RSCH FPX 7860 Assessment 3 Qualitative Research Proposal
Phillip April 16, 2024 No Comments

RSCH FPX 7860 Assessment 3 Qualitative Research Proposal

RSCH FPX 7860 Assessment 3 Qualitative Research Proposal


Capella University

RSCH FPX 7860 Survey of Research Methods

Prof. Name



Many first-generation college students lack important resources to be successful in college when compared to their non-first-generation peers. When compared to non-first-generation students, first-generation students tend to have lower reading, math, and critical thinking skills and pursue a less rigorous high school curriculum, especially in the sciences and math. They are less likely to take AP courses, SAT and ACT exams due to being unable to afford the fees or time.

The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological case study is to explore the perceived lack of resources many first-generation college students are offered at a local four-year university located in the Northwest United States. At this stage, the perceived lack of resources will be generally defined as familial, financial, academic, and social support received while enrolled in college (Roksa, J. & Kinsley, P., 2019).

Research Questions

  • What are the key challenges FGCS face in their transition to and through a 4-year University?
  • What are recommendations university administrators can help FGCS make to improve the dropout rate?
  • What are the connections between the challenges faced by FGCS and their inability to utilize available resources as it pertains to their academic persistence and career goals?
  • What are FGCS recommendations for improvements based on their experiences?
  • How do FGCS at a public, minority-classified, US higher education institution describe the financial resource support they receive?
  • How do FGCS at a public, minority-classified, US higher education institution describe the academic resource support they receive?
  • How do FGCS at a public, minority-classified, US higher education institution describe the social resource support they receive?


Philosophical Assumptions or Worldview

The term first-generation college students (FGCS) has been used since the 1980s to assist researchers in identifying how FGS differ from their peers and how best to help them succeed in college. Many FGS pre-college beliefs and values promoted hard work and college attendance as a means of financial success. The overall transition to college created disequilibrium in the social class worldviews of the students interviewed, who in turn responded by attempting to adapt to the new culture, emphasizing their social class background, or downplaying the role of social class in their lives together.

The advocacy/participatory worldview will allow our research to focus on specific questions and issues such as empowerment, inequality, oppression, domination, suppression, and alienation. This is an important worldview as politics and political agenda have impacted cultural and societal norms for centuries. These norms have impacted the ability of specific minorities in their journeys to be the first-generation college students (FGCS) in their families as obtaining and receiving financing/financial aid has been rather complex. This means that the researcher will be able to address specific issues that are important to social issues of the present and past alienation.

Qualitative Design

This study will utilize ethnographic research design because it will allow researchers to observe and/or interact with the study’s participants in their real-life environment. We will utilize one-on-one interviews, which are in-depth personal interviews with one respondent at a time. This will be done like a conversational method which will allow us to gather precise data on each respondent. These studies will allow us to examine human experiences through the descriptions provided by the people involved. The goal of this study method is to describe the meaning that experiences hold for each subject.

Role of the Researcher

A qualitative researcher is responsible for being able to discern individual experiences which will be done by attempting to access the thoughts and feelings of the study’s participants. They will secure ethical approval and consent from every relevant party before research starts. They will consult with targeted groups in an effort to negotiate everyone’s roles in the investigative process. The researcher will be able to understand the lived experience from the vantage point of the subject; the researcher must also take into account his/her own beliefs and feelings. The researcher must first identify what she or he expects to discover and then to deliberately put aside these ideas. This is all done via a process called bracketing which can only be possible when the researcher puts aside his/her own ideas is it possible to experience it from the eyes of the person who has lived the experience.

Procedures Continued

Data Collection Procedures

Respondents will be asked to describe their experiences as they perceive them. They are able to write about their experiences, but information is generally obtained via these interviews. Due to qualitative data being descriptive rather than numerical it looks for context as it is primarily about people’s perceptions. The data will be collected during the summer months from June thru September 2022. This would also include bi-monthly two-hour, 45-minute recorded interviews with the initial interview questions.

