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Section 3

The 4S Pattern

Section 3 presents your findings, implications, and recommendations. This resource is intended to help you complete your Implications and Recommendations for Practice section for both a qualitative and quantitative study.  The 4S pattern has been found to be helpful.

The 4S Pattern

NOTE: You may need to repeat this pattern per theme or per hypothesis. Please discuss with your chair.

  1. Summarize the findings, so in other words no specific findings or quotes unless there is one or maybe two that are exemplary. This summary serves to distill the findings down and prompt the reader to the implications. 
  1. For a qualitative study, the summary of findings will most likely center on each theme.
  2. For a quantitative study, the summary will most likely center on the hypothesis that was supported.
  1. State the implications (conclusions) of the summarized findings. The implications must connect to the problem of the study. Also, keep in mind the RQ and do not overstate the implications.
  2. State the recommendation(s) for how the findings of the study can be applied to educational practice.
  3. Support the recommendation(s) with at least one finding from the study and the literature from Section 2. NOTE: The literature now supports, so do not turn this section into another Lit Review, just support your recommendations.

Evaluation of the Outcomes Qualitative Example

Evaluation of the Outcomes Resource (Qualitative Study)

What follows is a sample Evaluation of the Outcomes section. This sample contains the introduction to this section as well as the first RQ and evaluation of the first theme. In the RQ, please notice how the findings are first summarized (highlighted blue) then the evaluation is presented (highlighted yellow) then literature, particularly literature regarding the Theoretical/Conceptual Framework, is noted (highlighted green).

NOTE: Sometimes literature referencing the Theoretical/Conceptual Framework is not pertinent. However, some literature must be used to support your evaluation and to demonstrate whether your findings are consistent or inconsistent with the literature. Literature is a support not the evaluation itself. The evaluation is your own initial conclusions based on the findings.

Evaluation of the Outcomes

The purpose of this qualitative, case study was to explore the perspectives of educators and support staff of middle school students with EBD, specifically CD or ODD, on how to effectively meet these students’ behavior, reading, and math needs to make the learning environment more effective and to improve their learning experiences. The theoretical framework that was utilized for this qualitative case study was Albert Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory (SCT). Bandura postulated that learning occurred because of interactions that are bi-directional, reciprocated, and triangular. Bandura’s SCT assists with understanding how the personal factors (i.e., motivation, knowledge, and self-efficacy) of an individual, the environment, and their behaviors play a role in the individuals’ academic performance, level of achievement, and overall success. Bandura’s SCT was utilized to frame this qualitative case study because personal factors may affect the behaviors of middle school students with CD or ODD while in specific environments and engaging in particular activities (An & Meaney, 2015; Hwang et al., 2016; Ozkal, 2019).

According to Bandura (1986), there exist interactions among one's beliefs, the environment, and behavior. These interactions are evident from the research themes generated from this qualitative case study to meet middle school students with CD or ODD behavioral and academic needs. The interactions of cognitive factors such as knowledge, motivation, environmental factors such as social influences and norms, as well as behavior, aid in the learning process (An & Meaney, 2015; Bowers, 2018). Below is an evaluation of the outcomes for each research question.

RQ1. What are the perspectives of special education teachers and support staff regarding how to influence the behavior of middle school students with EBD, specifically CD or ODD, to meet their reading and math needs?

The purpose of research question one was to investigate special education teachers and support staff perspectives on how to influence the behaviors of middle school students with EBD, specifically CD or ODD, to meet their reading and math needs. The responses of the study participants generated six themes. These themes were challenging behaviors causing gaps in learning, collaboration and communication, student engagement, build a rapport and positive relationship with students, small group and one-to-one instruction to meet students where they are, and a system of rewards and incentives.

Participants spoke about various challenging behaviors that caused gaps in their students learning. They also noted that building positive relationships and a good student-teacher rapport can help decrease students’ disruptive behaviors and increase their academic performance in reading and math in the learning environment. These participants were cognizant of how critical it is for special education teachers and support staff members to manage challenging behaviors that cause gaps in the student’s learning, to have positive student-teacher relationships, to provide rewards and incentives, and to differentiate instruction utilizing small group instruction to increase the level of engagement of middle school students with CD or ODD. Bandura’s social cognitive theory is useful for examining the interactions of cognitive, environmental, and behavioral factors that influence students (Bowers, 2018). In this study, the educators focused on building positive relationships with their students as well as among their students to create a positive learning environment, which accounted for cognitive, environmental, and behavioral factors. Researchers have confirmed that when educators and support staff develop positive student-teacher relationships and implement strategies to increase the students’ level of engagement, students with CD or ODD demonstrate gains in their academic performance (Dykstra Steinbrenner & Watson, 2015; Ennis et al., 2018).