THE EFFECTS OF HIGH PRINCIPAL TURNOVER ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT (Research Proposal Sample)
The overall purpose of the dissertation should be clearly defined
Are broad statements of desired outcomes, or the general intentions of
the research, which 'paint a picture' of your research project.
Emphasize what is to be accomplished (not how it is to be accomplished).
Address the long-term project outcomes, i.e. they should reflect the
aspirations and expectations of the your research.
Generally, a project should have no more than two or three aims statements,
while it may include a number of objectives consistent with them.
Once aims have been established, the next task is to formulate the objectives.
Objectives are the steps you are going to take to answer your dissertation
questions, a specific list of tasks needed to accomplish the goals of the project
and the outcome of the work you have done – i.e. a dissertation that
accomplishes your aims.
Your method is ‘how’ you will conduct your research and articulate your
Your methodology shows that you understand the underlying concepts of the
methods you have used.
Examples of methods you have engaged with on the course include: Structural
analysis, Psycho-analytics, Marxist analysis, dialectics… etc.
It is being aware of using these methods and showing that you understand them
and are using them consciously that is important.
Task: think about and list the different methods you will be using for your
Types of Research
Qualitative Research - is primarily exploratory research. It is used to gain an
understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides
insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential
quantitative research. Qualitative Research is also used to uncover trends in
thought and opinions, and dive deeper into the problem.
Quantitative Research - is used to quantify the problem by way of generating
numerical data or data that can be transformed into useable statistics. It is used
to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables – and
generalize results from a larger sample
Task: Thisnk about and list the types of research that you will undertake. Are
they qualitative or quantative.
Visual and Media Research and Methodologies
Much of your research will of be visual sources. How can visual research be
Rose, Gillian, 2000, Visual Methodologies, London: Sage
(3 copies in Harrow Library and available online through catalogue)
Chapter 1 discusses:
1. Debates about the importance of the visual to contemporary Western
2. A broad analytical framework for how understanding images become
3. Criteria for critical approaches
4. Methods that are suitable for kinds of analysis
5. Practical suggestions for referencing and reproducing images in your
Further recommended reading for research and writing:
Deacon, D et al (2007), Researching Communications: A Practical Guide to
Methods in Media and Cultural Analysis (2nd ed), Bloomsbury
O’Leary, Z (2010), The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project (2nd ed),
Sage Swetnam, D (2004), Writing your dissertation how to plan, prepare and
present successful work
(3rd ed), How To Books
Plan your word count as your dissertation must be well balanced and you can
quickly run out of word space. An example may look like this:
Intro – 1000 words
Chapter 1 Contextual review – 1500
Chapter 2 – 1500 words
Chapter 3 – 1500 words
Chapter 4 – 1500 words
Conclusion – 1000 words
Clearly ‘poses’ your dissertation question.
Clearly states (not literally ‘lists’) your aims and objectives.
Clearly sets out your objectives.
Clearly describes your methodology.
Clearly describes the structure of the dissertation – ‘Chapter 1 looks at…,’ ‘In
Chapter two I consider…’
Contextual Review – (usually chapter 1)
A contextual Review:
Introduces you subject, its historical context, ideas and knowledge that
relates to it and how it is currently understood. This orientates the reader
and gives them what they need know to be able to follow your argument
in your following chapters. This also means that you do not need to
introduce each concept or source when it is referred to further down the
Sets your dissertation subject within a given context therefore drawing a
frame around your subject that defines what is relevant to your
consideration of it and what is not. Your ‘interest’ in the subject is
subsequently defined here.
Introduces the sources you have accessed in considering your subject and
critically considers them to show that you are aware of and understand
the ‘field’ of knowledge that surrounds that subject.
Each chapter should have its own short introduction and conclusion stating what
the chapters aims and objectives are (intro) and how these have been achieved
Should cover what was set out to be done, (briefly) what has been done in each
chapter and a (brief) summary of conclusions for each chapter given.
Finally, a reflective short text giving your own conclusions drawn from the
Set out using Harvard referencing.
Separate list for films.
Separate list for illustrations.
• Text size: 12 or 11pt. It should not be larger or smaller than this. However, end
notes can be 10pt, to save space. Notes and bibliography do not contribute to the
• Line spacing: double spaced, or 1.5 line spaced. Not single spaced.
• Margins: approx. 20mm left, 20mm, right (Word’s default margins are fine).
• Typefaces: Ariel, Helvetica, Times, or Palatino.
• Paragraphs: either extra line space between paragraphs, with no indents and
the start, or no line spaces and indented starts to paragraphs. Don’t indent, or
centre headings. Set them flush left.
