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I argued that it is critical to recognize the importance of listening to student perceptions of the differences between the high school writing environment and the first-year writing environment. It could be argued that students are in the best position to be able to articulate the differences between the writing environments because it is the students who are navigating the differing courses and the differing instructor expectations. If we are to gain a better understanding english essay writing help of the ways in which students make the transition from a high school writing environment to a first-year writing environment we have to listen to the things students say about that transition. We have to be prepared to listen to their perceptions, not only of the different writing environments, but also of their writing assignments and the instructors who teach them.
We have to look at how they go about learning how to write an academic essay, what things they find useful to custom essay meister review know, and what they think they need to know.
We cannot, however, take for granted that there is only one writing environment at the university. In fact, Beaufort (2007) and Carroll (2002) both discovered that students found it difficult to write in first-year because of the various discourse communities to which they are UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 80 attempting to become a part of. One of the challenges facing these students was that vocabulary, organization, and purpose is often discourse specific. It is difficult for the students to understand what they were custom essay meister review being asked to do in terms of writing because they did not understand the language and structure that is being used in each course (Carroll, 2002). In addition, because language is so course specific, students fail to see the similarities and generally believe that they have to change their style of writing with every course they are taking (McCarthy, 1987).
This research is timely since the transition from high school to university is increasingly being identified as a difficulty for many students. Students often struggle with learning the specific discourses of individual subject areas, and the discipline- specific courses often do not provide any formal university writing instruction. In order to fully comprehend some of the challenges facing first-year students when they make the transition to university, it is important to listen to them and to take their comments seriously. They are in the best position to speak about their first-year writing environment and, specifically, with their struggles to master the academic essay. This study attempts to rectify that omission by following the same students from Grade 12 through first-year university to listen to their perceptions of the writing environment in first-year university. UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 82 Chapter 3 Methods Introduction The literature in Chapter Two gives a general overview of the writing difficulties that first-year students may encounter when making the transition from high school to university. They do so, however, using very limited case study approaches. The findings of Groves and Welsh emerged from a study of fourteen grade 1 1 students at a high school in Perth, Australia. Restatement of the Purpose of the Study The purpose of my study was to investigate the challenges faced by first-year students as they negotiated the transition from the writing environment of high school to the writing environment of university.
Descriptive statistics are used to draw inferences about populations and to estimate the parameters of those populations (Trochim, 2006).
Inferential statistics are based on the descriptive statistics and the assumptions that generalize to the population from a selected sample. With quantitative analysis, it is possible to get visual representations for the data using graphs, plots, charts, and tables. For researchers using quantitative analysis, the conclusions are drawn from logic, evidence, and argument. The interpretation of raw data is guided by the general guidelines presented to evaluate the assertions made and to assess the validity of the instrument.
Quantitative analysis also employs protocols to control for, or anticipate, as many threats to validity as is possible.
Qualitative research, in its broadest sense, means any kind of research that does not rely on statistical measures. Creswell (2008) defines qualitative research as a means for exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or a human problem.
The process of research involves emerging questions and procedures. In phase one, of this study, the quantitative approach was used to gather a large amount of data from one hundred and forty-four targeted high school students to form a baseline of student perceptions of their high school writing environment. In phase three, fourteen individual interviews with first-year students, using a qualitative approach, were conducted. The rationale for using a mixed-method approach was that neither quantitative nor qualitative methods were sufficient to provide me with the information I required for the exploration of my topic. As Ivankova, Creswell, and Stick (2006) explain the benefit of the explanatory design is that the quantitative data provide custom essay meister review a general understanding of the research questions. Context of the Study The research was carried out with students who attended high schools in a western Canadian city. Only those students who self-identified as going on to study at a specific university in Western Canada in September 201 1 were selected. The students came from different socio-economic groups and diverse backgrounds. UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 86 The respective high schools were chosen because they traditionally have the highest number of their Senior 4 students go on to study at the university compared to custom essay meister review other school divisions in the province (University of Manitoba Records, 2009).