Prior to beginning work on this assignment, be sure to have read all the required resources for the week.Locate a peer-reviewed qualitative research study in the Ashford University Library on the topi
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Prior to beginning work on this assignment, be sure to have read all the required resources for the week.
Locate a peer-reviewed qualitative research study in the Ashford University Library on the topic you chose in Week One for your Final Research Proposal. You may choose to use a qualitative study that was included in the literature review you used in the Week One assignment by searching the reference list for qualitative research studies on the topic. It is also acceptable to utilize a qualitative research study on your topic that was not included in your literature review.
Once you have located an appropriate qualitative study, identify the specific qualitative research design used. Summarize the main points of the study including information on the research question, sampling strategy, research design, data analysis method(s), findings, and conclusion(s). Evaluate the published qualitative research study focusing on and identifying the researcher’s paradigm or worldview and any evidence of reflexivity described in the report. Explain whether or not potential biases were adequately addressed by the researchers. Describe how the researchers applied ethical principles in the research study.
The Research and Critique a Qualitative Study
- Must be three to four double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) APA style
Must include a separate title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must use at least two peer-reviewed sources
- Must document all sources in APA style
- Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style
Prior to beginning work on this assignment, be sure to have read all the required resources for the week.Locate a peer-reviewed qualitative research study in the Ashford University Library on the topi
The Qualitative Report Volume 16 Number 6 November 2011 1713-1730 http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR 16-6/chenail.pdf Ten Steps for Conceptualizing and Conducting Qualitative Research Studies in a Pragmatically Curious Manner Ronald J. Chenail Nova Southeastern University , Davie, Florida, USA In a world of methodological pluralism and mixed- methods, qualitative researc hers can take a pathway of pragmatic curiosity by exploring their research interests and the possible design and methodology choices to create studies that not only allow them to pursue their investigative curiosities, but also result in coherent and effec tive systems of procedural choices. Ten steps are offered for researchers to conceive and conduct qualitative research projects that are both responsive to research goals and objectives and defendable to criteria of quality and critics of utility. Key Word s: Qualitative Research, Research Design, Research Methodology, Mixed- Methods, Methodological Pluralism, Pragmatic Curiosity . The qualitative research being conducted today is in man y ways not like your grandparents’ qualitative inquiries! Although, f or some researchers, there appears to be clearly defined boundaries between when researchers should use a qualitative research methodology and when they should employ a quantitative research methodology (e.g., Dobrovolny & Fuentes, 2008; Keenan & van Teijlin gen, 2004) . In this apparently black and white worldview , qualitative studies are most likely exploratory, naturalistic, subjective, inductive, ideographic, and descriptive/interpretive and quantitative studies are most likely confirmatory, controlled, obj ective, deductive, nomothetic, and predictive/explanatory. For other investigators, the boundaries are a bit more grey as contemporary designs become more mixed ( e.g., Creswell, Klassen, Plano Clark, & Clegg Smith, 2011) , pluralistic and diverse ( e.g., Barker & Pistrang, 2004; Sandelowski, 2004) when it comes to utilizing particular methodologies to meet specific design goals and objectives. These changes in methodology utilization patterns suggest we are entering an interesting time for qualitative researc h design in that more and more investigators are creatively using qualitative methods to address new types of research problems. For example, researchers are starting to use qualitative methodologies to conduct confirmatory studies such as the effectivenes s of interventions (e.g., Flemming, Adamson, & Atkin, 2008) and efficacy of treatments ( e.g., Verhoef, Casebeer, & Hilsden , 2002) . In these cases, the qualitative researchers might employ a mix of procedures (e.g., randomized sampling more typically associ ated with experiments combined with open- ended interviews more typically associated with qualitative research ) in the design . As these qualitative researchers offer , what Morse (2006) terms , “alternative forms of evidence” (p. 86) , new opportunities for qualitative inquiries open up. I offer these observations because as a beginning researcher once you learn traditional or typical utilizations of a qualitative methodology; you might subsequently find a number of articles in which the researcher s used the se approach es in an effectively novel way s. The key to all of this practical experimentation or pragmatic improvisation, 1714 The Qualitative Repor t November 2011 as well as with traditional uses of qualitative methodologies, is for you as the qualitative researcher to be clear as to what methodolog ies and procedures were used to accomplish what aspects of your design and to explain/defend why such c hoices were made. In such a defense, the keys are (a) to address the procedure conceptually first by citing a source for this new orientation to the process, (b) to explain the novelty in your application of the method to the accomplish the design objective at hand, (c) to show how the innovative procedural choice made coheres with the other design choices being implemented , and (d) to demonstrate how all the methodological choices made are a llowing the study’s design to address the guiding research question or hypothesis. In other words, you should embrace a sense of “pragmatic curiosity” to explore an optimal array of methodological choices to meet the n eeds of your design’s concept which was chosen based upon your research questions. To paraphrase the title of Elliot Mishler’s well -known 1979 essay, “Methodology in context: Is there any other kind?” So, taking this question as a mantra, it is critical fo r you to remember continually to craft a design so that it meets the need of your study in a coherent and effective manner. To help you, as a beginning qualitative researcher , decide when and how to use qualitative research methodologies in this changing w orld, I have designed a ten step process for conceiving and conducting qualitative inquiries. For this guide, I suggest you take a pragmatic posture to creating studies that marry the most fitting design and methodology choices with the focus of your resea rch curiosity. In this approach I suggest you remain true to your interests and then explore a variety of research approaches which can help in the designing and conducting studies to meet your needs. The bottom line is to be pragmatic in creating the desi gn, but remain curious so every reasonable methodological option is considered. In doing so, I think it is important for you to be creative in considering and selecting design elements, and then to evaluate the design, methodology, and procedures you choos e and implement , so these inquiry decisions remain fitting with your research goals and objectives and also coherent with each other. By embracing this pragmatic curiosity, you will need to describe and explain each choice made in conceptualizing and conducting the research because each method is justified in the conduct of its usage in the study at hand. The answer to the question, “How does it make sense to utilize an ethnographic methodology in a study designed to explore the effectiveness of a psychothe rapy intervention?” is “Here is what I did and why these choices make sense in the context of my study.” Without certainty in terms of methodological destiny, researchers are left with the tools of openness and rhetoric when it comes to defending their res earch choices (Chenail, 2011). These ten steps are intended as a general set of guidelines for you to plan and execute a qualitative research study in a tr ansparent and coherent manner. As an i nvestigators following specific research designs such as dis covery-oriented inquiry (Mahrer, 1988; Mahrer & Boulet, 1999) and qualitative research methodologies such as phenomenology ( Moustakas, 1994) or narrative inquiry ( Riessman, 2007), you would be guided by more particular prescriptions to describe and defend your choices (see the appendix for a list of these basic resources), but as suggested by these ten steps , there are some actions and re- actions common across most if not all qualitative research projects when it comes creating fitting studies. Before readi ng the ten steps I want to share an important clarifying point. Because I suggest qualitative researchers need to make many decisions in creating and conducting Ronald J. Chenail 1715 a study via these ten steps, you may get the impression that I am suggesting qualitative resear ch studies’ designs must be complex in nature. To clarify this point, I would more accurately say I think qualitative research designs are multifaceted, but at their hearts I think the simpler they are the better. I emphasize this point for a number of rea sons. In qualitative research studies I think the method should be as simple as possible because the complexity of research lies in the matter to be studied especially in naturalistic and exploratory inquiries . If the method is overly complicated, then it s many parts and phases might overwhelm the subject being studied. When complexity meets complexity, the results are usually a muddle. Embracing simple yet effective procedures is an optimal goal to which for qualitative researchers should strive : Collect rich data and let it shine as the star of the study. Like using fresh ingredients in cooking, keep the preparation and presentation simple so your guests can appreciate the qualitative differences great products can deliver. More methodologies being used in a study do not necessarily make the design a superior one. If you find yourself designing a phenomenological grounded theory ca se study, please ask yourself do you really need to employ three of Creswell’s (2007) five approaches to qualitative r esearch in one research project? Like taking too many medications can lead to adverse effects to your body, using too many methodologies might produce negative side effects which could be unhealthy for your study. To help remedy this potential risk, please remembe r this simple research commandment: Thou shall not select an additional methodology for a study , until thou is sure the first methodology selected cannot manage all of the design issues. As a final note, even though I offer ten steps for conceptualizing a nd conducting qualitative research studies in a pragmatically curious manner , please remember three guiding principles: Keep it coherent, Keep it clear, and Keep it simple. If you adopt these three pieces of advice as your research mantra, you will find yo urself creating and completing qualitative studies of quality. Ten Steps Step One: Reflect on What Interests You Think about the program, project, population, participant, problem, phenomenon, policy, practice, process, or product about which you would like to learn. For instance, are you interested in discovering students’ experiences learning in field settings, the integration of theory and practice, how students learn online, becoming a culturally competent instructor, or customer satisfaction? Starting with a topic about which you have a passion helps to sustain you throughout the research process. It also helps you to find a design that fits your passion rather than needing to find a passion that fits a design! Step Two: Draft a Statement Identifyin g your Preliminary Area of Interest and Justifying Its Scholarly and/or Practical Importance Compose a simple sentence or two in which you state your beginning area of curiosity and explain why the topic is significant, relevant, and worthy of study. By doing so you begin to address the “so what” question right away. For instance, if you select 1716 The Qualitative Repor t November 2011 “how students learn online” as your preliminary area of interest, you might cite the increase in the number of students learning online or the growth of online programs and acknowledge the challenges involved with learning and teaching online as reasons why the topic would be worthy of further study. You could also cite a gap in the education research literature on this topic as another reason for wanting to pursue t his area of inquiry. In addition, you can reflect upon your personal perspectives in relation to your preliminary area of interest and record your hopes, aspirations, and biases as an educator. As you progress through the rest of these steps, refer back to this record from time to time in order to assess how your personal perspectives are shaping the research process (e.g., biasing data analysis or research design). Step Three: Hone your Topic Focus Now that you have begun to articulate your area of inter est, begin to hone your focus by considering the choices you need to make in order to design your study. For example, if you have selected “how students learn online” as your topic, explore the options you can exercise by deliberating on the following ques tions: Who: Who do you want to study and from whose perspective do you want to learn about how students learn online (e.g., undergraduate, master’s, and/or doctoral students, faculty members, program completers, students with specific demographics/charact eristics like culture, race, religion, or ethnicity)? What: What aspect of how students learn online would be your focus (e.g., students’ experiences, evaluation of learning outcomes, participating in discussions, student -faculty interaction, student perf ormance on assignments or examinations, faculty members’ stories, or pre and post -course development)? When: When would you focus on this phenomenon (e.g., pre -matriculation, during the first year, throughout a course, or a combination of all of them)? Where: Where would you observe/interact this phenomenon (e.g., observing online electronic classrooms, interviewing students over the phone or the internet, focus group interview with faculty members who have taught students in online environments, and/or s urveys)? Why: Why