to includeinformation about what it is like fo...
The first stage involves getting to know the respondent and his or her experiencesin light of the topic the interviewer is...
The interview questions that I asked addressed similar issues to those addressed inthe surveys, but in greater depth. I as...
me with adequate material for presenting the phenomenon in such a way that theexperience can be understood by the reader. ...
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  1. 1. CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY To answer the primary research question, “To what extent and how do selected artteachers and students perceive and define caring behaviors in the art classroom?” I reliedon both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. I conducted a survey as well as aphenomenological study. This combined approach allowed for triangulation of theresultant data. By increasing the number and kind of research instruments used, Ienhanced the validity of the findings and my conclusions. Both methods helped me toanswer the research question, and to identify teaching behaviors recognized as caring bystudents and art teachers. The data collected through these means allowed me to compareand contrast these perspectives, focusing attention on similarities and dissimilaritiesamong the findings. The major portion of the data collection was qualitative, but I initiated myresearch with a survey. I used a cross-sectional survey, a type of survey that allowsinformation to be collected at one point in time from a sample drawn from a pre-determined population (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000). The surveys were administered to allof the Leon County, FL middle school art teachers and to the sixth grade students of onemiddle school art class from each school. I included all six middle schools in which artclasses were offered. Two Leon County middle schools did not have an art program andwere excluded from the study. I visited each school during the sixth grade art classmeeting time and administered the surveys. In an effort to gather a broader range of perspectives than can be obtained in acase study, I decided to use self-administered surveys. This approach is most commonlyused to survey school-aged children (Weisber, Krnosnick, & Bowen, 1989). This type ofsurvey has a very high response rate and allows the researcher to obtain a large amount ofinformation at one time. Administration of a short and easy survey is the most efficientway to obtain a large number of students’ opinions (Weisberg, Krosnick, Bowen, 1989).A survey administered by phone or through the mail would be much more difficult andthe response rate much lower. Students may not be responsible enough yet to return a 54
  2. 2. mail survey or conduct a phone survey, and it would be much more difficult to obtainparental consent. Because the survey is conducted in the classroom with the teacher’sconsent, students’ parents may be more likely to indicate trust and allow their children tocomplete the survey. Another advantage is that it allows the researcher to explain thestudy and to answer any questions that students may have about how to complete thequestionnaire. This method also allows the researcher to ensure the directions andimplementation of the survey are consistent in each setting. Further, when the researcheradministers the survey, it eliminates the job of training and compensating others to do so(Fowler, 1988). The use of surveys helped facilitate the complex task of defining caring, as itchanges in nature with different people and in different contexts (Noddings, 1992).Surveys offered a broad view of what students, in different settings, perceived as caringin middle school art classrooms, and allowed me to look at those views comparatively. Rationale Middle school art students were chosen as the participants of my study because oftheir unique developmental characteristics. Most such students have reached the age ofpuberty, when the body is undergoing many physical and emotional changes, and as aresult they face many developmental and intellectual challenges. Among thesechallenges is the development of an extreme sense of self-awareness and self-consciousness. Adolescents experience heightened sensitivities, strong emotionalreactions, and have a tendency to be focused on relationships and identity issues(Michael, 1964). These characteristics increase the need for caring, acceptance, sensitiveguidance, and a sympathetic climate. Survey Design The student survey questions (see appendix A) were constructed in a way that waseasily understood by students in grade six and such that they may be interpreted withlittle confusion. A pilot study was conducted in a fifth grade class to ensure theyunderstood the survey items and directions. As they had no difficulty understanding, Ithen was assured that the survey was ready for the sixth grade participants. 55
