Free Essay with Thematic Analysis of Primary Teacher's Perceptions of the Use of Assistive Technology

Published: 2022-06-20 23:45:34
Free Essay with Thematic Analysis of Primary Teacher's Perceptions of the Use of Assistive Technology
Type of paper:  Thesis
Categories: Teaching Writing Technology
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1844 words
16 min read
143 views

The paper aims to carry out a thematic analysis of the perceptions of primary teachers in the use of assistive technology in the writing process for mainstream primary students struggling in writing. The writing process method to writing was first recommended in the Revised Primary Curriculum (Government of Ireland 1999). The use of assistive technology to be used in mainstream primary schools in Ireland was introduced through the Irish Action Plan for Education 2016-2019 to help improve the progress of students with writing difficulties (Department of Education and Skills Strategy Statement, n.d). Primary school teachers have had their experiences in the use of these devices in helping pupils struggling in their writing sessions. Therefore, the current evaluation explores this critical subject to establish the opinions and views of four mainstream primary teachers based on data collected using interviews. The analysis will follow the six steps of Braun and Clarke (2006) including familiarization with the data, coding of the data, searching for themes, reviewing the themes, defining and naming themes, and producing the report. The aim is to obtain the findings and document the perception of mainstream primary teachers of their experiences, opinions, views on the use of assistive technology in the writing process for students struggling with writing.

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The Coding Process

Step 1: Familiarize with the data - in this phase the researcher took the initial stage to read through the four interview transcripts from the mainstream primary school teachers in Ireland. It entailed reading and re-reading of the text to identify the similarities of the teachers' views on the subject of research. The first reading entailed silently going through the interview transcripts. The second reading involved a loud and active reading of the interview transcripts to understand the conversations that were going through between the researchers and the teachers. Bird (2005) argues that reading loud of interview scripts is a key aspect that provided the data with an interpretive capability in qualitative data analysis. Further Lipadat and Lindsay (1999) affirm that re-reading of transcripts helps in putting the spoken sound on paper.

An in-depth understanding of the text was necessary to inform the researcher of the emerging themes from the data. Active reading helped the researcher begin realizing the patterns, meanings as well as any other data that is meaningful for the research subject. Reading the transcripts two times was crucial for the researcher before proceeding to the next step of coding. The reading and re-reading were also critical to obtain all the aspects of information that will form a useful foundation for the thematic analysis. After reading, notes on the primary ideas from the interviews were taken down. These ideas formed the basis of the next step of generating codes and the other stages of the coding process.

Step 2: Generate initial codes: The initial codes from the interview transcripts were generated by reviewing the ideas that were taken down from the first phase. Manual coding approach took center stage during this step as the researcher worked systematically in the entire dataset. It was critical to give attention to all data items to help the researcher in noticing interesting aspects that create a foundation for generating repeated themes from the interview transcripts. For the researchers to code around, it was essential to follow specific questions in mind during the coding process. Highlighting specific statements in the interview transcripts was useful during manual coding to establish the emerging patterns of data.

The identified features of datasets were given codes based on the ideas depending on their relevance and meaning to the topic of research. The researchers identified the emerging features of the data and essential elements with the potential of being assessed in a meaningful manner. These aspects were given initial codes that guided the research in the next stage of the coding process. Manual codes were matched with the data extracts from the interview transcripts to demonstrate the coding process on the emerging data patterns. File cards were useful tools in copying the data extracts from the interview transcripts and combining them with the corresponding codes. Each file card was given a name for identifying the codes with the chose extracts. All the extracts were coded many times as the researcher found suitable to gain more ideas in generating the potential themes. The researcher identified many of the potential themes during this phase after giving much of the data extracts codes. Only a few selections were left with unidentified possible themes, and those that were not relevant were discarded. Providing initial codes of the data from the interview transcripts was critical for the researcher to form groups of data that were meaningful in generating themes. However, the group codes that were obtained during this phase differed from those achieved at the final stage of data analysis.

