Nesreen KSA Teacher Participation: Research Methodology
As part of the presentation of the conceptual framework, the aim or objective of this comprehensive study is to be able to take into account and analyze the degree and level of autonomy that private sector schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have with the state authorities. Secondly, I will need to examine the degree of autonomy that is handed down to teachers in their ability to formulate decisions for the improvement of the academic environment in which they are teaching. In this regard, one comes to see that as part of formulating the variables, there are both the independent and the dependent variables.
The independent variables relate to the level of control, oversight or authority that the state has over the school system and the dependent variable is the looseness or the degree of tightness that is inherent within the school and the state. Secondly and more importantly in regards to teachers, the independent variable is their ability to make and come up with decisions and that depends on the independent variable being the degree of autonomy assigned / given to them.
In essence, there are a number of specific conceptual relationships that would be analyzed and explored as part of this research. These include the basis for making decisions on behalf of the teachers in KSA, which is based on how much formal or even informal authority is accorded to them. What has been seen in most instances is that teachers and educators feel more motivated but also more willing to enact cohesive and coherent decisions when they are under the mindset to construct such decisions without any hindrance or fear. Then the other conceptual relationship relates to the level of control that is found between the school systems and the state.
If and when the state and various regulatory bodies have tight rather than a loose control, then the school board and the teachers will be under their mandate (that of the state) which could inhibit decision making ability. At the end of the day, the basis of the research would be to show that undertaking this type of a study is very important and beneficial not only for current stakeholders in education sector, but also in the future. This is simply because Saudi Arabia is one of those countries where not much focus has been directed in terms of studying these loose connections and teachers’ willingness to participate in the academic decision making process.
Level of Teacher
Fig 1: Conceptual framework
There are a number of research designs you can use depending on the situation you are and ultimate objective. In this particular research am planning to use comparative case study, cross sectional survey, secondary data analysis and ethnography. The goal is to rely on a varied source of literature to be able to access and gather the most relevant, reliable but also up to date data. As part of the data collection efforts, the first and most important source would be to access scholarly as well as peer reviewed articles and literature from different scholarly / trade based journals. The articles that have been accessed and researched so far do fit the respective framework of examining the role of teachers in their ability to make decisions both in the United States and in kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Rather than using, some type of a pre or a post test control group, the design and the data is accessed from existing secondary data resources. The population that is to be considered here are the teachers and educators that play a very important and pivotal role in enacting key decisions for the private schools within which they operate.
Various published articles accesses so far do validate the point that the innate ability to make timely and comprehensive decisions does add to the quality of the academic education that is offered to students because these decisions come from different personnel rather than from one source (such as the school administration). As such, the hope is to encompass teachers, educators as well as the state to be the three main elements of the population and the focus would be both in the United States as well as what has been happening in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Existing secondary data analysis in the form of such academic and scholarly articles has been retrieved in examining the decision making role of teachers in the U.S. academic system and that would be taken a step further to examine the same process in KSA. Due to the lack of “ample” scholarly literature dealing with teacher’s ability to formulate decisions within the Saudi Arabian context, the study would be based on examining current articles that do exist in this regard as well as maybe pursuing a small-scale ethnography based on Saudi teachers at a private school in Jeddah. Jeddah is considered to be the most commercial and diverse city in KSA. therefore, it seems to be appropriate to communicate with some teachers there and ask them how much ability (or lack of) do they have to make decisions by their school boards, in addition to assessing the level and degree of looseness that is found between that school and the governmental authorities.
As had been noted earlier, the key manner to collect the necessary scholarly, quantitative as well as qualitative information would be based on examining existing scholarly and peer reviewed articles. A number of such scholarly articles that have been sourced from places like International Journal of Education Administration and Policy Studies, International Journal of Educational Management, Journal of Educational Administration and other relevant journals.
As such, the hope or the aim is that the “bulk” of the data collection would be derived from these scholarly articles. It would also be ensured that all articles are scholarly in nature and both relevant to the research topic (examining the relationship between teacher autonomy and their willingness to make decisions as well as the level of looseness between the school and the state). Next, some sort of a small level ethnographic study might also be pursued by talking to some teachers in a private school in Jeddah Saudi Arabia or other teachers from KSA that I might be able to get in touch. As such, the data collection would be from existing national / scholarly databases, document reviews, as well as some type of ethnography and a small questionnaire.
The principal variables of interest that are specific to my study are the teachers that could play a key role in making decisions and the degree of autonomy handed down to them, as well as the school administration and the state. Hence, the independent variables could be the school administration, the state regulatory authorities and the dependent variables are the teachers since their willingness, and degree of decision-making is directly proportional to the level of “autonomy” assigned to them.
Last but not least and as part of the data analysis, the collected data will be extrapolated using SPSS (statiscal package for social sciences) and other appropriate method to arrive at a number of hypothesis, findings and end conclusions. The intention of this study is to shed more light into the degree of autonomy in private school settings in Saudi Arabia as not many studies have been done earlier in this regards.
What is to be noted here is that public schools in KSA do not have any autonomy or looseness at all since they are under the direct control and mandate of the government; however, some level of autonomy and looseness is inherent in the private sector schools and that would be the focus of this research. It is my hope that data collected and subsequent analysis would come up with tangible results that will help to explain the role and importance that a teacher’s ability to make decisions plays in improving and enhancing the academic and educational standards of a school. In addition to that, the data would as such be analyzed to validate the hypothetical assumption that the greater the degree of leverage and autonomy given to teachers, the more willing and encouraged they would be to make fruitful and beneficial decisions for their students and the school system alike.
In every research that is being carried out, limitations are inevitable and this particular research is no exception. Limitations compromise the validity and quality of the research outcome and thus any researcher who wants to come up with a good report should try to minimize them as much as possible. However, it is good to note that some limitations cannot be avoided; we can only reduce their impact. The biggest limitation expected in this research is that of finding scholarly articles and information regarding school level autonomy in KSA. A lot of that scholarly information is available about the United States but not so much about KSA. The following are also some of the limitations that are likely to be realized in this research:
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