CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY
This study addressed the evaluation of undergraduate biology practical activities in Ethiopian universities in order to draw possible recommendations for the higher institutions about how to improve the learning-teaching process of biology laboratory practical activities.
In this chapter the research design, population and sample of the research, instruments used in the study, validity and reliability of instruments, procedures for data collection, data analysis methods and discussion of ethical issues are provided.
A descriptive sequential mixed method design was used and it involved collecting quantitative data first and then explaining the quantitative results with in-depth qualitative data. In the first quantitative phase of the study, data were collected using questionnaires from the sample of third year biology students in three universities to test whether students’ laboratory practical skills with Deficiency Level of the Availability of Laboratory Resource(DLALR), Insufficient Use of Laboratory Resources(IULR), instructors’ experiences, instructors’ qualifications, students’ background, students’ attitudes, the organization of the laboratory, and the number of experiments in each course, presence of laboratory manual for each activities, size of group ( independent variable) relate to the students’ laboratory practical skill performance score ( dependent variable).
The second, qualitative phase was conducted as a follow up to the quantitative variable results to explain the quantitative results. In this descriptive follow up, the plan was to evaluate the undergraduate biology students in some Ethiopian universities based on laboratory skill performance rubric developed by the researcher with seven levels of Laboratory Task Analysis Instrument (LAI) with a view of identifying areas of deficiency and then providing possible recommendations to higher education authorities in Ethiopia on how to improve the teaching and learning of practical biology in the country.
Population and Sampling Techniques
From all governmental universities in Ethiopia, three universities were purposefully selected as case study. There are two reasons why these universities are selected. Firstly, the universities have different length of work experiences and resources. University “A” or “aged University” has over 20 years of teaching exp eriences; University “B” or “middle-aged” has about 10 years of teaching experiences; a nd University “C” or “new University” has 6 years of experiences. Secondly, the locations of the universities to the researcher are appropriate to manage the data collection process properly and are found in the same administrative region. All the third year biology students, biology instructors and laboratory assistants were selected as sample of the study. Third year biology students were selected as samples of the study because they had already completed their intended laboratory works. The study was conducted with sample of 208 students (118 male and 90 female students), 26 instructors and 2 laboratory assistants.
The research method for this study encompasses four instruments: rubrics for laboratory practical skill performance test, questionnaires for students and instructors, evaluation of laboratory organization, semistructured interview and Laboratory Task Analysis Instrument (LAI)
The rubrics (Appendix A) were developed by the researcher. The purpose of the rubrics was to test the laboratory skills performance of individual students the three basic biology laboratory manipulative skills. The three core manipulative laboratory tasks were identifying the basic biology laboratory equipment, accurate and precise use of light microscope and measuring weights and volumes.
Questionnaires for Students
The students’ questionnaires were developed by the researcher in order obtain data regarding with students background, attitudes, and personal views of the biology laboratory activates. The questionnaires contain four parts that include 42 items (Appendix C). The first part includes demographic questions; the second part includes questions about students’ back ground and attitudes, and the third part includes questions about students’ personal views and believes they have undertaken in their three years of university biology laboratory practical skills, and the fourth part is evaluation of students laboratory practical skills based on the graduate profile set in the curriculum. The close-ended questionnaires were designed with Likert scale (1–5 scale).
Questionnaires to Instructors and Laboratory Assistants
The questionnaires were developed by the researcher in order to get data regarding instructors teaching experiences, attitudes and availability of laboratory materials, their practical skills and laboratory practical assessment methods ( Appendix D). The questionnaires have five levels close-ended Likert scale questions and open-ended questions. The questionnaires contain three parts that include 42 items. The first part includes demographic questions; the second part includes questions about instructors’/laboratory assistants’ background, att itudes and laboratory skill assessment methods. The third part includes availability and use of laboratory resources, and the fourth includes questions of laboratory practical skill assessment methods.