would you study this phenomenon (e.g., because you want to inform, perform, reform, transform, describe, interpret, explain, confirm, criticize, suggest, evaluate, or assess something)? How: How will you generate data in order to study this phenomenon (e.g., administer a survey, conduct interviews, make observations, collect transcripts of online sessions, or gather student journals)? You can see that each of these questions begin with words often associated with journalistic inquiries because the investigative postures of both journalists and qualitative Ronald J. Chenail 1717 researchers are typified by open -ended inquisitiveness. This open- ended posture applies to both the discovery of your research focus and your methodological design. Also, these questions are just some of the ones you can ask about your study to help you discover the areas in which you need to make important procedure questions and to decide what research methods will best help you achieve these design objectives. Step Four: Compose your Initial Research Question or Hypothesis Based upon your answers to the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How questions, compose your initial research question. For example, one research question could be, “What are the experiences of doctoral students learning qualitative research in a primarily online learning environment?” In composing this research question, envision what would be the implications arising from the results of this study for education researchers, faculty members, students, program administrators, and other interested stakeholders. This question may change over time as you become more and more familiar with the phenomenon to be studied so it is critical that you continually refer to the question to see if you are staying on course or, if you need to adjust the question as you learn more about what you know and still don’t know about the area of study. In qualitative research it is perfectly okay to make adjustments to your research question as the inquiry develops, but it is critical that you are aware when these adjustments are made and make the appropriate adjustments to your design. Trouble can arise “in the field” if you become interested in some new area of inquiry and lack the self -reflection to know when you are drifting. Again, it is okay to drift as long as you are aware of the changes made in the course of the inquiry and justify the corrections being made. Step Five: D efine your Goals and Objectives Focus on the overall goals of your potential research study and the objectives that you must accomplish in order to achieve these goals. For example, if a goal is to learn more about the experiences of doctoral students learning qualitative research in a primarily online learning environment, relevant objectives could be (a) Conduct a literature search in order to learn what has been previously published on this topic, (b) Adjust the research question based upon the literature review, (c) Identify potential sites for collecting data, (d) Prepare Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol, etc. Make sure each goal and objective can be justified and evaluated so you can track the progress you are making and identify where problems are arising or where adjustments are being made. Step Six: Conduct a Review of the Literat ure Some researchers start their qualitative research process with a review of the literature, some delay their reviews until after the study is completed, and some continually review the literature throughout the research process ( Chenail, Cooper, & Desir, 2010). Some qualitative researchers explore the literature to learn what is not known about a phenomenon and then formulate questions which will guide a discovery – 1718 The Qualitative Repor t November 2011 oriented inquiry to uncover new evidence about the phenomenon in question. With any of these approaches i t is important that you identify key terms (e.g., students , doctoral students, qualitative research, education, and online learning) to guide the electronic searchers of relevant databases (e.g., ProQuest, ERIC, and Google Scholar); in addition, you should also complement your electronic searches with systematic reviews of the references cited in the articles collected to locate additional sources. Step Seven: Develop your Research Design In qualitative research, your design is the system of choices you m ake that helps you to conceive and conduct your study in an orderly and effective manner. Develop a research design which will allow you to address your research question or hypothesis effectively and efficiently. For example, does your research question s uggest a design that will permit you to take a stance of curiosity in your study, or one that is more critical in nature, or one that asks you to help foster change in the organization or situation in which you will conduct your research? With each of thes e areas of emphasis you would conceive your design to align with the essence of your research question and to put you in the best position to achieve your research goals. To accomplish this plan you will need to make choices in the following areas: Design Concept : Conceptually, how do you design your study in order for you to address your research question or hypothesis and to meet your goals and objectives? For example, will the design help you to discover or explore basic patterns of a naturally occurrin g phenomenon, to evaluate or assess the performance of a project, to construct a theoretical model that helps to explain the relationships between different variables , to describe how participants understand their experiences regarding some aspect of their lives , or work with participants to change their organization or system ? Will your study be a primary research study (e.g., I will collect new data to study), a secondary research study (e.g., I will study data previously collected as part of another stud y), or a meta -study (e.g., I will study previously published studies)? Your answer to these questions will help you select an appropriate design concept. You may have also noted that I used a bold font to emphasize certain words. All of these words denote a different type of research design: Exploratory (e.g., Stebbins, 2001), Evaluation ( e.g., Patton, 2002), Explanatory ( e.g., Charmaz, 2006), Descriptive (e.g., Giorgi, 2009), Change (e.g., Reason & Bradbury, 2008), Primary (e.g., Maxwell, 2005), Secondary (e.g., Heaton, 2004), and Meta (e.g., Major & Savin- Baden, 2010). You can find more helpful guides to qualitative research design in the appendix located at the end of this paper. Participants: Depending on your choice of design, you will form different r elationships with the sources of your data (i.e., people, places, audio and visual artifacts, etc.). Research participants can be engaged as sources of information for you, co- researchers to help you carry out the study, or change -agents with whom you cons ult. As you determine the participants’ roles, you then need to decide w ho will participate in the study, how will I gain access and recruit them, and what precautions will I need to take in order to protect them from harm throughout the study? Answers to these questions will help you craft your inclusion criteria, sampling strategy, site location, and so forth. Ronald J. Chenail 1719 Res earch Methodology: Different qualitative research methodologies have different strengths when it comes of meeting the needs of different design concepts. For example, ethnographic methodologies are well suited for primary research studies conceived to describe social phenomenon and grounded theory approaches are quite useful for generating explanatory models. So whether your design concept is exploratory, descriptive, evaluative, or change -oriented, start by exploring and considering basic or traditional utilization of a methodology (e.g., phenomenology to study the lived experience of a group of people , Finlay, 2011; ethnography to describe the s ymbols, signs, rituals, ceremonies, a nd practices of an organization, Murchison, 2010; or grounded theory to generate a theory or model of a social happening , Charmaz, 2006) . Some traditional fits between these methodologies and your research questions, goals, and objectives might be optimal for your study, but if that is not the case , then after becoming more familiar with basic renderings and applications, you might then explore variations, hybrids, and improvisations which might have a better fit. By rem aining pragmatically curious you will avoid the practice of letting method ology totally drive the research rather than allowing your question and goals to organize the inquiry too. Research Procedures: With each methodology you will need to decide what yo ur p rocedures will be for selecting and sampling (e.g., convenient, purposeful, theoretical, random); and generating, collecting, preparing, and analyzing the data (Maxwell, 2005). Through the execution of these procedures or methods you will actually carr y out the design you have conceived. If you have selected a well -developed qualitative research methodology such as ethnography, an experienced author such as Fetterman (2009) will provide you with helpful procedural prescriptions from data collection thro ugh data analysis you can adopt or adapt for your own study. If you have decided to take an “eclectic” approach in your study, you may pick and choose or mix and match from different “designer” brands such as ethnography (e.g., Murchison, 2010), grounded t heory (e.g., Corbin & Strauss, 2007) , or phenomenology (e.g., Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009); or from general qualitative research guides ( e.g., Merriam, 2009) to create your set of data generation and analysis procedures. For example, you might construct and conduct your interviews based upon Kvale and Brinkmann’s (2008) approach and select a coding system from those choices collected by Saldaña (2009). Whether you go with a designer or eclectic approach make sure the various procedures sync well with th e others so the data flow is coherent and smooth. Also, make sure if you are only incorporating some elements from a designer methodology such as open and axial coding from grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2007) to create codes and categories as part of the qualitative data analysis in your eclectic qualitative descriptive design, please do not refer to your study as being grounded theory design or methodology because unless your study is designed to generate a theory or model it is not grounded theory in the full, designer sense of the methodology. Calling an eclectic design by a designer methodology name is akin to a selling a “knock-off” in f ashion: If the purse was not designed and constructed to Gucci specifications, then don’t call the bag a Gucci! Quality Control: It is one matter to conceptualize a qualitative research study, but it is another concern to create a system by which you maintain quality control to 1720 The Qualitative Repor t November 2011 ensure the study you conceived is the one you end up conducting. To focus yourself on thi s challenge there are many questions you can ask: How will I maintain rigor (e.g., reliability, validity, trustworthiness, generalizability) throughout the study? How will I identify and manage ethical concerns arising throughout the research? As you consi der these questions, you can first consider how these areas are addressed indigenously in the methodological and philosophical traditional you are considering for your design. In other words, when in phenomenology land, do as the phenomenologists do! Depending on context, you might want to incorporate a more generic approach to quality control, for example Lincoln and Guba’s (1985) trustworthiness or embrace some other qualitative research traditions for ideas ( King, Keohane, & Verba, 1994; Lamont & White, 2008). As with the choices of research procedures discussed above, make sure the qualitative control measures you select cohere with the design concept, methodology, and data collection and analysis decisions also being made. As you make methodological decisions in each of these areas take care to ensure that your choices align with each other (Chenail, 1997). For example, with the variety of grounded theory designs available, your epistemological stance should be in basic agreement with that of the grounded theorist you select (e.g., Charmaz’ 2006 version of grounded theory as your methodology with constructivist epistemology). If such an alignment is not the case, then you will need to explain and justify your variations. Step Eight: Conduct a Self -asse ssment in Order to Determine What Strengths You Have That Will Be Useful in your Study and What Skills You Will Need to Develop in Order to Complete your Study Whether considering the qualitative researcher as the instrument (Lincoln & Guba, 1985), a bric oleur (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994) , or as competent practitioner ( Polkinghorne, 2010) , certain skills, knowledge, and attitudes are needed to carry out the study effectively. As you review your plan and identify what skills and knowledge base you will need to complete the study successfully. Develop a growth plan for helping you to master the competencies you will need throughout the study (e.g., open -ended interviewing, taking field notes, using qualitative data analysis packages, writing, etc.). You can combi ne this development process with your efforts to test and refine the procedures entailed in your design. For example, you can practice your interviewing skills and improve the instrumentation in your study by interviewing yourself and recording and analyzi ng the results (Chenail, 2009). You may also consider creating a team or involve consultants to assist with your areas in need of development. Remember to reflect upon your personal context and point -of -view which may bias you during the study and record y our plan for managing this perspective throughout the qualitative research project. Step Ni ne: Plan , Conduct, and Manage the Study Successful qualitative research projects involve careful management of four different yet connected studies: (a) the study proposed, (b) the study conducted, (c) the study reported, and (d) the study of these studies. Develop an action plan detailing the Ronald J. Chenail 1721 steps you need to take in order to begin and complete your studies. Depending on the study, the elements you will need to ad dress include: people (including yourself), communication, data (including back -up systems), analysis, results, technology, time, money, ethical concerns (including securing institutional approvals), and other resources. Maintain a chronicle of your resear ch activities (e.g., lab notebook, journal, diary, audit trail, and time and effort reports) and save supporting documentation. Throughout the life of your studies you will need to make sure they remain in a coherent relational pattern. For example, it is easy to drift into other areas of interest as you begin to conduct your study, but you need to reflect back upon your study as proposed to make sure that you stay focused on the goals and objectives. Of course qualitative research design can be iterative meaning you can make adjustments along the way. In the event of these corrective changes, make sure you are aware as you make these deviations and revise your study plan or study report accordingly. Step Ten: Compose and Submit your Repo rt Depending on the vehicle you will use to report your study (e.g., dissertation, thesis, scholarly paper, poster, or conference presentation), identify the relevant policies and rules governing the form, substance, and submission of the report (e.g., school or departmental guidelines, journal article submission requirements, book prospectus elements, style manual of the American Psychological Association, 2010, etc.) and report and submit your findings in compliance with these parameters. Even though there can be a variety of outlets to make the results of your study public, a typical reporting format would be as follows: • Introduction and Review of Literature • Methodology • Findings or Results • Discussion of Implications and Limitations of the Results It is important to thin k about the form in which you will present your study early and often so you do not wait until the end of your study to write up your report. For example, you might draft a working title and abstract for your paper in progress. Both of these elements might start out being vague and abstract, but as you make your methodological choices and determine your findings and implications you will be able to make the title and the abstract clearer and more concrete. As you compose these separate sections and make sur e the ways in which you characterize your focus, method, and findings cohere across the title, abstract, and body of the report (Chenail, Duffy, St. George, & Wulff, 2009). Also, if you compose your title and abstract during the conceptualization or propos al phase, you should also consider revising your title from its proposal form (e.g., phenomenon, focus, and method) to one more fitting of a completed study (i.e., one that includes a reference to the findings). Lastly, be prepared to write and re -write yo ur report a number of times until you have accurately represented the process and outcome of your qualitative research project. 1722 The Qualitative Repor t November 2011 Discussion The challenge of conducting a qualitative research study successfully is to manage choices well throughout the inquiry. In starting your first study you will quickly realize that one decision made usually opens up multiple new decisions with which you will also have to address. For example, after you decide your study will be an exploratory one, then you will have to decide which qualitative research methodology will best fit your research question. Then if you select grounded theory ( Glaser & Strauss, 1967), you next will need to figure out is what style of grounded theory works for the project. Then once you have chosen the Glaser variation ( Glaser, 1994), you then will need to work on how you will actually carry out your exploratory Glaserian grounded theory study and so forth . Although I have presented these steps in particular order, it is important to remember tha t the conceptualization and conduct of qualitative research is a circular, recursive, and reflective process. The decision -making process in research can best be understood as an integrated system in which choices influence choices so although a particular procedural choice is made at one point in the research process; this choice may need to be re -considered as other issues arise or as new insights arise in the research undertaking. This iterative aspect of qualitative research means you should continuousl y check and re- check the decisions made for these ten steps and judge and re -judge their effectiveness and coherence. Given the nature of the enterprise it is critical you manage not only the study proposed and conducted, but also the study of their study. In this reflective process, you can record the decision -making process via a journal or diary and retain evidence of the changes to form an audit trail. Such a practice serves not only as a quality control system to help with the research management, but can also be the inspiration of creative improvisations as new choices are considered and possibly implemented. In making these methodological decisions in qualitative research studies, the best compass for you remains the research question. You should cons ult it often and let it be the guide to keep your design and methodological choices transparent , coherent , and simple . In the world of methodological plurality no design choice is right in and of itself; instead, as a qualitative researcher you must consider each step made along the way and justify each decision in terms of its fit with the your interest, goals, and objectives and the other choices already made in the study and those which will be made in the future of investigation. By taking and re -taking these ten steps, you will remain pragmatically curious as you conceptualize and conduct qualitative research of quality and utility. References American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6 th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Barker, C., & Pistrang, N. (2004). Quality criteria under methodological pluralism: Implications for conducting and evaluating research. American Journal of Community Psychology, 35(3/4), 201- 212. Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis . 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San Francisco , CA: Jossey -Bass. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Sal daña, J. (2009). The coding manual for qualitative researchers . London: Sage. Sandelowski, M. (2000). Whatever happened to qualitative description? Research in Nursing & Health, 23(4), 334- 340. Silverman, D. (2009). Doing qualitative research (3 rd ed.). London: Sage. Silverman, D., & Marvasti, A. (2008). Doing qualitative research: A comprehensive guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Stake, R. E. ( 2010). Qualitative research: Studying how things work . New York, NY: Guilford. Stebbins, R. A. (2001) . Exploratory research in the social sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Yin, R. K. (2011). Qualitative research from start to finish . New York, NY: Guilford. 1726 The Qualitative Repor t November 2011 Qualitative Evaluation Designs Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth generation evaluati on. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Patton, M. Q. (2008). Utilization -focused evaluation (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Patton, M. Q. (2011 a). Developmental evaluation: Applying complexity concepts to enhance innovation and use . New York, NY: Guilford Press. Patton, M. Q. ( 2011b). Essentials of utilization -focused evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Shaw, I. F. (1999). Qualitative evaluation. London: Sage . Mixed -Method Designs Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Creswell, J. W., Klassen, A. C., Plano Clark, V. L., & Clegg Smith, K. (2011). Best practices for mixed methods research in the health sciences . Washington, DC: Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. Retrieved from http://obssr.od.nih.gov/scientific_areas/methodology/mixed_methods_research/pd f/Best_Practices_for_Mixed_Methods_Re search.pdf Hesse -Biber, S. N. (2010). Mixed methods research: Merging theory with practice . New York , NY: Guilford. Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (Eds.). (2003). Handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Teddlie, C., & Tashakkori, A. (2009). Foundations of mixed methods research: Integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches in the social and behavioral sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Ethnography Angrosino, M. (2008) . Doing ethnographic and observational research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Chang, H. (2008). Autoethnography as method . Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast. Emerson, R. M., Fretz, R. I., & Shaw, L. L. (2011). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes (2 nd ed.). Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press. Fetterman, D. M. (2009). Ethnography: Step -by -step (3 rd Kozinets, R. V. (2009). Netnography: Doing ethnographic research online . London: Sage. LeCompte, M. D., & Schensul, J. J. (1999). Desig ning and conducting ethnographic research . Lanham, MD: AltaMira. Ronald J. Chenail 1727 Murchison, J. M. (2010). Ethnography essentials: Designing, conducting, and presenting your research . San Francisco, CA: Jossey -Bass. Spradley, J. P. (1979). The ethnographic interview . New York , NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Spradley, J. P. (1980). Participant observation. New York , NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Van Maanen, J. (2011). Tales of the field: On writing ethnography (2 nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Gr ounded Theory Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Charmaz, K., & Bryant, A. (2007). The SAGE handbook of grounded theory . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Clarke, A. E. (2005). Situational analysis: Grounded theory after the postmodern turn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2007). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3 rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Glaser , B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research . Chicago, IL: Aldine. Morse, J. M., Stern, P. N., Corbin, J., Bowers, B., Charmaz, K., & Clarke, A. E. (2009). Developing grounded theory: The second ge neration. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast. Phenomenology Finlay, L. (2011). Phenomenology for therapists: Researching the lived world. Malden, MA: Wiley -Blackwell. Giorgi, A. (2009). The descriptive phenomenological method in psychology: A modified Husserl ian approach. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press. Moustakas, C. (1990). Heuristic research: Design, methodology, and applications . Newbury Park: CA: Sage. Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pollio, H. R., Henley, T. B., & Thompson, C. J. (1997). The phenomenology of everyday life Smith, J. A., Flowers, P., & Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretive phenomenological analysis: Theory, method, and research. London: Sage. V an Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy . Albany, NY: The State University of New York. Zichi Cohen, M., Kahn, D. L., Steeves, R. H. (2000). Hermeneutic phenomenological research: A practical guide for nurse researchers Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1728 The Qualitative Repor t November 2011 Case Study Byrne, D., & Ragin, C. C. (Eds.). (2009). The SAGE handbook of case -based methods . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Gerring, J. (2007). Case study research: Principles and practices . Cambridge: Cambr idge University Press. Simons, H. (2009). Case study research in practice . London: Sage. Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Yin, R. K. (2008). Case study research: design and methods (4 th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Narrative Analysis and Inquiry Clandinin, D. J. (Ed.). (2007). Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2004). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative re . San Francisco, CA: Jossey -Bass. Elliott, J. (2006). Using narrative in social research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches . London: Sage. Riessman, C. (2007). Narrative methods for the human sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Webster, L., & Mertova, P. (2007). Using narrative inquiry as a research method: An introduction to using critical event narrative analysis in research on learning and teaching. New York , NY: Routledge. Discourse and Conversation Analysis Hutchby, I., & Wooffitt, R. (2008). Conversation analysis (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity. Phillips, N., & Hardy, C. (2002). Discourse analysis: Investigating processes of social construction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Psathas, G. (1995). Conversation analysis: The study of talk -in -interaction . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Rapley. T. (2008). Doing conversation, discourse and document analysis . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ten Have, P. (2007). Doing conversation analysis (2nd ed.). London: Sage. Wodak, R., & Meyer, M. (2009). Methods for critical discourse analysis (2 nd ed.). London: Sage. Secondary Qualitative Data Analysis Corti, L., Witzel, A., & Bishop, L. (Eds.). (2005). Secondary analysis of qualitative data [Special issue]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6 (1). Retrieved from http://www.qualitative – research.net/index.php/fqs/issue/view/13 Ronald J. Chenail 1729 Gladstone, B. M., Volpe, T., & Boydell, K. M. (2007). Issues encountered in a qualitative secondary analysis of help -seeking in the prodrome to psychosis. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 34 (4), 431-442. Heaton, J . (1998). Secondary analysis of qualitative data. Social Research Update. Issue 22. Retrieved online http://sru.soc.surrey.ac.uk/SRU22.html Heaton, J. (2004). Reworking qualitative data. London: Sage. Qualitative Metasynthesis Dixon -Woods, M., Booth, A., & Sutton, A. J. (2007). Synthesizing qualitative research: A review of published reports. Qualitative Research , 7(3), 375-422. Finfgeld, D. L. (2003). Metasynthesis: The state of the art –so far. Qualitative Health Research, 13(7), 893- 904. Major, C., & Savin- Baden, M. (2010). An introduction to qualitative research synthesis: Man aging the information explosion in social science research. London: Routledge. Paterson, B. L., Thorne, S. E., Canam, C., & Jillings, C. (2001). Meta -study of qualitative health research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Pope, C., Mays, N., & Popay, J. (2007). Synthesizing qualitative and quantitative health evidence: A guide to methods . New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J. (2007). Handbook for synthesizing qualitative research. New York , NY: Springer. Thorne, S., Jensen, L., Ke arney, M. H., Noblit, G., & Sandelowski, M. (2004). Qualitative metasynthesis: Reflections on methodological orientation and ideological agenda. Qualitative Health Research, 14(10), 1342- 1365. Collaborative Inquiry, Action Research, Participatory Action Research, and Appreciative Inquiry Bray, J. N., Lee, J., Smith, L. L., & Yorks, L. (2000). Collaborative inquiry in practice: Action, reflection, and making meaning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Cooperrider, D. L., & Whitney, D. (2005). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change. San Francisco , CA: Berrett -Koehler Communications. McIntyre, A. (2008). Participatory action research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.). (2008). The Sage handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice (2nd ed.) . London: Sage. Stringer, E. T. (2007). Action research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Whitehead, J., & McNiff, J. (2006). Action research: Living theory Whitney, D., & Trosten- Bloom, A. (2010). The power of appreciative inquiry: A practical guide to positive change (2nd ed.) . San Francisco , CA: Berrett -Koehler. 1730 The Qualitative Repor t November 2011 Author Note Ronald J. Chenail is the Editor -in -Chief of The Qualitative Report and The Weekly Qualitative Report at Nova Southeastern Univer sity (NSU), where he also serves as the Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Director of NSU’s Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research, and Professor of Family Therapy. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed to Dr . Ronald J. Chenail at Nova Southeastern University , 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314 -7796 USA; Telephone: 954.262.5389; Fax: 954.262.3970; E -mail: [email protected] Copyright 2011: Ronald J. Chenail and Nova Southeastern University Article Citation Chenail , R. J . (2011). Ten steps for conceptualizing and conducting qualitative research studi es in a pragmatically curious manner . The Qualitative Report , 16(6) , 1713- 1730. Retrieved from http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR16- 6/chenail.pdf
