Reading Comprehension Ability

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Chapter  2  presented  the  literature  review  and  the  conceptual  framework  of  the  study following the introduction set out in the first chapter. This chapter focuses on the research methodology adopted in the study. The chapter first describes the study setting (section 3.1) and then gives details on the research design (section 3.2). Following this, it discusses the study population along with the samples and the sampling techniques (section 3.3). Next, explanations are provided concerning the data gathering instruments which include reading comprehension   test,   structured   questionnaire,    observation   schedule,   content   analysis checklist and independent reading follow-up checklist (section 3.4). This is followed by discussions on validity and reliability issues (section 3.5). Then, the chapter looks at the procedure of data collection (section 3.6), describes the methods of data analysis (section 3.7), deals with ethical considerations (section 3.8) and ends with a brief conclusion (section 3.9).
As indicated in the first chapter, this study aimed to address the issue of independent EFL reading in Ethiopian schools. Its main purpose was to investigate independent EFL reading among Grade 11 students in this context. It also tried to compare independent reading among Grade 11 students in public schools with independent reading among Grade11 students in non-public schools in order to identify best practices. In connection with its main aim, the study attempted to answer the main research question: “What are the predispositions and practices of independent EFL reading among Grade 11 students in Ethiopian schools?” Therefore, the following sub-sections focus on topics and procedures that are deemed important to address this research question.

Study Setting

This study was conducted on selected public and non-public preparatory schools in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. In the new educational structure of Ethiopia, preparatory schools include Grades 11 and 12: they are meant to prepare students for higher education. Addis Ababa is currently divided into 10 administrative units called sub-cities: Addis Ketema, Akaki Kaliti, Arada, Bole, Gulele, Kirkos, Kolfe Keranyo, Lideta, Nefas Silk-Lafto and Yeka. It is a seat for organizations such as the African Union (AU), the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry (FASC), the Horn of Africa Press Institute (HAPI) and so on (Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2012). Because of its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent, Addis Ababa is also referred to as “the political capital of Africa”. The presence of such continental and international organizations in Addis Ababa can be considered as one reason for the opening and growth of international private schools and foreign community schools in this city.
Overall, Addis Ababa is the commercial, diplomatic, political, religious and educational hub of Ethiopia. The first public and private schools appeared in this city. Both school systems expanded progressively especially after the coming to power of the current government. Private schools have grown in number at all levels under different forms of ownership. Some private schools are owned by local holders through local investment. These schools, like public schools, use textbooks prescribed by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and mainly subscribe to the directives and guidelines of the Ministry. In addition, they are not much different from public schools in terms of resource allocation and incentives provision for teachers. In the other category are schools established by religious organizations, private schools run by foreign investors or Diaspora Ethiopians and foreign community schools. Community schools in the main serve diplomatic communities, foreign nationals and Ethiopians who acquired foreign citizenship. Schools which operate under the ownership of religious organizations, in most cases, use English textbooks prescribed by MoE and some supplement them with their own materials. On the other hand, international private schools and foreign community schools majorly use their own coursebooks. They are also better resourced and have better remunerations for teachers.
International private schools and foreign community schools have several things in common. Firstly, as indicated in the preceding paragraph, both mainly use their own coursebooks. Secondly, both are better resourced, have better recompense for teachers and admit students from well-to-do families. Thirdly, most of the schools in both systems have students whom they prepare for international examinations such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) and TOEFL. Therefore, in this study, these schools are categorized together and referred to as ‘non-public schools’. On this basis, public schools and non-public schools were the focus of the study as the two systems differ in resources, choice of textbooks/coursebooks, incentives for teachers and students’ goal for learning English. On the other hand, while the development of public schools and schools owned by local businesses in Addis Ababa has been accompanied by similar developments in other town centers of the country, international and foreign community schools have concentrated in Addis Ababa. This makes the city the best setting for a study that aims to compare public and non-public schools regarding independent reading among Grade 11 students.