  3. 3. The survey was designed to be completed in a relatively short amount of time. Itincluded graphics and no right or wrong answers, all of which helped to make it moreenjoyable and to keep stress levels low (Dillman, 1941). The teachers’ surveys (seeappendix B) were different from the students in the wording of the directions, but sharedthe same content. The content and questions for both surveys were derived fromliterature and studies reviewed concerning caring and its manifestations. I includedteaching styles and behaviors that other researchers have reported as caring as well as thefindings of an unpublished ethnographic study (Wheeler, 2001) to formulate the researchquestions. The survey questions were divided in terms of professional and personal caringbehaviors. The specific questions concerning professional and personal caring behaviorswere grouped around specific topics, with four questions per group. Grouping thequestions according to topics decreased the respondents’ burden by allowing theirthoughts to flow within a context (Frey, 1983). Asking more than one question related toa topic also allows the researcher to view the consistency of responses (Frey, 1983). The questions were divided according to professional and personal behaviors inorder to reflect the division in the literature between student and teachers’ perspectives.Many studies have revealed consistent results: the students most heavily reportedpersonal behaviors as caring while the teacher most often reported professional behaviorsas exhibiting care (Campbell & Peart, 1999; Frymier & Houser, 2000; Perry & Quaglia,1997; Wheeler, 2001). Perry and Quaglia (1997) administered caring statements to the participants oftheir study in order to determine how personal and professional care were perceived bystudents of different genders and age levels. The results indicated that students weremore likely to see caring in terms of personal behaviors, but still recognized it inprofessional behaviors. Teachers were more likely to see care in professional terms.When this difference in perception is examined in light of Noddings’ (1984) explanationof completed care, there may be a gap. Teachers need to be aware of how students viewcaring, thus enabling them to exhibit it in a way in which students will be able to perceiveit (Perry & Quaglia, 1997). 56
  4. 4. Campbell and Peart’s (1999) study defined a caring relationship as involvingprofessional behavior and academically educating students, as well as personal behaviorthat addresses students’ feelings, experiences, and reactions to the world. Frymier andHouser (2000) also held the perspective that effective, caring teaching happens whenteacher communication is both professional and interpersonal. The respondents in my study were asked to rate the level of caring of thosespecific teachers’ behaviors, both personal and professional, using a Likert-type scale.This rating scale was intended to convey the respondent’s judgment about anindividual’s, in this case a teacher’s, behavior (Fraenkel, & Wallen, 2000). The choicesranged from one, the most caring, to four, the least caring. I also included a choice thatindicated no response. This allowed the respondent to bypass any question of which he orshe was unsure or unwilling to answer. I also included in each survey two open-endedquestions that allowed teachers and students to list behaviors that they perceived ascaring or non-caring, which may not have been addressed in the survey. The surveyended with questions obtaining demographic information that allowed me to considervariables such as age, gender, and ethnicity. I obtained general information concerningsocio-economic status of students, such as the percentage of subsidized lunches, throughpublic school records rather than including this as a survey question. This allowed me toconsider these differences when analyzing the results of the surveys. Questions one through four of the survey prompted the respondents to rateexamples of teachers’ professional behaviors that involve the provision of feedback. Ateachers’ reflection of a student’s progress and success has been described as a valuablecontribution to meaningful learning (Rogers & Renard, 1999). Positive feedbackcontributes to the establishment of a caring teacher and student relationship and mayencourage future learning (Silvernail, 1979). Verbal praise and compliments constituteone form of positive feedback that has been described as important to the establishmentof positive teacher and student relations (Burnett, 2000; Campbell & Peart, 1999;Silvernail, 1979). Written or symbolic rewards such as stars, smiley faces, and commentssuch as “good job” or “well done” also can reassure a student that his or her teacher looksupon them fondly. It is also important in establishing positive bonds between teachersand students, for the teacher to communicate information and directions in a clear way 57
