"The Effects of Differential Instruction," a Qualitative Research Project A qualitative research project involves collecting, analyzing and interpreting comprehensive narratives and visual data to gain insights into a particular phenomenon of interest (Gay, 2009, p. 7). One such area of interest is the effects of differential instruction on students' educational development. The Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model presents up to 21 elements that contribute to defining how a child learns best (Dunn, 2009), thus the teacher's teaching style will factor into the child's success or failure. The initial target population is of fourth grade students and their teachers; the objective is to examine the effects of differential instruction on the students' academic self-regulation. If teachers understand the various learning styles within their classrooms and adapt their teaching styles to accommodate the students, how will it impact the students' desire to learn, and is it possible to empower students to regulate their own learning (Levy, 2008, p.162)?
This particular study is in search of insight into fourth grade students' reactions towards learning and how their teachers' instruction affects those attitudes. The goal is to obtain a deeper understanding of this topic and determine why things are they way they are in this particular system. The data collected includes characteristics and perspectives that can not be quantified and thus requires the researcher to be immersed into the classroom to obtain that information. Data will first be collected prior to the integration of differential instruction via questionnaires and narratives concerning the students' attitudes towards the current teaching style, their educational abilities and the class in general. Data will then be collected throughout the study as the teacher initiates differential instruction