Step 3: Search for themes: The potential themes identified in step 2 provided the researcher with a basis for forming collated themes. Searching of these themes was done from the list of recognized ideas in the initial coded data. Sorting the themes was necessary to form groups with similar ideas from the broad list further. The step was critical in narrowing down the potential themes emerging from the data for including in the final analysis. All common ideas from the data extracts were combined and given a single code. To make it easy for the researcher to look for themes, a table was used to create code for data extracts that were similar, sort them and organize those coded based on the emerging themes known as the candidate themes. The table was also useful in identifying the relationship between the codes, themes and the various theme levels. Initial codes generated in step 2 formed some of the primary themes and subthemes during the analysis. Any irrelevant code to the topic of study was discarded, and the corresponding data extracts and codes were collected for use in the next phase of the coding process. The creating of single themes started at this stage with the interpretive analysis forming the foundation of associating interview statements to the subject of research.

Step 4: Review the themes: This step entailed refining the candidate themes by combining the related ones to form individual themes. The homogeneity of themes at this stage was a useful consideration in determining their relationships. Further discarding of irrelevant themes to the subject of the study was done. The breaking of broader themes was necessary to separate them into more refined ideas. The researcher carefully identified the similarities as well as differences between the data extracts and codes for every theme. It required generating and following two levels of reviewing and refining the themes. The coded data extracts first reviewed the themes and organizing the data to form a coherent pattern. The second level of refinement entailed an evaluation of the possibility of problematic themes to remove them from the groups of themes or the identified patterns. The researcher reworked on the problematic themes to generate new ones by relating them with the misplaced data extracts within the new and existing themes. Removal of the themes that did not fit in any category was crucial to achieving adequate refinement and satisfaction with the captured coded data and analysis of the themes based on the entire set of data. The themes captured at this stage were maintained for further coding in the next phase as they reflected the meanings accurately and relevant to the entire set of data. In ensuring that no information was left out or not captured, the researcher re-read the four interview transcripts to confirm the information and code any data identified as left out in the earlier stages of coding. After that, defining and naming of themes began.

Step 5: Define and name themes: Before defining and naming the themes, further refining was critical at this stage to scrutinize them before the final analysis. The researcher first identified the meaning for every theme and established the data facets captured by each of the themes. It required reviewing the pre-arranged data extracts for each of the themes and organizing them in a consistent and coherent manner to form the relevant narratives. Arranging and paraphrasing all the interesting statements from the data extracts was useful at this phase. Therefore, the researcher ensured to write a detailed analysis of each of the identified themes based on the covered subject in the collated data extracts for the appropriate definition. Each of the descriptions was fit into the broader issue of investigation, and related themes were combined to avoid overlapping of the themes. Names for each theme were given separately based on working titles that were utilized in the final analysis.

Step 6: Producing the report: Production of the report was based on the analysis of the working themes defined and names in step five above. Thematic analysis entailed writing each theme as a subtopic of the findings of the research. Below each subtopic or theme, a detailed description of the meaning and relationship of the theme to the topic of investigation was provided. Analysis of the themes in the report was associated with the objectives of the study. Writing of the report was concise, logical, non-repetitive, coherent and interesting to ensure the information convinces the reader regarding the research findings validity and merit. Direct quotes from the interview transcripts and evidence from the data extracts were used to support the findings of the study. The researcher also ensured to embed the explanations of the themes of the argument of the current phenomenon.

Findings

The findings of the study obtained from the four interview transcripts were specific to the current study. Therefore, they cannot be generalized to other similar or related studies. The results presented explain the views of the four mainstream primary school teachers in Ireland on the use of assistive technology to help students with writing challenges. There were no preconceived ideas about the topic of research introduced to the explanation of the findings. The in-depth evaluation of the results was based on the relationships that emerged from the analyzed themes. Five themes identified and names during the data analysis were captured in the findings of the study. The examination of these five themes formed the explanation of the thematic responses obtained from the four interview transcripts from the mainstream primary teachers. These themes include perceptions of the primary teachers on the writing process and the use of assistive technology in the classroom, how teachers use the writing process teachers in their classrooms, implementation of changes by teachers, support services and variables that precipitate and hinder the use of writing process in Irish primary schools.

Perceptions of the Writing Process and assistive technology in the Classroom

In helping pupils with writing difficulties in primary schools, all the four primary teachers recognized the need for providing the required instructions and helping the students to learn to write faster. The experiences of the teachers with the pupils with writing difficulties demonstrate their concern about accepting the incorporation of any strategy that would assist the students in their writing process.

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