  5. 5. that students can understand (Campbell & Peart, 1999, Silvernail, 1979). Finally, inproviding feedback, it is important for teachers to communicate high but realisticexpectations to students. This should be consistent across gender and race. For example,studies have shown that black students are not always expected or challenged to achievein the same way as white students (Campbell & Peart, 1999). Believing in all students’ability to achieve high standards and utilizing caring and responsive dialogue with allstudents may help more students feel good about how their teacher perceives them and inturn how they perceive themselves and their levels of achievement. Questions five through eight of the survey dealt with perceptions of discipline andclassroom control, as these pertain to caring. Students may value these things if they areperceived as a sign that teachers care about them and want them to do well. Teachers,with their tendency to focus on professional behaviors, may regard their ability tomaintain control in the classroom as a way of exhibiting care. (One art teacher, aparticipant in an earlier ethnographic study, held that keeping an orderly and controlledclassroom was her strength as well as her primary way of demonstrating to her studentsthat she cared about them and their learning (Wheeler, 2001). Students in the same studyexpressed a similar belief that keeping students in line and maintaining a controlledatmosphere meant that their teacher cared and helped them learn.) Including students in the process of establishing classroom rules is one way inwhich teachers can allow students to be part of planning and decision-making. Thisstrategy gives students more of a stake in expectations of conduct. Noddings (1992)supported strategies that allow students to participate in such decision-making. Shebelieved that this would develop more attitudinal respect and a cooperative, rather thancompetitive classroom environment. Survey questions nine through twelve concerned caring strategies for classroominstruction. A caring teacher will respect varying learning styles in the classroom and willbe careful to see students individually and know the specific type of instruction that eachchild requires (Manen, 1986). Teachers should be informed that meeting students’ needsin learning and in caring is always an individual process. Teachers need to be flexible intheir strategies for conveying knowledge in order to be effective in varying pedagogicalsituations (Ilatov, Shamai & Lazarovitz, 1998). 58
  6. 6. The literature revealed most teachers, of those interviewed, were committed to awide repertoire of teaching strategies (Hargreaves, 1994). One teacher interviewed said,“If I feel like they’re not getting it, if they are not understanding instruction one way, I’lltry to figure out another way to get it across, so hopefully they would interpret that ascaring” (Wheeler, 2001, p. 8). A student also expressed that she felt cared about byteachers when “they give you some information, explain it, then they give you moreinformation and show you what to do. They ask you questions and if you don’t get itthey explain it more” (Wheeler, 2001, p.11). Incorporating students’ interests into classroom instruction has been indicated asan important strategy for making affective pedagogical connections. Noddings (1992)recognized that as the interests of students and teachers diverge, a caring relationbecomes more difficult. To avoid this divergence and to engage students more willinglyin the learning many strategies have been suggested, including connecting material tostudents’ lives outside of the classroom and planning activities in which they havepreviously expressed interest (Rogers & Renard, 1999). Classroom dialogue is essential in creating an educational and caring community(Noddings, 1994). The topics included in conversation should depend on the interest andexperience of both the teacher and the students. Sharing experiences facilitates theformation of caring relationships in which students respond to one another thoughtfullyand extends the source of learning beyond the voice of the teacher. Many students more effectively learn and connect with their teacher whenworking one-on-one with them. From the perspective of students, the provision of extraand individual attention has been recognized as necessary for feeling positivepedagogical connections (Manen, 1986). When asked to explain an example of a teachercaring, one student replied, “They just like talk to you individually” (Wheeler, 2001,p.19). For another student individual attention meant she would get more into thelearning. Another student responded, “When they talk to us personally, they tell us thatthey really care. By taking you off to the side and saying things like you have a low gradebut I think you can raise it up a little bit” (Wheeler, 2001, p.20). This student alsoexplained “when a teacher really cares about you, you want to learn from them”(Wheeler, 2001, p.20). 59