Prior to beginning work on this assignment, be sure to have read all the required resources for the week.Locate a peer-reviewed qualitative research study in the Ashford University Library on the topi
RESEA RCHARTICL E Emotions surrounding friendshipsof adolescents withautism spectrum disorderin Japan: Aqualitative interviewstudy Motofumi Sumiya 1,2 , Kazue Igarashi 2 , Motohide Miyahara 1,3 1 Division ofCerebral Integration, NationalInstituteforPhysiolog icalSciences, Okazaki,Aichi,Japan, 2 Department ofChild Studies, Shirayuri College,Chofu,Tokyo,Japan, 3School ofPhysical Education, Sport andExercise Sciences, Universityof Otago, Dunedin, NewZealand motofum [email protected] ail.com Abstract Emotions areembedded inculture andplay apivotal roleinmaking friendsandinteracting with peers. Tosupport thesocial participation ofstudents withautism spectrum disorders (ASD) itis essential tounderstand theiremotional lifeinthe context ofethnic andschool cul- tures. Weareparticularly interestedinhow anxiety andloneliness areexperienced indevel- oping andmaintaining friendshipsinthe daily encounters ofadolescents withASD inthe specific contextofJapanese schools,because theseemotions couldserve either asfacilita- tors orbarriers tosocial interaction, dependingonhow individuals managethem.The present qualitative studyinvestigated perceptionsofemotions relatedtofriendship inthe everyday schoollifeof11 adolescents withASD inJapan. Datawere collected bymeans of semi-structured individualinterviews, whichrevealed awide range ofmotivations forsociali- zation, limitedfutureprospects todeepen friendships, robustself-awareness ofone’s own social challenges, andconscious effortstocope withthese challenges. Aninductive approach todata analysis resultedinfour themes: socialmotivation, loneliness,anxiety, and distress. Toour knowledge thisisthe first study touncover therich emotional lifeofado- lescents withASD inthe context oftheir friendships inan Asian culture. Introduction Friendship isimportant foreveryone throughout life.Ofalldevelopmental periods,adoles- cence marks aprimary periodofforming intimate friendships intypically developing youth [1,2]. Incontrast, youngpeople withautism spectrum disorder(ASD),whosedefining feature is social impairments (DSM-5),seem tofollow different developmental trajectoriesbecause of their social communication challenges[See4for review]. Forinstance, childrenandadoles- cents withASD areknown tohave fewer friends thanage-matched peers[4,5].Below thesur- face level ofnumber offriends liepsychosocial processesinvolving individual perceptions of self and friends, andmotivation tomake friends anddeepen friendships. Howdoyoung peo- ple with ASD feelabout friends andfriendships? Dothey feelloneliness whenaloneoreven when theyaresurrounded byother people? Dothey want tohave more friends, orwould they PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 1/14 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 2 3 ( 1 $ & & ( 6 6 Citation: SumiyaM,Igarashi K,Miyahara M(2018) Emotions surrounding friendshipsofadolescents with autism spectrum disorderinJapan: A qualitative interviewstudy.PLoSONE13(2): e0191538. https://doi.org/10.1371/j ournal. pone.019153 8 Editor: Rodrigo Huerta-Qui ntanilla,Cinvestav- Merida, MEXICO Received: November 6,2017 Accepted: January5,2018 Published: February6,2018 Copyright: 2018 Sumiya etal. This isan open access articledistributed undertheterms ofthe Creative Commons Attribution License,which permits unrestricte duse, distribu tion,and reproduction inany medium, providedtheoriginal author andsource arecredited. Data Availabilit yStatement: Allrelevant dataare within thepaper anditsSupport ingInformation files. Funding: Theauthors declarenocompeting financial interests. Thiswork wassupported bya KAKENHI grant(17H07336) toMS from theJapan Society forthe Promotion ofScience (JSPS).The funders hadnorole instudy design, datacollection and analysis, decisiontopublish, orpreparation of the manuscript. rather isolate themselves frompeople andbealone? Giventheirself-awareness oflimited social relationships [6,7]andtheir difficulties inemotional connection withfriends ,doyoung people withASD havenegative feelingsofloneliness? Toanswer thesequestions inadolescents with ASD, thisqualitative interviewstudydelves intoemotions inthe context offriendship, as there hasbeen adearth ofresearch investigating thesetopics inAsian cultures todate. Investigations intoemotional contributions tofriendship haveimplications forasuccessful school life, mental health,andwellbeing .Itisparticularly importanttoexplore feelings within friendships ofadolescents withASD whomayfaceanincreasingly complexsocial milieu andbecome moreaware oftheir interpersonal difficulties.Previous studiesin Western countries haveidentified feelingssuchasanxiety andloneliness withinfriendships in children andadolescents withASD inthe U.S.A. ,Australia ,andIsrael .Further- more, Calder etal.  explored thedesire forsocial relationships inchildren withASD inthe UK. Inastudy inthe Netherlands, itwas found thatduring adolescence, peoplewithASD experience anincrease insocial motivation andloneliness, whichispositively correlated with social anxiety .These findings inWestern countries yieldapicture ofyoung people with ASD whohave elevated motivation forsocial interaction asoften failing intheir social interac- tion with their peers andthus experiencing loneliness. To date, thenature offriendship inyoung people withASD hasbeen explored byemploy- ing questionnaires [14,16,17],playground observation ,and semi-structured interviews [1,18±22]. Amongothers,Carrington andhercolleagues [18±20]conducted aseries ofstudies that revealed howadolescents withASD played withtheir friends, whatsortsofdifficulties they faced, andhow theycoped withthese difficulties. Suchdescriptive datahave been obtained inthe U.S.A., UK,andAustralia. Toour knowledge, however,therehasbeen adearth of research thathasdocumented ininternational academicliteraturethefriendships ofyoung people withASD inthe context ofAsian cultures, usinganyofthe above descriptive methods. Before investigating thefriendships ofyoung people withASD inan Asian culture, namely, Japan, inthe present study,itis useful toestablish thecomparability offriendships between Eastern andWestern culturesamongnon-ASD youngsters. Previousstudiesshowed bothsim- ilarities [23,24]anddifferences inyoung people’s friendships betweenthetwo cultures . Similarities includethetypes ofinteractions withtheir friends, features ofrelationships suchas reciprocity orprosocial behaviortothe partner, andtheimportance offriends [23,24]. Thedif- ferences involveparticular aspectsoffriendship, suchasthe expected emotions gainedfrom interactions withfriends. Forexample, Japaneseyoungpeople enjoycomfort andavoid uncer- tainty intheir friendships morethansurprise andexcitement, whichtheirAmerican counter- parts enjoy .Japanese peoplealsoprioritize socialharmony ininterpersonal relationships and value peeracceptance morethanpeople inWestern societiesdo[25±27]. Thus,thereare some unique cultural features offriendship inJapan, andculturally sensitiveandresponsive support andeducation havebeen proposed [28±31].Toformulate culturallyspecificstrategies to support youngpeople withASD inJapan, itis essential tofirst explore theirbehavioral and emotional experiences, understanding, andmotivation forfriendship qualitatively inaspecific cultural context. Qualitative methodscanprovide adeeper understanding offriendship inASD from the perspective ofadolescents withASD themselves [32±33],andhighlight theroles thatanxiety and loneliness playindeveloping andmaintaining friendshipinthe daily encounters ofado- lescents withASD. Qualitative methodscanalso empower voicesofadolescents withASD, who often gounheard inautism research .Furthermore, qualitativeresearchgivesimpor- tant information toteachers andclinical serviceproviders .Therefore, qualitativemethods are highly beneficial forunderstanding howadolescents withASD themselves constructthe social world ofschool inthe Japanese schoolsystem. Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 2/14 Competing interests:The authors havedeclared that nocompeting interests exist. To bridge thepreviously mentioned researchgaps,ourstudy aimsto1) describe friendships in adolescents withASD inJapan, and2)explore theexperience ofanxiety andloneliness in the context ofthe desire ofadolescents withASD tomake friends atschool. Methods Participants A total of11 high-functioning adolescentswithASD (8males (73%) and3females (27%)) whose verbalIQonWISC-III wasover 85,aged 10to15 years wererecruited fromprivate remedial centers,college-based remedialteachingcenters,andspecial education classesin Tokyo andOkayama, Japan.Theywereallstudents fromdifferent elementary orjunior high schools. Twoofthe 11participants (18%)werediagnosed withAutistic disorder (AD),seven with Asperger’s disorder(AS)(63%), andtwowith Pervasive Developmental Disorder(PDD) (18%). Because Shirayuri Collegehadneither aspecific institutional reviewboardnoranethics committee, thepresent studywasreviewed andapproved byaone-off committee, namedthe `Provisional EthicsCommittee’, consistingofagroup ofdevelopmental psychologistsinthe college, andalso bythe heads ofthe centers andschools fromwhich students wererecruited. Participation inthis study wasvoluntary, andprior tothe interview, allstudents withASD and their parents signedinformed consentformsaccording tothe principles inthe Declaration of Helsinki. Priortothe interview, theinterviewer orallyexplained tothe participants thatthe interview concerned theirfriendships, thatthey didnot have toanswer anyquestions ifthey did not want to,and that there werenoright orwrong answers tothe interview questions. To confirm theparticipants’ clinicalmanifestation andcognitive profileofASD, theJapa- nese version ofthe Autism Spectrum Quotient(AQ)wasadministered totheir parents. The AQscore anddemographic dataofeach participant aresummarized inTable 1;further- more, wehave provided supplemental tablesgiving additional cognitiveevidenceconsisting of the definitions offriendship (S1Table) andloneliness (S2Table) byeach participant andthose of same-age neurotypical adolescentswhosedatawere collected inthis study asan additional information source. To protect theidentities ofthe participants andofpeople discussed inthe interviews, we used pseudonyms andslightly alteredtheages ofthe participants toan extent thatwould not affect theinterpretation ofthe interview data. Data collection andanalysis We employed individual semi-structured interviewstodiscover thefeelings ofloneliness and anxiety relatedtofriendship. Allparticipants wereJapanese students, asnoted, andtheinter- views wereconducted bythe first author inthe Japanese language atthe participants’ schools, clinical institutions, orthe participants’ homes.Atthe time ofthe interviews, theinterviewer (MS) wasamaster’s studentmajoring inclinical psychology withthree yearsoffieldwork experience withstudents withneurodevelopmental disorders.Ifthe participating students, their parents, ortheir teachers requested orrecommended thepresence ofparents orteachers during theinterview, theywere allowed tobe present atthe interview, withthestudent’s con- sent. Sixofthe 11students askedforthe presence ofeither aparent orateacher inthe inter- view. When theresponse ofthe interviewee wasunclear, theinterviewer askedtheparent or the teacher toclarify theresponse duringtheinterview. Theremaining fivestudents didnot ask foradults toaccompany them,andtheinterviewer securedtheseinterviewees’ permission to ask their parents orteachers forclarification andconfirmation aftertheinterviews. Before theinterviews, weprepared questions concerning friendship(seesupplemental information). Weused thequestions developed byCarrington, Templeton,andPapinczak Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 3/ 14 , andadded someofour original questions aboutloneliness (e.g.,ªWhen doyou feel lonely?º) andanxiety (e.g.,ªWhen youarewith your friends, howanxious areyou?º). Further- more, wedecided toask theparticipants whotheir friends werebecause aprevious studyby Bauminger andKasari showed thatchildren withASD hadmentioned theirteacher aids and parents asfriends. Allquestions weremade available inadvance uponrequest. Atthe beginning ofeach interview, theinterviewer establishedrapportwiththeinterviewee bytalk- ing about theparticipant’s hobbiesandwhat theyenjoyed recently. Thentheinterviewer explained thepurpose ofthe interview: ªSomechildren aregood atmaking friends,andother children arenot sogood atmaking friends.Iam interested inhow youinteract withyour friends.