• All text flush left. Avoid justified text, since it’s hard to control spaces between
• Quotes: If 30 words or more (approx. 2 sentences), the text should be indented
by .5 both left and right, and offset from the main text by an extra space above
and below. If the quote is shorter than this, it can be run into the main body of
the text. Quotes stay in the same size font as the main text.
• Page numbers: begin numbering from the title page onwards, 1, 2, 3, etc. Don’t
use Roman numerals. All pages, including those with illustrations, are numbered
as part of the sequence.
• Illustrations: make sure your illustrations are an adequate level of resolution
(i.e. that they are not pixelated). At the same time be aware of the final size of the
electronic document shouldn’t exceed 10MB. Make sure the images are cropped
correctly, and that any unnecessary borders or frames are removed. It’s a good
idea to avoid placing the essay within the flow of the text, so that text is wrapped
around the image, since it interrupts reading. Set them on separate pages,
inserted close to the place where they are referred to, or at the end of the essay,
as a separate ‘section’. All illustrations should be numbered fig.1 fig 2, etc., (or
image 1, image 2,etc.) and cross-referenced within the text, using the same
numbering system. Set them within the text, in brackets, like this: (fig.1) .
• Captions should be used for all images, in the following format: Figure 1 (or
relevant number), name, title of work (if appropriate), date. If the image is not a
work of art, give a title and/or description for it, in the caption. All must be given
a title/description where they appear, and source information should be
included at the back of the essay, under the list of illustrations.
• Appendices: should be numbered in a different sequence to the chapters. Set
them at the back of the essay, to avoid disrupting the main text.
The Effects Of High Principal Turnover On Student Achievement
ACTION RESEARCH PROPOSAL (PART 2)
Organizational and Scholarly Context
For some time now, Brewbaker Middle School (BMS) has been grappling with the problem of poor performance among students. Though a student’s poor performance can be attributed to several factors, leadership turnover has been cited as one of the probable major contributors to students’ low performance. Besides, Mulford (2003) indicated that school leadership has a significant influence on the effectiveness of learning and teaching approaches and the overall performance of the students. For instance, principals who delegated and shared leadership responsibilities and employed a more collaborative approach to management by involving parents and other stakeholders fostered greater school effectiveness and student achievement by eliminating principal burnout. According to a recent report by the Alabama State Department of Education (DoE), BMS was one of the schools, which appeared under the list of ‘failing’ schools in Montgomery County (Yawn, 2017). In this report, a failing school was defined as a school whose average scores in standardized reading and math categories of the ACT Aspire test falls in the bottom 6 percent (Gore, 2016). Previously, as per the Accountability Act of 2013, the state defined a failing school has one that has consistently been in the bottom 6 percent of the standardized testing scores for not less than three of the past six years (Gore, 2016). IBMS has consistently appeared on the state’s list of failing schools measured using these two criteria.
Significantly, the problem of low performance at BMS could be linked to the high rate of leadership turnover in the recent past. Through my informal interactions and conversations with the teachers and students at BMS, I learned that complaints and murmurs about lack of leadership stability at the school could be linked to the school’s low performance in the past few years as the teachers and students expressed concerns about principal turnover has had a negative effect on organizational climate and quality of learning. In particular, I heard some teachers claimed that the school’s organizational expectations have often changed with changes in the school leadership and that this has often impacted negatively on the school culture and working conditions. In addition, I heard some students claim that whenever a particular principal leaves the school, he/she would leave with their favorite teachers and that less effective teachers would replace the teachers who have left. This claim could be true considering that the school has experienced a high turnover of principals and teachers in the recent past.
Past efforts to address the problem of principal turnover at BMS include pay raise for the principal; however, no other intervention has been tried at the school before. As illustrated by Crain (2017), the principals at 27 schools in Montgomery County that were under state intervention due to poor student achievement were awarded a 10 percent pay raise. The rationale for the pay raise for the principals was to motivate and retain the current leadership of Montgomery County schools and to attract and recruit the best talent in the future because the principal is an important figure in student achievement. However, this effort has not yielded much, at least in the short term. As mentioned earlier, the current principal at BMS is set to join another district school in the coming school term, and the school’s recent performance remains poor as BMS is still under state intervention due to poor student achievement, perhaps, an indication the existing efforts are not quite effective. As evident, this problem requires a multifaceted approach to realize improvement in student achievement. This capstone project will focus on promoting a stable organizational culture as a means of enhancing student achievement even when there is high leadership turnover.
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