  7. 7. Survey questions thirteen through sixteen had to do with a teacher’s preparationand organization of students’ learning experiences. This type of professional behavior isoften viewed by teachers as caring, but not as often perceived as such by students (Perry& Quaglia, 1997). During an interview with an art teacher, it was revealed thatprofessional behaviors she called “behind the scenes stuff” were viewed as a majorpriority in exhibiting care for students (Wheeler, 2001). Tasks such as writing lessons,planning projects, ordering supplies, and having materials ready when students needthem, were all described as part of her preparation and her exhibition of care. Another aspect of teacher preparation that has been acknowledged as beingimportant to the pedagogical relationship is a teacher’s knowledge and competence in hisor her subject area. For teachers to successfully facilitate learning they need to be expertsin their area of content and know how to effectively deliver that content (Frymier &Houser, 2000). When asked if preparation, including knowledge of a subject, was a signthat teachers cared, one student replied, “Mmm hmm, instead of like not being preparedand then you have to sit and wait in class for like ten minutes until they get ready. Sowhen they are saying something you know they’re not just making it up so they cansound smart. They actually know what they are doing” (Wheeler, 2001). This responsewas one of very few student responses that expressed teacher preparation or knowledgeas an indication of their care. Students desire more from their teachers than knowledge or information. Theywant teachers to help them feel good about themselves (Frymier and Houser, 2000).What teachers say to their students often may accomplish this feat. Survey questionsseventeen through twenty asked students to rate teachers’ verbal behaviors as more orless caring. Many researchers have held that students perceive as caring the simple act ofa teacher remembering their name (Frymier & Houser, 2000; Quaglia, 1997). The use ofhumor has also been recognized as a teaching behavior that students perceive as caring(Frymier & Houser, 2000; Hargreaves 1984; Quaglia, 1997). Talking to students aboutlife outside of the course content may also deliver the message that a teacher cares(Frymier & Houser, 2000; Wheeler, 2001). Manen (1999) suggested that greeting orsending students off with a meaningful comment are among the behaviors that letchildren know they are being recognized. 60
  8. 8. Children may also get the message they are being recognized through the non-verbal behaviors of their teachers. Questions twenty-two through twenty-five representedsome of what the literature has supported as caring, non-verbal behaviors. Smiling, otherfacial expressions, eye-contact, moving around the classroom, high-fives and waving tostudents in the hall or outside of class are some of those behaviors that have beensupported (Frymier & Houser, 2000; Manen, 1999; McCroskey & Teven, 1996). Someof these behaviors (i.e., eye-contact, gaze and body movements) may also let studentsknow that the teacher is listening to them and interested in what they have to say.Listening sincerely and valuing students’ responses are among the behaviors that havebeen consistently acknowledged as caring (Quaglia, 1997). Responding to students’ feelings and emotions is another important way in whichteachers acknowledge students and show that they are concerned with a child’s academicand affective education. In order to build caring relationships with students, the affectivedimensions of a student’s life must be addressed by the teacher (Campbell & Peart, 1999,p. 274). Survey questions twenty-five through twenty-eight represented examples ofteacher’s empathetic behaviors that address the emotional development of their students. A specific example of nurturing a child’s emotional development is the provisionof opportunities for students to share concerns and problems with adults who respond in ahelpful way (Fopiano & Haynes, 2001). This is important on both an individual andclassroom basis. As emotions emerge in the classroom it is important that they are dealtwith effectively (Larrivvee, 1999). This not only helps to validate students’ rights toexpress their feelings, but also helps them learn to do so in a responsible way (Larrivvee,1999). Furthermore, when students safely can express their feelings, teachers are betterable to offer the encouragement students need. When teachers are able to express theirfeelings from time to time, students may feel more comfortable doing so (Hargreaves,1984). Students, like all humans, are not born with the knowledge of cooperation.Therefore to maintain a caring classroom in which students get along and cooperate witheach other, these relational skills must be taught and encouraged. Survey questionstwenty-nine through thirty-two represented teaching behaviors that encourage positivesocial relations. Charney and Kriete (2001) used the examples of gossip, notes rating 61
  9. 9. peers, teasing, and snickering to exemplify the kinds of potentially damaging issues thatteachers should not ignore. Adult failure to intervene in social games and hierarchy,endorses children’s cruelty, exclusion, and indifference toward each other. These authorssuggested that teachers can deal with negative behaviors with the creation of a classroomcommunity in which everyone knows each other. Cooperative learning providessituations in which students and teachers can get to know each other, promotes bothemotional and social learning, and provides opportunities to build community and socialinteraction skills (Dasho, Lewis and Watson, 2001). In this type of cooperative, ratherthan competitive environment, caring can be manifested (Noddings, 1992). Another teaching strategy that may promote social interaction and cooperativecaring relations is the structural arrangement of the classroom. A seating style in whichstudents face each