Laboratory Task Analysis Instrument
Laboratory Task Analysis Instrument (Appendix B) was developed from a modified version of Tweedy and Hoese (2005) laboratory task analysis inventory in order to analyze the laboratory manuals for their acquisition of the basic and integrated science process skills. The instrument was first developed by Tamir and Lunetta (1978) and German et al. (1996) with certain modification. There are two main reasons for the need to modify the laboratory task analysis used by Tweedy and Hoese (2005). Firstly, the measuring and using numbers and manipulative materials are incorporated here in this study because these skills are important science process skills that students should acquire in biology laboratory. Secondly, scientific communication is included in this study because it is an important science process skill. The Laboratory Task Analysis Instrument evaluates whether the student is asked to 1) prepare before laboratory, 2) plan and design , 3) measure and use numbers , 4) manipulate materials, 5) record results, make qualitative and quantitative relationships,6) draw conclusions, and 7) communicate and interpret the results.
Procedures for Data Collection
Laboratory Practical Skill Performance Test
The student course achievement in undergraduate biology program was measured by cumulative grade point average (CGPA). Researcher around the word used the GPA to measure the student course achievement (Galiher, 2006; Darling, Caldwell and Smith, 2005). They used GPA to measure student performance in particular semester. The research method for this study encompasses laboratory practical skill performance test for third year biology undergraduate students. Students’ prior achievement of higher education entrance examination score obtained from students self report before performing the laboratory practical skill performance test.
Questionnaires for Students and Instructors
Students’ Questionnaires: Following the practical skill performance test, questionnaire was
completed. A total of 252 printed questionnaires were distributed to be completed by the students over night and 208 (83.2%) completed questionnaires were returned from three universities (76 questionnaires from university “A”, 65 questionnaires from university “B” and 67 questionnaires from univ ersity “C”). The questionnaires were distributed to the currently third year biology students and the completed questionnaires were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS.
Questionnaires to Instructors and Laboratory Assistants: A total of 42 printed questionnaires
were distributed to be completed over night by biology instructors and laboratory assistants and 28 (67%) completed questionnaires were returned from three universities (6 questionnaires from university “A” , 12 questionnaires from university “B” and 10 questionnaires from university “C”.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.6 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1.7 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 DEFINITION OF LABORATORY WORK
2.3 THE ROLE OF LABORATORY WORK
2.4 ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LABORATORY WORK
2.5 INQUIRY AND SCIENCE PROCESS SKILLS
2.6 LABORATORY MANUALS
2.7 BENEFITS OF LABORATORY PRACTICAL
2.8 EFFECTIVENESS OF LABORATORY PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES
2.9 STUDENTS’ PRIOR BACKGROUND
2.11 CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK
3.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.3 POPULATION AND SAMPLING TECHNIQUES
3.4 INSTRUMENTS PROCEDURES FOR DATA COLLECTION
3.5. Laboratory Practical Skill Performance Test
3.6 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF THE INSTRUMENTS
3.7 DATA ANALYSIS
4.1 THE NUMBER OF PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES IN UNDERGRADUATE BIOLOGY LABORATORY PROGRAM
4.2 THE EXTENT OF BIOLOGY STUDENTS ACQUIRE THE COMPETENCIES AND SKILLS
PRESCRIBED IN THE GRADUATE PROFILE
4.3 THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AVAILABILITY/UNAVAILABILITY OF LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND THE STUDENTS’ LABORATORY SKILL PERFORMANCE
4.4 INSTRUCTORS’ MANIPULATIVE SKILLS AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE
4.5 LABORATORY PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT METHODS USED BY INSTRUCTORS
4.6 THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BIOLOGY LABORATORY SKILL PERFORMANCE AND STUDENTS COURSE ACHIEVEMENT (GPA) 63
4.7 THE PROMINENT SCIENCE PROCESS SKILLS INCLUDED IN THE UNDERGRADUATE BIOLOGY LABORATORY
5 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
5.3 CONCLUSIONS OF THE STUDY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
AN ASSESSMENT OF THE STATE OF PRACTICAL BIOLOGY SKILLS OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS IN ETHIOPIAN UNIVERSITIES