|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||High School Violence School America|
Schools are supposed to be safe spaces for students and the staff. The prevalence of violent act in American high schools, especially mass shootings, spawned several studies and conceptual frameworks which sought to explain this phenomenon as well as potential ways to address the problem(Astor et al 1999; Hill & Drolet,1999). The general consensus became that the term 'school violence' became an umbrella term which encompasses mass shootings, physical fights, cyberbullying, adolescent suicide, dating violence, and sexual harassment. What remained unresolved is what the causes of school violence are. Rooted in the natural law school of thought, some academics attributed the causes of school violence to internal factors that may have pushed a perpetrator of school violence. The opposite view, anchored in the positivist tradition, attributed the causes of school violence to external factors that may have pushed a perpetrator.
In Violence Among Students and School Staff, the author proposes that school violence may be caused by school climate (Brooks,2017). Unlike the traditional arguments on the causes of school violence, Brooks(2017) proposes that the causes of school violence may lay beyond a troubled student. The author proposes that policymakers, administrators, teachers or the community a school belongs to can play a critical role in the existence and prevention of school violence. Employing a quantitative research methodology, this study will seek to establish the extent to which Dr.Brooks (2017) is right.
Purposes of the Study
From the foregoing , the objectives of the study are to : (1) establish what may be the causes of school violence ;( 2) to understand the motivation behind aggression which may lead to school violence ; and (3) to propose school violence prevention plans that may mitigate the levels of school violence in American high school.
Justifications for the Study
According to the National School Climate Council (Shukla 2019) defined the term 'school climate' as a set of values which creates expectations that students and staff will be socially, emotionally as well as physically safe within a school(Shukla 2019). Consequently, it is predicated on respect for the people who constitute the members of the school community as well as their participation in decision-making processes. The justification for researching the causes of school violence and possible solutions include the fact that a positive school climate is linked to several positive outcomes for students.
Positive school climates have been shown to be the basis for namely : (1) experiencing less bullying; (2) the academic process having better psychological outcomes for students; (3) higher engagement with the school; and (4) better academic achievement for students. According to Shukla(2019), research into the positive school climate is a common subject of studies into improving school safety efforts.
People acquire knowledge about social phenomena in different ways (Blackstone 2012). A small minority acquire the knowledge they have through formal education. Most people, however, acquire knowledge about the world around them through (1) lived experiences ; (2) generalizations; and (3) assumptions that their knowledge about the world around them is true. Direct experience may accumulate accurate information but the observation process isn't done in a deliberate or formal way. The problem with the informal aspect of observation is that sometimes it is right, and sometimes it is wrong. Absent of a systematic process for observing or assessing the accuracy of personal observations, people can never really be sure that the knowledge based purely on lived experience is accurate.
As stated earlier, generalizations and assumptions are the other ways most people claim to have knowledge about social life(Blackstone 2012). Without questioning these two things, people may wind up believing things that are in truth very false. Generalizations and assumptions are usually generated by authority figures in our personal lives (eg. Parents, government officials, lecturers in school, etc)who guide us to believing something is true. Although it is natural to believe information is true because it comes from authority figures, in the absence of scientific testing, one can never be sure that what they believe is true is not false. Research methodology is, therefore, an academic tool which challenges the validity of knowledge acquired through formal or informal mechanisms. Methodology informs the way in which data is collected, stored, evaluated and interpreted. In this way, methodology shapes how participants are seen and the nature of objective truth(s) within the study. This is why it is best to view methodology is that it is a lens through which to look at a research question.
Social sciences are preoccupied with examining human behavior and social structures. Social science research is maybe quantitative or qualitative. The latter investigates people's attitudes, and experiences in relation to social phenomena being examined. The former preoccupies itself with generating statistical data using questionnaires or structured interviews. Consequently, some social science researchers propose that qualitative research is the best way to do social science research.
They propose that qualitative research may be on different fields of study (eg. Law, criminology, international relations, anthropology, etc.)however, it has universal basic assumptions namely that: (1) theoretical reference points are used to explain subjective ideas in participants ; (2) there is an interest in understanding participant's social reality; and (3) social structures shape individual values. In this way, qualitative research is better at understanding human conduct and social structures since quantitative research does not concern itself with establishing the subjective views of participants.
According to Babbie(2010), quantitative methods distinguish themselves from qualitative research through (1) focusing on objective measurements of things that are the subject of research ; (2)the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or; (3) manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques. Consequently, quantitative research of human conduct and social structures focuses on gathering numerical data before subsequently "generalizing it across groups of people or to explain a particular phenomenon."
According to Babbie(2010), the purpose of engaging in this kind of methodology in social science research is to identify any relationships which exist between one subject (ie. an independent variable) with another subject being studied (i.e. a dependent variable) within a given human population. This focus has meant that quantitative research designs are either descriptive where subjects are measured once or experimental in which the study subject is measured before and after treatment(Babbie 2010). The clear distinction between the two is that a descriptive study looks for linkages between variables while an experimental study design establishes causality. The study adopted the quantitative method which employed a descriptive research design.
In quantitative studies, a conceptual framework is a model of presentation in which a researcher represents the relationship between variables diagrammatically. In the study, the hypothesized model in figure 1 below identified the independent variables as the various manifestations of school violence, whereas a positive school climate is a dependent variable. Furthermore, policies or other mechanisms adapted to reduce the risk of school violence are categorized as intervening variables that impact the dependent variable of a positive school climate. The study will, therefore, seek to determine the influence of these independent variables on the dependent variable (i.e. school violence on positive school climate).
Babbie, E. (2010). The practice of social research (ed.). Wadsworth: Nelson Education Ltd.
Kappetein, A. P., Head, S. J., Genereux, P., Piazza, N., Van Mieghem, N. M., Blackstone, E. H., ... & Hahn, R. T. (2012). Updated standardized endpoint definitions for transcatheter aortic valve implantation: the Valve Academic Research Consortium-2 consensus document. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 60(15), 1438-1454.
Hill, S. C., & Drolet, J. C. (1999). Schoolrelated violence among high school students in the United States, 1993-1995. Journal of School Health, 69(7), 264-272.
Fitzgerald, K., White, S., Borodovsky, A., Bettencourt, B. R., Strahs, A., Clausen, V., ... & Fernando, C. (2017). A highly durable RNAi therapeutic inhibitor of PCSK9. New England Journal of Medicine, 376(1), 41-51.
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