How will data collection ‘look’ for me?

I have been thinking quite a bit about what my data collection will look like and how I want to set it up. I have a rough idea, but I keep tweaking and changing it because I need to be available to my students to model and scaffold using the copper tape. I am considering teaching and talking about it before I start my data collection, but I am concerned that it will cause me to get less accurate resiliency data because they will already have experience with the materials. My current (probably will change again) plan is to scaffold using the copper tape with my students on the day I start my data collection. After they have successfully used it once, I will let them try to make another circuit that they can use on a card for their parents. I am going to need to observe while I am there to help support them with problem solving. I think it would be ineffective and cruel to give them the tape and stickers and expect them to run a circuit successfully without additional modeling and scaffolding.

My issue is about when to step in and help them. I am considering giving a five to fifteen minute (I am struggling with how long to have each period) “try” period and observing the students before stepping in and scaffolding again. I could then give them another “try” period where I observe again. For my data collection, it might be helpful if I were to videotape my students during each “try” period.

I am thinking that I would like to have a checklist or a tally spot to record how many times I hear a student say something negative, such as “this is too hard” or “I can’t do this”. I think that whatever I use should also have a spot for me to record who is giving encouragement and help. My students are really helpful to one another and they genuinely try to encourage and lift each other up. I am still thinking through the survey and questions I want to give my students. My survey sheet will be a smiley, straight, and frowning face for each question. I think my follow up survey will have questions asking if the student felt successful. If they felt the task was too hard. Whether they were frustrated during the “try” times and if they thought about being resilient.

I have done a lot of thinking about which students should be a part of my focus group. I have two students who are really struggling with being resilient. I also have two students that seem to complete every task I give them easily. I am contemplating picking names out of a hat to make my focus group truly random. I have twenty-four students in my classroom and I think that if I chose six students for my focus group then I will have a better sampling. I will record each interview with my students. I need to remember to ask them open-ended questions instead of simple yes or no questions. Some of the questions I want to include are “what was the hardest part about the ‘try’ time today?” and “What do you think you will try tomorrow to help you make your circuit work?” I did interviews with the research course I took last spring and I found that my students do not like to answer a lot of questions, so my goal is to keep it to about three questions that require explanations.


7 thoughts on “How will data collection ‘look’ for me?

  1. Cherie- I think that would be a wonderful idea to video tape. That is an excellent what to see how students are doing and then you can do it again towards the end an you can see how much they have improved. I think letting them struggle a bit is good. It lets them try to figure things out for themselves. You could even let them figure it out with each other and then step in. What grade level is this for again? I like that idea of the survey sheet of smiling or frowning faces. Very basic and any student would understand that. That is so true to keep it to a couple of questions. Looking forward to hearing more about it!


    1. I have first grade students. We have already been talking about resiliency because they cry pretty easily. My next step is to try to get them to embrace struggle…well, maybe just recognize that they are struggling and try to be a little mindful of it. I think embracing it might be asking a little too much too soon. I need to see if I can set up my computer to video tape us. That would be the easiest way for me to do it I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a fun group! I think video tape would work great.


  2. That’s a good idea to keep it to only a few questions. I think it’s a good idea no matter what age, now that I think about my 7th grade boys that I’m using as my population, I think it might be best to only ask 2-3 questions in even the focus groups. More students might answer if they know it’s not going to go on and on forever. I think some kids get bored of answering questions or feel like they have already answered the questions because it’s easy to make questions similar.

    If I remember right, this is for 1st grade, at least that’s the grade that keeps popping into my head. I think 5-15 minutes for a try period is a good starting point. I don’t now if this is allowed in research, but could you start with a lower try time and raise it as they get used to having that time where they don’t get help from the teacher? This might skew all the data and might not be helpful, just what I was thinking.

    I think the video taping is a great idea. You will get to see body language and facial expressions, which so many times says so much more than just words alone. This sounds like a fun project for the kids. I had a freshman boy make something (I don’t think it had a name :)) last week out of copper tape and it had lights all over it that would light up and thought about your project with your students.


    1. Yes, I have first grade students. I did a research course in the spring and I asked 5 questions to my focus group and they boys were just dying. I could tell that they hated it. I think the quality of questions is more important than the quantity. I think that I might introduce a try period with another project next week just to get them used to the idea of it. I think I’ll also time the try period to see if it gets longer as we progress through the research. Maybe they will need me to step in before five minutes in the beginning, but won’t need me to step in until after 5 minutes at the end. That would also be good data to have for my research.


  3. “I keep tweaking and changing it because I need to be available to my students to model and scaffold using the copper tape”. I agree, that one of our biggest obstacles is effectively instructing while observing. You do you have any one available to you that can observe while you instruct? Perhaps a para-professional or administrator? I am hoping to recruit a colleague to observe for me during some of my classes. I like your idea of tallying negative remarks. Perhaps this is something that could be done by a colleague.


    1. That is an excellent idea. I have a mentor that I might be able to recruit to come in and observe and tally comments for me. That was a really helpful suggestion. Thank you!!


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