Project Research Document by joy13060

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									Document Review and Analysis

A research project may require review of documents such as course syllabi, faculty journals,
meeting minutes, strategic plans, etc. Depending on the research question, the researcher might
utilize a rating scale, checklist, or rubric to gather quantitative data on the qualitative documents.
Review of journals and student or faculty reflections might also involve qualitative content
analysis or rubrics.

Content analysis is a standard social science methodology for studying the content of
communication. In service learning research, much of the content analysis is informal or in
nature. In this technique, researchers develop a series of categories or a coding frame,
sometimes based on a theoretical framework. Student reflections or other documents are coded
against the categories, leading to conclusions about common themes, issues processes, or ideas
expressed, or student development along academic, social, or civic dimensions.

More formal content analysis is used when there are large amounts of data to be analyzed. A
number of software programs have been developed, such as NVivo, to assist in content analysis.
(These programs are sometimes called “computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software, or
CAQDAS). In essence, these programs all code documents based on keywords, key phrases, or
other salient features. The most widely available software programs are used on text materials,
but programs have also been developed to analyze spreadsheets, audio, video and other media.

        For more information on content analysis see:
http://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/mmethods/research/software/caqdas_comparison.html
http://caqdas.soc.surrey.ac.uk/ChoosingLewins&SilverV3Nov05.pdf


Rubrics offer another common way to analyze documents. A rubric is a scoring tool for
subjective assessments, allowing for standardized evaluation of products based on specified
criteria. Rubrics usually occur in the form of a matrix, with the following characteristics:
         Traits or dimensions that serve as the basis for judging products
         Definitions or examples to illustrate the traits or dimensions
         A scale of values on which to rate the traits
         Standards or examples for each performance level

A good source for pre-made, editable rubrics is: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php

								
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