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Research Design

This study employed a survey design through the application of both quantitative and qualitative methods. Based on the problem to be addressed, research traditionally falls into the binary distinctions of ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’ (Nunan 1992:3). According to Nunan, since quantitative research is based on measurement of quantity, it is deductive, obtrusive, objective, generalizable and outcome-oriented. On the contrary, qualitative research is concerned with understanding quality or kind. It is inductive, subjective, unobtrusive and ungenerizable. Nevertheless, recent trends show that the tendency to treat research in terms of the quantitative- qualitative divide is inadequate. As a result, a third category called mixed methods design has been added to the classification. The distinguishing features of quantitative, qualitative and mixed designs, along with their applications in this study, are briefly explained in the following paragraphs.
Quantitative research is a numbers game. As O’Leary (2004:99) puts it, quantitative research uses quantitative data represented with numbers and analyzed statistically. The following definition well captures the essence of this notion: “The term ‘quantitative method’ refers to the adoption of the natural science experiments as the model of scientific research, its key features being quantitative measurement of the phenomenon studied and systematic control of the theoretical variables influencing those phenomena” (Hamersley 1993a as quoted in Henn, Weinstein & Foared 2006:117). Accordingly, quantitative research aims to collect data through standardized instruments on a variety of variables, search cause-effect relationships between these variables and test a given theory by confirming or rejecting preset hypotheses.
The literature advances that the data collection techniques often employed in quantitative social research are the sample survey and the experiment. Tests can also be useful tools of data gathering in this paradigm. Obviously, the sample survey is the most frequently used method for obtaining data from a range of respondents on a variety of issues. Surveys are usually based on probabilistic sampling methods, i.e. by taking representative samples selected randomly from a given population and using a standardized research instrument in the form of a structured questionnaire. Surveys allow for descriptive and explanatory generalizations to be made about the population in focus (Singh 2006:88). That is why Bryman (1988:2) writes: “The survey’s capacity for generating quantifiable data on large numbers of people who are known to be representative of a wider population in order to test theories or hypotheses has been viewed by many practitioners as a means of capturing many of the ingredients of a science”.
Unlike quantitative research, qualitative research is based on investigating problems without the application of statistical techniques. It rather is contingent upon the researcher’s ability to observe patterns critically, make sense of the subjective world, synthesize information and extract underlying meaning(s) out of data represented in the form of utterances, texts, symbols, artifacts, pictures, photographs and documents (Kalof, Dan & Deitz 2008:79). As Kalof, Dan and Deitz elaborate, qualitative research aims to establish detailed understanding of individual or social realities (motives, perceptions, beliefs and experiences), phenomena, events and situations. That is, qualitative research is more exploratory than explanatory in its approach. Therefore, it has an assumption that is different from the one advanced by quantitative research.


1.0. Introduction
1.1. The Context of the Study
1.2. Background of the Study
1.3. Rationale for the Study
1.4. Statement of the Problem
1.5. Research Questions
1.6. Scope of the Study
1.7. Definitions of Key Terms
1.8. The structure of the Study
1.9. Conclusion
2.0. Introduction
2.1. Theoretical Framework
2.2. A Review of Literature on Independent Reading
2.3. Conceptual Framework of the Study
2.4. Conclusion
3.0. Introduction
3.1. Study Setting
3.2. Research Design
3.3. Population and Samples
3.4. Data Collection Instruments
3.5. Validity and Reliability
3.6. Procedure of Data Collection
3.7. Methods of Data Analysis
3.8. Ethical Considerations
3.9. Conclusion
4.0. Introduction
4.1. Reading Comprehension Ability
4.2. Attitude towards Learning English and Reading English Texts
4.3. Reading Motivation
4.4. Reading Strategy Use .
4.5. Persistence in Independent Reading
4.6. Access to Reading Resources
4.7. Overview of the Quantitative Findings
4.8. Conclusion
5.0. Introduction
5.1. Inclusion of IR Components in Reading Instruction
5.2. Coverage of IR in English Textbooks
5.3. Overview of the Qualitative Findings
5.4. Conclusion
6.0. Introduction
6.1. Discussion of the Quantitative Findings
6.2. Discussion of the Qualitative Findings
6.3. Conclusion
7.0. Introduction
7.1. Brief Recapitulation
7.2. Summary of the Major Findings
7.3. Conclusions
7.4. Main Contributions and Originality of the Study
7.5. Limitations of the Study
7.6. Recommendations
7.7. Further Research
7.8. Concluding Remarks

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