º Whentheinterviewer actuallyaskedthepreplanned questions,thewords weremodi- fied inaccordance witheach participant’s languageability.Ifparticipants didnot seem to understand thequestions, theinterviewer rephrasedthem,trying todo soinaccordance with the participant’s languageability,andprovided prompts, whiletrying nottoask leading ques- tions. When interviewees haddifficulty communicating abouttheiremotions, theinterviewer focused onbehavioral aspectsoffriendship. Whentheinterview topiccovered sensitive issues, such asfeelings ofloneliness oranxiety, theinterviewer expressedtothe students howmuch he appreciated theirdisclosure offeelings andexperiences. Aftereachinterview, theinter- viewer ensured witheach interviewee’s parentorteacher thattheinterviewee wasnotdis- tressed bythe interview. Table 1.Demographi cinformation andclinical character isticsofthe participants. Name Jiro Ken Anna Akira Sex Male Male Female Male Grade 5th 5th 9th9th Age (years) 12 11 1515 Diagnosi s AD AD ASAS Verbal IQ 110 87 9290 AQ 23 36 2444 Features manyfightsinschool havingdifficulties thinkingandfocusing knowsherown difficulties OCD,afraidofbe scolded byteachers Name Michio Haruo EigoShiho Sex Male Male MaleFemale Grade 7th 6th 6th5th Age (years) 13 12 1211 Diagnosi s AS AS ASAS Verbal IQ 96 100 142 94 AQ 35 36 3232 Features depression experienceofbullying ADHD,Learning Disorder, liesathome Name Rie Toshi Hiro Sex Female Male Male Grade 7th 9th 5th Age (years) 13 15 12 Diagnosi s AS PDD PDD Verbal IQ 85 110 100 AQ 31 32 24 Features depression,self-harm schoolrefusal LearningDisorder,difficulty coping withhisirritability AD, autistic disorder; AS,Asperger’s disorder;PDD,Pervasiv eDevelopmen talDisorder ;OCD, Obsessive-Co mpulsiveDisorder;AQ, autism spectrum quotient https://do i.org/10.1371/j ournal.pone.0191538.t001 Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 4/ 14 A total of20 to30 questions wereasked ineach interview; interviews lastedfrom20to40 minutes. Allinterviews wererecorded withadigital audio-recorder andwere transcribed ver- batim. Thematic analysiswasused toexamine andidentify themeswithintheinterviews, following thesesixsteps: familiarizing data,generating codes,searching forthemes, reviewing themes, defining andreviewing themes,andproducing thereport. Thetranscribed interview data were coded bythe first author (MS)andtwocoders whowere students pursuing their masters inclinical anddevelopmental psychology(SMandYS), andtheunderlying themes were agreed uponfollowing discussions acrossmultiple meetings. Thesecond (KI)andthe third author (MM)served asmethodological auditorstoexamine thecredibility ofthe concep- tual interpretation ofthe original data. Weused QDA software (WeftQDA, www. pressure.to/qda/) toanalyze andorganize thedata. Results Nine ofthe 11students responded tothe interview questions indetail, withspecific examples. One participant tookrelatively longpauses beforeanswering questions,andtheremaining participant providedonlybrief answers. Theinterview datayielded fourmajor themes: social motivation, loneliness,anxiety,anddistress. Social motivation Seven outof11 students hadatleast onefriend whoweconsidered tobe inareciprocal friend- ship with them; twostudents wereinaone-way friendship, whosereciprocity couldnotbe confirmed; andthetwo remaining studentshadnofriendships atall, according tothe informa- tion firstprovided bythe students andlater confirmed bytheir parents andschoolteachers. Some ofthe students whoclaimed tobe inreciprocal friendships seemedtohave alow level of motivation tointeract withtheir friends. Around thetime ofthe interview, Haruoonlyhad one friend, whosenamewasMakoto. Haruoexplained howhewould spendtimewithhis friend: : : . : ? : . He told theinterviewer thathedid not hang outwith anyone atschool, andthat herarely played withMakoto evenathome. Theonly game heplayed withMakoto was on Nintendo DS.The range ofactivities throughwhichHaruo interacted withhisfriend, Makoto, seemed tobe rather limited. Theinterviewer askedHaruo whatkindofhelp heneeded from teachers tomake friends ordevelop friendship, hopingtogain information forthe teacher’s possible intervention. Haruo’sanswerwasªnothing.º Inresponse tothe interviewer’s question regarding themotivation tofurther develop friendship, Haruoanswered ªratherlowºfollowed by ªno prospects offuture friendship.º Eventhough itwas very rareforHaruo tohang out with Makoto, hismotivation forfurther friendship wasnothigh. Similarly, Jiroalso reported thathismotivation todeepen friendship withhisfew friends was ªrather low.º Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 5/ 14 : ! : ” , . # $ , $ % . & % % . Jiro needed friendswhowould occupy histime andcare about him.Heseemed towant a friend ªinneed,º andnotareciprocal friendship. Suchaone-sided relationship wouldnot develop intoadeeper friendship, whichJiromight bewell aware of: : ! : . : ! : ‘ , $ % . $ () $ % * . , % , . Jiro was well aware ofthe standard waysofmaking friends.Inhis case, heanticipated chal- lenges todeepening friendships. Theinterview withJirouncovered thathisway ofªinteracting with friendsº waslimited torough-and-tumble play,suchaswrestling andsumo. Infact, Jiro mentioned thathehad inflicted injuriesonhis friends afew times. Asaresult, Jirousually played byhimself because hisinvitations towrestle declined. Jiro’slowmotivation todevelop friendship mightbedue tohis learned helplessness fromhisnarrow andrather dangerous rep- ertoire ofskills related tointeraction withother students. In contrast, someother participants werehighly motivated tosocialize, butfordifferent rea- sons. Forexample, Michiowanted tomake asmany newfriends aspossible inhis new class, whereas EigoandRieonly wanted compatible friends,andthenumber offriends didnot mat- ter. Thus, someemphasized thequantity, andsome thequality offriendships. Yetothers, such as Shiho, valued bothquantity andquality offriends; however, shehad difficulty approaching her classmates. : $ , . : $ % : $ , . , $ % . Extracurricular activitiescanserve asvehicles forsocialization. Ofthe 11participants, three students tookpartinextracurricular activities(namely,basketball club,school choir,history club, andrailway club).Michio expressed howheliked playing ballgames: : + , : , . % % % %, % % . : Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 6/14 , : , % % , % . In sum, theparticipants’ levelsandtypes ofsocial motivation tomake friends varied, although mostofthem valued friendship highly.Thestudents whohadnofriends generally wished tomake friends. Thus,withafew exceptions, theadolescents withASD were notsatis- fied with their ownworld, butappreciated anddesired friendship. Loneliness The theme ofloneliness emerged,reflecting thefeelings ofadolescents withASD whohaddif- ficulty casually socializing withtheir peers atschool andinother group situations. Therewere a variety ofsituations inwhich participants experienced loneliness,suchassituations where they were ingroups butnot surrounded byfriends, andsituations wherebidirectional interac- tions werenotoccurring. Bycontrast, someparticipants reportedthatthey hadnoexperience of loneliness. Rie goes toaspecial support schoolforstudents whoareunable tocope withmainstream schools forvarious reasons. Rieconsiders Lisa,Tomoko, andherhomeroom teacher,Mr. Shirai, tobe her friends because shecan easily converse withthem. Intheir absence, Riehas no one totalk toor spend timewith. : – : ) ,& , , . . : . – : , . , ) & % % % . : – : ‘ , . Rie also mentioned thatshefeltlonelier whenherfriends talkedwithother students than when herfriends werenotaround. Itseems thatRie’s desire tomonopolize herlimited num- ber offriends, coupled withherlack ofoptions tointeract withother students, exacerbated her loneliness. Adolescents withASD canfeelloneliness evenwhen theyareinteracting withtheir class- mates inagroup situation. Jiroexplained howthishappened. ! : , $ $ . . It seems thatJirowasbeing selectively excludedasatarget of`ijime’ whichisthe Japanese term forbullying withaless physically violentconnotation andgreater emphasis onsocial manipulation ,probably becausehehad physically harmedothersbefore. Giventhatchil- dren withASD arethrice morelikely tobe victims ofbullying thannon-autistic children [40,41], Jiromight havebeen atarisk forbullying. Hisexperience indicatesthatphysical pres- ence inagroup isnot enough; meaningful interactions arenecessary forstudents withASD to feel included inand connected withthegroup. Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 7/ 14 Although someparticipants couldelaborate onboth their understanding andexperiences of loneliness, othersunderstood lonelinessonlyonthe conceptual levelwithout anyexperience of the feeling. Forexample, Shihoseemed toknow whatloneliness was;sheexplained her understanding asªsad forbeing alone, andnobody isaround totalk with.º However, shesaid that shehad notfeltloneliness evenwhen shehad nofriends. Anxiety Adolescence isaremarkable periodwhenthedevelopment ofsocial cognition, whichyoung people totune intosocial differences [42,43].Thistendency ofadolescents increasestherisk of anxiety symptoms particularly inpersons withASD .Whether itis specific toaparticu- lar topic ofconversation orgeneral toany kind ofsocial situation, anxietyaffectssocial interactions. Conversation topicswereanimportant themeforadolescents withASD. Shiho confided that shewas constantly worriedwhether shecould keepupwith conversations. Inthe case of Rie, herconcern waswhether theperson sheconversed withknew thetopic shewanted totalk about. Eigo andToshi alsohadmore general anxietyregarding friendship. : . % / : ‘ , . : ? % / : , . In another case,Hiro wasdeeply worried ifhe could makenewfriends, because hewanted to have friends verymuch without knowing howtoaccomplish this.Itseems thathishigh level ofsocial motivation madehimworried andanxious, aphenomenon identifiedbyWhite, Bray, andOllendick .Such anxiety apparently impededhischance ofsuccessfully making new friends. Distress Distress insocial situations interfereswiththesuccessful development ofsocial relationships . Carrington andGraham referred toªmasking,º whichchildren withASD useasa device tohide their negative feelingstowards anddifficulty insocial interactions. Rieexplained how sheuses masking: : – : ‘ , . : – : # % . : Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 8/ 14 – : ‘ , % . . .. : – : . Rie said shewould oftenpretend tounderstand conversations thatshehad trouble follow- ing. Inaddition toputting onanact, Riesaid shelether friends winincard games topreserve friendship. Masking,ormasquerading ,mayhelp with adaption tosocial situations, but excessive usemay cause othertypesofdistress. InRie’s case,shegrows wearyaftermaking so much socialeffort. Masa wasannoyed byhis friends’ unpredictable behaviors,suchassuddenly leavinga group orjumping intoagroup. Thisannoyance mightreflect thedifficulty youngpeople with ASD experience predictingothers’behaviors .Whatever thecauses ofdistress, adolescents with ASD need tomake extraordinary effortstoengage insocial relationships andendure unavoidable socialstressdoing so. Discussion Our interview datarevealed different degreesofdesire inthese adolescents withASD tosocial- ize with peers, limited futureprospects todeepen friendships, solidawareness oftheir own social limitations, andimpressive effortstocope withthese limitations. Wealso uncovered the complex rolesthatfeelings ofanxiety andloneliness playedintheir process ofmaintaining friendships. Someparticipants wereanxious tobehave properly andafraid tolose friends. Oth- ers felt lonely whentheyfeltrejected orexcluded. Yetothers claimed thatthey hadlimited feel- ings assuch. Inthe following discussion, wedescribe friendships inadolescents withASD in Japan andcontrast themwiththose inother cultures, andexplore theexperience ofanxiety and loneliness inthe context ofthe desire ofadolescents withASD tomake friends atschool. Possible uniqueness ofcoping strategies inJapanese adolescents withASD There seemtobe similarities anddifferences betweentheJapanese participants inthe current study andindividuals withASD inWestern culturesreported oninprevious studiesonmask- ing coping strategies tomaintain friendships [19±20,22]. AmongtheJapanese participants who feltrejected andexcluded wereadolescents whomasked theirfeelings, asalso seen inthe case ofAustralian adolescents withASD [19,20]. Inthe study ofCarrington etal. , Austra- lian participants withASD confided thatthey concealed theirsocial awkwardness bybehaving in the same waysasothers andpretending toshare thesame interests. Likewise, Riewould often pretend tounderstand conversations thatshehad trouble following. Eventhough acting in this way wasstressful toher, sheused thisstrategy toavoid peerrejection. Thiscommon masking strategymaybebased onthe knowledge thatsharing interests andparticipating in common activitiesareimportant forfriendship . A possible culturaldifference betweenJapanandAustralia inmasking copingstrategies may beseen incoping strategies. Rieused aninternal copingtechnique andsacrificed herself by masking herdesire towin and intentionally losinginthe card game. Thiscoping technique may beunique toJapanese culture,whichemphasizes socialharmony overself-interest [25± 27]. Incontrast, anAustralian adolescent withASD employed anexternal copingtechnique by pretending tohave awide social network, suchasafictional accountofan extensive listof Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 9/ 14 friends andfabricated storiesaboutinteractions withthem .Theopposite directions of these coping strategies mayreflect differences betweenEasternandWestern culturesinthat 1) people inEastern cultures tendtoset coping goalsthatfocus onthe needs ofothers, related- ness, andinterdependence, whichmayrequire self-sacrifice, whereaspeopleinWestern cul- tures tendtofocus ontheir ownneeds, asserting independence andcontrol ofthe external environment .These cultural differences inthe direction ofcoping strategies mightneces- sitate different directions inthe masking strategies usedbyadolescents withASD toadapt to social situations. Ifinternalizing copingisunique toJapanese individuals amongpeoplewith ASD, parents andteachers shouldbeaware ofthis tendency andteach culturally appropriate social skills.However, furtherstudyisneeded toconfirm ifthis unique copingtendency apparent inthis study actually holdstrue. Emotions surrounding adolescentswithASD The levels andtypes offriendship-related socialmotives andemotional experiences varied among thestudents withASD whoparticipated inthis study. Consistent withaprevious study by Chen etal. , ahigh level ofsocial motivation madesomeindividuals withASD, suchas Hiro, worried andanxious aboutfriendship withoutknowing howtomake friends. Suchanxi- ety could either keepthem motivated, or,worse, impede theirchance ofsuccessfully making new friends. Morestudies areneeded toexplore howsocial anxiety relatestomaintaining and developing friendships