The purpose for this study is to investigate the effect that bullying has on the academic performance of fifth graders who attend ABC Elementary School. The method used for this research is a qualitative method. Using a qualitative research method will provide the opportunity to focus on a group of fifth grade students that attend ABC Elementary School. When conducting this study, a case study design will be used. Researchers have used the case study research method for many years across a variety of disciplines. Social scientists, in particular, have made wide use of this qualitative research method to examine contemporary real-life situations and provide the basis for the application of ideas and extension of methods (Soy, 1997). A case study design helps to provide a better understanding of an issue or problem. It is the most appropriate design to use for this study because it allows for data collection in any format and a search for understanding. This design also provides the opportunity for exploration and investigation of any given topic. According to Merriam (2009), qualitative case studies search for meaning and understanding and the researcher is the primary instrument of data collection and analysis. In this study, the main source of data collection tool is the researcher. A survey and interviewing format will be used to collect data. When collecting data from the surveys and interviews, the information will be grouped and labeled according the specific themes that evolve from the information. Survey software called “Survey Monkey” will be used to create the surveys used in this study. Separate survey and interview questions will be created for teachers and students respectively. The questions for the teachers will seek to ascertain their perspectives and observations of the effects of bullying within their classroom environment. The questions will require teachers to give short response answers. They will indicate whether they agree, disagree, strongly agree or strongly disagree with each statement. The questions for the students will be open-ended questions and will seek to acquire their knowledge and opinions of bullying as well as their personal or observed practices in school. The data collected from the interviews and surveys will be read, reviewed, and analyzed. The patterns and themes that evolve from the data analysis will be coded into categories. This process will help to identify, and gain insights of how bullying effects the academic progress of students in the fifth grade (Percy & Kostere, 2008).
The sample of participants includes 161 fifth grade students from ABC Elementary School. There are seven fifth grade classes at ABC Elementary School. Each class has twenty-two or twenty-three students. There are 76 boys and 85 girls participating in the study. The participants in this study were selected because of the number of complaints from teachers, parents, and students as well as the tremendous amount of referrals written for this particular grade level. The entire fifth grade was selected to participate in the study to get a better understanding of the issues and concerns of the students that attend ABC Elementary are facing on a daily basis. Before the study begins, the researcher will obtain permission from the district in which ABC Elementary is located. After permission is granted, consent forms will be forwarded to the parents of the targeted participants. Only the students with written parental consent and signed assent forms will be permitted to participate in the study. Consent letters will also be given to teachers to complete before participating in the study.
As the administrator at ABC Elementary School, there already is a positive relationship in place with the participants. However, a more exclusive relationship will be developed when interviewing and surveying the students throughout the study. Nevertheless, all interviews and surveys will be conducted in a monitored environment. Surveys to students and teachers will not require names or any personal information. However, the data collected will be stored in a locked safe and will not be shared or used for any other purpose than for this study. That will ensure that the confidentially of the participants are protected and maintained.