This chapter presents the systematic procedure of the activities taken in the study. The chapter describes the participants of the study (students/teachers) and provides a complete description of the instruments used for collecting data (test/questionnaire).
They include the following:
The research design and the population used for the study.
The sample size and sample procedure chosen for the research.
The method of data collection and data analysis.
They are discussed under the following sub-headings.
3.2 Research design
The research method employed in this study is a quantitative design. Richards et al. (1992) refer to quantitative research as “research that uses procedures which gather data in numerical form” (p.302). The present study (pre test) is to check the knowledge of punctuation marks. After that, they will be given instructions on the same lesson (punctuation marks) to measure the effectiveness of learner performances a post-test will be done.
After identifying the errors, the researcher statistically analyzed the collected data using SPSS program, frequencies and percentages. Additionally, a test was administered to the students and a questionnaire to teachers of English language to assess their students’ as they use punctuation marks.
This research belonged qualitative as well as quantitative data. Therefore it is a mix method of data analyzing. The students’ test marks and second part of the teachers’ questionnaire belong to quantitative data analysis, because statistically the researcher had presented the result of them and the researcher had presented the idea of the teachers’ questionnaire first part in words. Therefore, it belonged to qualitative method.
The pre and post test have helped to achieve the first and second objectives of this research. It helped to identify the knowledge of using punctuation marks in writing and to find out the errors that the students are making in different marks in writing. The questionnaires also helped to identify the students’ knowledge of using punctuation mark in their school worked.
3.3 The Subjects of the Study
Population means the larger group of the research. In this research, the population was the students at the College of Technology- Galle. Academic year 2017 which consisted of about 2000 students. The course DCS was selected since it was a single, because which is conducted at the end of the running in three months.
The course in the English medium the students’ number came to about 120 of whole population. This course was preferred to the National Certificate in professional English, Diploma in English and Education. These three courses have a teaching component in English which should require formal teaching of punctuation as required by their syllabus content.
The researcher’s objective was to examine the extent to which punctuation is picked up or not pick up through general teaching.
A sample is a small population selected for observation and analysis. The sample of this research was the students at the first semester of the DCS students at College of Technology – Galle 2017. The student of DCS students’ pre education requirement was GCE Advanced Level (any stream). Their subjects were Grammar, Advanced reading and writing, working cohesively with others, and Communication skills
The researcher conducted the study of punctuation errors made by the students. These students were studying English language as the main subject. They study the “Developing Career Skills” textbook.
Students of DCS (Developing Career Students)
Sample of the research
Courses Age Gender Total
DCS Between 21 – 23 38 26 64
Sample 28 22 50
The teachers of English language in government schools in the Galle district were chosen as the required subjects for the study. 10 teachers were selected randomly. They were given a questionnaire to assess their students’ writing skills in the use of punctuation marks by responding to its questions. Therefore, the researcher wanted to follow up the background to this sample. Consequently teachers from the catchment area were taken for the initial study. The reason for giving the teacher questionnaire is to know whether they have taught punctuation marks at the school properly and to whether they have given their attention on students’ error in using punctuation marks in writing.
3.4 Research Instruments
An instrument is a device to get data. It is one of the important tasks to keep the quality of the research result.
For collecting data, the researcher used two types of research instruments. They were test and questionnaire. The elaboration of the two research instruments are described below:
3.4.1 Students’ Test
The test was an instrument for collecting data. It was used to compare the errors committed by students with the teachers’ experienced feedback on students’ punctuation writing problems.
This test contains a series of questions used to measure skill, knowledge, intelligence, capability or talent of the students. Thus, the researcher used it as a tool to identify the errors made by students and used this tool to collect data about the students’ ability or knowledge regarding punctuation marks.
The researcher prepared the test paper for students to realize the objectives of the research. Thus, it consisted of sixty sentences for six types of punctuation marks. Students had to apply proper punctuation marks in the sentences. The total marks of the test were 60.
The students of the experimental groups were given a pre-test to test their knowledge of punctuation marks. It was done to find out the standards of students in punctuation before receiving punctuation instructions. The test consisted of sixty sentences which represent six punctuation marks. The students were required to put the correct marks in their correct places.
The post-test was administered to determine students’ performance in the use of punctuation marks. Then, within six weeks the particular students received punctuation instruction regarding selected punctuation marks. After six weeks they faced the post test. Its purpose is to find out whether or not the students have made progress on punctuation marks as usual.
3.4.2 Teachers’ Questionnaire
To collect the data, a questionnaire was given to the teachers of English Language. Questionnaire is a data collection instrument in scientific research. Its purpose was to collect data on teachers’ perception of the students’ punctuation errors. The teachers were asked to evaluate their students’ use of punctuation marks and also to check whether the syllabus provides punctuation marks as well. This tool was used because it is suitable for collecting reliable and valid data from a high proportion of population within a reasonable period of time at a minimum cost.
The questionnaire consisted of two sections, section one, five open ended questions and section two, ten statements. The options are designed as Liker-scales of the variables structured (always, sometimes, often, rarely, never). The whole questionnaire contains fifteen questions.
3.5 Sample Size and Sampling Procedure.
Out of the total number of sixty four students following this course at the Technical College- Galle in 2017, fifty were selected for the research study. This was because it was an experimental study. Out of sixty four, fifty students were selected as the sample. The population of the students was sampled randomly. This was done by tossing folded papers which contained number one and two. The students who got number one belonged to the research sample.
3.6 Data Collection Procedures
To collect the data, a questionnaire was given to teachers of English language. Its purpose was to collect data on teachers’ perception of the students’ punctuation errors. The teachers were asked to evaluate their students’ use of punctuation marks and whether the syllabus provides punctuation marks as well.
A written test was administered to the students in order to understand how far the students were able to place punctuation marks correctly. The test was developed to check students’ punctuation errors. First, the researcher got permission to hold the test. After that, the researcher explained to the students about the test and gave instructions how to insert punctuation marks in the given sentences in the test paper. Within 60 minutes the students did the test in the classroom. Finally, the researcher collected the test papers, marked, analyzed and discussed them with the students. I felt it was necessary that sample should understand the aim of the experiment and response positively.
3.7 Methods of Data Analysis
In order to have a proper analysis of the data in this research provided, one hundred marks were allotted for the six punctuation marks (full stop, comma, apostrophe, question mark, colon and semi-colon), sixty marks for the test.
The research questions were analyzed using the mean. Questions were analyzed item by item including the correct and wrong answers. This was by giving one mark for the correct answer and no mark given for the wrong answer.
For the questionnaire and test, the researcher tabulated the responses in tables of frequencies and percentages so as to be discussed by using SPSS program.
3.8 Summary of the Chapter
This chapter presents the methodology of the research. The chapter clearly indicates the way the researcher collected the data and the instruments employed for collecting data, which are the participants of the research (students/teachers), and the techniques followed in analyzing.
The next chapter discusses how the collected data is analyzed and interpreted.