intheir daily school life. In another case,Jiro,whose onlywayofhanging outwith hisfriends wasrough-and-tumble play, suchaswrestling andsumo, seemed tobe ostracized inhis classroom. Jiroreported that he had inflicted injuriesonhis friends afew times during suchplay. Thus, hemight besocially excluded byhis classmates (e.g.,when nobody triedtocatch himduring playtag). Thesocial demands aroundhimmight haveexceeded thecapacity ofhis social skillstocope . According toan experimental study,adolescents withASD aresensitive toostracism and experience increasedanxietyandneed threat following it.Therefore, Jiro’sloneliness andlow motivation todevelop friendships mighthavefollowed fromthesituations heexperienced dur- ing play. There werestudents withASD whoreported theyhadlimited feelings. Therearetwo possi- bilities: oneisthat they actually feelnothing, whiletheother isthat they have feelings buthave difficulties recognizing andexplaining theirownfeelings andthose ofothers [51,52]. Indeed, some researchers [53,54]pointed outthat individuals withASD haveemotional interoception difficulties similartothose inindividuals withalexithymia. Recently,BirdandCook pro- posed thatdeficits inrecognition ofemotions orthe internal stateofthe body areassociated with co-occurring alexithymiaforsome individuals withASD, although alexithymia isnot commonly considered characteristic ofASD .Alternatively, assuggested, theremaybea genuine lackofcertain emotions forsome participants; whicheveristhe case, thisstudy has extended thegrowing knowledge onthe friendships ofadolescents withASD byfocusing on their emotional life,particularly theirfeelings ofloneliness andanxiety. Limitations Our study hasshed lightonthe emotional lifeofstudents withASD inthe context oftheir friendships, butthelimitations ofthis study needtobe considered forthe interpretation ofthe findings andforfuture research. Theparticipants werefewinnumber, andallofthem were clinically diagnosed withautism disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, orpervasive developmental disorder according toDSM-IV-TR bymedical doctorsspecialized inchild psychiatry or developmental pediatrics.Futurestudies needtouse contemporary diagnosticcriteriaofASD Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 10/ 14 and itscomorbid conditions definedinDSM-5 and gold-standard measuressuchasthe Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R)orthe Social Communication Question- naire ,which werenotavailable inJapanese atthe time ofthis research (2011),forthe veri- fication ofthe ASD diagnosis. A recent studybyDean etal.  found thatchildren withASD preferred tosocialize with same-gender friends,asdid their typically developing counterparts. Futureresearch could yield different dimensions ofinsight intothese friendships. Forexample, thisline ofstudies needs totap into theemotional lifeofindividuals withASD indifferent agegroups, suchas young children andadults, because thenature offriendship islikely tochange throughout life. Conclusion This study isprobably thefirst touncover therich emotional lifeofadolescents withASD in the context oftheir friendships inan Asian culture. Inaddition toemotions suchasanxiety, loneliness, anddesires forsocial relationships thathave already beenidentified byprevious studies conducted inWestern cultures, wediscovered apossibly uniquecopingstrategy char- acterized byinternalization andself-sacrifice inour study. Supporting information S1 File. Questions afterCarrington etal., 2003 andoriginal questions. (DOCX) S1 Table. Definitions offriendship. (DOCX) S2 Table. Definitions ofloneliness. (DOCX) Acknowledgmen ts We thank theparticipants andtheir parents, teachers, andcounselors, whokindly contributed to this study. 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The peer relations hipsofgirls with ASD atschool: comparis ontoboys andgirls withandwithout ASD.JChild Psychol Psychiat. 2014;55: 1218±1225. https://doi.org/10.11 11/jcpp.12242PMID: 250396 96 Friendsh ipsofadolescen tswith ASD inJapan: Aqualitat iveinterview study PLOS ONE|https://doi.or g/10.1371/journal.po ne.0191538February 6,2018 14/ 14 Copyright ofPLoS ONEisthe property ofPublic Library ofScience anditscontent maynot be copied oremailed tomultiple sitesorposted toalistserv without thecopyright holder’s express writtenpermission. However,usersmayprint, download, oremail articles for individual use.
Prior to beginning work on this assignment, be sure to have read all the required resources for the week.Locate a peer-reviewed qualitative research study in the Ashford University Library on the topi
2017, Volume 83, No. 1, 41-49Journal o f Rehabilitation Volume 83, N u m b er 141 Perceptions of Literacy Instruction and Implications for Transition and Employment Outcomes for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Qualitative Study Linda M. Pavonetti Oakland University Darlene A . G. Groomes Oakland UniversityYeaton H. Clifton Oakland Universityx The goal of education for a student with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is to help the person achieve a productive and independent life. This paper discusses the results of qualitative research that examine how educators in some Midwestern school districts de scribe the development of basic literacy skills by high school students with ASD. Important findings include the school districts’ perceptions that (a) legal regulations often hamper the efforts of professionals who wish to impart literacy skills to students and (b) school districts’ perceptions that parents have limited interest in literacy skills. Recommendations include suggestions about how laws could be modified and how pairing vocational rehabilitation counselors with professionals who work with students with ASD in public schools could improve the quality of life for students with ASD. Youth with disabilities take on the challenge o f em ployment as a means o f support upon exiting high school; approximately one in seven young adults in the United States is out o f school and not working (Jain, Con way, & Choitz, 2016;Shattuck, P. T., Narendorf, S. C., Cooper, B. P., Sterzing, P., Wagner, M., & Taylor, J. L., 2012). The decision to pursue higher education is less common. Although data suggest that youth with disabilities who no longer attend school have more time for work, hold positive attitudes about their current positions, and are earning more than $9.40 per hour, they struggle more than their peers who are not disabled to obtain gainful employment. Additionally, for those with au tism, 69% compared to 86-90% for those with hearing impair ments or other health impairments, were likely to have been engaged in employment since high school (Sanford, New man, Wagner, Cameto, Knokey, & Shaver, 2011). Research suggests there is a 7.3% unemployment gap between work- Dr. Linda M. Pavonetti, D epartm ent of Reading and Language Arts, Oakland University, 2200 N. Squirrel Rd., Rochester, MI 48309. Email: [email protected] people with and without disabilities; for youth, the unemployment rate isl 1.5 percent (n = 2.6 million), showing little change from the previous year (Erickson, Lee, & von Schrader, 2012; U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, 2016). While disparities remain across disability types, research ers’ contemporary focus is on vocational outcomes for indi viduals living with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (Cedur- land, Hagberg, Billstedt, Gillberg, & Gillberg, 2008; Howlin, Goode, Hutton, & Rutter, 2004; Interagency Autism Coor dinating Committee, 2014; Shattuck, P. T., Narendorf, S. C., Cooper, B. P., Sterzing, P., Wagner, M., & Taylor, J. L, 2012). Because o f the above-noted unemployment gap, it is import ant to explore what academic preparation best readies those with ASD for the world o f work. Taylor and Seltzer (2010) have noted a decline in students with ASD phenotypic behav iors after exiting school. This may imply that many students with ASD are somewhat prepared for independence through social skills training. Social skills also improve the employ ment prospects o f people with disabilities (Campbell, Hensel, Hudson, Schwartz, & Sealander, 1987; Orsmond, Shattuck, Cooper, Sterzing, & Anderson, 2013). However, Howlin, Goode, Hutton, and Rutter (2004) found that reading and writ ing skills are also valuable for people with ASD who wish to gain employment, implying that both literacy skills and social skills are valuable for improving employment prospects. The purpose o f this paper is to present results from qual itative research that presents a portrait o f what happens to students with ASD who are transitioning to adulthood. The researcher interviewed a number o f professionals in several Midwestern high schools to learn how these professionals per ceive the development o f literacy skills that might best pre pare individuals with ASD for the world o f work. In knowing what skills students with ASD need when entering the labor market, special education professionals might be well-served if they collaborated with vocational rehabilitation counselors who could help to facilitate the transition to employment. The new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act mandates creative partnerships across core federal programs: adult ed ucation and vocational rehabilitation administered through the Department o f Education and workforce development and employment services administered through the Department o f Labor (United States Department o f Labor, Employment and Training Administration (DoLETA, 2014). There exists a critical need for understanding the relationship between literacy instruction and independence. We begin with a brief overview o f previous research on literacy among students with ASD including a discussion o f evidence-based practice. Simpson (2005) found that evidence-based practice is import ant for students with ASD. Weiss and Riosa’s (2015) research on thriving in youth with autism spectrum disorder updates this perspective and asserts, “ Positive youth development, and more broadly positive human development, has emerged as a promising frame-work with which to study thriving” (P. 2475). Subsequently, we will describe our research method ology before providing a discussion o f findings and implica tions. The participants in this study discussed both teaching functional skills and reading and writing skills. Literacy and Adult Outcomes for Students with ASD While research is available on the more general question o f how students with ASD transition to adulthood, few papers specifically describe their transition to independence (Law rence, Alleckson, & Bjorklund, 2010; Interagency Autism Co ordinating Committee, 2014). Cameto (2005) determined that 30% o f former special education students with ASD find em ployment, a percentage that is lower than what he identified for other students with disabilities transitioning to adulthood. Clearly, a better understanding o f this critical transition is nec essary i f we hope to facilitate the independence o f students with ASD. O f the limited research available, Howlin, Goode, Hutton, and Rutter (2004) identified literacy skills as among the important variables correlated to success in the work place for people with ASD. Likewise, a survey o f employees with disabilities and their employers found that a majority o f both groups believed literacy skills were important for their jobs, which is further evidence that development o f social, read ing, and writing skills could facilitate employment (Campbell, Hensel, Hudson, Schwartz, & Sealander, 1987; Orsmond, Shattuck, Cooper, Sterzing, & Anderson, 2013).In addition to the dearth o f information about the transi tion process for students with ASD, research on the process o f teaching literacy to students with ASD is limited too. When Chiang and Lin (2007) reviewed the literature on ASD and reading ability, they identified 11 experimental studies that involved a total o f 49 students with ASD. Only one o f the studies involved high school-aged students. Regardless o f the limited research, most o f the studies identified poor reading skills among students with ASD. Use of Evidence-Based Practices and Students with ASD The No Child Left Behind Act (No Child Left Behind Act o f 2001, 2002) (NCLB) makes several references to ev idence-based practices. “Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a process that involves “the conscientious, explicit, judicious use o f current best evidence in making decisions about the care o f individual patients” (Sackett, Rosenberg, Gray, Haynes, & Richardson, as cited in Spring, 2007). