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Ethics and Human Subjects Study Methodology Report (Assessment)

Quantitative Article

The study by Finnie (2012) focuses on discussing cultural factors that determine students’ access to post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada. The researcher properly identifies the steps that were taken to design the article, beginning with the introduction of the key terms and approaches, providing empirical evidence, and ending with concluding remarks regarding the implementation of the results. Elaborating on the theoretical framework, the author revisits the standard neoclassical economics model and states that behavioral economics reflects the very essence of PSE access. Using such concepts as imperfect information and bounded rationality, it is declared that culture plays a great role in PSE patterns as the main decisive element. Data was collected from the Canadian Youth in Transition Survey, Cohort A (“YITS-A”) using such methods as written surveys and interviews with respondents’ parents.

For this study, ethical considerations are not disclosed explicitly. Nevertheless, one may suggest that they were considered because parents of students were contacted and interviewed. In particular, it is possible to state that informed consent forms were completed before data collection and analysis, and confidentiality terms were identified. It would, perhaps, be better if the additional data security measures were specified in the study in the context of the ethical treatment and protection of human subjects (Mertens, 2014). For example, data storage and sensitive information safety seem to be important elements to be discussed.

Aligning the quantitative research design and methods identified earlier in this paper with data analysis, the author applies the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and interprets each of the factors that affect PSE access. Both data presentation and analysis support the conclusions as they lead to the latter in a step-by-step manner. While reading the analysis section, it becomes obvious that the results are credible and evidence-based. Also, the theoretical framework contributes to the results as it helps to understand their meaning and evaluate the relevance of findings. Based on the study design, Finnie (2012) generalizes information obtained from the participants and comments on future implications. The author states that there are both opportunities and challenges for students who decide on whether to access PSE or not. Among the key cultural factors, parental education and family income are revealed, which presents the scope of the generalization.

In their article, Brooks-LaRaviere, Ryan, Miron, and Samuels (2009) pay attention to communicative educational dissemination of information in an undergraduate classroom. The authors apply the standard research structure, incusing introduction, course design and sampling techniques, methods for learning assessment, benefits of science communication, and conclusion. Each of the mentioned sections is well-established and complete, thus making the whole article integral. The theoretical framework is not identified explicitly, yet it is quite clear. In particular, the course design and all procedures are described in detail, so that reading the article becomes comprehensive. The data collection strategies include the classroom undergraduate research experience (CURE) surveys and focus-group interviews with participants.

The ethical issues are presented by the authors to clarify that the research follows the global standards for human subject protection. The anonymity and voluntary participation are noted among the elements that were clarified to potential participants before the study. Likewise in the first article, there is no information regarding data protection measures and its longevity. Therefore, the additional specification of this point would significantly improve ethical consideration on data analysis and reporting.

To analyze the collected data, both qualitative and quantitative methods were used – a forum and a five-point Likert scale, respectively. One may state that data collection procedures align with the design and methods of the study as it explains the obtained information. Using the mentioned methods, the authors make the meaning of data transparent and accessible to readers. Consistent with Rodriguez and Toews (2005), data presentation also promotes better understanding, while the theoretical framework allows for considering the discussed topic from a broader perspective. The selected study design helps the authors to make generalizations, claiming that communicative dissemination enhances student perception and academic achievements. The scope of this generalization is presented in the section called “benefits of science communication education” via comparison of the obtained data and knowledge that was already discussed by other scholars.

Insights Gained

The assumptions and assertions made by Finnie (2012) seem to be evidence-based and relevant to the needs of modern students. Taking into account that globalization makes education rather important, access to it becomes one of the most critical themes in the field of education. With this in mind, one may suggest that the consideration of the cultural factors in terms of the economic framework provides some insights into how students and their parents feel about PSE. Specifically to the chosen research design, it is significant to emphasize that it fully reflects the core idea of the author. Using statistical calculations, the author presents information that may promote a greater understanding of the barriers encountered by students. Therefore, the inferences offered in the conclusion section should be regarded as thought-provoking and ground-providing for further research.

The second article’s assertions and assumptions seem to be relevant and grounded as well. One may note that the study components are consistent and clear, while their content contributes to the overall appeal of the article. Most importantly, the authors’ inferences show that this topic may be explored further to come up with important discoveries regarding the use of communicative evaluation in the classroom. Following the above idea, one may also suggest that the inclusion of a wider sample and the theory of collective behavior may benefit the research (Ritchie, Lewis, Nicholls, & Ormston, 2013). The main insight gained from this article is that the qualitative design is useful to collect and analyze data that refers to human perceptions and attitudes, which may be considered both by qualitative and quantitative methods.

In the view of the analyzed articles, it is important to note that this assignment allowed for focusing on the ways the theoretical framework and design help to guide the study and consistently lead to the conclusions. T might learn how to align different parts of the research and create a well-designed scholarly article that will contribute to the theory and practice of one or another field. Most importantly, the assignment was beneficial to understand how various parts of the study affect each other and what strategies may be utilized to support the flow of the scholarly piece. Thus, while developing the dissertation’s methodology sections, it is essential to pay attention to the compatibility of various parts and their contribution to the overall idea of the work.


Brooks-LaRaviere, M., Ryan, K., Miron, L., & Samuels, M. (2009). Broadening the educational evaluation lens with communicative evaluation. Qualitative Inquiry, 15(2), 372-396.

Finnie, R. (2012). Access to post-secondary education: The importance of culture. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(6), 1161-1170.

Mertens, D. M. (2014). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2013). Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rodriguez, A., & Toews, M. L. (2005). Training students to be better consumers of research: Evaluating empirical research reports. College Teaching, 53(3), 99-101.

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