other creates ample opportunity for students to engage in conversationand otherwise connect with one another (MacGregor, 1978). Finally, a cooperative andcaring environment should be nonexclusive and accepting of the voices and experiencesand ideas of all students regardless of differences including race, gender, and socio-economic (Campbell & Peart, 1999; Larrivee, 1999; MacGregor, 1978). The teacher setsthis example through modeling an encouraging and accepting attitude toward all his orher students. We do not tell our students how to care but rather we show them how tocare by creating caring relations with them (Noddings, 1992). Survey questions thirty-three through thirty-five asked participants about theirindividual perceptions of a teacher’s demonstration of care and their opinions of itsimportance. These questions prompted the respondent to answer yes, no, or with noresponse. Though these questions were formatted differently than the previous questions,which utilize a Likert Scale, they inquired about issues and perspectives of caring thathave previously been supported. Survey questions thirty-six through thirty eight were open-ended questions, thatallowed the respondent to answer in the manner he or she chose (Seidman, 1997). Thisallowed respondents to cite behaviors or perceptions concerning care that may not havebeen covered in the previous survey questions. These responses added to my collectionof qualitative data. 62
  10. 10. Questions thirty-nine through forty-two asked questions about perceptions ofcaring within the context of their art classroom. It has been shown students’ expressiveactivities are dependent on a supportive and caring environment (Parkhurst, 1950). Thesequestions helped reveal whether the student respondents perceived their art classroom assuch a place. These questions also helped guide in my selection of a caring art classroomin which to conduct the qualitative portion of my data collection. Finally questions forty-three and forty-four asked demographic information,specifically gender and ethnicity. The answers to these questions allowed the variables tobe sorted and compared during the analysis of the collected survey responses. Phenomenological Design From the classes that participated in the surveys, I selected one for conducting aqualitative study. For this selection process I used purposive sampling. This processallows researchers to rely on their previous knowledge of a population, the specificpurpose of their study, and their personal judgment to select a sample (Fraenkel, &Wallen, 2000). From the information obtained in the surveys, I looked for a classroom inwhich caring was prevalent and recognized by teachers and students (though holdingsimilar and dissimilar perspectives of caring). By entering into their classroom for anextended length of time, six weeks, I was able to obtain a deeper insight andunderstanding of these perspectives and what they meant for students’ emotional andintellectual development. The benefit of qualitative studies is that they allow the researcher to gain a morecomplete understanding of a particular situation and a deeper insight as to how subjectsview the world (Patton, 1990). The particular type of qualitative research I utilized wasphenomenological inquiry. This type of inquiry focuses on the question “What is thestructure and essence of experience of this phenomenon for these people?” (Patton, 1990,p.69). Phenomenological inquiry helps the researcher holistically to understand humanexperience in context specific settings (Patton, 1990). The phenomenon in my study was the experience of caring in the context of asixth grade middle school art classroom. Because the nature of caring is multi-dimensional, tacit, subtle, and changing, an extended observation is appropriate and 63
  11. 11. necessary for obtaining a rich and full understanding (Goldstein, & Lake, 2000). In orderto find out about caring from the experiences of teachers and students, I conductedobservations over the course of six weeks during which I observed the behavior ofteachers and students, their reactions to and interactions with each other. I comparedwhat I saw with what the literature has described as caring, what the surveys revealed,and then later with the information I obtained from students and teachers duringinterviews. I was the sole observer of teachers and students in the classroom. What wasrecorded from these observations necessarily only revealed a portion of what happened inthe setting. What was observed was subjective and according to my own perspective andtherefore may not be generalized (Fraenkel, & Wallen, 2000). However the value of theobservations came through detailed and descriptive information that will allow otherpeople and educators to understand the setting and what has occurred. The observationsthat I conducted were written and described extensively and as closely as possible to theway things actually happened to ensure they convey meaning. Field notes provide a written account of the researcher sees, hears, experiences,and thinks in the course of collecting and reflecting the data. They are the most importantdeterminant of the subsequent building of a qualitative