The study will utilize the four-phase process to interview protocol refinement (IPR) which requires ensuring the interview questions align with the research questions, constructing an inquiry-based conversation, receiving feedback on interview protocols and piloting the interview protocol. The interview protocol matrix would include background information, research questions 1-4, and interview questions 1-10. FGCS are defined by the Department of Education in the Higher Education Act of 1965 and 1998 as those whose parents did not complete a bachelor’s degree, or a student whose only parent did not complete a bachelor’s degree if raised by a single parent.

RSCH FPX 7860 Assessment 3 Qualitative Research Proposal

The informed consent will be obtained after the participant has been presented with the pertinent information pertaining to the study. We will also obtain consent prior to any study-specific procedures and ensure that participant privacy and the environment are free of undue influence and coercion from the research team.

Data Analysis Procedures

In all analysis methods including the phenomenological method of study, there are specific tasks that must be performed prior to the analysis itself. This will be done by arranging for secure storage of original materials. Then by transcribing interviews or otherwise transform raw data into usable formats. Making master copies and working copies of all materials. Arranging secure passwords or other protection for all electronic data and copies. Lastly, when ready to begin by reading all of the transcripts repeatedly for a sense of the whole picture.

Data analysis in qualitative research traditionally requires at least a five-step process – preparing and organizing the data which is done by printing transcripts, gathering notes, documents, or other materials. Reviewing and exploring the collected data. Creating initial codes via highlighters, notes in the margins, sticky pads, concept maps or anything else that can be used to help connect with the data. Reviewing the codes and revising or combining them into themes by identifying recurring themes, language, opinions, and beliefs. Presenting those themes in a cohesive manner by considering your audience, the purpose of the study and what content should be included to best tell the story of the collected data.

Strategies for Validating Findings

Cross-validation also known as triangulation whereby multiple data sources are analyzed to form a final understanding and interpretation of a study’s results. Validating the methods used to collect the data by examining the data-collection methods. Question and verify what data collection methods were used. Validate the consistency of the data sources by examining them at different points in time, the settings they evolved from like public vs. private. We will use different researchers to analyze the data in order to review the findings. Develop a final theoretical understanding of the research, based on all of the cross-validation strategies previously mentioned.

Procedures Continued

Population, Sample, and Participants

For this study, we will utilize purposive sampling which means we will seek out participants with specific characteristics. These participants

will be first-generation college students of varying ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds so that the needed characteristics for our sample can be obtained successfully. These participants will attend a local four-year university located in the Northwest United States.

Anticipated Ethical Issues

The ethical considerations that will be involved in the research study included anonymity, voluntary participation, and informed consent. The study will utilize three values: integrity, competence, and dignity and worth of a person. We will follow the ethical guidelines of informed consent by providing a consent form to the participants and verbally explaining the purpose of the research and the commitment entailed in participation. We will take into consideration the concept of fairness in the distribution of surveys. All participants will be informed of the minimal risks associated with the study: time and answering questions about the educational status of family members.

Expected Findings

A total of 200 total participants will be surveyed. The majority of the participants will be between the ages of 18 and 34. The identified races of participants were White, Hispanic, African American, and Native American. Our first hypothesis is that first-generation students will have difficulty with support networks primarily because they are not utilizing available resources. Our second hypothesis is that first-generation students do not have the support of family, peers, etc. and experience more difficulties in the areas of financial assistance, and academic preparation compared to first-generation students who indicated more support from family.


Azmitia, M., Sumabat Estrada, G., Cheong, Y., & Covarrubias, R. (2018). “Dropping out is not an option”: How educationally resilient First ‐ ‐ Generation students see the future. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2018(160), 89-100.

Bogdan, R., & Taylor, S. J. (1975). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A phenomenological approach (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Wiley.

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (5th Edition). SAGE Publications, Inc. (US).

RSCH FPX 7860 Assessment 3 Qualitative Research Proposal

LeBouef, S.; Dworkin, J. (2021) First-Generation College Students and Family Support: A Critical Review of Empirical Research Literature. Educ. Sci. 2021, 11, 294.

Roksa, J., & Kinsley, P. (2018;2019;). The role of family support in facilitating academic success of low-income students. Research in Higher Education, 60(4), 415-436.