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that students with disabilities be prepared to read, but as Lanter and Watson (2008) have pointed out, a number o f common strategies used in that instruction are not based on research. Hess, Morrier, Helfin, and Ivey (2008) demonstrate that the use o f non-evidence-based methods can be ineffec tive or even harmful. However, studies that address whether instructors could identify evidence-based methods o f instruc tion for students with ASD found that the majority could not (Bain, Brown, & Jordan, 2009; Hess, Morrier, Helfin & Ivey 2008; Morrier, Hess, & Heflin, 2011). Interpretation o f this information is not straightforward because there is limited un derstanding o f how instructors actually select methods or how they understand the idea o f evidence-based practice. There is also limited information about how the language o f the NCLB affects choices made by instructors when selecting instruc tional methods. Inclusion The IDEA encourages full inclusion o f students with disabilities in general education classrooms; however, the un derstanding o f how this affects education is limited because there is limited documentation and research. Many critical discourse analysts have studied the language o f inclusion o f special education students into general education classes. In these studies, the data consisted o f legislative regulations de fining a least restrictive environment. Liasidou (2009, 2011), Hodkinson (2012), and Pfahl and Powell (2011) found that the language o f special education legislation was vague to the ex tent that real improvement in education could not be expected. When Murawski and Swanson (2001) reviewed experi mental and quasi-experimental studies o f co-teaching inclu sion practice with all students with special needs, they found only six papers, three o f which were not peer reviewed. The results o f all six studies were positive, which suggests both that more research on inclusion would be greatly valued and certain implementations o f inclusion probably do have posi tive results. Conversely, there is reason to think broad inter pretation o f laws would lead to a wide range o f diverse situa- tions, some o f which have no clear effect on learning (positive or negative). Purpose of Research Our research intended to answer four questions, which examine the discourse on literacy and the transition to adult hood for students with ASD: (1) How are students with ASD prepared in terms of basic literacy skills to transition to adult hood; (2) How do professionals evaluate methods of devel oping literacy skills; (3) How is this influenced by the NCLB requirement for evidence; and (4) How do these professionals understand their contribution to the transition to adulthood? The research was conducted in a suburban school district within 50 miles of a large metropolitan city. The district re ported the following ethnic breakdown: 90% white, 6% black, 0.6% Asian American, 0.5% Native American and 3.3% His panic. The median income was roughly $30,000. The location of the study was also selected for convenience. This study was conducted in two phases, primarily be cause the narrative that emerged from the data in Phase One showed that students with ASD advance slowly in basic liter acy skills—often entering high school performing far below grade level. Students with ASD receive little remediation for this deficit at a high school level. With this information, Phase Two of the study focused questions on how students with ASD are taught literacy skills. Because this article reflects the data collected in two stud ies, there is also a difference in the sites where interviews were conducted. The majority of the interviews were conducted in the schools where the participants were employed. One inter view was conducted in an administrative office and another participant requested that the interview be conducted in the researcher’ university office. The interviews were completely private. Several of the interviewees preferred to reply in writ ing to the questions, in which case the interview consisted in clarifying and expanding the responses. One person refused permission to audio record the interview, stating that being recorded made him/her nervous. All of the other interviews were recorded and transcribed. The researcher’s notes were added to the transcriptions. Examination o f available documents with specific infor mation about the kind of literacy instruction provided to stu dents with disabilities who have poor literacy skills offered an account of how policy had evolved. Prior to the imple mentation o f the Michigan Merit Curriculum, students whose Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) scores in language arts were deficient were directed to a core skills class that was considered general education. The percentage o f students attending the core skills classes who had IEPs was found to be too high for a general education setting. The ad ministrators had a choice of either providing a special educa tion environment or finding another way to provide training in core skills; they decided to implement a peer tutoring system, and provide accommodations to mitigate the effects of various disabilities.Participants. An email was sent to certain key employees of this school district. These included two high school English teachers who taught students with ASD, the Special Education Consultant who developed the curriculum for students with ASD, the Special Education Director who helped create the individu al education plans for students with ASD, and two Transition Coordinators who assisted the transition of students with ASD from school to independent life. The participants were select ed based on their willingness to voice their opinions and on their connection to a particular school district. Permission was granted by the Director of Special Ed ucation to interview up to six professionals working for this school district, including him/herself. Of those identified, only four agreed to be interviewed. The first instructor was an ex perienced certified teacher, described by a colleague as hav ing a great deal of experience with students with ASD. The instructor had developed a number of Individual Education Plans (IEP) and was experienced teaching English to students with ASD. Later, the Special Education Consultant agreed to participate in the study. The consultant had a master’s degree in Special Education with a concentration in reading and more than a decade of experience. The Transition Coordinator was well qualified, having a master’s degree in Special Education. The fourth participant was the Director of Special Education. To gather information regarding literacy instruction, tran sition, and ASD, the primary author interviewed all partici pants and was given permission to record the conversations. Three interviews were conducted in person, in the setting where the participants worked. The Transition Coordinator preferred to be interviewed in the researcher’s office on the university campus, and answered three out of four questions in writing prior to this visit. This participant signed the con sent form and wrote an answer to the remaining question. The questions for Special Education Instructors, the Special Ed ucation Consultant, the Transition Coordinator, and the Spe cial Education Director were guided by our understanding of discourse analysis theory, and participants were permitted to view the questions before signing consent to the interview. Examples of questions include, but were not limited to items such as: 1. How do you view strong literacy skills? And how do these skills help in the real world? 2. How does the NCLB act influence your choice o f lessons? Name a method where this legislation affected your choices? 3. Reflect on your students’ efforts and how they achieve success: how do you help them? 4. Describe how your rate the success of your program, and describe how you rate instances of failure in your program. 5. Describe how legislation and regulations influence the way that you do your job? How do these laws help and how do they get in the way? 6. Describe how you would identify a method o f teaching that is effective for promoting transition: give an example. 7. Describe a student who you consider a success. 8. How is literacy promoted in an IEP? How are independent living skills promoted in a n IE P ? Data Analysis. The data were coded using G laser’s (1966) method o f constant comparison. The data, thus orga nized by codes, were examined in light o f critical discourse analysis (Rodgers, 2011). Critical discourse analysis is the study o f how communication affects empowerment, and the empowerment o f students is the major concern o f this study. The codes were used to arrange data in a way that directed the data analysis to place information relevant to a particular question together. Results o f Phase One Analysis o f Interviews Research Question One. How are students with ASD prepared in terms o f basic literacy skills to transition to adult hood? The narrative that emerged from the data is that stu dents with ASD advance slowly in basic literacy skills often entering high school performing far below grade level, and receive little remediation for this deficit at a high school level. So, for the second phase o f this study, questions about how students with ASD are taught literacy skills remained a prior ity. Research Question Two. How does the NCLB require ment for evidence-based practice affect instructor’s decisions about how and what to teach? Based on data collected through interviews in the first study, the participants demonstrated poor comprehension o f NCLB and its requirement for ev idence-based instruction, which may indicate that this topic has limited relevance to their day-to-day work. Other conclu sions could be inferred, but because the teachers had indicated that it was not relevant to them or their work, the question was dropped from phase two o f the study. The investigator believed that other topics that would provide better feedback might be better examined. Since the Transition Coordinator had emphasized the role o f parents in his/her definition o f suc cess, it was determined that this was a more useful direction o f inquiry (see research questions for Phase Two). Research Question Three. How do professionals eval uate methods o f developing literacy skills? Two participants gave no information indicating education reform that required evidenced-based methods as improving methods o f instruc tion, The Special Education Director presumably was not able to enumerate such methods. The Special Education Director cited attending training sessions as a means o f obtaining ev idence-based methods. More details o f this will be discussed in the conclusions. The consultant did not give direct answers to questions about selecting methods and thus provided no ad ditional information. Since only one participant gave real insights into how to professionals select methods o f instruction in Phase One o f this study, the question remained a concern for Phase Two. Research Question Four. How do these professionals understand their contribution to the transition to adulthood for students with ASD? Both the Instructor and the Consultant emphasized success in terms o f meeting benchmarks to earn a degree, and did not see their work in terms o f preparing the student for the transition to adulthood. The Transition Coor dinator understood his/her work in terms o f the transition to adulthood, but felt that the instructional system was failing the students and that this was beyond his/her control. The Consul tant saw success more in terms o f pleasing students’ parents than transition to adulthood. Discussion o f Phase One. Phase One o f this study was interesting because the participants affirmed that they were not teaching literacy skills. They further affirmed that this was in the interest o f meeting state benchmark requirements. Since this is a sample o f convenience, it is not supposed that this is common, but it does suggest that the laws could be written so that instructors would believe that improving the literacy skills o f students with ASD is the instructor’s job. It is also significant that the participants described a rational approach to meeting benchmarks. If exempting students from reading requirements is a rational way to meet benchmark require ments for state exams, then the participants are doing their job by using the exemption. The participants were under a great deal o f pressure from the state and school administration, and it may not be reasonable to expect them do anything other than meet the benchmarks efficiently. Three o f four partici pants wished the laws were different, implying that if the laws were written to clearly require remediation o f literacy prob lems for students with ASD, then the response o f the profes sionals would be to do exactly that. Phase Two Study Statement o f Purpose Since the purpose o f this study was to illuminate the process o f teaching literacy skills to secondary students with ASD, the questions asked o f professionals were intended to provide information relevant to the research questions. Specif ically, they were intended to inform the following questions. 1) How are high school-age students with ASD taught liter acy skills that may facilitate their transition to adulthood by public school professionals (e.g., special education teachers, consultants, directors, and transition coordinators)? 2) How do public school professionals (special education teachers, consultants, directors, and transition coordinators) evaluate methods o f teaching literacy skills, i.e., reading and writing, for high school-age students with ASD? 3) How do these pro fessionals (special education teachers, consultants, directors, and transition coordinators) understand their contribution to teaching literacy skills and the transition to adult life for high school-age students with ASD? 4) How do these professionals (special education teachers, consultants, directors, and tran sition coordinators) report that parents influence decisions about teaching literacy skills to high school-age students with ASD? Participants This study was conducted in three school districts in the same county. The county where phase two o f this study was conducted was different from the county where phase one was conducted. The scope was expanded to include the three school districts mentioned above, where six professionals in each district were interviewed by the same methods. We tried to gain access to professionals from each district including the Director o f Special Education in each district, the Special Ed ucation Consultant in each district, two Transition Coordina tors in each district, and two instructors from each district who have completed independent educational plans (IEPs) for stu dents with ASD. After obtaining access to the districts, it was found that there were only 13 professionals who met the cri teria who worked in the three districts. Each district had only one Transition Coordinator. Only District C had a Special Ed ucation Consultant. Each district had exactly two high school level instructors who met the criteria for the study. A total o f 13 people met the criteria for the study, and o f them, 11 agreed to be interviewed. One o f the two who did not agree to be interviewed responded favorably to an introductory email, but did not respond to later emails; another potential interviewee did not respond at all (one o f the instructors in District A and the Transition Coordinator in District A). However, obtaining the participation o f 11 o f 13 potential participants is an accept able response rate (85%). Profile of the Participants All participants had m aster’s degrees in special educa tion; one had a Ph.D. All but two o f the participants described themselves as dealing with a very wide range o f abilities when it came to students with ASD. The two exceptions were found in a school district where there appeared to be a certain divi sion o f labor. The Transition Coordinator dealt with “ lower functioning” (the Transition Coordinator’s term) students who were earning certificates not diplomas, and one o f the Instruc tors described him /herself as only dealing with students who were “high functioning” enough to earn diplomas (the In structor’s terms), implying that the Instructor only dealt with students who would not be encountered by the transition co ordinator. Setting Two o f the school districts were suburban and one was urban, and there were substantial differences. All o f the school districts in this study were within 35 miles o f a major met ropolitan city. The urban district’s students were 52% Black, 34% White, 2% Asian, and 6.2% mixed race. One o f the sub urban school’s demographic data reported students that were 66% White, 19% Black, 9% Native American, 3% o f Asian and the remainder mixed race. The other suburban school re ported 85% White students, 3% Native American, 6% Black students, and 6% Asians students. About 15% o f the students in the urban district could be described as Hispanic in contrast to about 4% in the suburban districts.Method of Data Collection. The interviewer relied on note taking and an electronic recording device. The participants were asked whether they accepted the use o f the recording device and if so, the inter views were taped. Note taking was also employed to describe the participants’ facial expressions, tone o f voice, pace at which they responded, and so on. The data were immediately transcribed into a word document by the researcher. The re searcher’s notes were integrated into the transcription o f the electronically recorded notes. Examples o f interview ques tions for participants included: 1. What literacy skills do ASD student need? How do these skills help Students with ASD in the real world? 