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The purpose of the research is to explore the issue of universality in education. This paper aims to develop three research questions about universality in education. The research questions will be open-ended. They will address the issue of UDL in post-secondary education while allowing a researcher to take a stand.
A broad topic for the research is a one-size-fits-all approach to education. It will help the researcher to examine the issue of standardization of training materials and instruction methods in education. A restricted topic is the application of universal learning design (UDL) (Hall, Meyer, & Rose, 2012). UDL is an approach to education that has the potential “to ameliorate some of higher education’s most pressing issues, including the intractably low rates of persistence, retention, and degree completion evident at most colleges and universities today” (Davies, Schelly, & Spooner, 2012, p. 195). A narrowed topic for the research is the effectiveness of the UDL approach to post-secondary education. The following questions have been developed for the research:
- Q1: How UDL is applied to post-secondary education for students with disabilities?
- Q2: How well are instructors trained in the application of principles of UDL for students with disabilities?
- Q3: Whether the use of the UDL approach in post-secondary education helps to improve the learning outcomes of students with disabilities?
Hypothesis: The use of the UDL approach in post-secondary education helps to improve the learning outcomes of students with disabilities.
These questions will help the researcher to better understand the principles of UDL approach to education (Rao, Ok, & Bryant, 2014). Out of the possible research questions, the third one will be used for developing an annotated bibliography. The question is focused and not broad-based; therefore, it will have a significant impact on the research that is being proposed. Moreover, the question has been expanded by introducing additional moderating variables of ‘students with disabilities.’
The process of developing a research topic is based on extensive background research. When I started working on the proposal, I did not know either what a narrowed topic or research question should be. However, after reading the book titled “Developing Effective Research Proposals” by Punch (2016), I learned how to effectively refine a topic and develop research questions. The first step in developing a research topic was to gather information on the broad topic ‘a one-size-fits-all approach to education.’ After researching the topic, it became clear that it should be restricted to the application of UDL models and methods. The most difficult part of the process was to narrow the research topic because the UDL approach to education can be characterized by numerous sub-topics of high relevance. However, background information gathered with the help of the most current articles published in peer-reviewed journals allowed me to narrow it down to the effectiveness of the UDL approach to post-secondary education. The stage of the development of research questions was the most helpful part of the process because it allowed me to critically analyze the background information and connect it to the research topic.
The paper helped me to better understand the process of developing a research topic. Moreover, the extensive research that was conducted to narrow the research topic provided me with valuable insight into the application of universal design principles, in general, and into the application of UDL models, in particular.
Davies, P. L., Schelly, C. L., & Spooner, C. L. (2012). Measuring the effectiveness of universal design for learning intervention in postsecondary education. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 26(3), 195-220.
Hall, T. E., Meyer, A., & Rose, D. H. (2012). Universal design for learning in the classroom: Practical Application. Web.
Punch, K. (2016). Developing effective research proposals (1st ed.). London, England: Sage.
Rao, K., Ok, M. W., & Bryant, B. R. (2014). A review of research on universal design educational models. Remedial and Special Education, 35(3), 153-166.