analysis (Patton, 1990). Fieldnotes should contain everything the observer believes to be worth noting and should bewritten as soon as possible to avoid forgetting particular details and elements of thesituation later. They should be descriptive and include dates, places, names, socialinteractions that occur, and activities that take place (Patton, 1990). This thickdescription will allow the researcher to return to the observation later and eventually willallow the findings to be conveyed to the reader. The reflective aspect of phenomenological field notes allows researchers to be upfront about their feelings about what they are learning and to inform readers of their ideasand views as researchers. The observer’s feelings and reactions to the experience shouldbe recorded (Patton, 1990). These reflections offer insight about the personal meaningand significance to the observer as to what has occurred and will be essential to the data.The purpose of a phenomenological study is to get close to the participants and to 64
  12. 12. experience what it is like to be in the setting. Therefore, it is essential to includeinformation about what it is like for the observer (Patton, 1990). I conducted observations with both a prefigured and an emergent focus (Eisner,1998). With a prefigured focus the researcher enters a classroom with a specificobservational target (Eisner, 1998). I entered the classroom with the prefigured fociextracted from the survey. These foci or themes (that were included in the survey andthat I focused upon) were: teachers’ professional behaviors involving the provision offeedback, classroom control and discipline, classroom instruction and teaching strategies,the preparation and organization of teachers, teachers’ verbal behaviors, teachers’ non-verbal behaviors, and teachers’ encouragement of positive social relations. Through afocus on the themes that have already been supported in the literature and again examinedthrough the surveys, I was able to create a more thorough description of each of thesethemes. This process also allowed me to compare the themes in light of each method ofinquiry. Eisner (1998) explained that often when there are prefigured foci, the emergenceof the unanticipated can command special attention. Just as in the survey, I was open tothe opportunity for caring perceptions to manifest themselves to me in a way that isemergent rather than prefigured. This allowed me to describe behaviors that fell outsideof the prefigured foci, but were relevant in describing the students and or the teachersperceptions of caring. To gain a more in-depth and personal understanding of teachers’ and students’perceptions of caring, I conducted interviews (see Appendix C). The interviewsstructurally were divided into three stages Anderson (2000) referred to as “immersion andresponse, description, and interpretation” (p. 84). The first stage, immersion, allows therespondent’s voice to be heard and allows the researcher to gain insights as to who therespondent is and what his or her perceptions are. The second stage, description, goesmore into depth and helps the researcher confirm or discard the initial insights made. Thefinal stage, interpretation, involves reflecting and finding meaning out of what waslearned in the first stages (Anderson, 2000). Seidman (1998) described three stages of aninterview that are similar to Anderson’s. I have discussed these stages to provide afurther explanation of the interview structure to which I adhered. 65
  13. 13. The first stage involves getting to know the respondent and his or her experiencesin light of the topic the interviewer is exploring. In this stage I asked questions thatallowed respondents’ voices to be heard which in turn allowed me to gain insights intowho he or she was and what their experiences with and perceptions of caring have been.In the second stage of the interview, students and teachers were asked to describe thedetails of their experiences from which their perspectives may have developed. In thethird and final stage of the interview, respondents were asked to reflect on the meaning oftheir experiences (Seidman, 1998). While conducting the three stages of the in-depth interviews, I followed thefollowing descriptive guidelines. I used primarily open-ended questions. An open-endedquestion allows the participant to take any direction he or she wants and does notpresume an answer (Seidman, 1997). The participants’ answers should not be lead ormanipulated, but shaped to their own accord. The researcher’s task is to build upon andexplore the participants’ responses to questions and to keep the questions andconversation on the focus of the interview (Seidman, 1997). It is important that theresearcher not interrupt the participants as they are talking and act interested as they sharetheir experiences. Listening and expressing appreciation for each answer can encourageparticipants to elaborate on their experiences and offer their perspectives andunderstandings (Weisberg, Krosnick, & Bowen, 1989). We learn from what theparticipant shares about his experiences including the context, the details and thereflected meaning (Seidman, 1997). It is important that interviews are conducted in thismanner if the desire is to gain a true insight and understanding of the individuals’perspectives. The participation of the respondents should be voluntary and they must feelsecure that opening up and sharing with the researcher will not bring them harm orotherwise be used against them. This trust and rapport must be established by theresearcher. The researcher should be open with the participants about the topic ofresearch and the way in which their answers will be utilized (Weisberg, Krosnick, &Bowen, 1989). These things ensure that the interview is pleasant and make it a mutuallybeneficial experience. 66