2. How do the parents o f Students with ASD influence your choice o f lessons? 3. What textbooks are best for imparting litera cy skills to Students with ASD? How do you determine this? 4. How do special education experts impart litera cy skills (reading and writing) to students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)? 5. Describe how you rate the success o f your program. Describe how you rate instances o f failure in your program. 6. How do special education experts impart litera cy skills (reading and writing) to students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)? 7. Describe a student whom you consider a suc cess. The interviews took 10 to 25 minutes each, over a one- month period. Interviews were arranged via email and con ducted in the building where the participants worked. The par ticipants signed consent forms and were paid $25 before they were asked whether they would accept being recorded. Ten o f 11 participants agreed to be taped, and agreed to have the re searcher take notes while they answered questions. Instructor A1 asked to give his/her answers in handwriting because tape recorders made him/her uncomfortable. Two o f the other par ticipants gave handwritten notes on the answers to questions. O f the ten times the interviews were conducted with a tape recorder, the full interview was captured on tape. Data Analysis A meta-inquiry method (Carlson & McCaslin, 2003) was used to analyze the data in both phases o f the study. Meta-in quiry is the coding, clarification, and appreciation o f initial responses gathered through initial interviews from a small group o f participants o f similar credentials. The results from a meta-inquiry process create a composite, constructed from initial interview protocol data, which gleans analytical and in terpretative information (Carlson & McCaslin, 2003). The primary author developed a coding matrix o f the type described by Scott (2004) and Carlson and McCaslin (2003). Through a triangulation approach, using the analytical skills o f the two co-authors, codes were divided into seven domains to assure coding reliability and reduce theoretical conditioning (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The research team selected each domain to reflect a particular question (i.e., method o f teach ing literacy skills, range o f severity o f disability). Each code was divided between a domain and dimension. The dimen sions described individual answers so that the theory could define the range o f responses made by participants (Bradley, Curry, & Devers, 2007). The matrix is shown in Tables 1 and 2. Research Question One How are high school-age students with ASD taught liter acy skills that may facilitate their transition to adulthood by public school professionals (special education teachers, con sultants, directors, and transition coordinators)? The most common responses described methods o f ac commodation, which involved gaining exemptions from in struction in the skills that reformers, such as the authors o f A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983), considered most important for the nation’s overall economic growth— math and reading. According to the study’s participants, the accommodations technically ful fill the legal requirements expected (i.e., the need for a specif ic percentage o f students to pass the tests). At the same time, providing accommodations such as reading a test question for a student with disabilities does not contribute to the students’ mastery o f basic skills. The participants who elaborated on accommodations did not consider them productive. Since the original motivation for reform was improvement o f basic skills, providing accommodations seems to defeat the purpose o f the test. Another important result is that in all three school dis tricts’ respondents indicated that a formal assessment should be performed prior to literacy interventions. The participants may have selected methods o f intervention by trial and error, but they believe there is a need to know the students’ perfor mance level by systematic evaluation. Research Question Two How do public school professionals (special education teachers, consultants, directors, and transition coordina tors) evaluate methods o f teaching literacy skills, i.e., reading and writing, for high school-age students with ASD? In both phases o f this study, legal mandates were seen as impediments to instruction in the areas that the professionals considered important. The largest numbers o f discussions o f how participants select methods o f instruction were the par ticipants’ assertion that they were using counter-productive methods because o f the need to meet certain legal mandates. Research Question Three How do these professionals (special education teachers, consultants, directors, and transition coordinators) understand their contribution to teaching literacy skills and to facilitating the transition to adult life for high school-age students with ASD?It is significant that the two Transition Coordinators in this study as well as the Transition Coordinator in Phase One saw success in terms achieving independence and saw literacy as a key ingredient in that success. The Instructor in Phase One, however, saw literacy as an extremely important factor, but not as a part o f his/her job. By implication, that instructor did not see teaching literacy skills as an aspect o f his/her suc cess as an instructor. In general, those who saw independence as a goal also saw literacy as an important skill to teach; those who did not see independence as goal did not see literacy as an important skill to teach. Research Question Four How do parents influence decisions about teaching litera cy skills to high school-age students with ASD? Most o f the participants viewed the parents as advocates for students and viewed this in a positive way. The two par ticipants who discussed the relationship between parental in volvement and literacy stated that parents are often uncon cerned or do not consider it important. Parents may not be aware o f the importance o f literacy skills for independence. Table 1 Domains Related to Research Questions One and Two. D o m a in P la c e m e n t M e th o d C r ite r io n R e g u la t io n D im e n s io n s a. Inclusion; b. Resource Room; c. Certificate Programa. Accommodation; b. Assessment; c. Intervention; d. Non-Answera. Trial and Error b. Researcha. Impede; b. Facilitate; c. No effect M o d a l R e s p o n s eInclusion Accommodation Neither; both equal # W h o g a v e m o d a l r e s p o n s eFive Seven Two Three I n s ta n c e s o f M o d eSix Ten Two Seven M o d e I m p lie s The professionals saw inclusion as a preferred location for students with ASD.Accommodation is a strong concern for professionals who work with students with ASDMost o f those interviewed did not state a criterion for selecting a method.The largest number o f these professionals felt that regulations were often ill- conceived posing a problem for their work. Table 2 Domains Related to Questions Three and Four. D o m a in S u c c e s s P a r e n t s R a n g e D im e n s io n s a. Independence; b. Non- Independencea. Described their children’s interests; b. Advocate c. Describe intentionsa. Diverse b. Higher functioning c. Lower functioning M o d a l R e s p o n s e Independence Advocate Diverse # W h o g a v e m o d a l r e s p o n s eSix Five Nine I n s ta n c e s o f M o d e Seven Six Nine M o d e I m p lie s A large number of professionals do understand the goal o f their work is related to developing independent living for students with ASD.The most common response was to view parents as advocates for students.Most o f the professionals saw their work as dealing with students with ASD with a wide range o f disabilities. Limitations This paper describes qualitative research that examines how educators in some Midwestern school districts describe the development o f basic literacy skills by high school stu dents with ASD. The participants offered perspectives on their individual school districts, so results do not generalize to a universal state o f education, but only show how certain ideas can play out in individual instances. Further, the sample o f convenience most likely was made available because the di rectors o f special education believed that their programs had strong positive features. Since the data were largely gathered through interviews, some o f the participants probably be lieved they were making their roles appear overwhelmingly positive. The samples in the combined studies were limited to four school districts in two counties. These studies could be pointing to problems that exist in the local system, but that supposition cannot be generalized to presume that most school districts are similar to the ones studied here. Discussion Overall Results. A common characteristic o f the partici pants in the two phases o f this research is that all participants discussed accommodations. Some o f the accommodations were obviously helpful such as giving more time for tests, but many accommodations undermined the purpose o f the stan dards. It is reasonable to say that the participants were inter ested in accommodations that permitted them to help students achieve the required benchmarks for success. However, it is even more significant that those partici pants who connected the success o f students to independence or employment saw their function as promoting the literacy o f students. Participants in both phases o f the study were aware that achieving benchmarks was o f little value to students who often were not taught independence or literacy skills. The participants who discussed the effects o f legislation viewed most laws as hindrances to their work. One partici pant complained that the system does not permit work on real world problems such as teaching budgeting rather than ab stract math. Another participant complained about rules lim iting the amount o f time that he/she thought should be spent in the community learning real-life skills because students were required to spend more time in classes. Only once did a participant describe a law as positive; the law required that non-diploma students remain in school until age 26. This was a law unique to the state where the research was conducted. The passage o f the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) occurred after the completion o f this research study; therefore, no data were collected that might speak to coordi nated efforts between educators and rehabilitation counselors (e.g., sitting on IEP team meetings together) who can foster collaborative goals for literacy success, integration into the community, and quality employment outcomes. Hegemony and Education Reform. In critical discourse analysis, the term hegemony is used to describe ideas put for ward by leaders in either government or civil society that areviewed by many as simply common sense (unquestioned) and by others as a force that cannot be resisted (Lears, 1985) and this seems to describe the psychology that we observed. Some o f the participants viewed education reform as a force that is generally malevolent, against which they were helpless. In the Phase One study, one participant viewed education reform as something not to be questioned. However, Lears (1985) points out that people are usually less helpless than they believe themselves to be and ideas o f powerlessness can be changed. In this study, while education reform will remain a persistent force for the foreseeable future, the aspects o f it that troubled the participants could possibly be modified for the better. Recommendations. The following workable ideas pro vide positive improvement in literacy skills for students with ASD: 1. Vocational rehabilitation counselors should work with special education pro fessionals and parents to explain what skills the students will need when they enter the jo b markets. Pre-employment skills training opportunities will want to highlight the continued importance o f literacies within reading, writing, infor mation, digital technologies, and other occupational trends. 2. Evaluation o f secondary special education instructors and the schools where they work should be based on actual student improvement in targeted (literacy) skills, not simply whether the student passed an assessment. 3. While students with ASD may require assistance to pass state educational assessment tests, there should still be an assessment o f the students’ progress in basic skills. For example, if a student needs a writer to pass the educational assessment, there should be an addition al assessment o f progress in writing. None o f the above implies that students with ASD do not need accommodations, but the accommodations should not hinder progress in basic skills. Topics for Future Research. This paper highlights the need for research on the operations within public schools. It is based on information about the processes o f four different school districts, all o f which have unique cultures. To better understand the real world o f schools, qualitative research o f this type, accompanied by observational studies to determine what actually goes on behind closed doors, should be conduct ed in several schools in a broad sampling o f states. As noted earlier, quantitative research on the progress o f students with autism spectrum disorders in literacy skills is lacking, particularly at a secondary level. This study certainly points to a need for such research. Further, it would be useful to have research on the tran sition from high school to independence that could determine more exactly what skills are useful for the process. The partic ipants in this study understood they could only speculate about transition because the districts had not collected these kinds o f data. 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