All posts by sholpanutevlinova

Quantitative or Qualitative?

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In the process of defining what form of research is the most valuable, I would answer that it is not a matter of the value. Sometimes, it is better to use qualitative methods while in other cases the research requires to apply quantitative forms. I insist it depends on the aim of a research. The better choice is the one dictated by the data, the research questions, the depth of knowledge a researcher aims to achieve as well as the skills a researcher has in each of these main research methodologies. Besides, the available time for the completion is a very important factor in this process. For example, we all understand that qualitative research and analysis is more time consuming than quantitative. On the other hand, in quantitative methodology, doing statistics, working with the tables and special programs also require additional skills which might be very difficult for some researchers.

Another issue a researcher has to consider is the epistemologic paradigm from which they stand. There are various views about viewing and examining reality ranging from phenomenology to positivism. The question is whether there is one main scope of reality or multiple scopes depending on the participants views and experiences. What is the purpose of a researcher? Is it to stress on peoples’ views for a particular issue or to generalize results? It is important to think about the previous question and provide specific answers before engaging in a particular methodology.

Both methodologies have their advantages and disadvantages. Quantitative methods are clear cut but cannot answer “why” things happen, are mostly preferential to examine relationships among variables, neither feelings nor thoughts. On the other hand, the results provided can be easily generalized, something which cannot happen by applying qualitative methods. Using qualitative methods could be used to formulate new research questions when a quantitative research (survey) seems difficult to generate new hypotheses and ideas for a theme. A mixture of both methods (mixed methods research) is an interesting trend which could give answers to many research inquiries especially when used to complement the drawbacks of each methodology with the strengths of the other. This mixed method is exactly closer to me as a researcher. Personally, I feel like the mixed method would achieve the aim of a study fully. I would like to try to make more research in future using mixed method and then perceive the difference and see the results.

In my current research, I came to the conclusion to use qualitative methodology because it fits to the aim of my study in the best way. My research is based on evaluation where it is vital to hear individuals and their thoughts.

Speaking about the researchers in Kazakhstan, I think they all use the methods which is appropriate to their papers. However, I remember from a guest lecture last year, a woman working in Ministry of  Education shared her vision and recommended us, young researchers, to do more quantitative studies in order to persuade the leaders in Ministry of Education to make changes in education by providing statistics and numbers. This method covers a big number of people and shows the existence about the issue.

Blog post 2

Writing literature review has been always challenging for me. It is time consuming as I start reading many sources according to my topic and do lots of note taking and planning. The most difficult thing in writing is staying on a track and trying to synthesize the sources instead of summarizing. However, on the other hand, literature review is the most interesting part of a research where I usually come up with new ideas and get inspiration further. So, how am I organizing my main themes of literature review?

I divided literature review into 5 sections starting with the introduction part with the significance of the topic and explanation why “my claims matter” (from They say/I say). In the next part I compared findings of more than two studies which I ideally agreed with and reflected on them. In the third part I gave the explanation to the experimental results of the studies. Further, more studies have been analyzed which were of category less or least agreement. Finally, in conclusion I tried to summarize the state knowledge and introduced the gaps in existing researches.

Finding resources was the most difficult part about my topic. There are plenty of studies which prove the importance and positive effect of music therapy with autistic children abroad. However, I have not found any sources about it in Kazakhstan. Fortunately, I have an access to some centers for children with ASD and get information from their practice. That is why I am a bit late with the overall process of writing my thesis as I am still looking for more sources and information related to Kazakhstan, particularly, Astana.

Here, I would like to emphasize on a couple of significant studies influenced my work. One of them is Kate Simpson and Deb Keen’s work “Music Interventions for Children with Autism: Narrative Review of the Literature”. Their paper I read several times and found out many useful facts about the role of music for special children. Particularly, this study contains the summary of articles aiming to prove the use of music with autistic children. Another study that I often look at is done by Barnes and Geoffrey Prescott, “Moments of Meeting: Difficulties and Developments in Shared Attention, Interaction, and Communication with Children with Autism during Two Years of Music Therapy in a Public Preschool Class”. I work with preschool children and that is why I was very interested in the action research study and want to check here in Astana the role of music as an intervention with autism and discover the same results as the authors of this research found.

My thesis topic

The power of music and its positive influence on development of children have been illustrated in many works of specialists in fields of Psychology and Education. Particularly, music lessons improve communicative skills (Gourgey, 1998), reading skills (Cuttietta, 1995, 1996; Mclullich, 1981; Wisbey, 1981) and cognitive development (Radocy & Boyle, 2003). Music has a positive impact on training memory, pronunciation, phonology (Frances, 1984, 1985) and metacognitive skills (Lafortune, Jacob, & Hébert, 2000). In addition, in other papers researchers investigated that music training supports academic achievement (Southgate, Roscigno, 2009). Besides, music can be used as a treatment in special education, especially for children with autism spectrum disorder. Edgerton discovered a positive rise in social skills among the children with ASD from 6 to 9 years old (Edgerton, 1994). Braithwaite and Sigafoos (1998) emphasize that during their research, children with developmental disabilities showed more active participation and engagement in communicative interactions during the music session. In contrast, these children were considered to be very passive in real life.

The number of children with autism spectrum disorder is increasing in Kazakhstan. Moreover, many parents continue hiding their children with this syndrome that is why the real number of children who need an additional support is much bigger. Resources, materials and programs for developing children with autism spectrum disorder are limited. Furthermore, better children with ASD are prepared; there are more chances for them to go to mainstream school. From my personal experience, children with ASD struggle with the behavior and concentration in many cases (it also depends on the level of severity). In case music therapy has the same effect in Kazakhstan as it does in other countries, there are chances to improve social skills of every child with disability in Kazakhstan depending on their level of disability.

The aim of my thesis is to find out the role of music therapy with autistic children in Kazakhstan and its impact on social skills. Comparing the international practice, it is necessary to find out how music is used with autistic children in Kazakhstan and if it impacts on social skills of children with ASD.

 

references

Gourgey, C. (1998). Music therapy in the treatment of social isolation in visually impaired children. RE: view, 29(4), 157.

Lafortune, L., Jacob, S., & Hébert, D. (2000). Pour guider la métacognition (Vol. 1). PUQ.

Merrell, A., (2004). The benefit of incorporating music in the classroom. Available from: http://audreymerrell.net/INTASC/INTASC

Mills, J., (1993) Music in primary school(2nd ed). Cambride, Cambridge university press

Nordoff, P., & Robbins, C. (2006). Music therapy in special education. Barcelona Publi