  14. 14. The interview questions that I asked addressed similar issues to those addressed inthe surveys, but in greater depth. I asked teachers and students to define caring, and todescribe and explain teachers’ behaviors and actions in which they perceived caring to bemanifested. Through the dialogue I obtained descriptions and experiences of caring thatafforded me a greater understanding of the way the participants viewed and perceivedcaring. I conducted several interviews with the art teacher throughout the six weeks I wasin the field. By conducting several interviews I was able to obtain more information inshorter and less tiring interviews. I also recorded some of our informal conversation whenI found it pertinent. I selected a sample of students for interviews. I planned to use a method calledmaximum variation for selecting those students. Maximum variation aims at capturing agreat deal of participant variation (Patton, 1990). To utilize this strategy, through myobservations I tried to determine and select those students who seemed to be very closewith their teacher, those who seem to be more loosely connected, and those who appearedapathetic. However, I ended up interviewing all those students who provided parentalconsent, some of whom fit this selection strategy. There were common patterns thatemerged from this variation of subjects that were of particular interest and offered a widevariety of perspectives from which to learn. The interviews were recorded on a hand held tape recorder. This kept both theparticipant and me from being distracted by note taking and allowed the conversation toflow more naturally. An audio recording of the interviews also allowed me to transcribeevery word that the participant spoke including inflections, and therefore to retain andrecall the dialogue verbatim. As Patton (1990) suggested, short notes were madeimmediately following the interview to elaborate and explain details from the context ofthe interview. The extensive field notes that were taken during observationcomplemented the interviews and further described the setting around which theinterviews took place. The combination of field notes, personal impressions, and transcribed interviewsprovided a holistic picture of data accumulated during the course of the study. It supplied 67
  15. 15. me with adequate material for presenting the phenomenon in such a way that theexperience can be understood by the reader. Analysis In order to analyze the results of the initial survey data collection, I summarizedthe recorded responses for analysis. I entered the data into the statistical program forsocial sciences, SPSS. This program figured percentages, frequencies, and otherdescriptive statistics that helped describe the respondents perceptions of the survey items.This program also allowed me to compare variables such as school, gender, race, andsocio-economic status. I created cross-tabulations to analyze the difference in proportions, to see if therewere sizeable differences. For instance, I was able to find whether girls respondeddifferently than boys to certain caring behaviors. I reported the total size of the sampleand then the percentage of responses to the various ratings of each teaching behavior. Ithen reported the relationships and any major differences among variables. To analyze the content of the phenomenological study, observations andinterviews, I conducted a content analysis. A content analysis is the process ofidentifying, coding, and categorizing the primary patterns in the data (Patton, 1990). Tocode the data, I first read carefully through my field notes and transcribed interviews.From those, I followed pre-figured themes, coinciding with survey indices, to organizeand index the notes and interviews. I then used inductive analysis for coding theremainder of the data, which meant I looked for the emergence of unexpected categoriesand themes rather than themes imposed prior to analysis (Patton, 1990). Once the datawere bracketed, they were organized into meaningful clusters. Irrelevant, repetitive, oroverlapping data were eliminated. The content of each pre-figured and unexpected themewas then described. Finally, I developed a structural synthesis. In a structural synthesis,“the researcher looks beneath the affect inherent in the experience to deeper meanings forthe individual” (Patton, 1990, p.409). This final process revealed the essence of caring ina selected middle school art classroom. The findings from all quantitative and qualitativemethods used in this study are presented in the following chapter. 68